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West Champaran – History of Bihar (Bihar Special Series) – Free PDF Download

West Champaran district

  • Points Covered 
  • Location, Geography, History, Tourism, Famous Personality, crops, Handicraft, Industries, Protected Ares, Tribal Culture

 

Boundary

North:-     Hilly region of Nepal
South:-     Gopalganj & part of Purbi  Champaran District
East:-     Purbi Champaran District
West:-     Padrauna  & Deoria District of Uttar Pradesh
Total Area of the District:- 5228 Sq. Kms.

  • Agriculture is the main source of income of the people in West Champaran.
  • Some agro-based industries have flourished here and are being run successfully.
  • Sugar mills are established at Majhaulia, Bagaha, Ramnagar, Narkatiaganj, Chanpatia and Lauria.
  • The last two units are closed  at present.

Industrialisation

  • Some rice mills are also being run successfully and the produce is being marketed to different places outside the district.
  • Cottage industries based on local available natural and agricultural produce catering the local needs  such as Gur (raw-sugar), basket, rope, mat weaving etc are also popular.

Land use pattern

  • Mainly three types of crops are produced in this district – Bhadai (Autumn crop), Aghani (Kharif) and Rabbi (Spring crop).
  • Bhadai crops comprise mainly Maize and Sugarcane.
  • The main crops of Aghani season are paddy, potato etc.
  • Wheat, Barley, Arhar (Cajamus indicus) are main Rabbi crops.
  • Main crops of the low lying land in northern region of the district is paddy.

Natural Divisions

  • The first consists of the hilly tract of Someswar and Dun range  in the north at  the foot hills of Himalayas.
  • It is noticeable that the soil even at the foot of the hills has no rocky formation and wherever water can be impounded,a rich growth of crop is possible.
  • Next to the hilly area comes the Terai region  which is largely populated by Tharus of the District.

Natural Divisions

  • The Terai region is followed by fertile plains occupying the rest of the district.
  • This plain itself is divided into two well defined tracts by the little Gandak and have markedly distinct  characteristics.

Natural Divisions

  • The northern portion is composed of old alluvium & has a considerable area of low land.
  • It is traversed by a number of streams flowing southwards.
  • The southern portion of the tract is characterized by stretches of upland varied in places by large marshy depressions known as chaurs.

Natural Divisions

  • The Gandak or Narayani and Sikrahana  or little Gandak are the two important rivers of this district.

Irrigation Facilities

  • Tirhut, Tribeni and Done canals are the most prominent canals operating in this district.
  • They get their water supply from  the Gandak river at Balmikinager, the northern most part of the district bordering Nepal.
  • It is the largest district in bihar with an area of 5,228 km²(2,019sq mi).
  • It is a part of Tirhut Division.
  • The district headquarters are located in Bettiah.
  • The district is known for its fluid border with Nepal.
  • West  Champaran District was carved out of the old Champaran District in the year 1972 as a result of re-organization of the District in the state.
  • It was formerly a subdivision of Saran District and then Champaran District  with its Head quarters as Bettiah.
  • It is said that Bettiah got its name from Baint (Cane) plants commonly found in this district.
  • The name Champaran is a degenerate form of Champaka aranya, a name which dates back to the time when the district was a tract of the forest of Champa (Magnolia) trees & was the abode of solitary asectics.
  • As per District Gazetteer, it seems probable that Champaran was occupied at an early period by races of Aryan descent and formed part of the country in which the Videha empire ruled.
  • After the fall of Videhan empire the  district formed part of the Vrijjain oligarchical republic with its capital at Vaishali of which Lichhavis were the most powerful and prominent.
  • Ajatshatru the emperor of Magadh, by tact and force annexed Lichhavis and occupied its capital, Vaishali.
  • He extended his sovereignty over Paschim Champaran which continued under the Mauryan rule for the next hundred years.
  • After the Mauryas, the Sungas and Kanvas ruled over the Magadh territories. The district thereafter formed part of the Kushan empire and then came under Gupta empire.
  • Along with Tirhut, Champaran was possibly annexed by Harsha during whose reign Huen- Tsang, the famous Chinese pilgrim, visited India.
  • During 750 to 1155 AD , the Palas of Bengal were in the possession of Eastern India and Champaran formed the part of their territory.
  • During 1213 and 1227,the first Muslim influence was experienced when Ghyasuddin Iwaz the Muslim governor of Bengal extended his  influence over Tribhukti or Tirhut .
  • It was however, not a complete conquest and he was only able to have Tirhut from Narsinghdeva, a Simraon king.
  • In about 1320, Ghyasuddin Tughlaq annexed  Tirhut  to  the Tughlaq Empire and placed it under Kameshwar Thakur, who established Sugaon or Thakur dynasty.
  • The history of the district during the late medieval period and the British period is linked with the history of Bettiah Raj.

Collectorate, Subdivision (3) Circle/Block (18) Village

Police Districts under West Champaran –

  1. Bettiah
  2. Bagaha

Subdivisions under West Champaran – 3

  1. Bettiah
  2. Narkatiyaganj
  3. Bagaha
  • No. of   Development   Blocks – 18
    No. of  Panchayats – 315
    No. of  Census Villages – 1483
    No. of Revenue Village – 1507

Important Rivers

  • Gandhak
  • Burhi Gandhak

PLACES OF TOURIST & HISTORIC  INTEREST

  • Valmikinagar
  • Valmiki Ashram
  • Bank of Triveni
  • Sumeshwar fort
  • Bhitiharwa Ashram
  • Nandangarh and Chankigarh
  • Ashok Pillar at Lauriya
  • Saraiya man

Valmiki National Park

  • Valmiki National Park is a Tiger Reserve in the West Champaran District of Bihar, India
  • It is the only national park in Bihar
  • Valmiki Tiger Reserve covers 898.45 km2 (346.89 sq mi), which is 17.4% of the total geographical area of the district.

Valmiki National Park

  • The extensive forest area of Valmikinagar (formally known as Bhainsa Lotan) was previously owned by the Bettiah Raj and Ramanagar Raj until the early 1950s.
  • It was declared a Wildlife Sanctuary in 1978. Valmiki National Park was established in the year 1990.

Valmiki National Park

  • The landscape of VTR encompasses foothills ranges of Himalayan Sivaliks with mosaic of the cliffs, ridges, gorges, hills, streams and valleys; dense forests, open woodlands, grasslands, swamps and riverine fringe.
  • Situated in Gangetic plains bio-geographic zone of the Country, the forest has combination of bhabar and terai tracts.
  • Boulder and pebble deposits by the Himalayan rivers in foothills characterized the Bhabar tract while the finer sediments deposits feature Terai lands.

Valmiki National Barrage

Bank of Triveni

Bank of Triveni is the confluence of the three sacred rivers namely the Panchanand, Sonaha and Gandak, which is situated in the north west of West Champaran.

Every year on the auspicious occasion of “Makar Sankranti” a huge fair is organised; the occasion is also known as ‘bathing festival in holy rivers’ during which many devotees visit to take a holy dip in this confluence.

It is beautifully positioned along the Indo-Nepal border and offers visitors the unique view of the confluence of rivers.

Bhitiharwa Ashram

The historic Bhitiharwa Ashram, set up by Mahatma Gandhi in 1917 to spearhead the Champaran movement in West Champaran of Bihar.

 

 

Nandangarh and Chankigarh

Nandangarh is situated in Lauria block while Chankigarh is situated in Narkatiaganj block. These
are actually two big mounds which are the remains of palaces of Nanda Dynasty and Chanakya, the world famous economist, Nandangarh has also been conjectured as the ashes Stupa where the ashes of Buddha are said to have been enshrined

Ashok Pillar at Lauriya

About one kilometer east of Nandangarh in Lauria block is the lion pillar of Ashoka, over 2300 years old and is in excellent condition. This pillar is 35 feet in height and its base diameter is 35 inches and upper diameter is 22 inches. Its massiveness and exquisite finish furnish striking proof of the skill and resources of the masons of Ashokan age. Two more such pillars with their capitals removed have been discovered in Rampurwa village, close to Gandhi’s Bhitiharawa Ashram in Gaunaha block. One of their capitals, the bull is now in the National Museum at New Delhi and the other, the lion, is at Calcutta Museum.

Saraiya man

Saraiya Man is a serene lake that configures one of the natural tourism spots of West Champaran and it is situated 6 km away from the town of Bettiah. Saraiya Man plays host to many migratory birds and is a delight to visit.

Famous personality

 

Cultural diversity

The Valmiki landscape harbors vivid socio-cultural diversity. The Tharu, a scheduled tribe, is the dominant community in the landscape.

The primary language is Bhojpuri . Rama Navami is their main festival. They also maintain socio-cultural relationship with the Tharus of Nepal. Their population is around 2.5 lakh.

Cultural diversity

The scheduled tribes other than Tharu in the Valmiki landscape are collectively called Dhangar – which means retained labourer in Oraon dialect.

Dhangar comprises four tribes: Oraon, Munda, Lohra and Bhuiya. The Dhangars were brought to area as agriculture laborers from the Chhotanagpur Hills. Each Dhangar tribe has its own dialect and they observe their traditional festivals.

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