The District of Banka is situated at the far south – east of the State of Bihar. The eastern and the southern border of the district coincides with district Godda of the state – Jharkhand. In west and north east it is bounded by Jamui and Munger disrict respectively. The old district Bhagalpur is situated in the north side of Banka. The Geographical area of the district 1s 305621 hectare i.e. 3019.3465 Sq. Km. The district head quarter of Banka is situated in Banka Town. The district has been established on 21st February, 1991. Earlier it was a Sub-Division of district Bhagalpur.
The district consists 11 blocks and two municipalities Banka and Amarpur. Under every Block there are a number of panchayats. Block details are as follows:-
|Sl.No||Block Name||Latitude in Degrees (North)||Longitude in Degrees (East)||Number of Panchayats|
The recogniton of the district is Mandar Hill (Mandar Parvat) situated at Bounsi Block at about 18 Km from District Headquarter raising its head since the epic period. The glorious fair Bounsi Mela is held every year in the month of January at the foot hill of Mandar Hill. The fair starts from 14th January ( Makar Shankranti day) every year and continues for about a month. The Mandar Hill is related with the story of Skand Puran of epic period.
The border of the district is adjacent to the state Jharkhand. Therefore the physical character ( Natural enviornment) of the district resembles with that of Jharkhand. Channan is the main river of the district. The river Chanan is the largest river of Hill streams in the district. It rises just in the north part of Deogarh in Jharkhand state. It pases near Banka and joins Ganges at Ghogha(Bhagalpur District). The Chanan river scheme irrigates a large area of land in Banka district.North part of Banka has generally a plain surface except the southern area adjoining Santhalpargana (Jharkhand). The land begins to rise at an easy ascent near or after of Banka, Barahat, so south of Banka hilly tracts commence. Thus the district of Banka has 60% of hilly area.The river Belharni and Barua flows in the north-western area of the district. Chanan and Orhni flows from middle of the district. The river Cheer meets Chanan in the north-eastern of Mandar Giri which rises in the east of Mandar. The plains of Banka is formed from several streams of these rivers. The plain area is very fertile. These rivers are perennial. It almost dries up in summer but are flood effected in rainy season. Chanan and Barua rivers has been made useful by constructing embankments and channels. These channels irrigate the fertile lands as well as prevents floods also. As a result of these channels, water from rivers of the district is self sufficient in production of grains, fruits, vegetables etc.
Flora and Founa
The district has some forested area under Banka, Bounsi, Katoriya forest ranges. The wood of Banka range lie on the Hill slopes, those in the other two ranges lies in undulating land. Among the prominent variety of trees in forested areas are Sal which is usually found associated with Abuns, Asan, Kendu and Mahua. Tasar worms are reared in Asan Trees. Some other trees are Bahera, Kadam, Amaltus. Among the specials of the Acacia are Babul, Sirish and Sain Babul. Among the fruit trees those of mango and jack fruits are common. Plantains, Date Plants, Plums, Jamun are some of the other important fruit trees. Monkeys are common in the district, particularly Hanuman. So are jackal, Dear, lion, Bear, Leopards, Elephants are sometimes met with. Among the latter are Barsingha and Sambhar. Wild geese, Duck, Leel and Quail are some of the game birds inhabiting the district. Peacocks, Parrots, Hawks and Doves are other birds found in Katoriya forest / Chandan forest. Sparrows, Crows and Vultures are some of common birds. Several kinds of fishes are found eg. Rohu, Katla, Boari and Tengra. Bachwa, Jhinga and Pothi are other varieties.
The climate of this district is characterized by hot Summer and a pleasant Winter Season. March to June comprises the summer months while the old season lasts from November to February. Monsoon sets in somtimes in the part of June and the rains continue till September, October being the transional month. The district also receive some winter rains. The south west monsoon generally breaks in during the second half of June. The bulk of rainfall occurs in July and August. The average annual rain fall is 1200 mm almost uniformly throughout the district. Kark Rekha passes through north part of the District so the temperature rises to 45 degrees Centigrade. In winter season the average temperature is 15 degrees Centigrade.
Land Use Pattern and Agriculture
The main occupation of the people of Banka District is agriculture. The land in seven bloks out of eleven blocks of the district is plain and fertile. The rest four blocks Chandan, Katoriya and Bounsi are Hilly. Irrigation has been made available by canals and wells. Irrigation facilities are available in 66072 Hec. of land out of 747801 Hec. cultivable land. Paddy is far and away the most important crop of the district. It covers the largest proportion of the gross sown. Wheat is main rabbi crop. Sugarcane is the most important food crop ( Cash Crop) of the district. The farmers of Amarpur, Rajoun, Dhoraiya circle grows sugarcane in abundance. Therefore there is several mills to produce (Gur) Molasses from sugarcane.
Agriculture depends mainly on the availabilities of water at proper time and in proper quantity. In the past the main source of water had been rainfall. However on account of failure of monsoon at times or premature cessation of rainfall the need for Irrigation was felt. Before the abolition of Zamindari the Zamindars used to maintain ahars and pyres which severed the twin purpose of irrigation and drainage. Besides these channels there were dug wells for irrigation purposes. After independence the government has under different five years plans drawn up and executed various schemes for irrigation. Important among the major schemes being the following
- Chandan Reservoir Irrigation scheme.
- Kajia Danr Irrigation Scheme.
- Bdua Reservoir Project.
- Chandan, Belasi Irrigation Scheme – Banka
- Orhni Reservoir Irrigation Project- Banka Fullidumer
- Laxmipur Reservoir Irrigation Project – Bounsi
The term livestock includes cattle ( Cows, Bulls, and Bullocks) Buffaloes, Sheep and Pigs. The cattle in the district are generally not of very good quality. The government has taken up various measures to improve the breed of the cattle. Artificial insemination centers have also been open at various centers in the district. A number of Vetanary Hospitals and Dispensaries including the District Hospital are functioning at various places in the district for general welfare of the animals. There has been a marked progress in vateneary matters in the district in recent past. As a results of these efforts the district is self sufficient in milk production. No milk is imported from out side the district.
A number of reservoirs, tanks are used for pisiculture in the district. The State government has also taken up a few scheme of development of fisheries. These efforts couldn’t fulfill the demand. The chief fish market and trade center is Amarpur. Traders buy fishes from different center out side the district. Fish rearing has also been provided in these reservoir along with irrigation schemes. Irrigation facilities has been made available from these reservoir by constructing channels till far north area of Rajoun Circle also.
Mines and Minerals:-
- Sand: – Chandan and Orhni rivers bring a large deposit of sand with its water in rainy reasons the district earns a large amount by auctioning these Ghats of sand.
- China Clay: – Among the minerals in the district deposits of China Clay, Fire Clay and Mica have been exploited. China Clay is found in Samukhiya near Banka and Satletwa in Katoriya circle China Clay of good quality is found in Patherghatta hill in village Madhorampur. The mining is worked by Bhagalpur Potteries Ltd. Resultantally a ceramic state has been established near Samukhiya. Fulhara in Katoriya circle has deposit of Mica also.
- Granite:- Deposit of Granite and Galena are also believed to occur in certain belts of Katoriya Block near Tonapathar.
- Industrialization:- The district Banka is Totally Backward in industrialization. Only Gur Producing Mills in Amarpur circle area based on sugarcane. A traditional Tasar cloth weaving is still doing well at village Ktoriya in Amarpur Block areas. The district administration has been active to promote this village silk weaving. There are almost thousand (1000) weavers families in the village Biraidih Churaili, Masuriya, Dumra, Jagay of Banka Urban areas. The family livelihoods are mainly dependent on Handlooms.
- Stone Crusher Industries: These cheap crusher industries are based at Bounsi.
- Shivshankar Chemicals works: It is an industry located in Rajoun circle near Border of Bhagalpur on Bhagalpur Hasdiha Road. Gur mills near Amarpur are 65 in numbers.
Roads: The Roads in the district consist of P.W.D. District Board roads, Municipal roads and Village roads,Following are Black topped roads maintained by P.W.D. These are all state High ways. Rural area of the district is also connected with village roads from District H.Q.
- Banka-Katoria – 32 KM
- Banka -Amarpur- 19 KM
- Bhagalpur -Bounsi- 30 KM
- Banka – Bounsi- 18 KM
- Banka Shambhuganj- 46 KM
- Banka- Belhar- 38 KM
- Banka – Rajoun- 25 KM
- Banka – Chandan- 48 KM
- Banka – Dhoraiya- 48 KM
- Banka – Barahat- 10 KM
- Banka – Fullidumer- 27 KM
Railways have provided 74 Km from Bhagalpur to Hansdiha via Mandar Hill. It connects Rajoun, Barahat, and Bounsi Blocks with Bhagalpur. The Broadguage is serving since British Period.One Train Banka Rajendranagar Intercity is running between Banka and Rajendranagar covering 272 Km.
Besides these a Rail Bus service has been provided to reach the passengers from Banka to Jasidih. A Booking office and a Computerised Reservation Office is also operational in the Town Banka.
Wholesale traders are a little in the District. The facilities of retail trade in is available at Banka, Amarpur, Bounsi, Sahebgunj ( Belhar ) and Katoriya. The retailers of Banka district depend only on Bhagalpur market which is about 50 Kfrom Banka town. At all these places retails shops of almost all the commodities are found.
Fuel and Ignition
In the rural areas firewood and coal are used to prepare food. But in urban areas LPG dealers are available but low income group uses wood and coal in urban areas also. Only rich and medium income group uses LPG Stoves.
The district receives most of its power supply from the state electricity board. Both the towns of Banka district have electricity in rural areas however the pace of electrification is comparatively slower. There is a Sub Power Grid at Banka town.
All the rural and urban areas of the district has been provided with BSNL Telephone services several telephone booths are available in urban areas. Facilities of Fax are also in services in urban areas. Private Telephone Service Providers are also available.
Banka a subdivision of district Bhagalpur was established as district on 21st February 1991. The district developed rapidly after becoming a district. Collectorate started in its new building in the year 2000. The Subdivision Hospital has been upgraded as a district Hospital.
The movement 1857 did not have very great effect in Bhagalpur. At that time 32nd native infantry was stationed at Bounsi. Freedom struggle was not untouched from Banka. Freedom fighters of Banka district played an important role in country’s freedom struggle. Many sons of Banka district sacrificed for the freedom of the country. Saheed Satish Chandra Jha is one of the Martyr. On the 11th of August in front of Patna Secretariat he was shot dead by British Administration. Satish Chandra Jha of village Kharahra is the third among martyrs statue built in front of Patna Secretariat. His one more statue has been installed at Dhaka More which is at distance of 8 Km from District HQ on Bhagalpur Hasdiha State High way.Banka responded adequately to Gandhijee’s Call during the non Co-operation and civil disobedience movement. Swadeshi Movement was also effective in the district. Saheed Aadha Pd. Singh, Yamuna Pd. Singh, Gudar Singh ( Belhar ) Mahendra Gope, Siri Gope (Lakrikola) Banka, Psupati Singh ( Basmatta Katoriya ) are among martyrs. Thus the district played a prominent role in the subsequent events which continued till country’s independence.
Social cultural events
Festivals and fairs are being held by different communities in the district from time to time. This tradition is also in vogue now.
“Brief Descriptions of Places of religious Historical and archaeological importance in village and places of Tourist interest in the town and village of District Banka”
Village Amarpur: The village Amarpur is the headquarter of the development block bearing the same name and is situated about 19 Kms. away from Banka on Banka Shambhuganj Road. Amarpur is at a distance of 26 Kms from Bhagalpur on Bhagalpur Kajraili Road. According to local tradition, the village was formed by Shah Umar Vajir of Shah Suja, the Governor of Bihar. He rehabilitated the persons who left village Patwai when is was croded by the river Chandan.
Village Asauta: The village is said to have been established by Maharani Chandarjoti after she left Kharagpur. The Maharani built a Garh ( fort) and a tank at Asauta. She also built a mosque for her son. The ruins of the Garh and mosque still exist.
Village Banhara: The village is situated just west of Amarpur. According to local tradition, Shah Suja, who was the governor of Bengal and Bihar during the period of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jehan, had his headquarter in the village.
Village Dumrama:The village is located at a distance of a 3 Kms from the block Headquarter at Amarpur, on the road to Bhagalpur. Remains of Stupas are believed to indicate the existence of Budhist Monasteries here in the remote past, According to the local tradition, the village was the seat of Khaetauri chiefs, the last of whom was king Debai who had built fort in the villages surrounded by moats.
Jesth Gour Math:The place is situated on the left bank of the river Chandan, 2 kms east of Amarpur Banka Road it is considered to be a place of great religious importance for the Hindus. The Jesth Gour Sthan is a Shivatemple at the foot of a hillock on the western bank of river Chandan. On the top of the hillock which is known as Jesth Gour Pahar, there is a temple of Kali and also an ancient well. A large fair is held around the temple on the occasion of Shivratri.
Mandar Parvat: It is about 5 Kms north of Bausi. The hill is about 700 Ft high. This hill is extremely sacred in the Hindu Mythology. The Skand Puran records the history of the famous Amrit Manthan ( the churning of the ocean ). Due to this mythical association, the hill has assumed considerable religious significance and had been a place of pilgrimage up till now.
Papharni: At the foot of the hill there is a tank called Papharni. From the vicinity of the tank three routes lead to the top of the hill. At the foot of the hill there are also a number of dilapidated, temples. In the middle of Papharni Tank, Mahavishnu, Mahalaxmi marvelous temple has been built. Several ruins of temples are present here. On the summit of the hill, two Jain Temples are situated. Large number of Jain Pilgrims come here to worship Lord Basupujya. It is believed that this place is Nirvan Bhumi of Basupujya.On the hill there many kunds ( Small Tank ). The depth of the kund Akash Ganga and Sankh Kund in fine. Sita Kund among these is famous. Sinta Kund has been named after goddess Sita as she is believed to have taken bath here .
Lakshdeepa Temple: The ruins of the temple is even present in the foot of the hill. In the past 1 lakh deep ( Candle ) was used to light here. One candle ( Deep ) was brought from every house. The area was well Known as Balisha at that time.According to Balisha Purans this was “Sidh Peeth of Lord Shiva”. On the Top to the hill is a large temple. In this temple Lord Ram had himself established Lord Madhusudan. The present large temple was constructed during Jahangir Period. A temple called Nath Temple is in the foot which guides to understands Nath Communitity. There is also a Vidyapeeth where people from distant places come to study. A large fair is held on 14th January every year for 10 days at Bausi on the eve of Makar Sankranti.
Village Chutiya: The village is about 8 Kms away from the headquarters at Sambhuganj. There is a hill in the village containing a temple of Chuteshwar Nath. There is a large cave in the hill. Traces of marks left by chariot wheels of stones are said to indicate that a big battle was fought here in the remote past.
Village Gouripur: This is another village about 3 kms away from village Asauta in Sambhuganj Block. A Shiv temple constructed by Maharani Chandarjoti of Kharakpur lies in this village.
Dhankund:The village is located at a distance of about 10 kms from Tekari Railway Station in Dhuraiya Block. It is noted for its Shiv Temple. A large fair is held on the occasion of Shivratri.
Village Indrabaran: The village is situated at distance of Block headquarters at Katoriaya on Katoriya- Deoghar Road. It has rest houses (Dharmshalas) for pilgrims who travel on foot in large number from Sultangunj to Deoghar.
Village Lachhmipur: The village is situated about 29 kms South- East of Block headquaters at Katoria on the river Chandan. It is noted as the erstwhile seat of the Rajas Lachhimipur, ruins of whose forts still exist.
Village Rupsa: It is an ancient village in Rajoun Block, situated about 6 kms west of Bhagalpur Dumka Road on the eastern bank of the river Chandan. the village has ancient temples of goddesses Kali and Durga, where large fairs are held on the occasion of Kali Puja and Durga Puja.
Shravani Mela: In the month of Shravan (July -Aug ) Pilgrims (Kamaria) travel from Sultanganj to Deoghar on foot carrying Ganga Jal (water from the Ganga river) to offer on Lord Shiva. The Distance is 105 Kms of which 64 Kms lie under Banka District of three Blocks, Belhar, Katoria and Chandan. The Scene on the road is like a fair for one month. The whole administration becomes busy for the welfare of Kamaria’s safety, (Medical aid ) Traffic Police water supply sanitary and electricity etc. Government has provided Dharmshalas (Rest Houses) for Kamarias at different places during the whole Shravan month. Lakhs of pilgrims (Kamarias) go on foot by this way. Several non government help groups become active in the shravani mela to help the devotees.