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History of Araria

Araria may have come into the notice of historians and academicians since January 1990 when it became a full-fledged district after being carved out of the erstwhile Purnia district. History of this region explains about the golden era of many centuries. This area had remained strategically important for many regional rulers or governments for centuries and therefore maintained its distinct identity. This area also remained in the limelight for centuries due to sharing international border with the neighboring country Nepal.

Araria Zero Mile is a crucial point from where roads towards other cities goIt was in the year 1964 that the big territory comprising of the whole area of present day Araria district was made Araria Sub-division of undivided Purnia district. It remained part of Purnia district until turned into a full-fledged independent Araria district in the 1990s. This district is still part and parcel of Purnia as it comes under the Purnia Division administrative districts of Bihar state.

Origin of the Name

There is an interesting story behind the naming of present day Araria district headquarters city Araria. This name came into limelight when British expanded the East India Company and soon after they setup their regional base in the region to keep control over this area especially with an aim to coordinate well for trade and business through the nearby route to Nepal. As English officials had settled here for better monitoring they built many houses in an area that they named the ‘Resident Area’ which sooner shortened to ‘R Area.’ Over the period the ‘R Area’ became Araria instead which people started pronouncing. This way Araria became a name and present day district of same name exists in the state of Bihar.

Araria since Several Centuries  

Today’s Araria district was part and parcel of the Mughal Kingdom’s Purnia region some 400 hundred years ago. Mughal Kingdom’s local ruler Saif Khan (1721-1748) expanded his area and while doing so he brought the Sultanpur Araria (Now Forbesganj) under his ambit to rule this region. The then Purnia (that also included present day Araria and neighboring Kishanganj districts) were part of the Bengal province during that period. Saif Khan built a huge fort at a place that comes between Purnia and Sultanpur and named it Jalalgarh Fort to dedicate it to the then Mughal King Jalaluddin Akbar. This fort has almost demolished today and therefore its ruins can be found on the site.

As the regional Mughal Kingdom representative wanted overall progress in the region he invited wealthy business minded people to invest for region’s growth. Two of the prominent figures who had ample contribution in this region’s growth were the Nawab of Khagda in Kishanganj Mohammed Raza and the Mir of Sultanpur Ameer Tak Meer. With bringing 15 nearby villages under his control, the then Ameer Tak Meer began to have control over this region. This region also came under the control of Murshidabad ruler post 1850s due to changing political scenarios.

With historical monuments literally demolished railway station links past identity

By 1859 the rulers of erstwhile Murshidabad gave its governance to British Alexander Forbes. With Forbes having full control over this region in the absence of a powerful regional force or king completely brought this area under the British control. Forbes and his wife Daina stayed in their bungalow named Mr. Forbes Bungalow located in the present day Forbesganj (named after Mr. Forbes) until their death in 1890. The region once controlled by Forbes namely Sultanpur became part of Purnia district thereafter. The area became Forbesganj once Mr. Forbes’ son Arthur Henry Forbes took control over this region. Once India gained independence and states were reorganized Araria under Forbesganj region of Purnia district remained part of Purnia until January 14, 1990 when it was made an independent district.

Archeological and Religious Sites of Araria

Araria city operates as district headquarters of Araria district with the city serving as a municipality as well. Today it is one of the 38 districts of Bihar. Several places of this region had been identified by the archeological survey of India (ASI) officials. Unfortunately most of them haven’t been preserved due to disinterest of authorities and lack of timely action. This region was once part of the Mauryan and Gupta Empires and several smaller kingdoms until British took control of it. Being a showery area and too much rainfall and consequent flooding many historic monuments have already vanished.

Araria district headquarters is administered by the district collector
Some of the notable places of religious interest in present day Araria district are its grand Jama Masjid cum center of Tablighi Jamaat; six-story Kali Mandir Temple; Thakurbari Shiva Temple; Araria-Madanpur Shiva Mandir; Sultan Phokher in Forbesganj Maata Aasawar Mandir in Gidwas and Shiva Mandir in Sundernath amongst others. People inhabit with religious harmony and affection.

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