BHAGALPUR, a city of India, in the Behar province of Bengal, which gives its name to a district and to a division; situated on the right bank of the Ganges, 265 m. from Calcutta. It is a station on the East Indian railway. Pop. (1901) 75,760, showing an increase of 9% in the decade. The chief educational institution is the Tejnarayan Jubilee college (1887), supported almost entirely by fees. Adjacent to the town are the two Augustus Cleveland monuments, one erected by government, and the other by the Hindus, to the memory of the civilian, who, as collector of Bhagalpur at the end of the 18th century, "by conciliation, confidence and benevolence, attempted and accomplished the entire subjection of the lawless and savage inhabitants of the Jungleterry of Rajmahal."
The District of Bhagalpur stretches across both banks of the Ganges. It has an area of 4226 sq. m. In 1901 the population was 2,088,953, showing an increase of 3% in the decade. Bhagalpur is a long and narrow district, divided into two unequal parts by the river Ganges. In the southern portion of the district the scenery in parts of the hill-ranges and the highlands which connect them is very beautiful. The hills are of primary formation, with fine masses of contorted gneiss. The ground is broken up into picturesque gorges and deep ravines, and the whole is covered with fine forest trees and a rich undergrowth. Within this portion also lie the lowlands of Bhagalpur, fertile, well planted, well watered, and highly cultivated. The country north of the Ganges is level, but beautifully diversified with trees and verdure. Three fine rivers flow through the district-the Ganges, Kusi and Ghagri. The Ganges runs a course of 60 m. through Bhagalpur, is navigable all the year round, and has an average width of 3 m. The Kusi rises in the Himalayas and falls into the Ganges near Colgong within Bhagalpur. It is a fine stream, navigable up to the foot of the hills, and receives the Ghagri 8 m. above its debouchure.
In the early days of British administration the hill people, the Nats and Santals, gave much trouble. They were the original inhabitants of the country whom the Aryan conquerors had driven back into the barren hills and unhealthy forests. This they avenged from generation to generation by plundering and ravaging the plains. The efforts to subdue or restrain these marauders proved fruitless, till Augustus Cleveland won them by mild measures, and successfully made over the protection of the district to the very hill people who a few years before had been its scourge. Rice, wheat, barley, oats, Indian corn, various kinds of millet, pulses, oil-seeds, tobacco, cotton, indigo, opium, flax and hemp and sugar-cane, are the principal agricultural products of Bhagalpur district. The jungles afford good pasturage in the hot weather, and abound in lac, silk cocoons, catechu, resin and the mahuá fruit, which is both used as fruit and for the manufacture of spirits. Lead ores (chiefly argentiferous galena) and building stone are found, and iron ore is distributed over the hilly country. Attempts made to work the galena in 1878-79 and 1900 were abandoned, and the iron ore is little worked. gold is washed from the river sand in small particles.
The climate of Bhagalpur partakes of the character both of the deltaic districts of Bengal and of the districts of Behar, between which it is situated. The hot season sets in about the end of March, and continues till the beginning of June, the temperature at this time rising as high as 110° Fahr. The rains usually begin at the end of June and last till the middle of September; average annual rainfall, 55 in. The cold season commences at the beginning of November and lasts till March. During December and January the temperature falls as low as 41° Fahr. The average annual temperature is 78°. Bhagalpur formed a part of the ancient Sanskrit kingdom of Anga. In later times it was included in the powerful Hindu kingdom of Magadha or Behar, and in the 7th century A.D. it was an independent state, with the city of Champa for its capital. It afterwards formed a part of the Mahommedan kingdom of Gaur, and was subsequently subjugated by Akbar, who declared it to be a part of the Delhi empire. Bhagalpur passed to the East India Company by the grant of the emperor Shah Alam in 1765.
There are indigo factories, and other industries include the weaving of tussur silk and the making of coarse glass. A large trade is carried on by rail and river with Lower Bengal. The tract south of the Ganges is traversed by the loop-line of the East Indian railway, and there is also a railway across the northern tract.
The Division of Bhagalpur stretches across the Ganges from the Nepal frontier to the hills of Chota Nagpur. It comprises the five districts of Monghyr, Bhagalpur, Purnea, Darjeeling, and the Santal Parganas. The total area is 19,776 sq. m.; and in 1901 the population was 8,091,405.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)