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Subject: Araria, Dalkhola, List of cities in Bihar by population, Koshi River, Pundra Kingdom
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Metropolitan City
Nickname(s): Mini Darjeeling
Purnia is located in Bihar
Location in Bihar, India
Country  India
State Bihar
District Purnia
 • Type Municipal Corporation
 • Body Purnea Municipal Corporation
 • Mayor Kaniz Raza
 • MP Santosh Kushwaha
 • MLA Smt. Kiran Keshri
Elevation 36 m (118 ft)
Population (2011)[1]
 • Total 310,817
 • Density 794.49/km2 (2,057.7/sq mi)
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
PIN 854301
Telephone code +91 6454
Vehicle registration BR-11
Literacy 74.04%
Lok Sabha constituency Purnia
Website .in.nic.bihpurnea

Purnia (Hindi : पूर्णियाँ ), spelt 'Purnea' by the government, is a city and a municipal corporation in Purnia district in the Indian state of Bihar. It is located 300 kilometres (190 mi) from Patna. It is the largest city of North-Eastern Bihar.

The Indian army, Indian Air Force, Border Security Force (BSF) and the SSB have bases around the city.


  • Etymology 1
  • History 2
  • Geography 3
  • Climate 4
  • Demographics 5
  • Economy 6
    • Agriculture 6.1
  • Education 7
  • Transportation 8
    • Air 8.1
    • Rail 8.2
    • Road 8.3
    • Intra-city transport 8.4
  • Language and literature 9
  • Notable people 10
  • References 11


The origin of the name appears to have different sources. The name possibly originates from the Sanskrit word Purna–Aranya, which stands for "complete jungle".[2] Purnia could be an altered form of the old name Purania, derived from the word purain or Lotus, which is said to have grown on the Kosi and Mahananda rivers. This derivation is stated by O'Malley and is also in the old gazetteer. An alternative could be a derivation from the words Pur Aranya. W.W. Hunter and Buchanan have mentioned the name of Purnia, it being a forested area, using combination of the words purn (full) and aranya (forest).

The name of Purnia's 600-year-old temple of Mata Puran Devi (Kali), located about 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) outside the city, is believed to be the name origin of Purnia.


The district of Purnea in modern history was formed by the East India Company on 10 February 1770.[3]


Purnia and its surrounding lands lie in the sub-montane alluvial tract of the Gangetic Plain.

Purnia has an area of 3,202 square kilometres (1,236 sq mi). This level, depressed tract of country consists for the most part of a rich, loamy soil of alluvial formation and is traversed by several rivers flowing from the Himalayas, which afford great advantages of irrigation and water-carriage. Its major rivers are the Kosi, the Mahananda, the Suwara Kali and the Koli. In the west the soil is thickly covered with sand deposited by changes in the course of the Kosi. Among other rivers are the Mahananda and the Panar. Its major agricultural products are jute and banana.

There is a hilly tract in the north with a small hill of Calcareous belt, called Chotapahar near Manihari. It has a slope from the north to the south and is traversed by a number of rivers and their tributaries. The district is composed of alluvial soil, partly old and partly new. The old alluvium is found in the north of the district where it consists of kankars (stone dust). The new alluvium is available in the south of the district and is composed of silt, clay and the sand. The alluvial soil is supposed to be brought by the Ganges and its tributaries from the Himalayas and is very rich in fertilizing nutrients.


Purnia is known for its moderate climate; it has earned its name as 'Mini Darjeeling' due to its favourable climate. Purnia, with the highest rainfall in Bihar state, has a largely humid climate, with humidity rising to above 70%. A cold season, from November to February, is followed by a hot season from March to June. The monsoon season begins in early June and lasts until September; 82% of its total annual rainfall falls during the monsoon season.

January, the coldest month, has a mean daily minimum temperature of 5 to 10 °C and a mean daily maximum of 20 to 25 °C. Wind is typically light in the non-monsoon seasons but during the monsoon, storms and depressions originating in the Bay of Bengal cause heavy rain and strong winds.


As of the 2011 census, Purnia Municipal Corporation had a total population of 282,248, of which 148,077 were males and 134,171 were females. It had a sex ratio of 906 females to 1,000 males. The population below 6 years was 43,050. The literacy rate for the 6+ population was 73.02%, compared to the 74.04% national average.[4]

Hindus were 70% and Muslims were 30% of the population. Purnea has a majority Maithil population.

Purnia Urban Agglomeration had a population of 310,817 in 2011[5] and comprised Purnia Municipal Corporation and Kasba (Nagar Panchayat).[6]


Bhatta Bazar is the retail hub for Purnia district and the most crowded place in the city of Purnia. There are many shopping complexes and branded showrooms in Bhatta Bazar. Gulab Bagh in Purnia houses a major grain storehouse and India’s largest maize trading centre. It is from here that the grain requirements of the northeast states are met. Due to its favourable location in the eastern part of the country, it has the potential of becoming a prime centre for trade and commerce. Bhatta Bazar and Line Bazar are the busiest parts of the city.

Line Bazar Purnia is a major hub of medicine, with doctors of almost every specialization.

India's first and only jute park, called Punrasar Jute Park, is located at Maranga in Purnea.[7]

Many real estate development projects are planned in the city. These include residences, shopping malls, hotels and a resort.

Purnia is a large centre for sale and service of automobiles. It is also the only city other than Patna in Bihar where International Driving Permits are issued.


Purnia city is supplied agricultural products from its surrounding countryside. The alluvial soil, irrigated by the Kosi and Mahananda rivers, has been particularly suited to the paddy cultivation of rice. Other crops grown are potatoes, wheat, khesari, chickpeas, chili peppers, maize, lentils, arhar dal, barley, sugarcane, tobacco, makhana, mung beans, and jute.[8] The previous extensive growing of jute supported a former flourishing jute industry which has now declined. The cultivation of maize has however soared in recent years in the city's outskirts.


Purnia has always been a centre of education in the north Bihar region. Founded in 1800 at the time of British rule, Zila School is Purnia's oldest, and one of the city's largest schools. Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya, Garhbanaili (14 km away from main city) is a prestigious school run by the government. Purnia also has a Kendriya Vidyalaya. Other prominent schools include Ursuline Convent English/Hindi Medium School, Vidya Vihar Residential School at Parora, Millia Convent English Medium School, B.B.M. High School, Don Bosco School, D.A.V. Public School, Mount Zion Mission School, Bright Career English School, Bijendra Public School, Saraswati Vidya Mandir, Saintil Public School (Purnea), Saraswati Shishu Mandir, and St. John's High School.

There are colleges for higher studies concentrating on diverse fields including engineering, law, arts, and home science. Having recognition from the state government and various other Government Universities such as Aryabhatta Knowledge University and B. N. Mandal University, these colleges include:

B.M.T Law College, Purnea
  • Vidya Vihar Institute of Technology
  • Purnia College
  • Law College
  • Millia Group Of Colleges (managed by Millia Education Trust)
  • An Agriculture College
Bhola Paswan Shastri Agricultural College, Purnea

The city also has a women's college with a view of upgrading the status of women.

Engineering colleges in the city:

  • Millia Institute of Technology
  • Millia Polytechnic Rambagh
  • Government Polytechnic
  • Vidya Vihar Institute Of Technology

Medical colleges (proposed 2014-15):

  • Government Medical College and Hospital
  • Shershah Institute of Medical Sciences
  • Medical College and Hospital by Millia Educational Trust

3D animation and multimedia institute:

  • Animation School (Madhubani Bazar)

The Indian Red Cross Society has the largest blood bank in the state after Patna, with a capacity of 1,000 units. The Bihar government recently inaugurated one of the three megastock warehouses for drugs/medicines at Kasba, which aims to serve the 13 districts of North Bihar.

The Indira Gandhi Stadium houses the SAI sports hostel for athletes. The DSA and Zila School grounds are the city's outdoor stadiums.



Purnea Airport, also known as Chunapur Airport, located within the cantonment area, has non-scheduled flight services on the Kolkata - Patna - Purnia route twice a week. It has been operated by Bangalore-based The Spirit Air Private Limited. The nearest commercial airport is about 150 km away at Bagdogra.


Purnia Junction is situated on Katihar-Jogbani broad gauge railway line of North East Frontier Railway (NFR). This railway line earlier was metre gauge. Another metre gauge line of East Central Railway (ECR) connects Purnia with Saharsa via Banmankhi. Conversion of the 36 km long Purnia-Banmankhi stretch in Purnia-Saharsa section to broad gauge under project Unigauge is likely to be completed in 2014.[9] There are daily and weekly trains to Kolkata, New Delhi and other neighboring cities.


National Highways NH 31, NH 57, NH 107 and NH 131A give access to the other states and cities, where state highways connect the neighbouring cities and villages. The east-west corridor connecting Silchar in Assam to Gujarat passes through Purnia. It is a modern six-lane highway constructed by National Highways Authority of India (NHAI). State Highways 60, 62, 65, 77 & 90 also pass through Purnia.

East-West Corridor Expressway

Intra-city transport

A large number of cycle-rickshaws, auto-rickshaws and city buses serve the city.

Language and literature

Maithili, Hindi and Bengali are the principal languages of Purnia, spoken with Santhali, Surjapuri, Polia, Angika and Santhali dialects. Hindi is the official language.

Notable people


  1. ^ "Census of India Search details". Retrieved 10 May 2015. 
  2. ^ "Official Web site of Purnea Dist. Admn". Retrieved 2012-07-13. 
  3. ^ The Times of India, Patna Edition Feb 15, 2012
  4. ^ "Cities having population 1 lakh and above" (PDF). Provisional Population Totals, Census of India 2011. Retrieved 2012-04-16. 
  5. ^ "Urban Agglomerations/Cities having population 1 lakh and above" (PDF). Provisional Population Totals, Census of India 2011. Retrieved 2012-04-16. 
  6. ^ "Constituents of urban Agglomerations Having Population 1 Lakh & above" (PDF). Provisional Population Totals, Census of India 2011. Retrieved 2012-04-16. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ Agriculture in Purnia, retrieved 13 February 2011.
  9. ^
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