Purnia is a city and municipal corporation located in Purnia district in the Indian state of Bihar.It is the 5th largest city of Bihar & is located at a distance of 300 kilometers from Patna the capital city . It is one of the larger cities in East Bihar next only to Bhagalpur. Purnia is at a distance of 171 kilometers from Siliguri, 92 kilometers from Bhagalpur & 214 kilometres from Muzaffarpur.
It is at a distance of 450 kilometers from Kolkata.
The Indian Army, Indian Air Force, Border Security Force (BSF) and the SSB have their bases around the district.
During the Mughal rule, Purnea was an outlying military province, and its revenue was mostly spent on protecting its borders against tribes from the north and east.Its local governor raised a rebellion against Siraj ud-Daulah in 1757, after the capture of Calcutta. In 1765, along with the rest of Bengal, the district became a British possession.The district of Purnea in modern history was formed by the East India Company on February 10, 1770.
Purnea is famous for its uniquely designed Ramakrishna Mission where Durga Puja in the month of April is celebrated with due devotion and honour. Purnea is also famous for the oldest temple of Mata Puran Devi, which is hardly 5 km away from the main city. There is a theory that Purnia got its name from that temple. Some people believe that many years ago Purnea was Purna–Aranya which stands for “complete jungle”, and that is why it has got the name Purnea.
Purnia has seen three districts partitioned off from its territory: Katihar in 1976, and Araria and Kishanganj in 1990.
Purnia and its surrounding lands lie in the sub-montane alluvial tract of the Gangetic Plain.The city however lies on the banks of numerous tributaries of Kosi.
Purnia has an area of 3,202 square kilometres (1,236 sq mi). This leveled 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.
In 2006 the Ministry of Panchayati Raj named Purnia one of the country’s 250 most backward districts (out of a total of 640). It is one of the 36 districts in Bihar currently receiving funds from the Backward Regions Grant Fund Programme (BRGF). Agricultural products include: Paddy, Maize, Pulses and Wheat. Also oil seeds. Roughly one third of the area sown is under rice (paddy). Cash crops such as vegetables and water-melons are also grown
A large commercial complex called ‘ Abha Complex ‘ is being set up at Line Bazar .The owner Dr. D N Roy, plans to open 65 shops in that area . A small part comprising 48 shops has already been constructed. This shopping complex houses numerous doctors, pharmacists, physiotherapists, chemists etc.
Purnia district has four subdivisions,namely, Purnea, Banmankhi Baisi and Dhamdaha; and they are further composed of fourteen blocks namely East Purnea, Krityanand Nagar, Banmankhi, Kaswa, Amaur, Bainsi, Baisa, Dhamdaha, Barhara Kothi, Rupauli, Bhawanipur, Dagarua, Jalalgarh and Srinagar.