Purulia City also known as “Manbhum City”, is a city located in West Bengal state, India, and was constituted in 1876. It is the location of the district headquarters of Purulia district. Purulia is located on the north of the Kasai river and is a major road and railway junction. It has an area of 6,259 km2. It is famous for the Chhau dance.
Pre Historic Times Tagged as one of the oldest known districts known in West Bengal. According to the Jaina Bhagavati-Sutra, the place existed as early as 5th century and was one of the 16 Mahajanapadas of its time. It is believed that Purulia was a part of the country known as Vajra-bhumi, in ancient times. Pre-Independence Era British East-India Company formed the Regulation XVIIII in 1805, a Jungle Mahals district, comprising 23 parganas and mahals – including the present Purulia, was formed. However, years later, in 1833, the Jungle Mahals district was ruled out and a new district, by the name of Manbhum, was constituted, with headquarters at Manbazar.
Manbhum was extremely large in size and constituted of Bankura and Burdwan (in the present West Bengal), apart from Dhanbad, Dhalbhum, Saraikela and Kharswan (in the present Jharkhand and Orissa). In the year 1838, the district headquarters was shifted from Manbazar to Purulia (as it is known today). With this, Purulia was withdrawn from regular administration and placed under an officer called Principal Assistant (better known as Deputy Commissioner today) to the agent of the Governor-General for South-Western Frontier.
Post-Independence Era It was in 1956, nine years after India received its independence, that the district of Manbhum was partitioned and the states of West Bengal and Bihar were formed, under the States Reorganization Act and Transfer of Territories Act. In the November of 1956, Purulia was formed as one of the districts in West Bengal. Located at the westernmost side of the state, Purulia boasts of a tropical location. It acts as a funnel, transferring tropical monsoon current from the Bay of Bengal to the subtropical parts of northwest India. Purulia also acts as a gateway to reach the industrial belts of West Bengal and the hinterlands in Orissa, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.
Purulia entered the news in December 1995, when a Latvian aircraft dropped a consignment of arms in its vicinity. Several days later, when the plane re-entered Indian airspace, it was intercepted by a Mig21 of the Indian Air Force, and its crew were captured. It was believed that the arms were intended for the Hindu sect Anand Marg (“Happy Path”), but proof of this could not be established. The crew of the aircraft consisted of five Latvian citizens and Peter Bleach, a British citizen. They were arrested and sentenced to life imprisonment. Following the intervention of Russian authorities, the Latvian crew (ethnic Russians) were pardoned and released in 2000.
The Ramakrishna Mission Vidyapith is a residential school for boys with the calm environment of the ancient gurukul system which was the ideology of Swami Vivekananda. Sainik School is on Ranchi Road. GRK DAV is a residential school based on the ideologies of Arya Samaj, founded by Swami Dayananda. The Assembly of God Church School has a morning batch (Bhatbhandh) and a day batch (Ranchi Road). The oldest of the schools is Purulia Zilla which was established in 1853.
In Hindu religious belief, it is thought that when Lord Rama was coming back after 14 years of exile, he took rest in Ayodhya hills. To fulfill Sita’s thirst Lord Rama made a pond by hitting his arrow in the hills. It is believed that the pond exists today, and is called Sitakund.
The Australian architect William Hardy Wilson named his own home after Purulia. A heritage-listed home, Purulia was a major influence on the design of homes in Sydney.
Thousands of tourists come to visit Purulia every year to witness the charm of the natural beauties of Ayodhya,Turga Falls, PPSP Upper and Lower Dam, Dawri khal in Kesto Bazar Dam, Lahoria Shiv Mandir, Matha and Kuilapal, falls and tribal habitations of Ajodhya Hills and Bagmundih, dams like Panchet, Murguma Dam and Futiari, heritage building like Panchakot Raj Place, trekking range of Matha proud with Pakhi Pahar, and Joychandi Pahar, picnic spots like Duarsini, Doladanga, Jamuna, traditional folk dance and culture like Chhou Dance and Jhumur Song.