Past Cities

Bankura, West Bengal, India

Bankura, a historical city located in the state of West Bengal, India, has a rich and vibrant history that is deeply intertwined with its political environment and unique geography. Situated in the western part of West Bengal, Bankura is the administrative headquarters of the Bankura district. Let us delve into the fascinating history of Bankura and explore the significant events and factors that have shaped its development over the centuries.

Bankura has a recorded history dating back to ancient times. The region was once part of the vast Magadha empire, which played a pivotal role in the political landscape of ancient India. The Mauryan Empire, under the leadership of Emperor Ashoka, exerted its influence over Bankura during the 3rd century BCE. As Buddhism spread across the region, numerous monasteries and stupas were built, evidencing the cultural and religious significance of the area during this period.

During the medieval period, Bankura witnessed a series of political changes. The region came under the control of various local rulers and feudal lords, such as the Malla dynasty, the Sena dynasty, and the Muslim rulers of Bengal. These shifting political dynamics had a direct impact on the inhabitants of Bankura, influencing their lives, customs, and socioeconomic conditions.

One of the most notable historical events that shaped Bankura was the arrival of the British East India Company in the late 18th century. The British established their presence in the region and gradually consolidated their authority over Bankura. The city became an important center for trade and commerce, attracting merchants and businessmen from different parts of the country. The establishment of a British administrative system, including courts and revenue offices, transformed Bankura into an administrative hub.

Bankura's political environment was further influenced by the Indian independence movement in the early 20th century. The city, like many other parts of India, witnessed fervent nationalist activities and protests against British colonial rule. Bankura played a crucial role in the Swadeshi movement, which advocated for the use of indigenous products and the boycott of British goods. The people of Bankura actively participated in these movements, organizing rallies, public meetings, and demonstrations to assert their desire for freedom.

The geography of Bankura has also played a significant role in shaping its history. The city is surrounded by the Chota Nagpur plateau to the west and the fertile alluvial plains of the Damodar River to the east. The undulating topography, interspersed with hills, forests, and rivers, has endowed Bankura with breathtaking natural beauty. The region's geography has influenced the agricultural practices of the local population, with farming being a primary occupation. The rich alluvial soil and favorable climate have facilitated the cultivation of crops such as paddy, wheat, jute, and vegetables.

Bankura is also known for its traditional arts and crafts, which have flourished over the centuries. The terracotta temples, for which Bankura is renowned, showcase the artistic prowess and cultural heritage of the region. Skilled artisans have been creating intricate terracotta sculptures, depicting mythological stories, deities, and scenes from everyday life. These masterpieces serve as a testimony to the rich artistic traditions that have been passed down through generations.

In terms of demographics, the population of Bankura has experienced significant growth over the years. As of the last available data, the city is estimated to have a population of approximately 160,000 inhabitants. The people of Bankura primarily belong to diverse ethnic and linguistic backgrounds, including Bengali, Santhali, Munda, and Bhumij communities. This multicultural environment has contributed to the city's social fabric and cultural vibrancy.