Bhagalpur was known as Bhagdattpuram which meant the City of Good luck as per the references to it in the epics like Mahabharatha and Ramayana. It is an important city in southern Bihar and is one of the oldest districts located on the fertile plains of the River Ganga. The main language that is spoken here is Angika named after the Anga kingdom.
Historically, it was a place of great importance. Many powerful kings have ruled here. It was a big trading market in Eastern India even during the 7th century and was even visited by the famous Chinese travellers Hüan-tsang and Fa-Hien. It was also known as Champanagar during those times and it had a big harbour too.
As it is located on the banks of the River Ganga, the crops grown here are rice, maize, wheat, barley and oil seeds and agriculture is one of the main revenues. It is a major rail and road junction too. There are also many good educational institutions here.
The historical town of Bhagalpur is also famous for the production of high quality silk. It has a nickname and it is known as the 'Silk City of India. Weaving as an occupation in Bhagalpur is many centuries old and generations have been involved in silk production. It is a customary domestic industry here.
Bhagalpur is well-known for its sericulture, silk yarn manufacture and finally weaving them into products. The silk woven here is of a distinctive and unique type. It is known as Tussah or Tussar Silk.
Some of the places of tourist interest in Bhagalpur are Vikramasila, a Buddhist University built in the 8th century by Dharmapala, a Pala King. He was a great supporter of the Mahayana form of Buddhism. This university was then famous for being a Centre for Tantric learning. Today, the ruins of this great university situated at the Patharghat Hills on the banks of the River Ganga can be seen about 40 km away from Bhagalpur.
Mandar Hills is about 50 km away from Bhagalpur and it is a mythological and sacred place. As per religious texts, this Hill is believed to be where the Sagar Manthan or the Churning of the ocean by the Devas and Asuras took place. The Hill was believed to be Lord Vishnus abode and that his footprints are there on the Hill. The marks of the Snake used as a rope during the Churning can still be seen on Mandar Hill. There is a lake on the peak and also many statues and rock cut sculptures that can be seen here.
Madhusudan Temple is a sacred temple of Lord Vishnu situated near Mandar Hill in a nearby town called Bounsi or Balisa Nagar. There is also a Shiva Mandir and a Masjid located here which depicts Hindu Muslim harmony as the walls of the temple and mosque are common. Another place of interest is the Chandan Dam located near Bounsi and is a good source of water to the fields nearby.
Colganj temple is known for its rock cut carvings, and was built between the 5th to 7th centuries. These carvings represent Hindu, Buddhist and Jain gods. Sultanganj is another important holy place for the Hindus. It is located on the banks of the River Ganga, and is about 26 km away from Bhagalpur. Many devotees visit here during the Shravana month to collect water from the Ganges and it is considered very sacred. The Burh Nath temple famous for the Visharhi Asthan is where the famous Bihula or the Mansa puja, i.e. the worshipping of the snakes is held in July every year.