Purnea

Let me tell you about Purnea.This small bustling town with a British heritage, sandwiched between the rivers Ganga and the Kosi, has a special place in my heart. With huge fish markets, plenty of fresh produce , and a gentry which only swears by ‘Darjeeling tea’; it is a small gem of Bihar. Wherever in the country I have been, it is always a bit tough explaining the exact entity called Purnea, as most people confuse it with the infamous Purulia,of the ‘arms dropping’ fame. So from the movie ‘Teesri Kasam‘of Raj Kapoor ( based on Phanishwar Nath Renu’s novel) to our Vidhayak(MLA) Pappu Bhaiyya, I name it all. I usually get a response in the affirmative by the time I reach the last name.

With a Kolkata-tilt, most of the families have illustrious backgrounds dating far back to the days of the residency. The place was a centre for Indigo planters in the times of the Raj, with its own Station Club with its Lawn Tennis Courts, its long forgotten billiards table, it’s bridge room; now standing testimony to an era gone by. My own home is on the stables of a British Official’s residential quarters. During the construction of my house, my father somehow believed that the stables would spew out hidden treasures if dug deep😁

Durga Puja celebrations of Purnea are to kill for! The most outstanding idols and the best observed rituals. Those ten days of Devi worship surpasses all that I have seen from Mumbai to Kanyakumari. The pundit is in a divine state of being, almost holding discourses with gods while chanting the mantras. The food stalls are exemplary and a new breed of youngsters following the age old custom of ogling and Masti present themselves every year, without fail. There is something about every little town that endears itself to its residents, but those traits are far below when compared to my Purnea.

If you have not seen Purnea so far, do plan a stopover in your itinerary to any place due East.

40 thoughts on “Purnea

    1. पूर्णिया की सोंधी मिट्टी के सुंगंध का आनंद ले रही हूं तुम्हारी लेखनी से

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    2. पूर्णिया की सोंधी मिट्टी का सुंगध ले रही हूं तुम्हारे लेखनी से

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  1. I can so relate to your account of Purnea. A place I grew to love all thanks to Mami Aunty. Durga Puja is exactly the way you described it. Beautiful writing Sushmita 😍

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  2. I reached Purnea after reading this.I went to my childhood days.Thanks Shush you have explained it so well that I had the glimpses of Purnea from my childhood days till today.

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  3. Such a beautiful read.. Brought back old memories from my childhood days. Purnea is the oldest district in Bihar and has a rich history. However my personal feeling is that the unplanned urbanization has already taken toll on the city.. greenery and tranquility is fast eroding.. Every year, I visit my family in Purnea during my annual India visit and each time I see an old building biting the dust and new hideous commercial complex replacing them…

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    1. Yes .I too have seen Purnea of my childhood getting lost somewhere in the senseless constructions and cultural assaults ! Thank you for reading, relating to it and echoing the same thoughts.Read on…

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  4. Purnea and Babli didi.. Means the same to me. You in fourth grade and me in second. Would wait for the rickshaw to reach your house and the first half of the film story to begin.. till the interval and then the second half on the way back from school. And your narration was better than the film itself.😀 Growing up together, gossiping about the people of Purnea, sharing secrets, going for Pooja, Kali Bari, Bhatta Bazaar, family dinners..
    You have played a very important role in my life. Happiest memories of my childhood was with you Babli didi. Thank you for writing about Purnea. The place and people will always remain close to my heart. Love you and miss you.

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  5. Such a wonderful piece. I am sure it resonates with our entire generation. I have always claimed of Purnea that it is a place where as a child having been inspired by a Nandan or Amar Chitra Katha story I would dig in our flowerbed in the hopes of finding buried treasure (My notebooks had my sketch of the so expected box) and after digging persistently, I would invariably hit the watertable. Those innocent days are now lost in the mundaneness of a routine so …. well everyday! Thanks for refreshing the memories of a time and place when we used to shout and wave to each other from our rooftops. Keep going.

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  6. The old world charm of Purnia has been wonderfully described in this article. Purnia can basically be termed as a laid-back city with immense potential. It is the biggest city of Mithlanchal region having one of the biggest trading centre of agricultural products & miscellaneous items in Gulab Bagh. Nowadays, it can also be termed as gateway to North-east India and is strategically located near to Siliguri corridor.

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  7. Purnea bhatta bari durga pujo
    Where kangali bhoj on Navomi day we used to serve them food and having food with them in our childhood vacation to my birth place could not be forgettable,zila school math no where gov . school having such a big play ground ,which was just in front of my grandfather’s( Rai Bahadur nitya goal ghosh adv.and municipal chairman for 4 consecutive time )house

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