BANKURA, a town and district of British India, within the Burdwan division of Bengal. The town has a population of 20,737. The district has an area of 2621 sq. m., and in 1901 its population was 1,116,411, showing an increase of 4% in the decade. It is bounded on the N. and E. by Burdwan district; on the S. by Midnapur district; and on the W. by Manbhum district. Bankura forms a connecting link between the delta of the Ganges on the E. and the mountainous highlands of Chota Nagpur on the W. Along its eastern boundary adjoining Burdwan district the country is flat and alluvial, presenting the appearance of the ordinary paddy lands of Bengal. Going N. and W., however, the surface gradually rises into long undulating tracts; rice lands and swamps give way to a region of low thorny jungle or forest trees; the hamlets become smaller and more scattered, and nearly disappear altogether in the wild forests along the western boundary. Large quantities of lac and tussur silk are gathered in the hilly tract. The stone quarries and minerals are little worked. There are indigo factories and two coal-mines. Both cotton and silk are woven, and plates, &c., are carved from soap-stone. The old capital of the country was at Bishnupur, which is still the chief centre of local industries. The north-east part of the district is skirted by the East Indian railway beyond the river Damodar. The Midnapur-Jherria line of the Bengal-Nagpur railway passes through the district, and there is a line from Howrah to Bankura. The climate of Bankura is generally healthy, the cold season being bracing, the air wholesome and dry, and fogs of rare occurrence. The district is exposed to drought and also to destructive floods. It suffered in the famines of 1866, 1874-1875 and 1896-1897. The temperature in the hot season is very oppressive and relaxing. The Bishnupur raj was one of the largest estates in Bengal in the end of the 18th century, but it was sold for arrears of revenue shortly after the conclusion of the permanent settlement in 1793.
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