A Brief Outline
Situated in 250-23’ N. and 860-26’ E. It is the headquarter of Munger
Commissionary. The town is practically surrounded by the Ganga on three sides, viz.
southwest and north and the Kharagpur hills forming the eastern border. It is situated
in the heart of the district and its particular location has made portion of the
town a beauty spot. The situation was once considered to be strategic. Munger has
a beautiful townscape. Prior to the Census of India- 1971, Monghyr was in vogue
as its name.
Munger District is located in the southern part Bihar and its headquarters are located
on the southern bank of river Ganges. The district is spread over 1419.7 Sq. km.
accounting for 3.3% of the area of Bihar. From administrative and development point
of view, Munger is divided into three subdivisions namely Munger, Kharagpur, and
Tarapur. There are nine developmental blocks namely Munger, Jamalpur, Bariarpur,
Dharhara, Kharagpur, Tetia Bambar, Tarapur, Asarganj and Sangarampur. There are
about 903 villages in the district. The Munger district on an average is 30 to 65
mtrs above sea level. The average annual rainfall is 1231 mm.
MUNGER – Historical Pointers
The territory included within the district of Munger (famously Monghyr) formed pent
of the Madhya-desa as “Midland” of the first Aryan settlers. It has
been identified with Mod-Giri a place mentioned in the Mahabharata, which was the
capital of a kingdom in Eastern India near Vanga and Tamralipta. In the Digvijaya
Parva of Mahabharata, we find the mention of Moda-Giri, Which seems similar to Moda-Giri.
Digvijaya Parva suggests that it was a monarchical state during early times. A passage
in the Sabha-Parva describes Bhima’s conquest in Eastern India and says that
after defeating Karna, king of Anga, he fought battle at Modagiri and killed its
chief. It was also known as Maudal after Maudgalya, a disciple of Buddha, who converted
a rich merchant of this place into Buddhism. Buchanan says that it was the hermitage
of Mudgala Muni and this tradition of Mudgal Risi still persists. Munger is called
“Modagiri” in the Monghyr copperplate of Devapala.
The derivation of the name Munger (Monghyr) has found the subject of much speculation.
Tradition arcribes the foundation of the town to Chandragupta, after whom it was
called Guptagars a name which has been found inscribed on a rock at Kastaharni Ghat
at the north-western corner of the present fort. It is insisted that Mudgalrisi
lived there. Tradition ascribes the composition of various suktar of the 10th Mavdala
of the Rigveda to Rishi Mudgal and his clan. However, General Cunnigham had strong
suspicicion when he connects this original name with Mons as Mundas, who occupied
this part before the advent of the Aryans. Again Mr. C.E.A. oldham, ICS, a farmer
collector suggests the possibility of Munigiha, ie , the abode of the Muni, without
any specification which later corrupted to Mungir and later became Munger.
At the dawn of history, the present site of the town was apparently comprised within
the Kingdom of Anga, with the capital Champa near Bhagalpur. According to Pargiter,
Anga comprises the modern districts of Bhagalpur and Munger commissionary. The Anga
dominion at one time included Magadha and the Shanti-arva refers to an Anga king
who sacrificed at Mount Vishnupada. In the epic period Modagiri finds mention as
a separate state. The success of the Anga did not last long and about the middle
of the sixth century B.C. Bimlisara of Magadha is said to have killed Brahmadatta,
the last independent ruler of ancient Anga. Hence the Anga became an integral part
of the growing empire of Magadh. As epigraphic evidence of the Gupta period suggests
that Munger was under the Guptas. To the reign of Buddhagupta (447-495 A.D) belongs
a copper plate of A.D. 488-9 originally found at Mandapura in the district.