Purvanchal is a geographic region of northern India, which comprises the eastern end of Uttar Pradesh state where Hindi, Bhojpuri is the predominant language. It is bounded by Nepal to the north, Indian state Bihar to the east, Bagelkhand region of Madhya Pradesh state to the south, the Awadh region of Uttar Pradesh to the west and the end of Lower Doab (Kanpur-Fatehpur-Allahabad region) in Uttar Pradesh to its southwest.
Purvanchal consists mainly of 4 divisions: the eastern-Awadhi region in the west, the western-Bhojpuri region in the east, the Baghelkhand region in the south, and the Nepal region in the north. It lies on the Indo-Gangetic plain, and together with western Bihar is the most densely populated area in the world. The rich quality of soil and the high earthworm density in the soil versus adjoining districts of Uttar Pradesh is favourable for agriculture. Most of the countryside is given to intensive agriculture. Bhojpuri is the predominant language or dialect in the region, in addition to Hindi, although Awadhi and Baghelkhandi are also spoken in the western and southern areas. Like Bihar state to the east, a large population, slow economic growth, agricultural mechanisation, and the closure of sugar mills have led to increased unemployment, social and political discontent, and some unrest in the region.
There has been a political demand to create a separate state by carving out 17 districts in eastern part of present State of Uttar Pradesh. The Purvanchal area is represented by 30 Members of Parliament to the Lok Sabha and 117 legislators in the 403 member Uttar Pradesh state assembly or Vidhan Sabha.
Varanasi is the most prominent city of Purvanchal along with Gorakhpur among all districts. Varanasi is sought to be most possible capital of Purvanchal, while Gorkahpur is another city is less political and but industrially active.
In 1991 the government of Uttar Pradesh established the Purvanchal Vikas Nidhi, to fund regional development projects that advance balanced development, meet local needs, and redress regional disparities. But due to corrupt distribution channels, the conditions have remained still the same.
Languages used in Purvanchal
Historically Purvanchal is the region ruled by the king of Kashi (Kashi Naresh), which reigons are Mirzapur, Chandauli, Ballia, Mau, Ghazipur, Sonbhadra, Deoria, Kushinagar, Azamgarh, Jaunpur, Bhadohi, some parts of Gorakhpur, Basti and also Sant Kabir Nagar. This territory was ruled by the Bhumihars, which have their strong army to support them. The Kingdom of Kashi was founded by Khsetravridha, the son of Ayus, of the Somavansa dynasty of Pratishthana. It lost independence in 1194 and was eventually ceded by the Nawab of Oudh to the British Raj in 1775, who recognized Benares as a family dominion. Benares became a state in 1911. It was given the privilege of 13-gun salute.
The kingdom of Benares currently known as Varanasi was recaptured from Nawab of Oudh by Mansa Ram, a Gautama clan Bhumihar zamindar of Utaria. In 1737 AD Balwant Singh, ruler of Utaria, later captured the territories of Jaunpur, Varanasi and Chunar in 1740 AD from the Mughal Emperor of Delhi. The Kingdom of Benaras started to hold prominence in this way during the Mughal dynasty. Other prominent places under the kingship of Kashi Naresh were Chandauli, Gyanpur, Chakia, Latifshah, Mirzapur, Nandeshwar, Mint House and Vindhyachal.
With the decline of the Mughal Empire, the military of Bhumihar Brahmins strengthened their sway in the area south of Avadh and in the fertile rice growing areas of Benares, Gorakhpur, Deoria, Ghazipur, and Ballia and on the fringes of Bengal. The strong clan organisation on which they rested, brought success to the lesser Hindu princes. There were as many as 1,00,000 Bhumihar clansmen backing the power of the Benares rajyas in what later became the districts of Benares, Gorakhpur and Azamgarh. This proved a decisive advantage when the dynasty faced a rival and the nominal suzerain, the Nawab of Awadh, in the 1750s and the 1760s. An exhausting guerrilla war, waged by the Benares ruler against the Avadh camp, using his clan troops, forced the Nawab to withdraw his main force.
According to Orthodox Bhumihar Brahmin traditions, no one has seen Kashi Naresh eat food, and none of the kings have travelled abroad, in keeping with strict Brahmin rules. Kashi Naresh has played host to a list of dignitaries which includes Bishweshwar Prasad Koirala, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Rajendra Prasad, Indira Gandhi, Queen Elizabeth, Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama, President Kocheril Raman Narayanan and his Burmese wife.
Purvanchal is one of the most ancient regions of India and enjoys a rich heritage and culture, particularly because of its association with cities like Varanasi, Gorakhpur etc. However, the economic and industrial growth of this region had been greatly hindered because of caste-guided political in-fighting and a huge population. The major issues are lack of civic infrastructure, proper rural education and employment. Bleak law and order is a major area of concern. Negligence on the part of Uttar Pradesh government and Central Government of India have also added to its present condition of chaos.
The region played a very important role in the freedom struggle of India. It was for this reason that Britishers were always apprehensive of the strong nationalist and pro-independence spirit of the people. Mangal Pandey is one of the most prominent freedom fighters from this region, known as the true son of Purvanchal. In popular culture, Purvanchal is well known as “The land of warriors”. Hinduism and its subsets Buddhism and Jainism also owe their origin to this region only.
GI tag holders Sant Ravidas Nagar, Bhadohi and Mirzapur are major players in the carpet manufacturing in Asia. Another GI tag holder district Varanasi is a center of Indian tourism and special sari manufacturing. Sonbhadra, a district of Purvanchal, Uttar Pradesh produces 7000 MW electricity, almost half of the total electricity generation in the state of Uttar Pradesh and largest and only major mine of limestone in India. Varanasi and Kushinagar attract more than 65% of the total tourists visiting Uttar Pradesh. Mirzapur and Sonbhadra are very rich with natural resources.
- Gorakhnath Temple (Gorakhpur)
- Sita Mata Samahit Sthal, Sitamadhi(BHADOHI)
- Salkhan Fossils Park
- Siddharthnagar District
- Shivdwar Temple