Cities of Ara, Buxar and Dumraon-about 200 years ago

The old city of Arah(Ara) ,in about 1810 AD, was well planted and highly cultivated. The plantations consisted mainly of Mango and Mahuwa trees with a very few bamboos and palms. The north of the town belonged to the rich inundated land on the banks of the Ganges. To the south was some rice land. 

The town of Arah, which was the capital of the Shahabad district, was standing on an elevated space surrounded by creeks and land and was subject to inundation; so that the price of ground for building was very high. It was supposed to contain 2,775 houses, with 8 people to each house. There were 50 houses of brick in the town of Arah ; 10 only had two stories, but those were good. There were 200 houses having mud walls and two stories, all of which were covered with tiles. All the huts were having mud walls; one fourth of them was covered with tiles, three-fourths were thatched. About 150 were in the shape of bee-hives. The buildings were in general mean and as usual,close huddled together, but some decent roads had been cut through the chaos of lanes  and were forming tolerable streets. 

There were two or three small mosques and temples in good repair, but in no manner remarkable. Good roads, with abundant small bridges, surrounded the town in all directions for a little way, and were kept in very good order by the labour of the convicts of the jail. Several of the houses had small gardens, in which there were a considerable variety of trees, and a good many flowers, and all around was very neatly cultivated and well watered; so that, although the plantations were not thriving, the trees being rather stunted, the vicinity looked uncommonly well. 
Two female figures, one bearing a water-pot, part of a frieze from Tiumyee (near Chainpur). 22 January 1790. Artist: Daniell, Thomas 

The name Arah was said to be a corruption from Aranya, which in the Sanskrita signified a waste. This name was given by the five sons of Pandu, the place then being a forest, where they performed several great works. It was alleged, that it was here where the five brothers married Draupadi. The place was said to be also called Ekachakra, implying the people to live in unanimity.

The most beautifull part of Ara in 1810 AD

The road from Patna to Buxar passed through its whole length and at the east end had on both sides a close built town. Towards its west end, on the north side, was an open lawn, in which were placed the court houses, the accommodation for the judge of circuit and the houses of the judge and the surgeon. All buildings were sufficiently commodious, but in no way ornamental. Two fine broad roads passed south at right angles to the west end of the Buxar road, and about their middle were crossed at right angles by a third. This was the handsomest part of the town.
Babura was a small town containing about 250 houses ; Gajarajgunj contained about 200 ; Ikhtiyarpur was nearly of the same size, as were also Amarapura, Berempur, Kailawar, Brukgunj and Sinaha; Tribhuvani and Pachane contained 
about 150 ; Bharsahar, or Amsahar, contained 100; as do like wise Mahai, Sakardihir, Guri, and Saraiya. 

At a village called Masar about six miles west, a little southerly from Arah, were some ruins and places of worship belonging both to the orthodox and heterodox, and the place had probably been dedicated to religion from a very remote period. Immediately west from the village was a heap of bricks, extending about 50 yards every way, and of considerable elevation. On the highest part, there was, projecting the head and shoulders of an image larger than the human size, and said to represent the infidel, on which account the people pelt it with bricks. The people were certainly afraid of 
this image .

There was  also a Jain temple said to have been erected by Harji Mal, a merchant. In the chamber were eight small images of the persons worshipped by the Jain. These were placed in an equal number of chambers. The date of the inscription on the seven images was Samvat 1443, and of those on the eighth image was 1449, that is, A. D. 1386 and 1392. The old temple was probably built about that period.
In digging up the foundations of the old temple, and in search of materials from the heap, upon which it was placed, have been found many fragments and carved stones, which have been placed under a tree at the west-end of the ruin.


Near Dumraon, the land rised into considerable swells.There were ten brick houses,that of the Raja of Bhojpur, the descendant of the Emperor Vikrama. The original family seat was destroyed by Kasem Aly ;  Jaya Prakas was Raja of Dumraon in 1810 AD. Over that period, the fortification by which it was surrounded was entirely neglected. There were 800 mud-walled houses of two stories, 500 tiled, and 300 thatched, 
and some of the former were good and neat abodes. The huts had mud walls, 700 of them were tiled, others thatched with stubble, and the remainder with grass. Dumraon, the residence of the Raja, and officers of police, surrounded the Raja's house on all sides and was containing 1000 houses ; but few of them were well built. 


Part of Buxar fort, showing a shrine and ghat below, with people bathing and drawing water from the river, Artist: White, George Francis (1830 AD)

Buxar, including Sabanipati, Pangrepati, and Madingunj, contained 600 houses, and a branch of the Bhojpur family had there its residence. The fortress, built originally by one of his ancestors, was of little importance, although held by a small garrison, and strengthened by some additional works constructed by European engineers.

Simri contained 400 houses ; Chaugai and Sapahi each 300 ; New Bhojpur and Kesat, 200 houses each (the former was very well builty and clean) ; Brahmapur, vulgo Barahampur, and Methila, 150; old Bhojpur and Saya had each 100.
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