In the Mahabharata, Bankura was described as Suhmobhumi. The word Larh or Rarh (in Nagari: rāḍh) was introduced after 6th century A.D. It comes from the old Austric word ráŕhá or ráŕho which means “land of red soil”. In ancient times "China called Ráŕh by the name of 'Láti'". In Santali, lar means thread, rarh means tune and larh means snake. Perhaps the Jain and Greek scholars used this original Austric word Larh to indicate this dry forest region which was very difficult. The popularity of Manasa Puja, the worship of Snake-Goddess Manasa, shows this opinion might have some relevance. According to Nilkantha, a famous commentator of the Mahabharata, the words suhmo[bhumi] (Sanskrit: suhma-bhūmi) and Rarh are synonymous.
Scholars differs in their opinion about the etymology of the name Bankura. In the words of the Kol-Mundas, orah or rah means habitation. Many places of Rarh have an added rah at the end of their names. One of the most influential gods of the district Dharmathakur is called Bankura Roy. The name of the district may come from his name. Linguist Suniti Kumar Chatterjee thinks that the name came from the word banka (zig-zag), and its word-corruption banku, which means extremely beautiful, and he who must be worshiped. In 1979, the word “Bancoorah” was found in the map of Renal. In 1863, Gastrel referred this region as Bancoonda.
Bir Hambir was the 49th king of Bagdi Malla dynasty. There is a story that he had twinty two sons. Bir Bankura was one of them. Raja Bir Hambir divided his kingdom into 22 tarafs or circles and gave one to his each son. Taraf Jaybelia fell to the lot of Bir Bankura. He developed a town in his taraf and the town was later named as 'Bankura' after its founder's name.
Bankura district is located in the western part of the state of West Bengal. It is a part of Bardhaman Division of the State and is included in the area known as "Rarh" in Bengal. Bankura district is situated at 23.25°N 87.07°E / 23.25; 87.07. The Damodar River flows along the Northern boundary of the district. Bankura district is bounded by Bardhaman district in the north, Purulia district in the west and Paschim Medinapure district in the south.
The seasons in Bankura are generally distributed as hot summer (April–May), monsoon (June–September) and 'Cold season' (November–February). The humidity is usually medium to high throughout the year and the rainfall, though not heavy, is usually well distributed. The average annual rainfall received by the district is around 1,300 mm. The rainy months are generally July and August. 21.5% of the total geographical area of the district is made up of forest land, covering a total of 148,177 hectares. Net cultivable area of the district is 4.30 lakh hectares.
In the 2011 census, Bankura municipality had a population of 3,596,292 out of which 1,840,504 were males and 1,755,788 were females, constituting 954 females per 1000 male as sex ratio. There was change of 12.64% in the population compared to population as per 2001. Effective literacy rate as in Census 2011 is 70.95%.
As of 2011 India census, Bankura town has a population of 3,596,292. Males constitute 1,840,504 of the population and females 1,755,788. Bankura has an average literacy rate of 70.95%, with 81.00% of the males and 60.44% of females literate. Total Child population in Bankura area is 405,401 out of which 208,632 are boys and 196,769 are girls, under the age of 6 years.
Bankura police station has jurisdiction over Bankura municipality, Bankura I and Bankura II CD Blocks. The area covered is 439 km2. There are 3 town outposts and an outpost at Rajagram.
Bankura Sadar Division woman police station, started in 2014, has jurisdiction over whole of Bankura Sadar subdivision.
Bankura Railway Junction is managed by the South Eastern Railways and is on the Adra-Midnapore rail route. It is in Bankura city. Bhubaneswar Rajdhani Express, Rupashi Bangla Express, Aranyak Express, Puri-New Delhi(Nandan Kanan) Superfast Express, Ernakulam-Patna Express, Howrah-LTT Samarsata Express and Purulia-Howrah Express pass through this station. It is the originating and terminating station of Bankura Damodar Railway which will connect to Howrah-Bardhaman Chord section. Computerized reservation facility is available. Going towards north-west, Adra Junction Railway Station is the nearest main station and moving to south, Midnapore Railway Station is the major station next to Bankura.
The Bankura Railway Station and bridge over Dhaleshwari River were built by Gujarati Railway Contractors of the town Jeewan Gangji Savaria and Lalji Raja Vadher in 1900 working for Bengal Nagpur Railway.
National Highway 14 (India) running from Morgam (in Murshidabad district) to Kharagpur (in Paschim Medinipur district), State Highway 9 (West Bengal) running from Durgapur (in Paschim Bardhaman district) to Nayagram (in Jhargram district) and State Highway 5 (West Bengal) running from Rupnarayanpur (in Bardhaman district) to Junput (in Purba Medinipur) pass through Bankura. NH 14 links Bankura to NH 12 and NH 16. Both NH 14 and SH 9 link Bankura to NH 19 (Grand Trunk Road).
Bankura has gained much popularity among the tourists hailing from India. The place has a rich cultural and traditional heritage. It is famous for its paintings, music and other arts. It has gained popularity among domestic tourists due to the beautiful locations and historical destinations. The place has contributed great deal toward modern Bengal art and architecture. You can see the beautiful terracotta art and architecture in Bankura. The tourist spots can be divided into four zones.Bishnupur is an important tourist spot of Bankura district. It is 152 km from Kolkata and 34 km from Bankura Town. This place has a historical importance as it was the capital of Mallabhum. It is very famous for terracotta temples and Baluchari sarees. It is popular for classical music dalmadal and painting. There are approximately 16 temples, most of which are made in the decade of Mallaraja. Important temples of Bishnupur are Jor Mandir, Rasmancha, Radhamadhab Temple, Kalachand Temple, Madan Mohan Temple, Radha-Gobinda Temple and Shyam Ray Temple.
Joyrambati is 98 km from Kolkata. It is a holy place as it was the birthplace of Sree Sree Maa Sarada Devi. Temple of Singha Bahani Devi and Mayerepukur are also visiting sites.
Susunia Hill is a very important tourist spot of Bankura District. It is 50 km from Bisnupur and 21 km from Bankura town. It is famous for natural spring and Silalipi.
Biharinath Hill is the tallest (448 m) of Bankura District. It is in the northwestern edge of the district. It is 57 km from Bankura Town. It was an ancient centre of Jainism. This place is famous for its natural beauty. Biharinath offers hills, dense forest, water bodies, river Damodar, renowned temple of Lord Shiva, green unpolluted nature with salubrious atmosphere. Now Biharinath can boast of its advancement in tourism with accommodations having A.C. rooms and other modern amenities.
Mukutmanipur is a tourist spot of Bankura District. It is 55 km from Bankura District headquarters. It is the second biggest earthen dam of India.
Jhilimili has a dense natural forest. It lies 70 km from Bankura Town.
Koro Pahar (Amar Kanan)
Bankura University is the only university in the city.
Bankura Christian College
Bankura Sammilani College
Bankura Sammilani Medical College
Bankura Unnayani Institute of Engineering
Bankura Zilla Saradamani Mahila Mahavidyapith
Barjora College, Barjora
Saltora Netaji Centenary College, Saltora
Sonamukhi College, Sonamukhi
Khatra Adibashi Mahavidyalaya, Khatra
Saldiha college, Saldiha
Amarkanan Deshbandhu Mahavidyalaya, Amarkanan
Mallabhum Institute of Technology, Bishnupur
Bheduasole High School, Bheduasole, Indpur
Indpur Goenka High School, Bangla, Indpur
Bankura Zilla School
Bankura Banga Vidyalay
Bankura Hindu High School
Bankura Christian Collegiate School
Rajgram Vivekananda Hindu Vidyalaya
Madhuban Goenka Vidyalaya
Kuchiakol R B institution
Simlapal Madan Mohan High School
Chuagara Sammilani Vidyapith
Bankura Sammilani Medical College and Hospital is the most important hospital of the district equipped with all major departments and diagonostic facilities.
Bankura Sub-Divisional Hospital is an important hospital. It has a paediatric ward, blood test and OT.