Manihari is located at 25.35°N 87.63°E / 25.35; 87.63. It has an average elevation of 31 metres (101 feet). This place is well known for the Manihari ghat, which connects it to Sahibganj, which is also situated on the bank of the River Ganges.
As of 2001 India census, Manihari had a population of 21,783. Males constitute 53% of the population and females 47%. Manihari has an average literacy rate of 44%, lower than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy is 52%, and female literacy is 35%. In Manihari, 19% of the population is under 6 years of age.
As of 2011 India census, Manihari had a population of 26,629.
The town is located on the banks of the river Ganges where it meets the river Koshi, thus making the town prone to flooding every year. Manihari is a small border town between the states of Bihar and Jharkhand. Sahebganj is the district town of Jharkhand which is 9 km from Manihari (nautical mile distance); there is regular ferry service. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar flagged off the first passenger train on the newly converted Broad gauge (BG) section of Katihar-Manihari in Katihar division of North-East Frontier Railway (NFR) at Katihar station. There are few local trains which run between Manihari and Katihar.
The geography of Manihari is unique. The river Ganges (i.e. Ganga) flows eastward up to Manihari and takes a southward turn after Manihari. Thus, Manihari is known as the point of River Ganges's sharp bend leading its eastward water flow to turn to southward water flow.
Before the Farakka Barrage over the Ganges was constructed, people going to the Darjeeling Hills or North Bengal from Kolkata, used to travel by broad gauge train to Sakrigali Ghat and then cross the Ganges by steamer. On the other side of the river at Manihari Ghat, they used to take a metre gauge train to Siliguri. Once Farakka Barrage became operational in 1975 (the barrage has a broad gauge rail line on it), this route became redundant. There still is a ferry service linking Manihari Ghat with Sahebganj.
Shaukat Jang naib nazim (deputy governor) of Purnia under Nawab Alivardi Khan and a rival claimant of Sirajuddaula on the masnad of Murshidabad. He succeeded his father Saiyid Ahmad Khan Saulat Jang, nephew of Alivardi Khan, as naib nazim of Purnia on 27 March, 1756. On the eve of Alivardi's death the enemies of Sirajuddaula including Mir Jafar Ali Khan and Ghaseti Begum secretly supported the claim of Shaukat Jang on the nizamat of Bengal subah. Soon after Alivardi's death (10 April 1756) and accession of Sirajuddaula to the Murshidabad nizamat, Shaukat Jang received a secret letter from Mir Jafar urging upon him to invade Bengal and assuring him of his support along with the support of some other army officers in Murshidabad. But the Purnia nawab in his unbridled ambition planned to dethrone Sirajuddaula and started intrigues at the Delhi imperial court to secure a farman granting the nizamat of the three eastern subahs to him. Meanwhile Shaukat Jang had secured a farman from Delhi Emperor Alamgir II granting him the nizamat of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa. He procured the farman by promising a bribe of one crore rupees to Ghaziuddin Imadul-Mulk, the wazir of the Emperor. He now assumed the title of Alampanah (Protector of the World). Sirajuddaula's agent Rai Rasbihari proceeded towards Rajmahal and dispatched to Shaukat Jang the letter of the Nawab asking him to give Rai Rasbihari peaceful possession of Purnia. But Shaukat Jang on the advice of his counselors wrote back ordering Sirajuddaula to vacate the masnad of Murshidabad in his favour. Sirajuddaula immediately dispatched an army under Raja Mohanlal to take possession of Purnia. The advanced division of the invading army, led by Raja Mohanlal, crossed the Ganges at Rajmahal, and by way of Hayatpur and Basantpur Gola (skirting the eastern bank of the old Kosi) entered South Purnia and arrived at Manihari.
Shaukat Jang with his forces advanced to face the invading army and took an entrenched position at Baldiabari between Manihari and Nawabganj, one mile north of Manihari. In the battle that followed (16 October 1756) many of the Purnia troops were slain and wounded, many were captured. Shaukat Jang on an elephant while mobilizing his army, a musket shot struck on his head and he fell dead. Mohanlal entered Purnia, seized Shaukat's treasure, and carried the captive family of the deceased Nawab of Purnia to Murshidabad.
There is a mythological story that during the Mahabharata period, Lord Krishna had come to this place and had lost a Mani (a valuable jewel). Thus it came to be known as Maniharan which was changed into Manihari.
A place five miles (8 km) east of Manihari is connected to the story of Raja Birat of Mahabharata period that had kept a herd of cows at this place and had constructed a Bathan. There is one black stone Shiva-linga about five feet in length and three feet in width lying in an open field which is said to be of Raja Birat's time.
FAMOUS PERSONALITY OF MANIHARI :
Balāi Chānd Mukhopādhyāy (1899–1979) was a Bengali novelist, short story writer, playwright, poet, and physician who wrote under the pen name of Banaphul.He was a recipient of the civilian honour of the Padma Bhushan.
Film adaptation of his literature Agnishwar Bhuvan Shome Ekti Raat Alor Pipasa Hatey Bazarey Arjun Pandit (He received the Filmfare Best Writer Award for this film) Tilottama Paka Dekha
Postage stamp On the 100th anniversary of his birth, the Government of India issued a postage stamp featuring his image.
Famous places :
Ganga River- Most Natural, clean and about 5 km width Ganga. Big natural river port.
Gogabill Lake : One of the largest wetlands of Bihar. Area of the lake is about 217 acres and its extent is 5 km by 1 km. Nearly 300 migratory birds come to the lake and its vicinity during monsoon and winter from the Caspian Sea and Siberian region.
Peer Mazar : Baba Hazrat Jitanshah Rehmtullaaleh's tomb established in year 1338.There is strong belief Baba fulfilled faithful desire.
Maharshi Mehi Ashram : Maharshi Mehi Paramhans is revered as a great saint in the illustrious tradition of Sant Mat. He made an in-depth study of Vedas, main Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, the Bible, different sutras of Buddhism, the Quran, saint's literature and from this assessed that the essential teaching contained in all of these is one and the same. Mehi was a direct disciple of Baba Devi Sahab of Muradabad, Uttar Pradesh, India who had special blessings of Sant Tulsi Sahab of Hathras, Uttar Pradesh, India Over the years, grown into a sacred pilgrimage for millions of followers of Santmat from India and abroad.
Maharshi Mehi Ashram by the river side is an ideal place for general tourists as well who love to spend their evenings here.
Full Moon Fair : Magha Purnima also known as Maghi Purnima is a full moon day which falls in the month of Magh according to the Hindu calendar. This is roughly in the month of January – February as per the Gregorian calendar. the famous Magha Mela (Colourful village fair) takes place at the bank of Ganga river every year.
Nawabganj : The village lies about 3 km from Manihari. It is noted as the former seat of Nawab Shaukat Jang. Governor of the district in the Mugal period. Traces of ruins of his palace still exist.
Nearest Airport- Bagdogra 205 km away, 4-lane highway, takes 3 hour 30 minute
Katihar Railway station- Distance 25 km, from here you can get Rajdhani Train (premier Train of India).
There are two high schools and a few government schools, and private schools or colleges.Gurukul International School, Manihari (Run and Managed by Gurukul International Trust)
B.P.S.P. Senior Secondary School
P.L.S.N. Girls Senior Secondary School
S.S.S. Mandir School (p)
National Public School (p)
S.J. Pandey Sanskrit Vidaylaye
Rameshwer Yadav Manihari College Manihari (government and private)
Bethel mission school
National English School