Puruliya district, a part of Burdwan division is a district of West Bengal state with its administrative headquarters located at Purulia town. According to Jaina Bhagavati Sutra, in the 5th century CE the territory of the present Purulia district was a part of Banga, one of the 16 Mahajanapadas. Moreover, in the ancient period the Puruliya district was under a country named Vajra-bhumi. Later in the medieval period, this region was considered as a part of Jharkhand region. The history of the district prior to the British East India Company is not so clear. A Jungle Mahals district consisted of 23 parganas and mahals including the current Purulia was formed by the Regulation XVIIII of 1805. Again by another Regulation XIII of 1833 the end of the Jungle Mahals district was started and a new district named Manbhum with its headquarters at Manbazar was emerged. But in 1838 the district headquarters was shifted from Manbazar to Purulia. After India got its independence in 1947, finally in the year 1956 Manbhum district was divided between Bihar and West Bengal as per the States Reorganization Act and the Bihar and West Bengal (Transfer of Territories) Act 1956.The present day’s Purulia district was came intoexistenceon1st November,1956. Today, itisa part of the Red Corridor.
Mihir Sen, a distinguished long distance swimmer, best known for being the first Indian to conquer the English Channel from Dover to Calais in 1958 and the only man to earn the distinction of swimming the Oceans of the five continents in one calendar year 1966 was born on 16th November,1930 at Purulia town. The Government of India honoured him with the prestigious Padma Shri Award in 1959 and Padma Bhushan Award in 1967.
Geographically, the district lies at 23°33'N latitude, 86°37'E longitudes and 228 m Altitude. In the year 2021, there was a total 14.69% forest area of total geographical area. The district encompasses a geographical area of 6,259 sq km. and it is bounded by Bardhaman district of West Bengal and Dhanbad district of Jharkhand on the North, West Singhbhum district and East Singhbhum district of Jharkhand on the South, Bankura district and Paschim Medinipur district on the East and Bokaro district and Ranchi district of Jharkhand on the West. The nature of the climate of the district is sub tropical type. The actual rainfall in the district was 1952.2 mm in the year of 2021-22. Most of its rainfall occurs in the monsoon season.
Administration wise, the district is divided into3 sub-divisions namely Purulia Sadar East, Purulia SadarWest and Raghunathpur.Moreover, it comprises 28 towns and 2,667 villages.The administrative language in the district is Bangali.
According to 2011 census the district has a population of 29,30,115 out of which 14,96,996 are males and 14,33,119 are females. The district has a sex ratio of 957 (females for every 1000 males). During the year 2001-2011 the population growth rate in the district was 15.52% including 15.32% are males and 15.72% are females. As per 2011 census the major religion in the district is Hindu with 80.99% of the total population. The population density in the district is 468 (persons per sq. km.). According to 2011 census the principal languages in the district are Bengali and Santali with 80.56% and 11.17%. In the year 2020 the number of live births in the district was 54,801 out of which 28,190 were males and 26,611 were females. In the same year the number of deaths in the district was 15,841 out of which 9,885 were males and 5,956 were females.
Agriculture is the backbone of the economy of the district but sometime the contribution of the industrial and tourism sectors in its economy are also remarkable. Most of the population in the district are engaged in agriculture in order to earn their livelihood. The chief agricultural products in the district are rice, maize, potatoes, groundnuts, wheat, etc. Industrially, also the district is quite well developed. There are some large scales industries in the district are Santaldih Thermal Power Station, Pumped Storage Project, ACC Damodar Cement Factory, etc. It has some small scale industries too and among the small scale industries, the lac industry and sericulture industry are the most common. Tourism is the third but most important source of income in the district.In 2006 the Ministry of Panchayati Raj declared Purulia as one of the country's 250 most backward districts and currently receiving funds from the Backward Regions Grant Fund programme (BRGF). In the year 2013-14the gross domestic product in the district was Rs. 16,57,686 lakh at Current Price and Rs. 8,34,020 At Constant Prices in the year 2004-2005.The Net Domestic Product in the district during the period 2013-14 Rs. 14,98,176 lakh at Current Price and Rs. 7,40,473 lakh at Constant Prices in the year 2004-2005. The Per Capita Income or NDDP, At Factor Cost in the district during the period 2013-14 was Rs. 50,074 at Current Price and Rs. 24,749 at Constant Prices in the year 2004-2005.
The district is renowned as an abode of several reputed educational institutions. It provides a platform for higher education. Some of its recognised educational institutions are Achhruram Memorial College, Ananda Marg College, Bengal Institute of Science and Technology, Balarampur College, Jagannath Kishore College, Ramananda Centenary College, Raghunathpur College, Mahatma Gandhi College, etc. As per 2011 census the literacy rate in the district is 64.48% including 77.86% are males and 50.52% are females. The total number of literates in the district is 16,24,905 including 10,02,058 are males and 6,22,847 are females.
Bir Singh Mahato, a veteran politician of India and a member of the 10th, 11th,12th,13thLok Sabha from the Purulia constituency of West Bengal was born on 14th September, 1945 at Purulia town. He is a member of the All India Forward Bloc, political party.
The district has several centres of attraction which allures many travellers from different parts of the country as well as world. Banda, a famous village and a tourist spot is located in the Purulia district. The place has many unique temples which are designed in "rekha" style, with broken amalaka. Cheliama, a big village with a great historical significance contributes to the tourism industry of the Purulia notably. The temple around the Cheliama is very beautifully decorated by the terracotta figurines and the exclusive carvings. Deulghat is a place full of temples. These temples are distinctively adorned by the stucco decoration which is the outstanding architecture. The entrance of those temples is entangled with the branches of trees, casting an eerie. Some other places of interest in the district are Ajodhya Hills, Murguma Dam, Pakhi Pahar, Joychandi Pahar, etc.