Muzaffarpur district of Bihar is spread over an area of 3172 sq. kms. The district is bounded on the north by East Champaran and Sitamarhi districts, on the south by the district of Vaishali, on the east by the districts of Darbhanga and Samastipur (part) and on the west by Saran and part of Gopalganj districts. The district headquarters is located at Muzaffarpur.
The district has a population of 3.743 million (2001 census). Overall, there were 906 females per 1000 males. Rural population in the district is 90.7% and urban population is 9.3%. The Scheduled caste and scheduled Tribe contributed about 15.7% and 0.04% of the population respectively. The decennial growth rate between 1981 and 1991 was 23.3%. The density of the population was 929 per sq. kms. Hindi is the main language spoken in the district. Muzaffarpur district consists of 2 sub-divisions and 14 Community Development Blocks. It has 3 towns and 1796 villages.
The Muzaffarpur district comprises of an extensive plain formed by the alluvium brought by the Gandak, the Bagmati and other rivers, which flow through it. The ground is not marked by any high contour and at many places there are chains of shallow marshes, which serve the purpose of drainage for excessive water due to rainfall and overflow of the stream. The alluvial plain is a tract of great fertility. The soil of the district is largely alluvial. A special feature of the district is that due to continuous deposit of silt many of its riverbeds are higher than the adjoining areas. This leads to frequent floods during the rainy season particularly in northeast and southwest parts of the district.
The Gandak, Bagmati, Burhi Gandak and Baya are the important rivers besides a few streams. The Gandak and Bagmati have their origins in the mountains of Nepal. The Burhi Gandak is navigable during the greater part of the year. River Baya emanates from the Gandak a little west of the Muzaffarpur district. It enters the district near Karnaul in Sahebganj block and flows in the southeasterly direction almost parallel to the parent river and ultimately joins the Ganga.
The district has well developed means of communication. It has a network of railways and well-maintained roads. Country boats also ply in the larger rivers. All the block headquarters are linked with the district headquarters, Muzaffarpur by pucca roads. Train and buses are the main sources of communication. Almost all the roads are nationalised and the buses of Bihar Rajya Transport Corporation ply on these roads. Besides, private buses also ply on some routes,
Muzaffarpur district is the center of several Industries, big and small. The Prabhat Zarda Factory, Bharat Wagon and Engineering Ltd., units of Leather Development Corporation, Muzaffarpur Dairy, a unit of the Bihar State Dairy Corporation are the major industries located in Muzaffarpur town and its periphery. The above industries have generated considerable employment and have also been helpful in establishing a number of small industries including a few cottage industries. The most important item that is manufactured in Muzaffarpur town is railway wagon. Muzaffarpur town is a very important centre for the cloth trade
In ancient period before the birth of Christ Viz. between 725 and 484 B.C., the region of Muzaffarpur and Hajipur was known as Vaishali. It was here that the first Republican Government was established and the history of the Republican Vajjian confederacy is bright and glorious. In the Central administration of the vajiis, there were the posts of the President, the Senapati and the Bhandarik. There was a central legislature the total number of whose members was 7707. There was an elaborate procedure for conducting the business of the Assembly of Lichchavis. The Vinaya Pitaka informs us that the Assembly used, first of all, to elect an officer whose function was to make them sit in order of seniority. Disputes were settled by counting voting tickets known as "Salakas" which were distributed to the voters.
The most remarkable thing in the Lichchhavi Republic was their high regard for personal liberty and the care that no innocent should be punished . The key to the success of the Lichchhavi Republic was their democratic way of life which was enshrined in their "Seven non-injuring way-" or "Satta Aparihanidhamma".
Muzaffarpur has got a glorious past and the present history is equally fascinating and interesting. The town of Muzaffarpur was founded in the 18th century by one Muzaffar khan, an "AMIL" or a farmer of Chakla Nai.
Its earlier history presents an interesting study. In 1324, Sultan Ghayasuddin Tughlak of Delhi after exterminating the "Karnata" dynasty established by Nanyadeva in North Bihar as early as 1097, brought this region under his control. He and his successor Mohammad entrusted the administration of Trihut to one Kameshwar Thakur who established Oinwar dynasty. It was at this time Haji Illyas Shah, the ruler of Bengal invaded Trihut and brought Hajipur (named after him) under his control.
Muzaffarpur is India's Gateway to Nepal and China and even now the trade of cloth and grains is brisk between Kathmandu and Muzaffarpur. During the early period of British Raj in India, Muzaffarpur was a favourite place of the European indigo planters and they were scattered all over the districts of Muzaffarpur and Motihari. The foreign planters had build a nice club close to the railway lines going to Narayanpur Anant from Muzaffarpur. The debris of the imposing club building is still lying on the southern side of Ramna and just opposite to the Bose familys' houses. The road east of the Kalyan Chowk which passes through the Gurudwara and the Ramna compound and ends near Satpura was known as the Planter's Club Road as per old records.
Mahatma Gandhi came first to Muzaffarpur in 1918 on his way to Motihari to redress grievances of the Champaran farmers .In his book " My Experiments with truth ", Vol 1, he has written how he passed some delightful days at Ramna. It is important to mention that first President of Indian Republic - "Dr Rajendra Prasad" was a teacher in the "Greer Bhumihiar Brahman College, Muzaffarpur. In 1902, Poet Rabindra Nath Tagore was accorded the first civic reception by the citizens of Muzaffarpur and this is the first town in India which had a unique priviege of doing so. In 1908, the first bomb outrage a sign of militant Nationalism, occurred at Muzaffarpur and Khudi Ram Bose offered his life at the altar of the Indian Independence.
In 1916, Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya came to Muzaffarpur for collection of funds in connection with the Banaras Hindu University and a public meeting of landlords of the Trihut divison. It was held in Ramna under the presidentship of Maharaj Adhiraj Sir Rameshwar Singh Bahadur of Darbhanga. Big and small zamindars presented sizeable amount of donations. Among the zamindars Late Babu Maheshwar Prasad (father of Sri Umashankar Prasad alias Bacha Babu) made the highest contribution of Rupees Ten Thousand only for B.H.U. at that time. In early twenties of the 20th century Acharya Kriplani and Dr Rajendra Prasad were appointed lecturers in the said college. Mr R.P. Khosa, I.E.S , Head of the Department of History, G.B.B College was an outstanding personality in Bihar.
Muzaffarpur possesses ancient temples like Baba Garib Nath, Chaturbhuj Sthan, Raj Rajeswar Devi Kali Temple of Raj Darbhanga and Kalibari. Sri Ram Dayalu Singh was the first speaker of the Bihar Legislative assembly in the post independent period. After his demise, Sri Bindeshwar Pd. Verma was elected the speaker of the Assembly. Sri Mahesh Pd. Sinha was also a renowned Political leader of Muzaffarpur but the old culture and traditional life got a setback when he was appointed a minister of the Bihar Government. Sri C.P.N Sinha who is the first person to be appointed to provincial Government ,the foremost citizen of Muzaffarpur, lived on the club road here.
Rai Bahadur Shyam Nandan Sahay and Rai Bahadur Sri Narayan Mahtha both members of the Indian parliament, played an important role in the cultural, social and political spheres of the town.
Baba Garibnath Temple: Baba Garibnath Temple situated in Muzaffarpur town is undoubtedly one of the most famous "Lord Shiva" temples ! Its history goes like this-There was a Landlord in ancient times who owned the land where the present temple is. There was a huge Banyan tree in the premises of the temple which provided shade and relief to many people. Unfortunately due to bad financial condition the Landlord had to sell his house to another person. The new owner seemed not too interested in Banyan tree so he ordered it to be cut down to clean the premises. While cutting the tree a "Shivling" was found within it, which got partly damaged due to the swing of the axe, and red water started oozing out from the "Shivling"! The Landlord was quite disturbed after seeing this and was not able to sleep for the entire night. In the morning "Baba Garibnath" appeared in his dreams and said that he was Baba Garibnath-one who has great sympathy for poor. He ordered him to establish the "Shivling" at the same place and call one of his great Devotees "Shri Shivdhari Pathak" of Chapra district to regularly worship and take care of the temple. It was done exactly as told by "Baba" and since that day "Baba Garibnath Temple" is famous for granting the fulfilment of the wishes of its devotees. It is also called second "Baidhnath".
Chaturbhuj Sthan Temple: Chaturbhuj Temple, situated in Muzaffarpur, is famous for its spirituality and faith. In 1303 century, in a village called "Turki", a big idol of "Lord Chaturbhuj" was found. People started worshipping the lord with full devotion but it seems the lord desired something else! There was a saint who was a great worshipper of Lord Shiva and was also responsible for establishing a "Shivling" at the present Muzaffarpur (which was a village at that time). "Lord Chaturbhuj" came in his dreams and asked him to place him near "Lord Shiva" as he was not comfortable at Turki. The saint brought the idol, all the way from Turki to Muzaffarpur, on foot which was a reflection of his faith and worship. "Lord Chaturbhuj" was established beside "Lord Shiva" under a tree and since then his regular worship started. There was a man from Patna, who was another great worshipper of the lord. Lord came in his dreams and asked him to build a temple for him and he will get lots of fame and that he would be blessed with a child (he was childless). It was done as directed and today we have the magnificent and beautiful Chaturbhuj Temple.
Shri Ram Temple: Shri Ram temple is one of the famous religious places. Situated at "Sahu Pokhar" in Muzaffarpur, it's status was kept as one of the "Navratna" temples. It is said that it was made by artists from Rajasthan. Later Shri Shiv Prasad Sahu of Sahu family took over the order and care taking of the temple and still Sahu family is doing the same. Within the premises the biggest temple is of "Shri Ram and Mata Janaki". Beside that "Mahadev" temple is there whose Shivling is India's third largest Shivling. Devotees come in masses to offer their prayers in this sacred temple. Kali Mata Temple Of Sikandarpur This great temple is an icon of faith, worship and belief on Ma. It is situated on the south coast of "Gandak" river. Possibly, it was made in the year of 1932 by Darbhanga Maharaj Kamlesh Singh. Devotees come in masses to worship Ma. Simri Mai Temple Of Police Line Near Muzaffarpur Engineering College in Avaas Nagar there is a famous "Devi Peeth", it is called Simri Mai. It is said that here to please "Bhagwati" coconut is broken. History tells that long ago there was an old lady who used to live in a hut near this place. During night she used to medidate for long hours. She took "Samadhi" on the 17th day of Navratra here. From that day this place has got a status of "Lokpeeth" and is famous by the name of "Simri Mai".