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Welcome to Bettiah / West Champaran  
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Bettiah is the headquarters of West Champaran district in the state of Bihar, in India. It is an agricultural trade centre, it also manufactures brass, metalware and leather goods. The seat of the Bettiah Raj estate, established in the 17th century, it contains the Maharaja's Palace and a number of temples beside other places to visit.

Bettiah is a small town near Indo-Nepal border, Its palaces and temples narrate its magnificient history. It has a Roman Catholic Mission established in 1740 and municipality, established in 1869. It came on the rail-map of the country, as early as 1883 and witnessed the first experiment with non-violence by Gandhiji in India during his Struggle for the Abolition of Indigo Plantation in 1917. It is an agricultural trade centre and has several industries, viz., sugar, leather, brass and metalware, beside food processing centres.

Bettiah Raj
Bettiah was the capital of the little Kingdom of Bettiah, known as Bettiah Raj, one of the great estates of North Bihar. It possessed a record room or muhafizkhana. Since 1897, the Bettiah Raj was under the Court of Wards, a colonial institution whose function was to oversee the administration of the estates which had no male heir to succeed. The Bettiah Raj, still has its own officials who oversee day to day administration of its landholdings and other assets, that are not confined to Bettiah, but are in several parts of the country. Bettiah Raj's houses the official records of administrative and legal affairs of the Raj for the past two hundred and fifty years or so, which are stored in two large halls having an storage space of 40,000 and 72,000 cubic feet respectively, with a shelf space that is about half a kilometer in length. It is in fact a rich repository of source materials for the study of the agrarian and political history not only of the Bettiah Raj, but beyond that also. The records are placed in bastas, which are individual bundles of records wrapped in cloth. The records includes rent registers and receipts, cash- books, village notes and settlement records, village maps, legal proceedings and historical letters covering more than 200 years of history. Unfortunately, the order in which the records were classified is now lost and most of them can only be found by sheer guess work or even by accident!
Roman Catholic Mission
A noteworthy event occurred in 1740, when Maharani of Bettiah was sick and could not be cured by the local practitioners, Raja invited Father Joseph Mary, a medical doctor, settled at Patna. Father Joseph was successful, and the Raja was very grateful. In reward, the Raja offered the him the freedom to spread his religion in the region. With permission from the Vatican, a mission was set up at Bettiah in 1769 with priests coming from Rome. Now Bettiah is a Diocese with a Bishop as its head clergy.

Severla schools, orphanages and other welfare institutions are run by the mission in and around Bettiah. Among the schools run by the mission, K. R. High School (for boys) and St. Teresa High School (for girls) are well aclaimed.

Gandhiji at Bettiah

On October 11, 1917, Gandhiji arrived in Bettiah from Motihari by train. The local CID described his visit as follows. About 4,000 people were present at the station and no sooner the train stopped than people began to shout: Gandhiji ki jai, Gandhi Maharaj ki jai. There were bajas (bands), and flags at the station and all the men from neighbouring and distant villages, including schoolboys and mukhtiars were present. They showered flowers on Gandhiji and garlanded him. There were red carpets spread over the complete length of the platform. Surajmal Marwari of Bettiah had brought his phaeton and a horse of Puran Babu Raj, an engineer, was harnessed ........ Gandhiji was taken to Hazarimal's dharamshala with all the villagers who had come to see him. The dharamshala was nicely decorated with flags, flowers, etc." D.G. Tendulkar's Gandhi in Champaran has a photograph of it, where Gandhiji camped and conducted his campaign. The site still exists, besides newly painted signboards reading "Hazarimal dharamshala, estd. 1892". The original building has been half demolished and would have disappeared had the Government of Bihar not woken up belatedly. There is a plaque which indicate that Gandhiji made his debut in Indian politics, 80 years ago, from the site of the rubble.
Bettiah Fair
This fair is held at Bettiah (West Champaran) on the Dussehra Durga Puja and lasts for about fifteen days. It attracts a vast number of people from the neighbouring villages at the time of fair. It is estimated that their number does not fall much short of two lakhs or so.

The most important feature of this fairs is the organization of a cattle fair where several thousand cattle are bought and sold.

The cattle fair also attracts sellers and purchasers from the neighboring districts of Muzaffarpur and Saran as well as from Nepal. The cattle brought for sale here are generally of local breed and are poor in quality. All kinds of commodities required in daily use are sold at this fair. It is the largest fair in the district.
West Champaran
Area Population Total Rural Total Urban Total
5,228 sq. kms. 23,33,666 20,98,298 2,35,368
SC Population Total Rural Total Urban Total
3,35,249 3,17,428 1,17,821
ST Population Total Rural Tota Urban Total
31,104 30,733 371
Sub Divisions
Bettiah, Bagaha, Narkatiyaganj. Blocks Bettiah, Sikta, Mainatand, Chanpattia, Bairia, Lauria, Bagaha-1, Bagaha-2, Madhubani, Gaunaha, Narkatiaganj, Manjhaulia, Nautan, Jogapatti, Ramnagar, Thakraha, Bhitaha, Piprasi.
225 Kilometres north-west of Patna. It is located at 26.81?N Latitude and 84.50?E Longitude, 65 metres above Mean Sea Level
Best time to visit
Visit October to March. How To Get There By air
How To Get There By air
Nearest air-port is Patna, about 225 Kilometres from Bettiah.
By Rail
From Delhi : Saptakranti Express, Satyagrah Express
From Mumbai : Avadh Express
From Kolkata : Howrah-Gorakhpur Express
From Jammu : Amarnath Express
By road
Luxurious bus services between Bettiah and Patna and other places. Getting Around Auto Rickshaw, Cycle Rickshaw, Tonga, Bus and Unmetered Taxi. Places To Stay Large number of good quality hotels are present at Bettiah
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