West Champaran District in Bihar
occupies an area of 5,228 sq km. The total population is 2 million. The district is broadly divided into eighteen blocks. The headquarters is
Agriculture and industry play a great role in the economy. Rice, sugarcane, and cane reeds are cultivated. Sugar factories are located throughout the district. The Gandak is the major river.
Champaran is the home of Sage Valmiki, the author of the
Ramayana. It was a part of ancient Tirhut, the land of Raja Janak, father of Sita, the heroine of the Ramayana.
The word 'Champaran is derived from 'champaaranya' meaning a forest of the fragrant Champa (magnolia) tree.
West Champaran has great tourist potential. Valmiki National Park is located here. It was established as the 18th tiger reserve in 1990 and ranks fourth in the density of tiger population.
Bettiah is an agricultural trade center, which also manufactures brass, metalware and leather goods. Here the places to see are the Maharaja's Palace and a number of temples. There is a Roman Catholic Mission, established in 1740. Lauriya Nandangarh is 28 km from Bettiah, where there is a pillar of Ashoka and some funeral mounds, said to be the only genuine Vedic monuments in India.
The nearest airport is at Patna at a distance of 295 km.