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Imperial Gazetteer of India, v. 6, p. 251.


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BALLIA DISTRICT


251


being eroded, while the opposite shore receives a new alluvial deposit
to fill up the void left by the receding river. After a period of years
the process is reversed, or the river suddenly cuts a new bed for itself.
Besides the Ganges and Gogra, the only river of importance is the
Chhoti or Lesser Sarjf, a branch from the Gogra, which leaves that river
in Azamgarh, and joins the Ganges a little to the west of Ballia town.
It forms approximately the boundary between this District and Ghazipur
in the upper part of its course. The SURAH. T.AL, the largest perennial
lake, is connected with the Ganges by a narrow deep channel, the
Katihar Nadi, which admits the Ganges floods in the rainy season and
drains the lake when the river falls again.
The whole District contains no rock formation; but the older
alluvium is distinguished from the new by the prevalence of kankar or
nodular limestone.
The flora of the District presents no peculiarity. The upland area is
well wooded, and mango groves abound in great profusion. In the
alluvial soil liable to be inundated the babtul (Acacia arabica) is the
principal tree. The toddy palm (Borassius flabellifer) is very common
in the west of the District. There is very little jungle; but where
waste exists the dhdk (Butea frondosa) is found, while on the banks
of the rivers tall grasses and tamarisk form a refuge for wild hog.
The wild animals of Ballia are not important, owing to the density of
population. Nilgai and wild hog are, however, found in the grass
jungles near the rivers. Wild-fowl of numerous kinds frequent the
lakes. Fish are plentiful in the rivers and ponds, and are much used
for food. The fishing rights in the lower reaches of the Chhoti Sarju
belong to Government.
Ballia resembles the border Districts of Ghazipur and Azamgarh in
climate. Extremes of heat and cold are less than in the more western
Districts, but to European constitutions and also to the natives of drier
tracts the climate is relaxing.
The annual rainfall averages 42 inches, equally distributed in all
parts. The rainy season commences early, and as a rule lasts longer
than in the Districts farther west.
There is no material for a history of the District, which only became
a separate entity in 1879. Many ancient mounds and ruined forts
exist, which are generally assigned by the people
to the Bhars and Cherus, who are said to have heldy.
the tract before the Musalman conquest. Some of them probably
contain Buddhist remains, and attempts have been made to identify
sites visited by the Chinese pilgrims. Ballia was no doubt included in
the early Hindu kingdom of MAGADHA, and a thousand years later in
the Musalman kingdom of Jaunpur. Under Akbar it belonged to the
Sfibahs of Allahabad and Bihar. In the eighteenth century it became



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