The name Birbhum comes probably from the term Land of the Brave . Another theory says that the district bears the name of Bir kings, who ruled in the area. But, Bir in Santali language means forests, and therefore, Birbhum could also mean a land of forests.
Often called "The land of red soil", Birbhum is noted for its topography and its cultural heritage which is unique and is somewhat different from that of the other districts in West Bengal. The western part of Birbhum is a bushy region, a part of the Chhota Nagpur Plateau. This region gradually merges with the fertile alluvial farmlands in the east. This district saw many cultural and religious movements in history. The Visva Bharati University at Santiniketan, established by Rabindranath Tagore, is one of the places Birbhum is internationally renowned for. Many festivals are celebrated in this culturally rich district, including the notable Poush Mela.