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Dharan is the headquarters of Dhanusha District, Sunsari District, and Dharan Sub-metropolitan City. It is also a major transit point for goods from India destined to Nepal as well as other parts of the country. The city has been growing rapidly in recent years with many new businesses opening up and several industries establishing their base here. This growth has led to an increase in population which now numbers over 100,000 people. The name "Dharan" comes from Sanskrit word Dhara (धार) meaning earth or ground. In ancient times it was known by its original name "Bhagwati Nagar". Bhagwati Nagar was founded by King Pratap Malla Dev along with his two brothers on the bank of Bishnumati River during 17th century AD who later shifted his capital to Kathmandu after conquering Kirtipur (Kathmandu).