Arrah is an old city with references in mythological stories and Greek geographical works. It has been a centre of attraction for Jainism with dozens of old temples and hermitages. It is known for an important battle (Battle of Buxar) in October, 1764, a key event establishing the British occupation of India.
During the Indian rebellion of 1857, a small party of British officers and Indian soldiers were besieged in the Little House at Arrah, the district headquarters. They withstood the siege for three weeks until relieved by British troops.