The history of Burdwan is known from about 5000 BC (the Mesolithic or Late Stone Age). The origin of this name dates back to the 6th century BCE and is ascribed to Vardhaman Swami or Mahavira (599-527 BCE), the 24th Tirthankara of Jainism, who spent some time in Astikagrama, according to the Jain scripture of Kalpasutra. This place was renamed as Vardhamana in his honour.
During the period of Jahangir this place was named Badh-e-dewan (district capital). The city owes its historical importance to being the headquarters of the Maharajas of Burdwan, the premier noblemen of lower Bengal, whose rent-roll was upwards of 300,000. Bardhaman Raj was founded in 1657 by Sangam Rai, of a Hindu Khatri family of Kotli in Lahore, Punjab, whose descendants served in turn the Mughal Emperors and the British government. The East Indian Railway from Howrah was opened in 1855. The great prosperity of the raj was due to the excellent management of Maharaja Mahtab Chand (died 1879), whose loyalty to the government especially during the "Hul" (Santhal rebellion) of 1855-56 and the Indian rebellion of 1857 was rewarded with the grant of a coat of arms in 1868 and the right to a personal salute of 13 guns in 1877. Maharaja Bijaychand Mahtab (born 1881), who succeeded his adoptive father in 1888, earned great distinction by the courage with which he risked his life to save that of Sir Andrew Fraser, the lieutenant-governor of Bengal, on the occasion of the attempt to assassinate him made by freedom fighters of Bengal on 7 November 1908.
Mahtab Chand Bahadur and later Bijoy Chand Mahtab struggled their best to make this region culturally, economically and ecologically healthier. The chief educational institution was the Burdwan Raj College, which was entirely supported out of the maharaja's estate. Sadhak Kamalakanta as composer of devotional songs and Kashiram Das as a poet and translator of the great Mahabharata were possibly the best products of such an endeavour. Pratap Chandra Roy was the publisher of the first translation in the world to translate Mahabharata in English (1883–1896). The society at large also continued to gain the fruits. We find, among others, the great rebel poet Kazi Nazrul Islam and Kala-azar-famed U. N. Brahmachari as the relatively recent illustrious sons of this soil. Batukeshwar Dutt an Indian revolutionary and independence fighter in the early 1900s was born on 18 November 1910 in a village Oari in Burdwan district. He is best known for having exploded a few bombs, along with Bhagat Singh, in the Central Legislative Assembly in New Delhi on 8 April 1929. The city became an important centre of North-Indian classical music as well.
Bardhaman R: temple, mosque, P: park, F: facility, C: university, college, museum, H: historical site Owing to space constraints in the small map, the actual locations in a larger map may vary slightly
The first epigraphic reference to the name of this place occurs in a 6th-century AD copper plate found in Mallasarul village under Galsi Police Station. Archeological evidences suggest that this region, forming a major part of Radh Bengal, could be traced even back to 4000 BCE.
Burdwan police station has jurisdiction over Bardhaman municipal area and Burdwan I and Burdwan II CD Blocks. The area covered is 192.15 km2. There are out posts at Barabazar, Muradpur, Keshabganj, Nutanganj and Birhata.2
Women police station Burdwan has jurisdiction over Bardhaman municipal area and Burdwan I and Burdwan II CD Blocks. The area covered is 192.15 km.
In the 2011 census, Bardhaman Urban Agglomeration had a population of 347,016, out of which 177,055 were males and 169,961 were females. 25,069 people were between the ages of 0–6 years. Effective literacy rate for the 7+ population was 88.62%.
Burdwan has a multi-cultural heritage. The deuls (temples of rekha type) found here are reminiscent of Bengali Hindu architecture. The old temples bear signs of Hinduism, mostly belonging to the Sakta and Vaishnava followers.
The Kankaleswari Kali is also located in the city of Burdwan. Burdwan experienced and survived numerous violent conflicts, mainly due to Mughal, Pashtun and Maratha invaders. The city of Bardhaman was visited by notables of the Delhi Sultanate from Raja Todarmal to Daud Karnani, from Sher Afghan and Kutub-ud-din to Ajimuswan to the future Mughal emperor Shah Jahan while he was still a rebel. Bardhaman also has a number of Bengali Christians, and although they are a minority, there are many churches in the city.
Tombs of Sher Afgan and Qutbuddin Khan Koka - Mehr-un-Nissa, then wife of Sher Afgan, jagirdar of Bardhaman, was once a resident of Bardhaman. It is said that the Mughal emperorJahangir had fallen in love with her and was determined to marry her. He tried to get her with the help of his foster-brother and subahdar of Bengal, Qutbuddin Khan Koka. Sher Afgan died during a fight with Qutbuddin Khan Koka, who also was killed. Both were buried side-by-side at Bardhaman in 1607 (or 1610 according to some sources), in the same place as Pir Baharam Sikka, a Persian Sufi saint. Mehr-un-Nissa ultimately emerged as the Empress Nur Jahan.
Rajbati – the palace of the Bardhaman Raj family, was built by Mahatabchand in the 19th century, at a site that is earlier believed to have a Mughal fort. The Rajbati was built by the Kolkata-based Burn and Company. The main hall has many valuable paintings.Uday Chand Mahtab handed over the Rajbati to the state government. It now houses the administrative offices of the University of Burdwan.
Golapbag, Ramna Bagan and Deer Park – Golapbag was developed as a botanical and zoological garden in the 19th century. It contained lakes for boating and Hawa Mahal. Several academic sections of the University of Burdwan are located there. Ramna Bagan once had a Brahmo Samaj. It now has a deer park.
108 Shiva temple complex - the Shiva temple complex, constructed by Maharani Bishnu Kumari, at Nawabhat, near Bardhaman, has a picturesque setting. The temple complex, built in 1788, fell into disrepairs and was thoroughly renovated by the Birla Public Welfare Trust.
Kankaleshwari Mandir – the temple at Kanchanagar, has a deity resembling a human skeleton. It is a navaratna temple with terracotta carvings. The idol is that of a six feet tall eight armed goddess Chamunda.
Tomb of Khwaja Anwar Berh - the tomb of the Mughal warrior, buried at Poddarhat in 1315 Hijri, is a fine example of Mughal architecture.
Shershahi Kalo Masjid- the mosque in the Puratan Chak (Payrakhana Road) area was built during the reign of Sher Shah Suri.
Shahi Jumma Masjid- the mosque with three minarets is a historical structure erected behind the Rajbati by Azim-ush-Shan, grandson of Aurangzeb and then subahdar of Bengal, Bihar and Odisha.
Burdwan Science Centre- a high standard science museum near the university campus.
Meghnad Saha Planetarium- inaugurated in 1994, the main instrument was a gift from the Government of Japan to the University of Burdwan. The second planetarium in the state, built to international standards, it is named after the Indian scientist Meghnad Saha. Located near Golapbag, it has arrangement for six shows daily with 90 seats in each show. It is closed on Mondays.
Birhata Kalibari (Boro Maa): The temple of 10 feet sculpture of goddess Kali made up of touchstone. The goddess is known locally as Boro Maa. The locality had been named after this temple as Kali Bazar. The temple has two parts bisected by a lane. One part contains Kali Mandir and the other, Durga Mandir.
Christ Church: This is a very old Christ Church in Bardhaman near "Curzon Gate".
Town Hall : The Town Hall was built sometime between 1890 and 1894 and was handed to the Municipality of Bardhaman to help them preserve the remnants of Lala Bansogopal Nandey. The municipality board restored the hall in 1990 to its present form of 2400 square feet from its earlier form of 704 square feet with a seating capacity of 485 seats.
The Grand Trunk Road runs across the city; NH 19 (old numbering NH 2) bypasses the city. South Bengal State Transport Corporation (SBSTC) and private operators operate buses from Bolpur, Asansol, Baharampur, Kirnahar, Bankura, Esplanade and Saltlake. It takes around 2–21⁄2 hours. Bardhaman is well connected by bus with numerous places all around. Most of the buses arrive and leave from Alisha Bus Stand and Nababhat Bus Stand. Burdwan also has a facility of bus service known as Town Service which connects different areas within the city.
Sadarghat Road also connects Bardhaman with Bankura (indirectly) and Hooghly (directly) district.
The main Howrah-Delhi rail track passes through Bardhaman, and the city is served by Bardhaman railway station. The Howrah Rajdhani Express (via Patna) has a scheduled stop at Bardhaman. One can take a local train from Howrah to reach in two hrs. One can also travel along the Sahibganj Loop, which branches off, one station after Bardhaman. The narrow gauge line to Katwa was upgraded to broad gauge in 2013, up to Balgona, which has been extended to Katwa.
Cycle rickshaws and E-Rickshaws (Toto) are available for travel within the city.
Also available mini bus within city and surrounding. Intracity connector by SBSTC under JNNURM project has been provided.
Ola's bike service is also active in the city.
The University of Burdwan was formally inaugurated on 15 June 1960 by Sukumar Sen, its first Vice-chancellor. It was after the abolition of the Zamindari system in the fifties that Uday Chand Mahtab, the last representative of the Burdwan Raj, left almost his entire property in Burdwan to the state government. This, coupled with the initiative of the then Chief Minister of West Bengal, Bidhan Chandra Roy, facilitated the establishment of this university. Presently, the administrative works are mostly done at the Rajbati (the palace of Barddhamana Maharaja) campus; on the other hand, academic activities centre on the Golapbag campus. With social responsibilities in mind, the university actively patronised the construction of a science centre and the Meghnad Saha Planetarium.