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Birthplace of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar
|Elevation||5 m (16 ft)|
|• Official||Bengali, English|
|Time zone||UTC+5:30 (IST)|
|ISO 3166 code||IN-WB|
|Lok Sabha constituency||Ghatal|
|Vidhan Sabha constituency||Ghatal|
Ghatal is the headquarters of the Ghatal subdivision in Paschim Medinipur district, West Bengal, India. It also has a community development block. Ghatal is a flood-prone area and in many years is flooded by the Shilabati River. This town is old. The river Shilabati divided the town into two parts. The Ghatal Police station lies on the west bank of the river. There is one peculiar floating bridge on the river made of by joining some boats tied with rope from both sides in the banks, called "Bhasa Pool" (floating bridge). Also, one cement bridge is constructed on the main pitch road or State Highway 4 passing through Chandrakona Town, Ghatal, Daspur, and Microgram.
Ghatal Sub-Division and the town Ghatal have their old history of civilization, business, the struggle for freedom of India. Many patriots, social reformers, and freedom fighters were the sons of this PS area. The river Darakeswar and Shilabati meet with rivers Jhumi and Damodar at a place named as Bandar (port) 3 km (2 mi) East from Ghatal PS. This is the subdivision of Pandit Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, Patriot Pradyot Bhattacharya, Patriot Pravangsu Paul, Patriot Mohini Mondal, Raja Narendralal Khan, Patriot Manabendranath Roy and so many memorable persons.
In ancient times, Tamralipta was an important port for shipping export and import between Bengal and other countries including Sri Lanka. This Bandar of Ghatal was also used as a port for anchoring boats and ships with goods. Ghatal was once famous for the manufacture of cotton, tusser silk, bell-metal utensils, and earthenware. It was so important that the Dutch had a factory in the headquarters town, which is still used as a sub-divisional court. In the early days of British occupation, three commercial residents were located in the locality to supervise local trade. The old industries like the cultivation and weaving of silk and cotton for which Ghatal and its nearest areas were famous from ancient times were systematically wiped away by the policy of the East India Company's administration. Withdrawal of the company's investments, shrinkage in the marketability of textile goods at home and abroad, and heavy competition of the foreign goods were responsible for the decline of textile industries in Ghatal and the nearest areas like Radhanagar, Khirpai, Chandrokona, and Khrar. This area was also famous for the sugar industry (mainly in Radhanagar areas) in ancient times.
In 2002, Medinipur District was divided into two parts, Purba Medinipur and Paschim Medinipur, for the sake of administrative efficiency and expediency. Paschim Medinipur consists of four sub-divisions - Kharagpur, Medinipur Sadar, Ghatal, Jhargram. Ghatal sub-division now consists of five blocks- Chandrokona-I, Chandrokona-II, Daspur-I, Daspur-II, and Ghatal, and five municipalities - Ramjibanpur, Khirpai, Chandrokona, Kharar, and Ghatal.
Ghatal is located at  It has an average elevation of 5 metres (16 feet). It is situated on the sides of the river Shilabati on the south, Dwarakeswar on the east and Jhumi river another third side..
As of 2001[update] India census, Ghatal had a population of 51,586. Males constitute 52% of the population and females 48%. Ghatal has an average literacy rate of 76%, higher than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy is 83%, and female literacy is 69%. In Ghatal, 11% of the population is under 6 years of age.
As per the 2001 census, Ghatal CD Block had a population of 190,705 out of which 96,605 were males and 94,100 were females. Growth of population in the 1991-2001 decade was 11.83 per cent.
The headquarters of Ghatal Block is located at Ghatal.
Most of the rich and upper-middle-class people living in the town have old and established businesses. Besides the town area, the people of the nearby villages basically earn their livelihood by producing crops, like paddy, potato, wheat, jute and vegetables of different kinds. Some people earn money by fishing and hawking and weaving.
Its climate is moderate, but low lying areas of Ghatal are flood-prone areas and is flooded by the Shilaboti, Jhumi, Kethiya, Kansaboti and Rupnarayan Rivers during rainy season. On the other hand the other side of river Shilaboti is protected by. Rice, potato and other vegetable farming are the main occupations of the people of this subdivision.
Ghatal is well connected by roads and highways with nearby cities like Kolkata, Howrah, Midnapore, Kanthi, Digha, Burdwan, Bankura. For local transportation, buses, minibusses, and cycle-rickshaws are available. Panskura Railway Station is the nearest railway station. SH 4 passes through Ghatal.
There are a number of well-known schools and colleges in Ghatal. For higher education, there is one general degree college named Ghatal Rabindra Satabarsiki Mahavidyalaya under Vidyasagar University, one polytechnic college named Ghatal Government Polytechnic and One ITI college named Ghatal Government ITI in Birsingha. The literacy rate of Ghatal is 76%. The schools are:
The common people of this area maintained a culture something different from other parts of the district in conducting and observing their way of work in rituals and customs. They cherish their old fashion and customs. For example, the people celebrating the worship of Maa Sitala Buri and other Maa Sitalas in an around Ghatal Town used to carry hundreds of dhaks in procession and arrange open operas acting on the stage dragged and pushed by the men on pitch road running through the town.
Among many festivals in Ghatal Sishu Mela (around the month of February) is most popular. Many people of Ghatal town and its neighbouring blocks take part in the Sishu Mela. Vidyasagar Mela is also popular, which takes place in Birsingha (the birthplace of Iswarchandra Vidyasagar). The regular Bengali festivals like Durga Puja, Saraswati Puja and Kali Puja are well attended and observed with glorious themed pandals. Other common pujas in the worship of Sitala, Jagaddhatri, Holi, Janmastami, Bheema Puja also take place.
Science exhibitions, seminars on science and literature, awareness programmes on health and agriculture are usually held in Ghatal Town hall. Besides that musical, dance and magic shows are also held in Ghatal Town hall.
The Visalaxmi temple at Barada and Khipteswari temple at Ghatal are the main tourist attractions. There is one peculiar floating bridge on the river made of by joining some boats tied with rope from the both sides in the banks. This bridge is also called Bhasapool'(build in the times of British Raj), and is one of the greatest tourist attractions in Ghatal. There is also the Kushpata Satsanga Ashram. The largest Thakur Anukul Chandra temple of West Bengal is situated on the bank of Shilabati River which is 1.5 km (1 mi) away from Ghatal Vidyasagar Setu. Here one can see several temples of Anukul Thakur. There is a large prayer room for the common people. Everyday a huge number of people go to visit the temple and spend time in this silent area. The peoples of the Ghatal are very religious. There are many ashramas like Anukul Thakurer Satsanga ashram, Nigamanand er ashram, Ramkrishna Mission, and Swami Debananda ashram.