The district of Hooghly derived its name from the town of Hooghly on the west bank of the Hooghly River about 40 km north of Kolkata. This town was a major river port for trade in India before colonialism.
The district has thousands of years of rich heritage as part of the Bengali kingdom of Bhurshut. The first European to reach this area was the Portuguese sailor Vasco da Gama. In 1536 Portuguese traders obtained a permit from Sultan Mahmud Shah to trade in this area. In those days the Hooghly River was the main route for transportation and Hooghly served as an excellent trading port.
Within a few decades the town of Hooghly turned into a major commercial centre and the largest port in Bengal. Later in 1579–80 Emperor Akbar gave permission to a Portuguese captain Pedro Tavares to establish a city anywhere in the Bengal province. They chose Hooghly, and it became the first European settlement in Bengal. In 1599 the Portuguese traders built a convent and a church in Bandel. This is the first Christian church in Bengal known as ‘Bandel Church’ today.
Among other European powers that came to Hooghly were the Dutch, the Danish, the British, the French, the Belgians and the Germans. Dutch traders centred their activities in the town Chuchura which is south of Hooghly. Chandannagar became the base of the French and the city remained under their control from 1816 to 1950. Similarly, the Danish establishment in settlement in Serampore (1755). All these towns are on the west bank of the Hooghly River and served as ports. Among these European countries, the British ultimately became most powerful.
Chinsurah N.S Road
A village in Hooghly
Initially the British were based in and around the city of Hooghly like traders from other countries. In 1690 Job Charnock decided to shift the British trading centre from Hooghly-Chinsura to Calcutta. The reason behind this decision was the strategically safe location of Calcutta and its proximity to the Bay of Bengal. As a result, trade and commerce in the Bengal province shifted from the town of Hooghly to Calcutta. Hooghly lost its importance as Calcutta prospered.
After the Battle of Buxar this region was brought under direct British rule until India's independence in 1947. After independence, this district merged into the state of West Bengal.
Though the city of Hooghly is more than 500 years old, the district of Hooghly was formed in 1795 with the city of Hooghly as its headquarters. Later the headquarters shifted to the town of Chuchura. In 1843 the Howrah district was created from the southern portion of this district. And in 1872, the south-west portion of this district was merged into the Medinipur district. The last change in area occurred in 1966.
The Taraknath temple, dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva worshiped as Taraknath, is a major pilgrimage spot in the town of Tarakeswar. Built in 1729, the temple is an ‘atchala’ structure of Bengal temple architecture with a ‘natmandir’ in front. Close by are the shrines of Kali and Lakshmi Narayan. Dudhpukur, a tank to the north of the Shiva temple is believed to fulfil the prayers of those taking a dip in it.
Pilgrims visit the temple throughout the year, especially on Mondays. Thousands of pilgrims visit Tarakeswar on the occasions of Shivaratri and ‘Gajan’, the former taking place in Phalgun (Feb-March) while the latter lasts for five days ending on the last day of Chaitra (mid-April). The month of Sravana (mid-July to mid-August) is seen to be auspicious for Shiva when celebrations are held on each Monday.
Map of Hooghly District showing CD blocks and municipal areas
Hooghly is one of the most economically developed districts in West Bengal. It is the main jute cultivation, jute industry, and jute trade hub in the state. The jute mills are along the banks of the river Hooghly in Tribeni, Bhadreswar, Champdani and Sreerampur.
There are a number of industrial complexes including one of the largest car manufacturing plants in India, the Hindustan Motors plant in Uttarpara.
It was also home to the Singur Tata Nano controversy. Hindustan Motors plant was closed in 2014.
Bandel Thermal power plant and tribeni tissue plant (ITC) are running smoothly.
Subdivision of Hooghly district map
The district comprises four subdivisions: Chinsurah, Chandannagore, Srirampore and Arambagh.
Chinsurah subdivision consists of two municipalities (Hugli-Chuchura and Bansberia) and five community development blocs: Balagarh, Chinsurah–Mogra, Dhaniakhali, Pandua and Polba–Dadpur.
Chandannagore subdivision consists of Chandannagar municipal corporation and three municipalities (Bhadreswar, Champdani and Tarakeswar) and three community development blocs: Haripal, Singur and Tarakeswar.
Other than municipality area, each subdivision contains community development blocks that are divided into rural areas and census towns.There are 41 urban units: 12 municipalities and 32 census towns.
Chanditalal–I community development block consists of rural areas only with 9 gram panchayats and 2 census towns: Masat, Gangadharpur, Aniya, Bhagabatipur, Haripur, Krishnarampur, Kumirmorah, Nawabpur, Sheakhala.
Hooghly District comes under Burdwan Police Range. The police chief of the district is the superintendent of police. His office is in Chinsurah.
For the functioning of 23 police stations of the district, District Intelligence Branch, District Enforcement Branch and District Reserve Police Force SP, Hooghly is assisted by three additional superintendents:
HQ: Having his office at Chinsurah, he looks after the Sadar Sub-Division and District Police Force, being assisted by Dy.S.P. (HQ) and Dy.S.P. (D&T).
Industrial: He is in Serampore. He is the supervising officer for Serampore and Chandernagore Sub Divisions, assisted by SDPO: Serampore and SDPO: Chandernagore.
Rural: He is in Arambagh and is the supervising officer for Arambagh Sub Division; being assisted by SDPO: Arambagh.
The railway communication of the district, especially at the suburban area, is very developed.
The railway is under Howrah Division. The Howrah – New Delhi Rajdhani Route passes through the district, which is one of the most important routes of the country. This route comes under Howrah division and is under the jurisdiction of Sr Den/2/Hwh assisted by AEN/2/LLH. The first train of ER started its journey from Howrah to Hooghly at 14 August 1854 (First halt was Bally (Howrah) and second halt was Serampore) . Hooghly station was announced as the heritage station.
According to the 2011 census Hooghly district has a population of 5,519,145, roughly equal to the nation of Denmark or the US state of Wisconsin. This gives it a ranking of 16th in India (out of a total of 640). The district has a population density of 1,753 inhabitants per square kilometre (4,540/sq mi).
Rishra: One of the most crowded city has many different religion people and industries like aditya birla's jayasree textile.First jute mill of Asian was in Rishra.Arjuna Awardee Indian Footballer Sudhir Karmakar and Ex-Indian Football Captain Sishir Ghost are from Rishra.historical places to visit in Rishra Are Nilkuthi,sideshwari kalibari,Bose House,Hesting jute mill etc.
Nalikul is famous for Raash Mela (রাস মেলা) & Rathayatra (রথযাত্রা) festivals. There is a big vegetable market.
Chinsurah is the district headquarters and a historical town of Hooghly. Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay composed the "Vande Mataram," the national song of India, at Chinsurah. The Dutch villa is separated at Joraghat and Townguard. They are called 'Mondol Bari' as they are now under the aristocratic ownership of the Mondal family. One can see the Dutch lioness murals on the entrance doors and allied wooden motifs. In spite of such historical background, a major portion of the original Dutch villa at Townguard road, where once nationalist leaders used to held meetings and conferences, was demolished and gone into the hands of builders/promoters. The back portion and the joraghat Mondal house with Dutch acknowledgment are intact. The hierarchy of inheritance is becoming weak and the landmark assets needs urgent preservation as well as heritage status application.
Guptipara is famous for Rathayatra and Rashmela. There are few historical Terracotta temple in Brindabanchandra Math.