The district of Hooghly derived its name from the town of Hooghly on the west bank of the Hugli 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 Mughal 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.
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.
The district is flat, with no place having an elevation of more than 200 meters. The River Hooghly borders it to the east. Another major river is the Damodar.
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.
The district comprises four subdivisions: Chinsurah, Chandannagore, Srirampore and Arambagh.
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 64 census towns.
Chanditala–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. Hooghly Rural Police District was created on 30 June 2017, curbing out of erstwhile Hooghly district. Presently it consists of sixteen police station with jurisdiction, one women police station and one Cyber Police Station. The head quarter of Hooghly Rural Police District was shifted to Kamarkundu under Singur PS from Chinsura.
Chandannagar Police Commissionerate was formed after bifurcation of the Hooghly Police District, and has nine police stations under its jurisdiction established on 30 June 2017, is a police force with primary responsibilities in law enforcement and investigation within certain urban parts of Hooghly district. The Commissionerate is part of the West Bengal Police, and comes under the Department of Home & Hill Affairs, Government of West Bengal.
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 on 14 August 1854 (First halt was Bally (Howrah) and second halt was Serampore). Hooghly station was announced as the heritage station.
Chinsurah and Tarakeswar railway stations are very useful.
There are several bus stands in Hooghly district, of the main four bus stands are Chinsurah, Serampore, Tarakeswar, Arambagh. Other small bus stand including Kamarpukur, Dashghara, Dankuni, Champadanga, Garer Ghat, Badanganj, Haripal, Jangipara, Balideaonganj, Bandar present in Hooghly district.
Tarakeswar is the largest bus terminus of Hooghly. It has bus connection with several districts of West Bengal. Express Buses bound Bankura, Barddhaman, Durgapur, Sonamukhi, Tamluk, Bolpur, Khatra, Kharagpur, Digha, Medinipur, Haldia, Panskura, Jhargram, Katwa, Krishnanagar, Nabadwip, Kalna and many more destination are available from Tarakeswar bus stand. There is also many local bus route like 12, 13, 16, 17, 20, 22, 23 from Tarakeswar that covers Hooghly and some other districts.
Chinsurah is one of the largest bus terminus of Hooghly. Several local bus route bound Rishra, Memari, Jirat, Tarakeswar, Haripal, Jangipara are available.
Arambagh is another important bus stand of this district. Buses bound Tarakeswar, Kolkata, Kamarpukur, Badanganj, Kotulpur, Khanakul, Barddhaman are available.
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). Its population growth rate over the decade 2001–2011 was 9.49%. Hugli has a sex ratio of 958 females for every 1000 males, and a literacy rate of 82.55%. 38.57% of the population lives in urban areas. Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes make up 24.35% and 4.15% of the population respectively.
At the time of the 2011 census, 87.49% of the population spoke Bengali, 7.59% Hindi, 2.37% Santali and 1.72% Urdu as their first language. Hindi and Urdu speakers are predominantly found in urban areas.
There are 2992 primary schools, 408 high schools, 127 higher secondary schools, 22 colleges, and 6 technical institutes in Hooghly district.
The most notable institutions among them are:
Badanganj High School (H.S.),[BADANGANJ : HOOGHLY: PIN-712122] Estd.1910
Tarakeswar is a renowned place of pilgrimage and the greatest centre of the Shiva sect in West Bengal. Taraknath Temple situated in Tarakeswar is famous in all over India. Construction of the country's first green university(Rani Rashmoni Green University) is underway at Tarakeswar. Apart from these, Tarakeswar is also famous for getting fresh vegetables, fruits, fish etc and various daily necessities at very low cost.
Rishra: One of the most crowded cities has many different religions and industries like Aditya Birla's Jayashree textile. First jute mill of Asia was in Rishra. Arjuna Awardee Indian Footballer Sudhir Karmakar and Ex-Indian Football Captain Sishir Ghosh are from Rishra. Historical places to visit in Rishra Are Nilkuthi, Sidheshwari 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 hold 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 need urgent preservation as well as heritage status application.
Guptipara is famous for Rathayatra and Rashmela. There are few historical Terracotta temple in Brindabanchandra Math.
Dasghara is a European wonderland in the heart of rural Bengal near Tarakeswar. It is a place where incongruity reigns as European-styled mansions co-exist with elaborate terracotta temples, as do well-laid out gardens, a clock tower and a Victorian style gateway. At present, the shooting of various movies and serials is done in Dasghara.
Dhaniakhali known for the traditional handloom saris of West Bengal.
Bali Dewanganj is a village having beautiful old temples. The Rautpara neighbourhood alone has five temples with terracotta decorations.
Tribeni is a Holy places for Hindu pilgrims. Here situates three river and one is our holy river Ganga. Jagannath Chatuspathi is one of the oldest Sanskrit educational institution.
Konnagar is the place where the first Bata Factory was set up.
This is a list of notable people from Hooghly District.
Sridhara was an Indian mathematician, Sanskrit pandit and philosopher. Sridharacharya's formula is also known as the Quadratic formula or Sridharacharya's method.
Raja Ram Mohan Roy - born in Radhanagore. He is considered as the "Father of the Indian Renaissance". He was one of the founders of the Brahmo Sabha, the precursor of the Brahmo Samaj, a socio-religious (Hindu) reform movement in Undivided India.
Shib Chandra Deb- born in Konnagar. He was one of the leading Derozians, virtually the first generation of English-knowing Indians.
Krishna Chandra Bhattacharya- born in Serampore. He was a philosopher at the University of Calcutta known for his method of "constructive interpretation" through which relations and problematics of ancient Indian philosophical systems are drawn out and developed so that they can be studied like problems of modern philosophy.
Madhusudan Gupta- born in Baidyabati. He was a translator and Ayurvedic practitioner who was also trained in Western medicine and is credited with having performed India's first human dissection at Calcutta Medical College (CMC) in 1836, almost 3,000 years after Susruta.
Nabagopal Mitra- He belonged to the famous Mitra Family of Konnagar.He was an Indian playwright, poet, essayist, patriot and one of the founding fathers of Hindu nationalism. He founded the Hindu Mela, the pioneer institution behind the genesis of Hindu nationalism. Mitra also founded National Press, National Paper, National Society, National School, National Theatre, National Store, National Gymnasium and National Circus, earning him the sobriquet 'National Mitra'.
Barindra Kumar Ghosh- He belonged to the famous Ghosh family of Konnagar. He was an Indian revolutionary and journalist. He was one of the founding members of "Jugantar" , a Bengali weekly, a revolutionary outfit in Bengal. Barindra Kumar Ghosh was the younger brother of Shri Aurobindo.
Manmohan Ghose- He belonged to the famous Ghosh family of Konnagar. He was an Indian poet and one of the first from India to write poetry in English. He was a brother of Sri Aurobindo.