Karimganj district
Longai River near Karimganj
Location in Assam
Location in Assam
Karimganj district
Country India
DivisionBarak Valley
 • Lok Sabha constituenciesKarimganj (shared with Hailakandi district)
 • Vidhan Sabha constituenciesRatabari, Patharkandi, Karimganj North, Karimganj South, Badarpur
 • Total1,809 km2 (698 sq mi)
 • Total1,228,686
 • Density680/km2 (1,800/sq mi)
 • Literacy79.72%
 • Sex ratio961
 • Official languagesBengali and Meitei (Manipuri)
Time zoneUTC+05:30 (IST)
Notable Education Institutions

Karimganj district is one of the 31 districts of the Indian state of Assam. Karimganj town is both the administrative headquarters district and the biggest town of this district. It is located in southern Assam and borders Tripura and the Sylhet Division of Bangladesh. It makes up the Barak Valley alongside Hailakandi and Cachar. Karimganj was previously part of the Sylhet District before the Partition of India. It became a district in 1983.


Karimganj was first established as a subdivision of the Sylhet district with 40 parganas in 1778. The area got its name from Muhammad Karim Chowdhury, a Bengali Muslim mirashdar[note 1] who originally established a bazaar (known as Karimganj) less than four miles south of the confluence of the Natikhal and Kushiyara River. However, the Natikhal would become dry in autumn and for this reason, the bazaar was relocated to its present headquarters, Karimganj, in the 1870s.[3]

During the partition of India 1946–47, a plebiscite was held so as to decide which whether Sylhet region covering entire Sylhet, Maulvibazar, Karimganj would remain in India or join the newly formed Pakistan. Abdul Matlib Mazumdar was one of the silent Indian freedom fighters who led a delegation before Radcliffe commission to ensure Greater Sylhet region remained with India/Assam. But on stern demands of the Muslim League, and with support of top leaders of Assam then,[4] plebiscite was held where Sylhet region (including Karimganj) voted to go with Pakistan, winning by a very small margin. The referendum was held in July 1947, and the ayes for Pakistan won by a razor-thin margin. There were allegations of rigging and bogus votes, but that was only to be expected, whichever side won.[5] Sylhet was gifted to East Pakistan with Karimganj being divided and handed over to India/Assam reason stated to let India have proper connectivity with Tripura. The Kushiyara River was made the river border between India & East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). Parts of Greater Karimganj including Beani-Bazar, Barlekha, Shahpur and Zakiganj fell under East Pakistan and Karimganj was given to India.


A typical house of Karimganj

Karimganj district occupies an area of 1,809 square kilometres (698 sq mi),[6] comparatively equivalent to Alaska's Afognak Island.[7] It is bordered on the north east by Cachar District, east and south by Hailakandi district, south by Mizoram, southwest by Tripura state, and on the west and northwest by Bangladesh. Karimganj, the administrative headquarters and main town of the district also bears the same name, that is, Karimganj. Karimganj town is located on the northern fringe of the district adjoining Bangladesh, by the river Kushiyara.

Its distance from Guwahati – the largest city of Assam - is approximately 330 km by road and about 350 km by rail. Distances of other important places are : Silchar – 55 km, Shillong – 220 km, Agartala – 250 km. Flanked on two sides by the rivers Kushiyara and Longai, Karimganj town is located just on the Bangladesh border with the river Kushiyara flowing in between. One prominent feature of the place is a long and winding canal called Noti Khal meandering through the town. Earlier, it used to be a connecting river way between Kushiyara and Longai facilitating river communication and also balancing of water-levels between the two rivers. Now, however, this canal has been blocked at several places through embankments and landfills to pave way for road transport and construction works. Karimganj and the Barak valley has been prone to serious flooding for decades. The recent floods that did significant damage were in 1976, 1988 and 2007.[8][9][10]

The forests of Karimganj were once rich in wildlife but now vanishing due to human onslaught.[11] Rare species found are Tiger, Hoolock gibbon, Porcupine, Golden Langur (Hanuman), Monkey, Fox, Asian Elephant, Giant river otter, macaw parrots, Parakeets, Hornbill, Maina, different types of local and migratory birds, Snakes, Coypubara (2nd largest rodent in world) etc., have been recorded.[12][13] The Patharia hills reserve forest of the district is the habitat of many mammals and was recommended to upgrade as 'Patharia hills wildlife sanctuary'.[11] The southern part was also recommended as 'Dhaleswari' wildlife sanctuary.[14][15]


Karimganj is an agricultural district

Karimganj town is an important centre of trade and commerce in the North East India. Its river port, with elaborate infra-structures like cargo-terminal, jetty, warehouses etc., is capable of handling large volumes of cargoes carried by steamers plying through river ways via Bangladesh. Karimganj is also a border trade centre and import-export business worth crores of rupees is carried out through the custom trade point at Dakbangla Ghat in the town and Sutarkandi Custom Station.

Karimganj is an agricultural district. Historically, tea has been the major agricultural product of Cachar region including Karimganj.[16]



Karimganj District has one sub-division. The district has 5 tehsils or development circles (Karimganj, Badarpur, Nilambazar, Patharkandi and Ramkrishna Nagar), two urban areas (karimganj and Patharkandi.The Major are town (Karimganj, Badarpur,Ramkrishna Nagar and Patharkandi), 7 community development blocks (North Karimganj, South Karimganj, Badarpur, Patharkandi, Ramkrishna Nagar, Dullavcherra and Lowairpoa), 7 police stations (Karimganj, Badarpur, Ramkrishna Nagar, Patharkandi, Ratabari, Nilambazar, and Bazarichara), 95 gram panchayats, and seven anchalik panchayats.

There are five Assam Legislative Assembly constituencies in this district: Ratabari, Patharkandi, Karimganj North, Karimganj South, and Badarpur.[17] Ratabari is designated for scheduled castes.[17] All five are in the Karimganj Lok Sabha constituency.[18]


New BG station, Karimganj Junction
Another view of New BG station, Karimganj Junction

Karimganj town is linked via both rail and road transport with the rest of India. Karimganj town is a railway junction and broad gauge lines connecting Tripura with Assam pass through this station. Badarpur railway station is the biggest junction of the district. The most popular mode of passenger transport, however, is by road. A good number of buses - mostly night services - ply between Karimganj and Guwahati daily. Direct long-distance bus services are also available to Shillong, Agartala, Aizawl and so on. Communication with Silchar, Badarpur, Patharkandi and other nearby places is also mainly dependent on road transport, with services by all sorts of light and heavy vehicles available at frequent intervals. The nearest airport is Kumbhirgram (85 km) near Silchar - the headquarters of the adjacent district of Cachar. Karimganj town is also an important river port and has seasonal cargo and freight transport links with Kolkata through river ways via Bangladesh.

Sutarkandi international border crossing

Sutarkandi international border crossing on Bangladesh–India border on Karimganj-Beanibazar route is in Karimganj district of Assam in India.


Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.

According to the 2011 census Karimganj district has a population of 1,228,686,[1] roughly equal to the nation of Bahrain[20] or the US state of New Hampshire.[21] This gives it a ranking of 392nd in India (out of a total of 640).[1] The district has a population density of 673 inhabitants per square kilometre (1,740/sq mi) .[1] Its population growth rate over the decade 2001-2011 was 20.74%.[1] Karimganj has a sex ratio of 961 females for every 1000 males,[1] and a literacy rate of 79.72%. 8.93% of the population lives in urban areas. Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes make up 12.85% and 0.16% of the population respectively.[1]


Religion in Karimganj district (2011)[22]
Religion Percent
Other or not stated

Religious demographics are as follows:[22]

Population of circles (sub-districts) by religion
Circle Muslims (%) Hindus (%) Christians (%) Others (%)
Karimganj 57.16 42.36 0.22 0.26
Badarpur 64.91 34.49 0.37 0.24
Nilambazar 75.30 24.24 0.35 0.12
Patharkandi 47.74 49.55 2.49 0.23
Ramkrishna Nagar 42.28 56.42 1.21 0.09

According to 2011 Indian Census, the Muslims form a slight majority in the district constituting 56.4% of the population, with Hindus at 42.5% of the population, followed by 1.0% Christians. Small populations of Jain, Buddhists and Sikhs also reside in the district.[22]


Languages in Karimganj district (2011)[23]

  Bengali (86.84%)
  Hindi (5.70%)
  Bhojpuri (1.65%)
  Others (3.81%)

Bengali and Meitei (Manipuri) are the official languages of this place.[24][25]

According to the 2011 census, 86.84% of the district spoke Bengali, 5.70% Hindi, 2.00% Bishnupriya and 1.65% Bhojpuri as their first language.[23]

Karimganj is one of several districts in Assam where Bengali language is spoken by the majority of the population, as also in some other districts such as Cachar, Halaikandi and Hojai. Bengali is the official language in Karimganj along with the other two districts of Barak valley such as Hailakandi and Cachar.[26] Notable minority languages include Bishnupriya and Meitei, Dimasa, and Kokborok. There are also a small tribal communities like Hrangkhol, Kuki, Khasi, and Sakachep.

Notable people


  1. ^ Mirashdar is a term referring to a landowner who pays taxes directly to the government.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "District census 2011 - Karimganj" (PDF). Office of the Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India. 2011.
  2. ^ Laskar, Nitish Ranjan (1985). Mahishya Das of Cachar and their Social Background. Proceedings of North East India History Association. North East India History Association. p. 456.
  3. ^ Choudhury, Achyut Charan (2000) [1916]. "করিমগঞ্জের নামতত্ত্ব". Srihatter Itibritta: Uttorangsho (in Bengali). Kolkata: Kotha. p. 111.
  4. ^ "How the 1947 Sylhet partition led to Assam's politics of the foreigner". 13 August 2018. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  5. ^ "My memories of partition". 15 August 2017. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  6. ^ Srivastava, Dayawanti et al. (ed.) (2010). "States and Union Territories: Assam: Government". India 2010: A Reference Annual (54th ed.). New Delhi, India: Additional Director General, Publications Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (India), Government of India. p. 1116. ISBN 978-81-230-1617-7. ((cite book)): |last1= has generic name (help)
  7. ^ "Island Directory Tables: Islands by Land Area". United Nations Environment Program. 18 February 1998. Retrieved 11 October 2011. Afognak 1,809km2
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 27 August 2019. Retrieved 10 August 2019.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ Phanindra Goyari. "Flood Damages and Sustainability of Agriculture in Assam." Economic and Political Weekly 40, no. 26 (2005): 2723-729. [1].
  10. ^ "Web Archives". www.worldbank.org. Retrieved 6 January 2020.
  11. ^ a b Talukdar, N.R., Choudhury, P. (2017). Conserving wildlife wealth of Patharia Hills reserve Forest, Assam, India: a critical analysis. Global Ecology and Conservation 10:126–138.
  12. ^ Choudhury, A.U. (1999). Status and Conservation of the Asian elephant Elephas maximus in north-eastern India. Mammal Review 29(3): 141-173.
  13. ^ Choudhury, A.U. (2004). Vanishing habitat threatens Phayre's leaf monkey. The Rhino Found. NE India Newsletter 6:32-33.
  14. ^ Choudhury, A.U. (1983). Plea for a new wildlife refuge in eastern India. Tigerpaper 10(4):12-15.
  15. ^ Choudhury, A.U. (1983). Plea for a new wildlife sanctuary in Assam. WWF - India Newsletter 4(4):15.
  16. ^ Socio-economic and Political Problems of Tea Garden Workers: A Study of Assam. Mittal Publications. 1 January 2006. p. 66. ISBN 978-81-8324-098-7.
  17. ^ a b "List of Assembly Constituencies showing their Revenue & Election District wise break - up" (PDF). Chief Electoral Officer, Assam website. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 March 2012. Retrieved 26 September 2011.
  18. ^ "List of Assembly Constituencies showing their Parliamentary Constituencies wise break - up" (PDF). Chief Electoral Officer, Assam website. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 March 2012. Retrieved 26 September 2011.
  19. ^ "Census of India Website : Office of the Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India". www.censusindia.gov.in. Retrieved 6 January 2020.
  20. ^ US Directorate of Intelligence. "Country Comparison:Population". Archived from the original on 13 June 2007. Retrieved 1 October 2011. Bahrain 1,214,705 July 2011 est.
  21. ^ "2010 Resident Population Data". U. S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 18 November 2011. Retrieved 30 September 2011. New Hampshire 1,316,470
  22. ^ a b c "Table C-01 Population By Religion: Assam". census.gov.in. Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India. 2011.
  23. ^ a b "Table C-16 Population By Mother Tongue: Assam". censusindia.gov.in. Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India. 2011.
  24. ^ "Govt withdraws Assamese as official language from Barak valley". Business Standard India. Press Trust of India. 9 September 2014. Archived from the original on 29 January 2018. Retrieved 29 January 2018.
  25. ^ Purkayastha, Biswa Kalyan (24 February 2024). "Assam recognises Manipuri as associate official language in four districts". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 26 February 2024.
  26. ^ Ahmed, Ohi Uddin (2019). "The Mahimal Community of Sylhet-Cachar Region:A Historical Study with Special Reference to the Regional Ecology". History Research Journal. 5 (5): 1116.

24°52′00″N 92°21′00″E / 24.8667°N 92.3500°E / 24.8667; 92.3500