(Last Updated on : 12/11/2013)
Chandannagar, which was earlier referred to as `Chandernagore`, is now a sub-divisional town in the district of Hooghly
, stands on the west bank of the Hooghly River
. About 30 km away from the northern part of Kolkata
, it was formed of three old `mouzas` known as Khalisani, Boro and Gondolpara and its area was about nine square kilometre including the Chhitmahal of Gourhati. Mankundu and Chandannagar railway stations on the Howrah
-Bandel Railway line serve the town. The Grand Trunk Road
passes through it. Unlike other European colonies, Chandannagar was well known for its prosperous trade even before the advent of the foreigners. Chandanngar is a portion of the region which is supervised by the Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority and is amongst the six municipal corporations in the state of West Bengal
. The total area occupied by Chandanngar measures 19 square kilometres.
History of Chandannagar
The name `Chandannagore` is a derivation from the shape of Ganga River
which resembles a half moon. As per Bengali language
, `Chand` implies moon while `Nagar` means city. Some historians also feel that the name might have been inspired by the prosperous trade of sandalwood which existed during that time. `Chandan` means sandalwood according to the Bengali language. However, there are some others who are of the opinion that since there is a temple dedicated to Goddess Chandi
, Chandannagar, due to which the name of the city is Chandannagar. Previously, it was known by the name `Farasdanga` since it was a French colony (In the Bengali language `Farasi` implies French and `danga` implies land).
During 1673, Chandannagar was a French colony, during which time Ibrahim Khan, the Nawab of Bengal
had granted permission to the French to establish trade on the banks of Hooghly River. In 1688, the French settlement created permanent roots in this city. Maritime trade flourished soon after 1730, when Joseph Dupleix was appointed as the Governor General of this region. Chandannagar was captured on 23rd March, 1757 by the British Navy, following the war between Great Britain and France in the year 1756. The French gained control of this place again in 1763 but was again recaptured by the British in 1794. Chandannagar was governed by French when it was returned in 1816 and till 1950; it remained as a part of French-India.
Geography of Chandannagar
The geographical coordinates of Chandannagar is 22.87 ° north 88.38 ° east and its elevation measures about 10 metres. This region comprises three areas known as Boro Kishanganj
(north), Khalisani (west), Gondalpara (south). There are 100 more sub-localities in this place which include Urdibazar, Mahadanga, Padripara, Bagbazar, Tematha, Fatokpara, Palpara, Haridraganga, Luxmigunj, Dinemarganga, Nutan Telighat, Daibokpara and so on. Mankundu was under G.C. Khan and presently is controlled by Chandannagar Municipal Corporation. `Gors` or gateways mark the geographical boundary of Chandannagar. Bandhagram and `Bajra` are a few villages which are located near the borders of Chandannagar. This region is surrounded by Dhaniakhali in the western part, Bhadreshwar in the southern part and Chinsurah in the northern portion.
Demography of Chandannagar
The population of Chandannagar, according to the 2011 census was reported to be around 1, 66, 949. The number of females are 82, 692 while the number of males are 84, 257. The average literacy rate as revealed by the census report stands at 90.62 percent.
Culture of Chandannnagar
is a major festival which is observed with great enthusiasm and gaiety in the region of Chandannagar. Historical accounts assert that this Puja was started by Indranarayan Chowdhury, following a similar procedure to that practised by Raja Krishnachandra who reigned over Krishnanagar
. Jagadhatri Puja is believed to have been introduced here in 1750. Areas like Nutan Telighat, Kancharaighat, Mansatala and Charmandirtala are amongst the famous places which are renowned for their Jagadhatri Puja pandals. Millions of tourists and devotees throng Chandannagar during this festival, to catch sight of the magnificent idols of Goddess Jagadhatri and the beautiful puja pandals erected here.
Education in Chandannagar
Missionaries had constructed a school for Bengali boys in the southern portion of Chandannagar, where French and Bengali languages were taught. College Dupleix was also created by these missionaries, which was later renamed as Ecole Dupleix from 1901 onwards. However, the institution was renamed as Kanailal Vidyamandir in the honour of Kanailal Dutta
, a student of this school. `cole de jeune filles` is known to be the most ancient school of this region which is located at Strand Road. Another notable school is Banga Vidyalaya which was established in 1288 as per the Bengali calendar, in the Bengali month of `Baisakh`. Nritya Gopal Sett Prathamik Vidyalaya which was founded by Harihar Sett and another school built by Durga Charan Rakshit after his name in the year 1855 were the two primary schools of Chandannagar. The very first girl`s school made here was Krishna Bhabini Nari Siksha Mandir erected in the year 1926.
`Rong O Tuli` is a renowned art school established in the year 1960 while Sishu Kala Bhavan is said to be the very first drawing school which has been created in Chandannagar. Sri Bankim Bandyopadhyay had made this school in 1946. Chandannagar Government College and Khalisani Mahavidyalaya, which are affiliated to the University of Burdwan
, Women`s Polytechnic College are some of the several educational institutions located in Chandannagar.
Tourism in Chandannagar
Chandannagar is reputed for its innumerable tourist attractions, particularly the Chandannagore Museum and Institute, the Underground House or `Patalbari`, wherein Rabindranath Tagore resided frequently, Nritya Gopal Smriti Mandir and several others.
Chandannagar Strand is a wonderful place located along the banks of Ganga River, and its pavement is adorned with lights and trees
. It extends for about 1 km and several historical buildings are located near this famous tourist spot. Vivekananda Mandir is amongst the many other important structures situated here.
Chandannagar Museum and Institute
Chandannagar Museum and Institute is one of the ancient museums of the area and it comprises a unique collection of French antiques like wooden furniture belonging to the 18th century, cannons utilized in the Anglo-French wars and many more.
This church is over two centuries old and portrays the charm of the architectural wonders prevalent during the French period. The Chandannnagar Church is also referred to as the Sacred Heart Chruch of Chandannagar. The remnants of Church of St. Louis are also interesting tourism centres based here.
The Underground House
The famous nobel laureate known as Rabindranath Tagore often paid a visit to this building, which is termed as Patal Bari or the Underground House. It is said that the lowermost floor of this ancient house submerges with Ganga River
. He had mentioned the name of Patalbari in many of his literary creations. Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar
had also dwelt in this building and it belongs to some `Zamindars` who are based in Bansberia
There are some ancient temples situated in Chandannagar, which includes the Nandadulal temple created in 1740 by Indranarayan Choudhry and several other marvellous temples devoted to Lord Shiva
, Goddess Kali and other Hindu deities
Ntritya Gopal Smriti Mandir
This old temple had been erected by Sri Harihar Sett and believed to have been granted to the common people of this region. Presently, it is used as a library and a hall which boasts of a large collection of books in languages like Bengali, French and English
Other significant tourist attractions located here include Bishalakshmi temple and amusement parks like KMDA, Chuti Park and New Digha
which are present in the western part of Chandannnagar.