History of Krishnanagar
The origin of Krishnanagar can be traced back to its establishment as a municipality in 1864, making it one of the oldest municipalities in Bengal. Krishnanagar was the royal residence of Raja Krishnachandra, who was a great patron of art and culture. It was the seat of independent Hindu ruler under Mughal regime.
Prior to its current name, the place was known as 'Reui' or ‘Reuigram’ in the local vernacular. One of the significant historical landmarks in Krishnanagar is the Rajbari, which was constructed during the reign of Zaminder Krishna Chandra Roy. While the Rajbari continues to be a popular tourist attraction, the ravages of time have taken a toll on its former grandeur. Today, only a dilapidated structure remains, adorned with exquisite carvings on its inner walls, offering glimpses into its illustrious past.
Geography of Krishnanagar
The geographical location and the extension of this city is 23.4 degree North 88.5 degree East. The average elevation of the city is 14 metres (45 feet). The place got its name from Raja Krishnachandra, a great patron of art and craft.
Demography of Krishnanagar
According to the Population Census in the year 2011, Krishnanagar had a population of 181,182. The sex ratio is about 978 females per 1,000 males. The child sex ratio of girls is 926 per 1000 boys. The effective literacy rate was 88.09%, of which male literacy was 90.84% and female was 85.29%.
Education of Krishnanagar
Krishnanagar has a rich educational culture. Krishnanagar Collegiate School is the best school in Krishnanagar. Krishnanagar High School, Krishnnaagar Debnath High School, Holy Family and Government Girls' are some of the few schools situated here. Besides, there are many colleges namely Krishnanagar Government College, Dwijendralal College etc where brilliant and meritorious students have studied.
Economy of Krishnanagar
The economy of Krishnanagar is mainly agriculture. Rice, jute, sugar, ceramics, and plywood are the industrial sectors. Sugar milling is the largest industry. Krishnanagar also produces mangoes, cattle rearing, poultry and fish.
Culture of Krishnanagar
Krishnanagar holds significant cultural and literary importance, nurturing renowned figures of Bengali literature such as Ray Gunakor, Ramprasad Sen, Bharat Chandra, Dwijendra Lal Roy, and Narayan Sanyal, among many others. The town also boasts a strong tradition of stage acting and has played a pivotal role in Indian revolutionary movements. In addition, Krishnanagar is known for its exquisite handicraft arts, including carpet making, bamboo and jute crafts, and miniature paintings. The region is home to a horticultural research station, a jute nursery, and an agricultural training center, further emphasizing its dedication to agricultural and artistic pursuits.
Krishnanagar is popular for clay modeling, art and architecture, and literature. One of the most vibrant celebrations in Krishnanagar is the Jagaddhatri Puja, marked by the grandeur of illuminated decorations brought from the town of Chandannagar. The origins of this puja can be traced back to the 18th century when Maharaja Krishna Chandra, the king of Krishnanagar, first initiated it in 1762.
The crowning glory of this annual festival was born out of the Maharaja's heartfelt sorrow when he was unable to offer his prayers to Maa Durga during the Durga Puja. Upon his return by boat on Dasami, the day of idol immersion, the Maharaja witnessed the immersion of the idols in the river, which deepened his grief. However, in a dream that night, he saw a teenage Goddess resembling a white horse, seated on a lion, assuring him that she would come to him on the Sukla Nabami tithi in the month of Kartick (October-November). Following her divine instructions, an idol of Goddess Jagaddhatri was sculpted, and the puja was conducted with great splendor and fervor.
The celebration of Jagaddhatri Puja spans across the Paras of Krishnanagar, which represent different neighborhoods or communities within the town, each with its distinct customs and traditions. The most prominent among them is Chasapara Barowari Puja, where the deity is referred to as Burima. This illustrious festival, celebrated for over a century, is known for its grandeur and opulence. The Chasapara Barowari Committee organizes the festival, which is embraced with tremendous enthusiasm and devotion by the locals. Magnificent pandals, adorned with colorful lights, flowers, and decorative items based on various themes and concepts, capture the attention of visitors. A unique ritual called "chokkhudaan," where devotees symbolically offer their eyes to the Goddess, signifies their desire to see the truth and the divine light. The festival also features vibrant processions accompanied by the rhythmic beats of the dhak, a traditional Indian percussion instrument.
Another renowned event in Krishnanagar is the Barodol Mela, which has garnered fame over time. The festival's origin can be traced back to Maharaja Krishnachandra, who, out of his devotion and to fulfill a broken promise, organized a grand festival in his palace. The festival involved the invitation of twelve idols of Krishna, each representing a different form of the deity, for a month-long stay. Although the festival has evolved, the royal household continues to play a vital role in its success, even though its grandeur may have diminished over time.
The Barodol Mela typically takes place after Dolyatra on the Sukla Ekadashi tithi. It commences with the arrival of the twelve Krishna idols, which are displayed for public viewing during the initial three days. Subsequently, the idols retire to a temple inside the palace as guests of the patron deity, Boro Narayan. Meanwhile, a month-long fair unfolds in the expansive field adjacent to the old fort's gate, open to all who wish to participate. The fair also serves as a platform for local artisans to exhibit their skills and sell their creations, ranging from clay toys to handloom products. This annual fair provides these artisans with an opportunity to reach a wider audience and earn their livelihoods.
Tourism in Krishnanagar
Krishnanagar offers a variety of tourist attractions that showcase its rich cultural and historical heritage. One such area is Ghurni, renowned as the birthplace of Yogiraj Sri Shyama Charan Lahiri Mahasaya, the founder of Kriya Yoga. Ghurni is also known as the neighborhood of clay artists, and tourists are drawn to the open studios and shops where these talented artists display their creations. It is believed that Raja Krishnachandra initially settled a few families of skilled clay artists in the Ghurni area, further contributing to its artistic significance.
Rajbari, also known as the Krishnanagar Palace, is a magnificent royal palace with a Durga temple located within its courtyard. The tradition of Durga Puja in Krishnanagar was initiated by Raja Rudra Roy, the great-grandfather of Raja Krishnachandra Roy. The palace attracts visitors throughout the year, particularly during the celebration of various festivals. One such festival is the Jhulan Mela, held around the Rajbari in July-August, where devotees come to participate in the swinging ceremony. The Rajbari, surrounded by a water-body known as Dighi, also houses a stunning temple dedicated to Goddess Durga, adding to its historical and religious significance.
Approximately 22 kilometers from Krishnanagar lies the Bethuadahari Forest, spanning about 67 hectares. Originally established in 1980, this forest serves as an extended deer park, preserving the biodiversity of the central Gangetic alluvial zone. A census conducted in 1998 recorded a population of 295 deer in addition to other wildlife such as pythons, jungle cats, porcupines, monitor lizards, snakes, and a variety of bird species, totaling around 50.
Another natural attraction in the vicinity of Krishnanagar is the Bahadurpur Forest, situated along NH 34 in the Krishnanagar II Block. This forest has been identified as a potential location for jungle safaris, offering an exciting opportunity to explore the wilderness. Adjacent to the Bahadurpur Forest is the Hasadanga Beel, a vast waterbody that holds the potential to be developed into a water sports complex. This beel not only adds to the scenic beauty but also has the potential to serve as a safe haven for seasonal migratory birds.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Krishnagar boasts a notable Catholic church renowned for its architectural and sculptural grandeur. The church features 27 oil paintings that vividly depict the life of Lord Jesus Christ. The wooden sculptures crafted by Italian artists are particularly noteworthy, adding to the artistic and historical significance of the church. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Krishnagar is an architectural marvel, serving as a testament to the craftsmanship of the era. Visitors can appreciate the twenty-seven oil paintings that chronicle the life of Jesus Christ.
Krishnanagar is connected with Kolkata, Malda District, Siliguri, Berhampore, Howrah, Purulia, Asansol, Bolpur, Kirnahar and Suri from the Krishnanagar by roadways, railways and airways. The nearest airport is Netaji Subhash Chandra International Airport which is 98 km by road via Dumdum.