Districts of West Bengal
This is the tenth topic under the West Bengal Geography Notes for WBCS Module. The links to the previous chapters are listed below:
- Introduction to West Bengal Geography
- Physiographic divisions of West Bengal
- Rivers of West Bengal
- Soil and Climate of West Bengal
- Mineral Resources of West Bengal
- National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries in West Bengal
- Agriculture in West Bengal
- Irrigation and Hydropower Projects in West Bengal
- Transport System in West Bengal
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Districts of West Bengal
- North Bengal denotes the Jalpaiguri division (Alipurduar, Cooch Behar, Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri, and Kalimpong) and Malda division (North Dinajpur, South Dinajpur, and Malda) together.
- South Bengal denotes Kolkata, Howrah, Murshidabad, Hooghly, Burdwan, East Midnapur, West Midnapur, Purulia, Bankura, Birbhum, Nadia, South 24 Parganas, North 24 Parganas, districts together.
- Short Notes on Districts of West Bengal are listed below:
|District||Population||Growth rate||Sex ratio||Literacy||Density per square Kilometer|
|North 24 Parganas||10,009,781||12.04||955||84.06||2445|
|South 24 Parganas||8,161,961||18.17||956||77.51||819|
- Darjeeling is the headquarters of the Darjeeling District which has a partially autonomous status within the state of West Bengal. It is also a popular tourist destination in India. •
- The name Darjeeling comes from the Tibetan words “Dorje”, which is the thunderbolt scepter of the Hindu deity Indra, and “ling, which means “a place” or “land”. Thus Darjeeling meaning “land of the thunderbolt.”
- The hills of Darjeeling are part of the Lesser Himalaya.
- The Lloyd’s Botanical Garden preserves common and rare species of plants, while the Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park specializes in conserving and breeding endangered Himalayan species.
- A conservation center for red pandas opened at Darjeeling Zoo in 2014, building on a prior captive breeding program.
- The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, also known as the DHR or Toy Train, On 2 December 1999, UNESCO declared DHR as a World Heritage site.
- Tea planting in the Darjeeling began in 1841 by Archibald Campbell, a civil surgeon of the Indian Medical Service. Darjeeling tea is available in black, green, white, and oolongia traditional Chinese tea.)
- Cinchona is grown in Darjeeling District.
- Famous Personality: Pahari Sanyal
Forest of Darjeeling
- The major portions of the forests are today found at elevations of 2000 meters and above.
- The area in between 1000-2000 meters is cleared either for tea plantation or cultivation.
- About 30 percent of the forest coven found in the lower hills are deciduous.
- Evergreen forest constitutes only about 6 percent of the total forest coverage.
- Shorea robusta (Sal) remains the most prominent species of tropical moist deciduous forest along with heavy undergrowth.
- Darjeeling district is home to Singalila National Park, which was set up in 1986 as a wildlife sanctuary and converted to a national park in 1992.
- Darjeeling district has three wildlife sanctuaries: Jorepokhri, Mahananda, and Senchal.
- Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC) in 1988.
- The DGHC administered the Darjeeling hills for 23 years with some degree of autonomy.
- Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) is a semi-autonomous administrative body for the Darjeeling and Kalimpong hills in West Bengal. GTA replaced the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council in 2011.
- Bagdogra Airport is situated in Darjeeling District.
Districts of West Bengal | Districts of West Bengal
- It was formed on 14 February 2017, after splitting from the Darjeeling district as the 21st district of West Bengal.
- The district has its headquarters at Kalimpong.
- Kalimpong district is home to the Neora Valley National Park. It is the land of the elegant red panda. Clouded leopards are seldom seen and likely to be present in the park.
- The forests consist of mixed species like rhododendron, bamboo, oak, ferns, sal, etc. The valley also has numerous species of orchids.
- A major stretch of area is bordered in the north by Bhutan and hence the name – Dooars/Duars which mean – Door of Bhutan.
- The city is located on the banks of the Teesta River.
- Apart from Gorumara National Park, the district contains Chapramari Wildlife Sanctuary.
- Dolomite found in the Jalpaiguri district.
- Jalpaiguri’s very own Folk form is the ‘Chor Chunni’. ‘Dham Gaan’ is another popular folk song of Jalpaiguri. it evolves round the rise and falls of mythological characters.
- ‘Bhawaiya’ the folk song of the Rajbangshis, depicts the love of both God and Man.
- ‘Bisha-Hara Pala’ is another very popular stage drama of Jalpaiguri.
- Alipurduar District is the 20th district in the state of West Bengal.
- It was made a district on 25 June 2014 after splitting from the Jalpaiguri District.
- The district headquarters Alipurduar is situated on the east bank of Kaljani River on the foothills of the Himalayas.
- Buxa Tiger Reserve (IUCN category II national park), Jaldapara National Park, Chilapata Forests are located in Alipurduar District.
Cooch Behar District
- Cooch Behar is a district under the Jalpaiguri Division of the state of West Bengal.
- During the British Raj, the town of Cooch Behar was the seat of a princely state of Koch Bihar, ruled by the Koch dynasty.
- A geopolitical curiosity was that there were 92 Bangladeshi exclaves, with a total area of 47.7 km2 in Cooch-Behar.
- Similarly, there were 106 Indian exclaves inside Bangladesh, with a total area of 69.5 km2.
- Six rivers that cut through the district are the Teesta, Jaldhaka, Torsha, Kaljani, Raidak, Gadadhar, and Ghargharia.
- Sitalpati or cool mat from Cooch Behar district has been recognized as an “intangible cultural heritage” by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), according to a statement issued by the West Bengal government.
North Dinajpur District
- Created on 1 April 1992 by the division of the erstwhile West Dinajpur district, it comprises two subdivisions: Raiganj and Islampur.
- Raiganj on the banks of the River Kulik is the District Headquarters where the “Raiganj Wildlife Sanctuary”(Kulik Wildlife Sanctuary), the second-largest bird sanctuary in Asia, is situated.
- The major native dialect is called locally Surjapuri or Rangpuri (or even Dinajpuri ) and one of the sweet dialects of the Bengali language in the North Bengal region.
- Tulaipanji paddy is traditionally grown in Uttar Dinajpur (Kaliaganj, Raiganj, and Hemtabad). It is estimated that about 16,000 tonnes of Tulaipanji paddy are produced every year in two Dinajpur districts of the state. Recently, Tulaipanji rice granted the GI certificate.
South Dinajpur District
- South Dinajpur is created on 1 April 1992 by the division of the erstwhile West Dinajpur district.
- The district headquarters (Sadar) of the district is situated at Balurghat. It comprises two subdivisions: Balurghat and Gangarampur.
- As of Census 2011 it was the least populous district of West Bengal (out of 19).
- The district is drained by north-south flowing rivers like Atreyee, Purnabhaba, Tangon, and Jamuna River.
- Mango, jute, and silk are the most notable products of this district. A special variety of mango (Fazli) produced in this region.
- The folk culture of gombhira is a feature of the district, being a unique way of representation of joy and sorrow of daily life of the common people.
- The district headquarters is English Bazar, also known as Malda, which was once the capital of Bengal.
- The district maintains the traditions of the past in culture and education.
- Old Malda, the town which lies just east of the confluence of the Mahananda and Kalindi rivers, is part of the English Bazar urban agglomeration.
- The town rose to prominence as the river port of the old capital of Pandua.
- Malda is the largest producer of excellent quality jute in India.
- Mulberry plantations and mango orchards occupy large areas; mango trade and silk manufacture are the main economic activities.
- Malda is called the gateway of North Bengal. It was once the capital of Gour-Banga with its 3,733 square kilometers (1,441 sq mi) lay of the land classified Into Tal, ‘Nara, and Barind.
- Famous Personality: Shibram Chakraborty.
- The city of Murshidabad is located on the eastern bank of the Bhagirathi, a distributary of the Ganges River.
- The main river Bhagirathi divides the district into two parts namely ‘BAGRI’ on the eastern side and ‘RARH’ on the western side.
- The grand celebrations of ‘Bera Utsav’ are conducted at Lalbagh, on the banks of river Bhagirathi, near the palace of Nawabs.
- The skill of gifted craftsmen can be seen in the district markets.
- Ivory carving has been patronized from the Nawabs time and about 99% of the total production of ivory is exported, which draws a significant amount of Murshidabad’s income.
- Sandalwood etching has become more popular than ivory carving now. Murshidabad Is famous for brass and bell metalware also.
- The brand “Murshidabad silk” Is not only famous across India but also has a great demand throughout the world. Sericulture Industry is the principal agro-based rural industry in Murshidabad.
- Famous Personality: Rakhaldas Bandyopadhyay, Govindadas Kaviraj, Nirupama Devi, Mahasweta Devi, Sayed Mustafa Siraj, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Shreya Ghoshal, Arijit Singh, etc.
- Krishnanagar is the district headquarters of Nadia.
- It is located on the bank of the Jalangi River. Krishnanagar is named after Raja Krishnachandra Roy.
- Nabadwip, a town in Nadia district, is often referred to as “Oxford of Bengal”.
- Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (b.1486—d.1534) was born in Nabadwip.
- One of the Indian schools of logic (Tarka sastra) called Navya Nyaya system was developed in Nabadwip, which produced great logicians in the 15th century
- Kalyani is another important city.
- During the period of World War II, Kalyani was the site of an American Airbase, known by the name of Roosevelt Town or Roosevelt Nagar.
- It was developed as a planned town in the early 1950s by the Government of West Bengal at the behest of Bidhan Chandra Roy.
- Ranaghat, situated 74 kilometers north of Kolkata on the bank of the Churni River, is famous for its railway communication.
- Bethuadahari is an important town in this district. This place is very much famous for Bethuadahari Wildlife Sanctuary.
- Palashi Is a historic town of Nadia adjacent to the Murshidabad District. This place Is famous for the Battle of Plassey.
- Famous Personalities: Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Krittibas Ojha, Dwijendra Lal Roy, Ishwar Chandra Gupta, Bijoylal Chattopadhyay, Dinabandhu Mitra, Rajsekhar Basu (Parashuram), Jatindranath Mukhopadhyay (Bagha Jatin), Soumitra Chatterjee, Jyotirmoyee Sikdar, Jhulan Goswami, Basanta Singha Roy, Ramtanu Lahiri, etc.
- The headquarters of the district are at Hooghly-Chinsura.
- There are four subdivisions: Chinsura Sadar, Serampore, Chandannagar, and Arambag).
- Hooghly is one of the most economically developed Bengal. It is the main jute cultivation, jute industry, and in west jute trade hub in the state.
- The Hindustan Motors plant is situated in Uttarpara.
- The historical triple cities of Chandanagar-Chinsurah-Serampore are called Little Europe as these were all European colonies.
- On 2 October 1954 Chandannagar was integrated into the state of West Bengal.
- Famous Personalities: Prafulla Chandra Sen, Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Shri Ramkrishna Paramahansa, K.C Nag, etc.
- The district is named after its headquarters, the city of Howrah.
- Howrah district has two subdivisions: Howrah Sadar and Uluberia.
- Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology (formerly Bengal Engineering & Science University, Bengal Engineering College), over 150 years old, among the oldest and most prestigious engineering institutes in the country, is located in the city.
- Often termed as Sheffield of the East, Howrah is known today as an engineering hub, mainly in the area of the light engineering industry.
- Howrah Station: The British architect Halsey Ricardo designed the new station. It was opened on 1 December 1905.
- The British established the Indian Botanical Gardens in 1786 between the Great Banyan tree and the Hooghly River.
- Belur Math is the headquarters of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission, founded by Swami Vivekananda, a chief disciple of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. It Is located on the west bank of Hooghly River, Belur.
- Howrah Bridge is a bridge with a suspended span over the Hooghly River, Commissioned In 1943, the bridge was originally named the New Howrah Bridge because it replaced a pontoon bridge at the same location linking the two cities of Howrah and Kolkata (Calcutta).
- On 14 June 1965, it was renamed Rabindra Setu.
- The third-longest cantilever bridge at the time of Its construction, the Howrah Bridge is currently the sixth-longest bridge of its type in the world.
- Vidyasagar Setu also is known as the Second Hooghly Bridge was commissioned on 10 October 1992.1t is a cable-stayed bridge.
- Vivekananda Setu (also called Willingdon Bridge and Bally Bridge) is opened in 1932. It is a multi-span steel bridge.
- Nivedita Setu (also called Second Vivekananda Setu) is a cable-stayed bridge over the Hooghly River, was opened to traffic in July 2007. The bridge is India’s first multi-span, single-plane cable supported extra-dosed bridge.
- Famous Personalities: Bharatchandra Ray, Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay, Sarat Chandra Bose, etc.
Purba Bardhaman District
- It was formed on 7 April 2017 after the bifurcation of the erstwhile Bardhaman district and its headquarters in Bardhaman.
- Purba Bardhaman district is a flat alluvial plain area.
- The district comprises four subdivisions: Kalna, Katwa, Bardhaman Sadar North, and Bardhaman Sadar South.
- The oxbow lake of Purbasthall is located In the Kalna subdivision.
- Gobindo Bhog Rice of Purba Bardhaman granted the GI certificate.
- Famous Personalities: Akshyakumar Dutta, Rangalal Bandyopadhyaya, Nabinchandra, Maladhar Basu.
Paschim Bardhaman District
- Paschim Bardhaman district is a predominantly urban mining-industrial district in West Bengal.
- The headquarters of the district Is Asansol. It was formed on 7 April 2017 after the bifurcation of the erstwhile Bardhaman district as the 23rd district of West Bengal.
- The rocky undulating topography with laterite soil found in Paschim Bardhaman district is a sort of extension of the Chota Nagpur plateau.
- The district comprises two subdivisions: Asansol Sadar and Durgapur.
- Coalmining in India first started in the Raniganj Coalfield in 1774.
- Chittaranjan Locomotive Works is a state-owned electric locomotive manufacturer based in India. It is located at Chittaranjan in Asansol.
- Founded in 1950 the Indian Railway owned industrial unit is named after the Indian freedom-fighter Chittaranjan Das.
- IISCO Steel Plant of Steel Authority of India Limited is an integrated steel plant located at Burnpur, Established in 1918.
- Durgapur Steel Plant is one of the integrated steel plants of Steel Authority of India Limited, located in Durgapur. lt was set up with the help of the UK In 1955. There Is an alloy steel plant at Durgapur.
- Durgapur Barrage was built by Damodar Valley Corporation in 1955 and handed over, along with the canal network, to the Government of West Bengal in 1964.
- The Rebel Poet Kazi Nazrul Islam was born in Churulia, Asansol.
- Hindustan Cables was founded at Rupnarayanpur in Asansol, West Bengal in 1952. The present headquarters in Kolkata.
- Durgapur has the only operational dry (inland) port in Eastern India.
- Durgapur was planned by two American Architects Joseph Allen Stein and Benjamin Polk in the year 1955.
- Kazi Nazrul Islam Airport is a domestic airport located at Andal. lt is part of the country’s first private sector Aerotropolis, being developed by Bengal Aerotropolis Projects Limited (BAPL)
- The airport was officially inaugurated on 19 September 2013.
- Panagarh Airport was constructed in 1944, during the Second World War. It serves as a base for the Indian Air Force. In 2016, it was renamed Air Force Station, Arjan Singh.
- Famous Personalities: Kazi Nazrul Islam, Sir Rashbihari Ghosh
- The district headquarter is located in Bankura town.
- The district comprises three subdivisions: Bankura Sadar, Khatra and Bishnupur
- The district has been described as the “connecting link between the plains of Bengal on the east and Chota Nagpur plateau on the west.”
- The western part of the district has poor, ferruginous soil and hard beds of laterite with scrub jungles and sal woods.
- The hills of the district consist of outliers of the Chota Nagpur plateau and only two are of any great height — Biharinath and Susunia.
- The principal rivers are Sall, Gandheswari, Kukhra, Birai, oamonar, Dwarakeswar, Shilabati, Kangsabati, Thypanda, and Bhairahbanki.
- Kangsabati Project was started during the Five-Years Plan period (1956-61).
- Stone-crushing, Weaving, Oilseed-crushing, handicraft units like Dokra, Terra-cotta, Baluchari Sari (It was mainly produced in Murshidalabad but presently Bishnupur and its surrounding places of West Bengal is the only place where authentic Baluchuri sarees are produced.), etc. plays a key economic role of the district.
- Mukutmanipur, the second largest earthen dam in India, and Sutan are notable tourist spots.
- Gouripur Leprosy Hospital is Asia’s largest leprosy hospital.
- Mejia power plant is the only thermal power plant in this district.
- Darakeshwar, Gandheswari, and Kangsabati are the major rivers that flow through the district.
- Jaipur forest is the only forest in the plains of Southern Bengal
- Bankura Sammilani Medical College is the oldest medical college in this area.
- The district comprises three subdivisions: Suri Sadar, Bolpur and Rampurhat
- The district headquarters is in Suri.
- Often called “the land of red soil.”
- The Visva Bharati University at Santiniketan, established by Rabindranath Tagore on the bank of the river Kopai, is one of the places Birbhum is internationally renowned for.
- Many festivals are celebrated in this culturally rich district, including the notable Poush Mela.
- In the district, there is only a hilly area of natural rock formation situated near Dubrajpur town called Mama Bhagne Pahar (Hill).
- Several rivers flow across Birbhum. Some of these are Ajay, Mayurakshi, Kopai, Shal, Bakreshwar, Brahman, Dwarka, Hinglo, Chapala.
- Birbhum is a major center of cottage industries.
- Bakreshwar Thermal Power Station is the only heavy industry in the district.
- Bakreshwar is also a place of geological interest with many hot springs.
- The bauls of Birbhum, their philosophy, and their songs form a notable representation of the folk culture of the district.
- Ballabhpur Wildlife Sanctuary near Santiniketan was declared a sanctuary in 1977.
- Famous Personalities: Tarasankar Bandyopadhyay, Somnath Chatterjee, Pranab Mukherjee.
Purba Medinipur District
- The headquarters in Tamluk.
- It was formed on 1 January 2002 after the Partition of Midnapore into Purba Medinipur and Paschim Medinipur which lies at the northern and western border of it.
- The Tamluk town in present-day West Bengal is identified as the site of the Port city of Tamralipti.
- Purba Medinipur district is part of the lower Indo-Gangetic Plain and Eastern coastal plains.
- The major rivers are Haldi, Rupnarayan, Rasulpur, Bagui, and Keleghai, flowing in the north to south or south-east direction.
- It is ranked first in literacy in comparison to other districts of West Bengal.
- Digha is a seaside resort town of Purba Medinipur district.
- Haldia oil refinery is one of the ten refineries of the Indian Oil Corporation. It was commissioned in 1975. The oil refinery in Haldia was built with French collaboration and the Lube sector with Romanian collaboration.
- Famous Personalities: Matangini Hazra
Paschim Medinipur District
- It was formed on 1 January 2002 after the Partition of Paschim Medinipur and Purba Medinipur.
- On 4 April 2017, the Jhargram subdivision was converted into a district.
- Midnapore is the district headquarters.
- The district with the next highest number of villages, Mayurbhanj, in the state of Odisha.
- Joint Forest Management site Arabari is situated in Paschim Medinipur.
- Famous Personalities: Sahid Kshudiram Basu.
- The district was formed on 4 April 2017, after bifurcation from the Paschim Medinipur district as the 22nd district of West Bengal.
- The only subdivision, the Jhargram subdivision, has its headquarters at Jhargram.
- The important rivers of this division are the Kangsabati (popularly known as Kasai), the Tarafeni, the Subarnarekha, and the Dulong.
- Mayurjharna Elephant Reserve (henceforth MER) is the only elephant reserve in Eastern India.
- The reserve is located over parts of Paschim Medinipur district, Bankura district, and Jhargram district of West Bengal.
- In 1956 Manbhum district was partitioned between Bihar and West Bengal under the States Reorganization Act and the Bihar and West Bengal (Transfer of Territories) Act 1956 and the present Purulia district was born on 1 November 1956.
- Purulia is the westernmost district of West t Bengal.
- Among small scale industries, the Iac industry and sericulture industry is another major source of income for this district.
- Purulia produces 90% of the lac produced in WB.
- Tourism is another source of income for this district. Forests, Hillocks, to be Rivulets, Streams, Wild Life, Flora & Fauna has tremendous scope explored by the tourist.
- The prominent of the district like Ajodhya Hills, Matha, Murg Darn and Kullapal Forests, Jaychandi Pahar, Panchakote Raj, Duarsini Hills, and Forests attract quite a good number of visitors to Purulia every year.
- The district comprises three subdivisions: Purulia Sadar, Jhalda, and Raghunathpur.
- Purulia got a distinct folk culture of Jhumur, Tusu, Bhadu songs. It is also the birthplace of a martial dance of Bengal Chhau.
- Santaldih Thermal Power Station is situated in Purulia district.
North 24 Parganas (24 PGS N) District
- In 1983, an administrative reform committee under the chairmanship of Dr. Ashok Mitra suggested splitting the district into two and as per the recommendation of the committee in 1986,1 March two districts—North 24 Parganas (24 PGS N) and South 24 Parganas (24 PGS S) were created.
- Barasat is the district headquarters of North 24 Parganas.
- North 24 Parganas is West Bengal’s most populous district and (following the splitting of the Thane district of Maharashtra in 2014) the most populated district in the whole of India.
- There are many other rivers, which include the Ichhamati, Jamuna, and Bidyadhari.
- It is also home to the Bibhutibhushan Wildlife Sanctuary, which was established in 1985.
- Famous Personalities: Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay, Taradas Bandyopadhyay, Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, Titumir, M. N. Roy, etc.
South 24 Parganas District
- South 24 Parganas Is a district of West Bengal State, headquartered in Alipore.
- It is the largest district of West Bengal State by area and second-largest by population.
- In 1984, South 24 Parganas district became home to Sundarbans National Park, which has an area of 1,330 km2 (513.5 sq mi).
- It shares the park with the North 24 Parganas district and is also home to four wildlife sanctuaries: Haliday Island, Lothian Island, Narendrapur, and Sajnekhali.
- Famous Personalities: Nilratan Sircar.
- Kolkata, Bengali Kalikata, formerly Calcutta, city, capital of West Bengal state, and former capital (1772–1911) of British India.
- It is one of India’s largest cities and one of its major ports.
- The city is centered on the east bank of the Hugli (Hooghly) River, once the main channel of the Ganges (Ganga) River, about 96 miles (154 km) upstream from the head of the Bay of Bengal.
- According to the 2011 Indian census, it is the seventh most populous city; the city had a population of 4.5 million, while the suburb population brought the total to 14.1 million, making it the third-most populous metropolitan area in India.
- The city, nicknamed the “City of Joy” is widely regarded as the “cultural capital” of India and as of 2019, 6 Nobel Laureates have been associated with the city.
- Famous Personalities: Swami Vivekananda, Satyajit Ray, Rabindranath Tagore, P C Mahalonabis, Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, Abhijit Banerjee (Nobel Prize winner), Sourav Ganguli, Sukumar Ray, and others.
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