About Bardhaman

Bardhaman, Burdwan is the district of West Bengal. It is one of the prosperous districts. Being in a geographical position it acts as the lifeline for the whole state as the main transport and river system passes through it. Bardhaman is one of the ancient places in India. Right from the 6th Century BCE when the 24th Jain Tirthankar Vardhamana Mahavira spent some time in Astikagram, which was later renamed as Vardhaman in his honour is now the district capital and alternatively named as Bardhaman? It has a multicultural heritage throughout the history. During the British rule it used to be an important center as it was in the times of the Mughals, Pathans and the Marathas. In the present era Burdwan is a place where both Industry and Agriculture has flourished together. Throughout the Western part of the district there is Industry and the Eastern part is best known for its Agriculture. Bardhaman is known as the 'Rice Go-down of West Bengal' due to the huge production. It is the best example for the Industrialization of the state. Bardhaman also performs a key factor for determining the political demography of the state.

It is one of those places which are blessed with rich diversity of economy. Agriculture, Industry and Non-agro based economy; all has flourished to the maximum. Thus, making it one of the prosperous districts. 52% of the district's economy is dependent on Agriculture, where rice is the main crop. Due to the presence of the alluvial soil brought by the three rivers around the district, Damodar, Hoogly and the Ajay, the geographical position of the district has become a favorable place for cultivation. Rice is the main agro-product. Other products like mustard, jute, potato and sugarcane is also cultivated in the subsidiary areas. Due to its high production in agriculture Bardhaman is also known as "the Granary of West Bengal". Not only in neighboring states, rice the main agro product is also exported in the neighboring countries. The Damodar Valley Project has added the scientific dimension to the topographical advantage which the district has to make it one of the prosperous places in India.

Bardhaman is also famous for the Industries. The major industrial belt lies in the western part of the district. The Asansol and Durgapur subdivision has the favorable climate and infrastructure to support the booming industrial scenario of the district. The availability of Coal and Iron ore, the two chief components of an industrial belt has given the advantage of setting up the Industries. Added to this there is hydro-electric power production setup by the Damodar Valley Project, thus providing the hydro-electric power to support the post-independence industrialization. Due to the heavy demand of the industrial products both in country and in abroad the industrial area of Bardhaman became a principle site of investment of the foreign source since the post independence period. Heavy supply of raw materials to the domestic plants is also maintained thus saving them from heavy import cost.

The economy of the district is also supported by several cottage industries which has grown in the interiors of the district. Iron utensils & cutlery, dairy, gold & silver smithy, making of clay utensils and pottery etc are the principal occupation of rustics & also support their daily requirements.

History, Religion and Mythology

Right from the Stone Age, Bardhaman has witnessed a rich history through time. There are various relics from Stone Age that are found in the district. Archeological excavations has provided evidence that this area forms a foremost part of Radh Bangal that could be traced back to 4000-2000 BCE. The place has derived its name from the the 24th Jain Tirthankar Vardhamana Mahavira in the 6th Century BCE. Epigraphic references in the form of copper-plate has been found in Mallasarul near Galsi. It is believed that Mahavira, during the course of his sermons and speeches had visited Bardhaman. It is said in Jain scriptures that he spent some time in Astikagram. After he leaved the place, in his honor the name was changed to Vardhaman, which in time changed to Bardhaman. Parasnath hill in Dhanbad district of Jharkhand, close to the borders of Bardhaman was an important and holy centre for the Jains. A large number of stone images of different Tirthankars have been discovered in Bardhaman district.

Bardhaman played an important role during the age of Guptas and Sena kings. During the Sultanate and Mughal period Bardhaman was an impotant administrative headquarter. Nurjahan the famous queen of the Mughal Harem of Jahangir was the wife of the then Jagirdar of Bardhaman, Sher Afgan before she was taken to the Mughal Harem. It was Bardhaman that gave sanctum to Pir Baharam when he had to leave Delhi due to the machinations of Abul Fazal and Faizi in Akbar's time. Even today Hindus and Muslims of Bardhaman recall Pir Baharam with great regard. Bardhaman has also witnessed the handover treaty of the three villages of Sutanati, Gobindapur and Kolikata between the Mughals and the East India Company as it was signed at Bardhaman. Later these three villages grew up to be known as Kolkata or Calcutta today.

According to Indian mythology there is also reference that the Naval of goddess Sati fell here and the Sarbamangala Temple was built in that point in order to make it a major worship place among the Hindus. Khirogram is also a place where a similar kind of mythological history can be found. Sri Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu the founder of the Baishnav cult got sanyasa from Keshava Bharathi in Katwa and this made Katwa a very sacred place for the Baishnavites. Ramakrishna Paramhansa has made the Ishaneshwar Temple in Bardhaman famous due to his visit.

Geography and Demography

It is a district of West Bengal. The main administrative town is Bardhaman. It covers an area of 7024 square km. It is surrounded by the Birbhum district on the north, Murshidabad on the north-east, Nadia on the east. In the south-east it is surrounded by Hooghly, on the south by Bankura, south-west by Purulia and the north-west by the state of Jharkhand. It is a district with 6 subdivisions. Sadar North, Sadar South, Kalna, Katwa, Durgapur and Asansol. Two major river runs in between the district the Damodar and the Ajay. There is hardly any difference in altitude throughout the whole district.

The sex ratio of Bardhaman is 921 females per 1000 males i.e., there are 52% male as compared to 48% females. Bengali, and Hindi are the main languages spoken in the district, though some local languages are spoken in the remote parts. Most of the inhabitats here are Hindu, however Muslims are there in great numbers.

It was among the first districts to have a 100% literacy rate. The recent literacy rate is 77%, higher than the national average i.e. 59.5%. The literacy percentage is shared as 55% to male and 45% to female while 9% of the population is under the age of 6 years.

Art and Culture

This place has been the witness of several attacks right through the history. With every invasion Bardhaman has acquired a rich cultural heritage, thus creating a rich cultural diversification. History reveals that right from the age of the Aryans for whom it was the eastern frontier many notables has dominated this place spreading their own culture along this part of the land. Whether it is the Rajputs, the Mughals, the Pathans, the Marathas and even the British, they never kept Bardhaman out of importance and as a result we get the change in social and cultural behavior. Whatever the historical remains we see today throughout the district always indicates the rich Hindu, Buddhist and Muslim culture.

Tourism

Though not really known for tourism, Bardhaman do has many tourist spots throughout the whole district. Whether it is historical or religious there many sites with great value. Right from the ancient days to early medieval, from latter medieval to British rule in India, Bardhaman has always been a part of the ups and downs in Indian history till date.

Politics

Due to the advantage in climate, geographical position and other factors, Bardhaman has always been an important place in politics till date. Still the future of the state politics relies heavily on Bardhaman. It was during the period of the Aryans, Bardhaman used to be the eastern frontier colony. Most of the reasons behind acquiring this land throughout the history are its favorable climate and rich natural resources. During the Mughal and the British periods this used to be the district head quarters of the region.

Environment

With two months approximately Bardhaman experiences six seasons each year. It is a place where anyone will find the least change in altitude. Throughout the whole district the temperature remains almost the same, though the western part is warmer than compared to the east. This is mainly due to the presence of the Industries and the dry lands along with the coal mines.

Food

The main attraction of Bardhaman district is its sweets. Sita Bhog, Mihidana of Bardhaman and Langcha of Shaktigarh are the two famous sweets even famous to the whole world. This place is also well known for the various types of Prawns along with many fishes, mainly Ruhi. Rice the main agro product is also exported to neighboring countries and other states along with mustard.