Chandannagar

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Chandannagar
চন্দননগর
Chandernagor (French); Chandernagore (English)
City
Chandannagar is located in West Bengal
Chandannagar
Chandannagar
Coordinates: 22°52′N 88°23′E / 22.87°N 88.38°E / 22.87; 88.38Coordinates: 22°52′N 88°23′E / 22.87°N 88.38°E / 22.87; 88.38
Country India
State West Bengal
District Hooghly
Area
 • Total 19 km2 (7 sq mi)
Elevation 9 m (30 ft)
Population (2011)
 • Total 166,867
 • Density 8,800/km2 (23,000/sq mi)
Languages
 • Official Bengali, English
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
PIN 712136
Telephone code 033
Vehicle registration WB-
Lok Sabha constituency Hooghly
Vidhan Sabha constituency Chandannagar

Chandannagar, formerly known as Chandernagore (Chôndonnôgor, French: Chandernagor), is a Corporation city and former French colony located 30 kilometers (19 mi) north of Kolkata, in West Bengal, India. It is headquarters of a subdivision in Hooghly District. It is one of the 6 municipal corporations in West Bengal. It is a part of the area covered by Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority. Located on the Hooghly River, the city has been able to maintain a separate identity different from all other cities and abide by her own characteristics. The total area is 19 square kilometers (7.3 sq mi), and had a population of 166,867 at the 2011 Census. Chandannagar is connected to Kolkata by railway, roadways and river and it takes about an hour to reach there by car.

Origin of name[edit]

The name Chandannagar is possibly derived from the shape of the bank of the river Ganges which is bent like a half moon (in Bengali, Chand means moon and Nagar implies city). In some old documents the spelling of Chandannagar was Chandernagore which probably came from Chandra Nagar. To mention, Chandra is the Bengali of Moon. Others believe it might have been taken from the flourishing trade and business of sandal wood (Bengali:Chandan) at that time. One more reason behind the name is, in Chandernagore there is a temple of Goddess 'Chandi'. So it might come from there. But earlier people knew the place by the name Farasdanga as it was a French colony (Bengali: Farasi means French, danga means land).

History[edit]

The capture of the position of Chandernagore in 1757 by the Royal Navy.

Chandannagar was established as a French colony in 1673, when the French obtained permission from Ibrahim Khan, the Nawab of Bengal, to establish a trading post on the right bank of the Hughli River. Bengal was then a province of the Mughal Empire. It became a permanent French settlement in 1688, and in 1730 Joseph François Dupleix was appointed governor of the city, during whose administration more than two thousand brick houses were erected in the town and a considerable maritime trade was carried on. For a time, Chandannagar was the main center for European commerce in Bengal.

Chandannagar waterfront c. 1850

In 1756 war broke out between France and Great Britain, and Colonel Robert Clive of the British East India Company and Admiral Charles Watson of the British Navy bombarded and captured Chandannagar on 23 March 1757. The town's fortifications and many houses were demolished thereafter, and Chandannagar's importance as a commercial center was eclipsed by that of Calcutta just downriver. Chandernagore was restored to the French in 1763, but retaken by the British in 1794 in the Napoleonic Wars. The city was returned to France in 1816, along with a 3 sq mi (7.8 km2) enclave of surrounding territory. It was governed as part of French India until 1950, under the political control of the governor-general in Pondicherry. By 1900 the town's former commercial importance was gone, and it was little more than a quiet suburb of Calcutta, with a population of 25,000 (1901). The European town was noted for its clean wide thoroughfares, with many elegant residences along the riverbank.

Independence[edit]

India became independent of Britain in 1947, and in June 1948 the French Government held a plebiscite which found that 97% of Chandannagar's residents wished to become part of India. In May 1950, the French allowed the Indian government to assume de facto control over Chandannagar, officially ceding the city to India on 2 February 1951. De jure transfer took place on 9 June 1952. On 2 October 1954 Chandannagar was integrated into the state of West Bengal.

Places of tourist interest[edit]

The Chandan Nagar strand.
Chandannagore Strand
A beautiful tourist spot along the pavement studded with lights surrounded by lush green trees. It is about 1 km (0.62 mi) in length and 7 meters (23 ft) in width, and many buildings of historical importance surround the spot. It is very popular visiting spot of the local people and the tourists would love to stroll along enjoying the mild breeze and watching the small boats sail by. Along the strand are present Vivekananda Mandir (a meditation centre) and a protruding structure into the river Ganges. This is supposed to be the best decorated bank of the river along its entire length of 2,500 km (1,600 mi).
Chandannagore Museum and Institute (Institut de Chandernagor
One of the oldest and finest museums of the entire region. It boasts a beautiful collection of French antiques (like cannons used in Anglo-French war, wooden furniture of 18th century, etc.) which are difficult to find anywhere else in the world. The institute still teaches French through regular classes.
Sacred Heart church.
The Sacred Heart Church of Chandannagar (l'Eglise du Sacré Cœur
The church stands for over two centuries to mark the beauty of the architecture during the French period — a good place to visit for the historians and tourists alike. The remains of the Church of St. Louis are also an attractive tourist spot.
The Patal Bari or the underground house
The Underground House (Patal-Bari) 
The building is another beautiful example of the advancement in the knowledge of architecture and the aesthetic sense of the people of those earlier days. Its lowest floor is submerged in the River Ganges. The Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore frequently visited the place and appreciated a lot about the building. He felt that the place influenced him to a large extent and broadened his intellectual capabilities. He mentioned Patal-bari in many of his famous novels. The famous social reformer Pandit Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar also stayed in the building. The house was owned by the zemindars of nearby Bansberia.
Nandadulal Jiu mandir.
Ancient temples
Nandadulal Temple, built in 1740 by Indranarayan Roychoudhury presents an excellent example of ancient Indian sculptures. There are many fascinating temples devoted to Kali, Shiva and other deities which show marks of brilliant craftsmanship and artistic taste.
Residences of famous personalities
The place hosts a galaxy of famous personalities who had strong impact not only on contemporary society but also affected Indian History. The revolutionary leader Rash Behari Bose's paternal house stands at Fatokgorah. Kanailal Datta and the great social reformer Sri Harihar Sett were also natives of Chandannagar. Upendra Nath Bandopadhyay, the founder of Dynik Basumoti a daily Bengali news paper, Mr. Jatindra nath Bandopadhyay,Anthony Firingee( Hensman Anthony) was a Bengali language folk poet of Portuguese origin, arrived in Bengal sometime in early 19th century and subsequently came to settle in Farashdanga, in the town of Chandernagore were among the other renowned personalities of this historic town.
Nritya Gopal Smriti Mandir
Built by Sri Harihar Sett, and donated to the people of Chandannagore. This building still serves as a theatre hall and a library. It was first of its kind in the entire locality. It has one of the largest collections of books in French, English and Bengali in the district.
Bishalakshmi temple 
The temple is situated near Brahmin para,Boubazar in the western part of railway station.The history of this ancient temple is not known properly.The deity is worshiped regularly by the local people.
Picnic and amusement park 
KMDA, Chuti park and New Digha are three very popular amusement parks situated in the western part of Chandannagar.

Roads and transport[edit]

The French Governor's palace presently housing the Chandannagar Museum
By road
Chandannagore is 37 km (23 mi) by road from Kolkata via G.T.Road or Delhi road. Taxis and private cars in Kolkata are easily available to approach Chandannagore.
By rail
Local trains from Howrah through Howrah Burdwan Eastern Railway main line run very frequently (peak frequency one train every 10 or 12 minutes). Many important express and passenger trains halt here. The distance from Howrah by rail is approximately 33 km (21 mi) and it takes about 50–55 minutes in all stop local trains.
By air
Nearest airport is at Kolkata (Kolkata Airport), which is airlinked with all major Indian and international cities. Chandannagore is only 40 km (25 mi) by road from the airport. Please check Flight Schedules from the airport.
By water
Government of West Bengal (West Bengal Surface Transport Corporation) operates river services across river Hooghly (the Ganges) and also between Chandannagore and Kolkata and Belur.

Heritage and culture[edit]

Jagaddhatri Puja is a major socio cultural event in this region.

History[edit]

The ancient history of Jagadhatri Puja in Chandannagar is unknown even today. It is believed that Indranarayan Chowdhury introduced the Jagadhatri Puja in Chandannagar in the manners similar to Raja Krishnachandra of Krishnanagore. The time of beginning of Jagadhatri Puja in Krishnanagore was 1762. Indranarayan Choudhury died in 1756. So Indranarayan Choudhury by no means introduced the Jagadhatri puja in Chandannagar. The beginning of Jagadhatri puja in Chandannagar probably dates back earlier than 1750. Indranarayan Choudhury performed the Jagadhatri puja at his own house in Chandannagar, at the time Krishnachandra used to come to borrow money from Indranarayan Choudhury. Perhaps Krishnachandra was attracted to greatness of Jagadhatri at this time.

Rituals and the idol[edit]

Traditional Jagaddhatri Idol
In Chandannagar West Bengal the worship of Goddess Jagadhatri is very popular , this is a famous , pooja in the Baghbazar area .

The formal difference between goddess Durga and Jagaddhatri lies in Mayatantra and Jagaddhatri is mentioned with reference to Durga in Krishnananda's Tantrasaar. The rule to perform the special puja of the goddess on the ninth lunar day of the light fortnight in the Bengali month of Kartick has been mentioned in Krityatattarnab by Srinath Acharyachuramoni of the 15-16th century. The four-handed goddess is carried by the lion everywhere, an elephant lies at the feet of the lion. The idol has an old fashioned shaping, i.e., the face cutting is of a longish pattern; it has large eyes spread up to the ears and the four hands display conch, discus, shaft and bow respectively. The snake is her sacred thread. One of the main attractions of Jagaddhatri idol of Chandannagar is the ornamental decoration of the goddess with shola (thermocoal) and beautiful canvas of mats with painting at the back of the image.

Public display[edit]

Procession Tableau
The lightgates of Chandan nagar in West Bengal, India. Chandan nagar is famous for its light gates that are used during Durga Pooja and Jagadhatri Pooja.

The number of community pujas in Chandannagar, Bhadreswar and Champdani Municipal areas cross 190. Of these, 132 Puja committees in different localities in Chandannagar and Bhadreswar are affiliated to the Chandannagar Central Jagadhatri Puja Committee. The Central committee renders all possible assistance to its constituents in getting permissions and clearances for holding Puja. The immersion procession is really memorable and enjoyable sight to witness in which lakhs of people participate from far and near. The beautiful decorated tall images loaded on trucks are taken around the city in a procession. Some of the good places to visit for puja pandals are Nutan Telighat, Charmandirtala, Mansatala, Kancharaighat,Bibirhat, Helapukur dhar, Bagbazar Sarbojonin, Fatakgora, Aadi Maa etc. Jagdhatri pooja in Chandannagar is very popular and people from the neighbouring places of West Bengal visit to see the event.

Education[edit]

It is believed that there was a small school founded by the missionaries for the Bengali boys on the south of Chandannagar where there is a convent now. Bengali and French were freely taught there. The former Collège Dupleix was also established by the missionaries. Later Dupleix College was known as École Dupleix from 1901. The school was renamed Kanailal Vidyamandir after the name of the revolutionary Kanailal Dutta, a student of this school, on 17 May 1948 just before the liberation from the French rule. The Centenary ceremony of the school was inaugurated by Dr. Brajakanta Guha, the Vice-Chancellor of University of Burdwan on its first day. It is one of the most renowned schools in the district. The oldest school of Chandannagore is École de jeune filles ( "Girls School" in French) situated at the strand road beside the Police station. It was the first school established during the French rule in Chanannagore.

Banga Vidyalaya is another well known school of Chandannagar. It was established on Baisakh 20, 1288 (Bengali calendar) with three boys only on roll at a small rented house of Kanailal Khan at Barasat Tematha.

There were two primary schools, one established in 1885 by Durga Charan Rakshit after his own name. The other one was founded by Harihar Sett after his father's name as Nritya Gopal Sett Prathamik Vidyalaya.

Krishna Bhabini Nari Siksha Mandir was established in 1926 by Harihar Sett after his mother's name. This was the first girl's high school in the district. Besides there is an educational institution established and managed by Prabartak Sangha. There was an arrangement for only girls to stay and receive education here. Convent for girls at Chandannagar. It was the oldest educational institution in the area. Through the years the school has retained its excellent tradition of exemplary dedication which is reflected in its excellent result in ICSE exam. The building which first bore the name St. Joseph Convent has now branded into buildings on every side of the campus. These buildings have been erected to accommodate the sister institutions, St. Anthony's High School, the dispensary and its annexe, St. Mary's school, all under the management of St. Joseph Convent.

Chandernagore Govt.College

List of boys' schools[edit]

  • Chandernagore Sri Aurobindo Vidyamandir (English Medium) (WBBSE, WBCHSE)
  • Adarsa Shikshalaya (WBBSE, WBCHSE)
  • Kanailal Vidyamandir (English Section)(WBBSE, WBCHSE)
  • Kanailal Vidyamandir (French)
  • Durga Charan Rakshit Banga Vidyalaya (WBBSE, WBCHSE)
  • Chandannagore Banga Vidyalaya (WBBSE, WBCHSE)
  • Prabartak Vidyarthi Bhaban (WBBSE)
  • Ganges Gurukul (Coed)(ICSE)
  • Khalisani Vidya Mandir (WBBSE)
  • Narua Siksha Niketan (WBBSE)
  • Modern Public School, Bhakunda (co ed)
  • Chandannagar St. Paul's
  • Rishi Aurobindo Bal-Kendram, Vidyalanka (Co-Ed)

List of girls' schools[edit]

  • Krishna Bhabini Nari Shiksha Mandir (WBBSE, WBCHSE)
  • St. Joseph Convent[1]
  • St. Anthony's High School (WBBSE)
  • Lal Bagan Balika Vidyalaya (WBBSE)
  • Ushangini Balika Vidyalaya (WBBSE, WBCHSE)
  • Prabartak Nari Mandir (WBBSE)
  • Indumati Girls High School (WBBSE)
  • Khalisani Nari Siksha Mandir (WBBSE)
  • Ganges Gurukul (Coed)(ICSE)
  • Bholanath Das Balika Vidyalaya
  • Modern Public School, Bhakunda (co ed)
  • Rishi Aurobindo Bal-Kendram, Vidyalanka (Co-Ed)

List of colleges[edit]

  • Chandannagar Govt. College (University of Burdwan)
  • Khalisani Mahavidyalaya (University of Burdwan)
  • Institute of Education (P.G.) for Women, Chandernagore
  • Women's Polytechnic College

Art school[edit]

The first drawing school of Chandernagore was Sishu Kala Bhavan, established in 1946 by Sri Bankim Bandyopadhyay in Kanailal Vidyamandir (French Section).

"RONG O TULI" established in the 1964 by Sri Sunil Chattopadhayay. This famous Art School now running by Mr. Shuvendu Banerjee at Gondal Para, Satghat, Chandannagore. Ph: 09830169644.

"VIBGYOR ART CLUB OF CHANDANNAGORE" a famous Art & Craft Organization in town . Established in the 2002 by Mr. Shuvendu Banerjee. Successfully organized prestigious "Vibgyor Puja Porikroma" every year along with Art & Craft Exhibition and Workshop every year.

Many talented painters started their career from there. The first international prize in painting was won by Sri Patit Paban Das from Sishu Kala Bhavan in 1956 in West Bengal. Other famous artists were Sri Madhab Ch Basak, Sri Gora Chand Das, Sri Ajit Das, Sri Hari Narayan Das, Shuvendu Banerjee.

Gallery[edit]

List of newspapers and magazines[edit]

The temple dedicated to Swami Vivekananda on Strand road

This is a list of publications from Chandannagore in both the French era and modern times:

  • Le Petit Bengali: The first French newspaper published from Chandannagore. First publication year 1879.
  • Vive la République: Weekly newspaper. First publication ion 1882. Bengali version named Prajabandhu. Published by Bayas Press, 15 Rue General Martin, Chandernagore.
  • Dhumketu: Weekly newspaper in Bengali. First published in 1886.
  • Chandannagore Prakash: Another weekly newspaper in Bengali. First publication in 1892.
  • Pravartak: [Bi-monthly magazine in Bengali. Published by Governoof Chandernagore. First published on 16 January 1916.
  • Nabasangha: Weekly magazine in Bengali. First publication in 1920 from Pravartak Publishing House.
  • Le Matribhumi: Bi-monthly magazine. First appeared on 8 January 1927.
  • Pravartak: Fort-nightly journal in English on constructive nationalism. First published on 19 September 1931.
  • Sevak: Weekly Bengali newspaper. First published on 21 March 1932.
  • Prajashakti: Bi-monthly magazine. First appeared on 13 January 1937.
  • Swadhinata: Fortnighty journal. Publication started from 26 May 1945.
  • Jai Hind: Weekly patriotic] newspaper. First published on 13 April 1947.
  • Jugantar: Bi-monthly magazine. First appeared on 19 April 1947.
  • Maitri: a famous Bengali Sahityo Patrika (Literary Magazine) (Bi-annual) Edited by Shuvendu Banerjee, Since 1995.Editorial Office: P.O. Gondal Para, Stghat, Chandannagore, Dt: Hooghly. India.

Geography[edit]

A view of the River Hooghly from the Strand Road

Chandannagar is located at 22°52′N 88°23′E / 22.87°N 88.38°E / 22.87; 88.38. It has an average elevation of 10 metres (33 ft).

Chandannagar consisted of mainly three parts Khalisani (west),Gondalpara (south) and boro kishanganj (north). presently there are about 30 localities (para) and more than 100 sub-localities.Of them some are Gondalpara, Nutan Telighat, Barasat, Tematha, Hatkhola, Daibokpara, Padripara, Barabazar, Bagbazar, Fatokgora, Khalisani,Nabagram, Palpara, Urdibazar, Luxmigunj, Panchanantala, Taldanga, Haridradanga etc. The areas of Dinemardanga, Mahadanga etc. are the newest places in the city and were previously colonies.

The Mankundu area was under G.C Khan (after whom the area is named). Later the place was separated from chandannagar and renamed Mankundu. A railway station was later formed in the Howrah main line. The area is however managed by Chandannagore Municipal Corporation.

The geographical boundary of the city is marked by gateways or 'gor's.The G.T.Road runs through the middle of the city. The Delhi road runs marking the western limit of the city. Bajra, Bandhagram etc. are some of the village like areas near the borders of the city.

The city is guarded by Chinsurah in the north, Bhadreshwar in the south, the Hooghly river in the east and Dhaniakhali in the west

Demographics[edit]

As of 2011 India census,[2] Chandannagar had a population of 166,867. Males constituted 52% of the population and females 48% in 2001. Chandannagar has an average literacy rate of 78%, higher than the national average of 59.5%; with male literacy of 82% and female literacy of 74%. 8% of the population is under 6 years of age.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]