Silchar

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Silchar
(Bengali: শিলচর Shilchôr)
city
Aerial view of the Barak river, Silchar
Aerial view of the Barak river, Silchar
Silchar is located in Assam
Silchar
Silchar
Location in Assam, India
Coordinates: 24°49′N 92°48′E / 24.82°N 92.8°E / 24.82; 92.8Coordinates: 24°49′N 92°48′E / 24.82°N 92.8°E / 24.82; 92.8
Country India
State Assam
District Cachar
Elevation 22 m (72 ft)
Population (2011)
 • Total 228,985
Languages
 • Official Bengali
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
PIN 7880xx
Telephone code 91 (0) 3842
Vehicle registration AS-11
Website www.cachar.nic.in

Silchar (Pron: ˈsɪlˌʧə or ˈʃɪlˌʧə) (Bengali: শিলচর Shilchôr) is the headquarters of Cachar district in the state of Assam in India. It is 343 kilometres (213 mi) south east of Guwahati. It is the 2nd largest town of the state in terms of population and municipal area.[1]

Being politically stable in the otherwise disturbed Northeast earned it the bon mot of "Island of Peace" from India's then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.[2]

Approximately 90% residents of Silchar are Bengalis who speak the Sylheti dialect, the rest being Bihari people, Bishnupriya Manipuri, Dimasa Kachari (Barman), Manipuri (Meitei), Marwaris, Assamese and some tribal groups like Nagas. Silchar is situated by the banks of the Barak River in what is popularly known as Barak Valley. Rice is the staple cereal. Fish is also widely consumed. Shuţki (the local name for dried fish), shidal chutney and chunga-r peetha are some of the local delicacies.

Etymology[edit]

During the British rule, ships were docked at the bank of the river Barak. Gradually, a market developed at the bank and became a major place of economic activity. The bank was covered with stones to help dock ships and vessels, and the market was developed at a place that was fully covered with stones. People started to refer to the place as "Shiler Chor", meaning a bank of stones. With the passage of time, "Shiler Chor" became "Silchar" for linguistic simplification and ultimately the British officials started to use the name "Silchar" in their official documents referring to the surrounding area of the market. Thus Silchar became the official name of the place.[3]

History[edit]

Cachar district records[edit]

In the 1850s, British tea planters re-discovered the game polo in Manipur on the Burmese border with India. The first polo club in the world was formed at Silchar.[citation needed] The first competitive modern form of polo was played in Silchar; the plaque for this feat still stands behind the District Library, Silchar.[citation needed]

Railway link[edit]

The Assam Bengal Railway brought Silchar into the Indian railway map in 1899. The railway line from Lumding to Silchar is hailed as one of the most exciting pristine railway tracks of India. Built by the British during the colonial rule, the meter gauge line stands testimony to the grandiose of what was once a highly popular city in the North-East.

Language martyrs[edit]

Language Martyr's Memorial at Silchar Railway Station

Silchar saw one of the uprisings in favour of the Bengali language. When the Assam government, under Chief Minister Bimala Prasad Chaliha, passed a circular to make Assamese mandatory, Bengalis of Barak Valley protested. On 19 May 1961, when Assam police opened fire on unarmed protesters at Silchar Railway Station, 11 agitators died. After the popular revolt, the Assam government had to withdraw the circular and Bengali was ultimately given official status in the three districts of Barak Valley.[4][5]

Silchar Railway Station is described as Bhasa Shahid Station

Economy[edit]

Over the past few years, the town has seen an influx of people from nearby States and places due to the Silchar's increasing prospects and other developments in the field of education, medical facilities and the more recently booming real estate market and other commercial enterprises, making the town quite over-crowded.

Geography[edit]

Silchar is located in the southern part of Assam.[6][7] Situated on the banks of the Barak River, it is a trade and processing centre for tea, rice and other agricultural products. There is limited industry, principally papermaking and tea-box manufacturing. The city has an airport and lies on both a rail head and national highways connecting to Guwahati, Agartala, Imphal, and Aizawl. Silchar is regarded as an important road junction of the North Eastern India and serves as a major point of connection for Tripura, Manipur and Mizoram.

The area of Silchar town is 15.75 km2. It has an average elevation of 22 meters (72 feet).

Demographics[edit]

As of 2011 India census, Silchar had a population of 178,865.[8] Total number of males were 89,961 and females 88,904. The sex ratio of Silchar was 988 females per 1000 males, which is above the national ratio of 940 females per 1000 males. Silchar has an average literacy rate of 91.74%, higher than the national average of 59.5%, with male literacy of 93.97% and female literacy at 89.50%. Total children (0-6) in Silchar city are 15,467 as per figure from Census India Report of 2011. There were 7,977 boys while 7,490 are girls. Child sex ratio of girls is 939 per 1000 boys, much lower than the overall sex ratio of 989, which is matter of concern because it indicates that recent trend has been more away from normalcy. Major religions followed are Hinduism, Islam, Christianity and Jainism. There are also a small community of Sikhs residing in the town.

Climate[edit]

At Silchar, the climate is tropical by nature. The wind generally blows from the northeast in the morning and from the southeast in the afternoon. Summer is hot, humid and interspersed with heavy rainfall and thunderstorms. Winter generally starts towards the end of November and lasts till February. Towards the start of the Bengali month of Baishakh (mid-April) rain clouds start covering the skyline. Silchar is inundated frequently due to excessive rainfall and flooding by the River Barak. In the last three decades, Silchar and the Barak Valley have been ravaged by three major floods - one in 1986, followed by 1991 and in 2004.

Education[edit]

The schools of Silchar are run by the state government or private organisations, some of which are religious. Bengali and English are the primary languages of instruction; Assamese and Hindi are also used. The schools are affiliated to either Secondary Board of Education, Assam and the CBSE. Prominent schools of Silchar include Holy Cross Higher Secondary School, Don Bosco School, Silchar Collegiate School, Adhar Chand Higher Secondary School,Cachar High School, South Point School, Narsing Higher Secondary School, Govt. Boys & Girls Higher Secondary Schools, Maharshi Vidya Mandir, Dinanath Navakishore Higher Secondary School, Chhotelal Seth High School, Pranabananda Holy Child School, Daffodils School, Pranabananda Vidya Mandir, Hiron Prova Dev Shishu Mandir, and Four Kendriya Vidyalayas.

Silchar is home to the main campus of Assam University, a central university, which imparts education in both the general as well as professional streams. The university, which came into existence in 1994, has 16 schools and 35 post-graduate departments under them. The university has 56 affiliated colleges under it.[9][10]

The colleges in Silchar are mostly affiliated with the Assam university. National Institute of Technology, Silchar is one of the oldest engineering colleges in the region. Prominent colleges in Silchar include Guru Charan College, Cachar College, Women's College, Radhamadhab College, Ramanuj Gupta Junior College, Hemangini Dey memorial Jr. College etc. Silchar Medical College and Hospital, established in 1968, serves the southern regions of Assam. There is an Institute of Pharmacy attached to it.[11] Silchar also has a polytechnic school, Silchar Polytechnic, which offers Diploma in Engineering programs.

Apart from these, Silchar also has a B.Ed College, Law College and an Industrial Training Center.

Connectivity[edit]

The connectivity of Silchar to other cities has long been a matter of concern. Silchar is connected by road, railways and air to the rest of the country.

Railways[edit]

Silchar Railway Station

Silchar Railway station under the North East Frontire Railway zone of the Indian Railways. The railway gauge functioned here is Metre Gauge. The railway station is situated in Tarapur, Silchar. Through railway, Silchar is connected to places like Lumding, Agartala and Dharmanagar. The nearby places connected to Silchar through rail by railways are Karimganj, Badarpur, Hailakandi, Jiribam and Bhairabi.

Roadways[edit]

Regular bus services connect Silchar with Guwahati, Shillong, Aizawl, Agartala and Imphal through NH 37 and NH 53. However during the rainy seasons, heavy downpour affects the Silchar-Shillong-Guwahati route causing frequent landslides which affects the road transportation. There is an Inter State Bus and an Inter State Truck Terminus which was constructed in the year 2005. The under construction four lane East - West corridor will connect Silchar in the east with Saurashtra in the west.

Air Connectivity[edit]

The airport is located at Kumbhirgram, about 22 km from Silchar and there are regular flights connecting Silchar with Kolkata, Guwahati, Tezpur, Jorhat, Agartala and Imphal. The airport is being mordernised and is considered the fourth-busiest in north eastern India after Guwahati, Imphal and Agartala in terms of flight movements.[12] Silchar has been selected as one of the towns for the construction of 51 low cost airports across the country recently.[13]

In December 1985, Air India operated the first all-woman crew flight in the world from Kolkata to Silchar which was commanded by Captain Saudamini Deshmukh on a Fokker F-27 Friendship aircraft.[14]

Politics[edit]

Silchar is part of the Silchar (Lok Sabha constituency) and the current member of Parliament from Silchar is Sushmita Dev, the youngest daughter of the veteran politician Santosh Mohan Dev of the Indian National Congress.[15]

Sports Facilities[edit]

Satindra Mohan Dev Stadium,Silchar

Satindra Mohan Dev Stadium is the only multipurpose stadium located at Silchar. The stadium has hosted an international one day match between the Indian and the England women's teams. It has also hosted Ranji Trophy and Duleep Trophy matches. Among the major football competitions, Santosh Trophy and I-League 2nd Division matches have been hosted at the ground. Silchar also has an Indoor Stadium which is also used mainly for indoor sports.

Tennis court at Tennis Club Silchar

The Tennis Club, Silchar is the only facility for hosting tennis matches and has multiple synthetic courts. The club also has an academy for imparting training.

Media[edit]

Silchar has an All India Radio station known as Akashvani Silchar. It broadcasts on AM and FM frequencies. Silchar also has a terrestrial television transmission center and studio of India's national broadcaster Doordarshan, known as DD Silchar.

In the print media, a number of Bengali and English daily newspapers are published from the town. The major newspapers published from Silchar include Bengali dailies Dainik Jugasankha, Dainik Prantajyoti, Samayik Prasanga, Janakantha and the English dailies The Sentinel and Eastern Chronicle. Besides the local newspapers, national and regional dailies like The Telegraph, Anandabazar Patrika, The Times of India, The Statesman, The Assam Tribune etc. are also available.

Tourist attractions[edit]

Ruins of the Kachari Kingdom, Khaspur.
  • Khaspur: 20 km from Silchar stands the ruin of a great Dimasa kingdom, capital of historical time and importance. Khaspur was the capital of the Dimasa Kachari Kings and its construction was completed in 1690 AD. The main attractions are the Lion Gate, the Sun Gate and age-old kings temple. The original palace is non-existent, but its subsidiaries, the main entrance gate, the Suryadwar, Debalaya are intact. The entrances are of elephant-patterns.
  • Bhubaneshwar Temple is the most celebrated temple of Lord Shiva in the entire South Assam. The Bhubaneshwar temple is about 50 km from Silchar and is on the top the Bhuvan hill. This is a place of pilgrimage and during the festival of Shivaratri, thousand of Shivayats march towards the hilltop to worship Lord Shiva. This temple by its geography attracts a lot of hikers as there are no motor roads to reach the hilltop. One has to hike at least 17 km from the plains to the temple.
  • Iskcon Temple is an important temple dedicated mainly to Lord Krishna. The temple is in Ambikapatty, Silchar. It was built and is being operated by the world famous Sanatan Dharmic spiritual organization ISKCON. There is a vegetarian restaurant operated nearby by the organization ISKCON.
  • Kancha Kanti Kali Temple: 11 km from Silchar stands the historical and most celebrated temple of South Assam, i.e., the temple of Mother Goddess “Kachakanti”. She is said to be amalgamation of two powerful Hindu deities: mother Durga and mother Kali. The original temple was built in 1806 AD by the Kachari king. Human sacrifices were offered to the Goddess till 1818 AD. The old temple is ruined now and has been replaced by new temple which was built in 1978.
  • Gandhibag Park is in Park Road, at the center of the town. The park is named after Mahatma Ganadhi. There is a Shahid Minar in the park dedicated to the language martyrs who sacrificed their lives on 19 May 1962 fighting for the protection of the Bengali language against the Government of Assam.
  • Maniharan Tunnel is a popular pilgrim spot about 5 km from Bhubaneswar temple. As per legends, this tunnel was once used by Lord Krishna. The holy River Tribeni flows beneath this tunnel. Maniharan temple, dedicated to Lord Krishna, is on the premises.

Notable People[edit]

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Indian cities with population of 1 lakh and above". Census India. Govt. of India. Retrieved 21 February 2014. 
  2. ^ "APCC member for nomination of Gaurav Gogoi from Barak Valley". The Sentinel, Assam. 6 June 2012. Retrieved 4 July 2012. 
  3. ^ "Silchar (India) - Britannica Online Encyclopedia". Britannica.com. Retrieved 2012-08-17. 
  4. ^ "No alliance with BJP, says AGP chief". The Telegraph, Calcutta. 27 December 2003. Retrieved 3 March 2014. 
  5. ^ "Silchar rly station to be renamed soon". The Times of India. 9 Jun 2009. Retrieved 3 March 2014. 
  6. ^ "Location of Silchar". Wikimapia Foundation. Wikimapia. Retrieved 3 March 2014. 
  7. ^ "Silchar, India Page". Falling Rain Genomics, Inc. Falling Rain Genomics, Inc. Retrieved 3 March 2014. 
  8. ^ "Census of India". Govt. of India. Government of India. Retrieved 20 February 2014. 
  9. ^ "Assam University, Homepage". Assam University. Retrieved 20 February 2014. 
  10. ^ "Statistical Data Fact Sheet of AUS". Assam University. Assam University. Retrieved 20 February 2014. 
  11. ^ "Silchar Medical College, Home Page". Silchar Medical College. Silchar Medical College. Retrieved 20 February 2014. 
  12. ^ "TRAFFIC STATISTICS - DOMESTIC AIRCRAFT MOVEMENTS". Retrieved 2012-08-28. 
  13. ^ "51 new low-cost airports to be set up: PMO". Daily News & Analysis. 28 June 2013. Retrieved 3 March 2014. 
  14. ^ Times of India, Online Edition
  15. ^ "List of Parliamentary & Assembly Constituencies" (PDF). Assam. Election Commission of India. Retrieved 2008-10-05. 

External links[edit]