Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Rajshahi; the Silk City of Bangladesh

Rajshahi, Bangladesh
The city of Rajshahi (Bengali: রাজশাহী) (Urdu and Punjabi: راجشاہی) is the divisional headquarters of Rajshahi division as well as the administrative district that bears its name and is one of the seven metropolitan cities of Bangladesh. Often referred to as Silk City and Education City, Rajshahi is located in the north-west of the country and has an estimated population of 853,000 people. Its total area is 96.69 km2 (37.33 sq mi) and is situated on the northern banks of the river Padma (or Ganges which is one of the major rivers of the Indian subcontinent). Rajshahi consists of 4 Thanas, 35 Wards and 175 Mahallahs. 

Rajshahi was formerly known as Rampur Boalia. An epigraphic record engraved on the Dargah (mausoleum) of the famous saint Hazrat Shah Makdhum (Rh.) indicates that the antiquity of Rajshahi goes back to at least 1634 A.D. The town was given importance in 1825, when the East India Company shifted the administrative headquarters of the district of Rajshahi from Natore to then Rampur Boalia, mainly for the ease of communication from Calcutta through the Hooghly river, Bhairab River and Padma river. Rajshahi Municipality, which was one of the first municipalities in Bangladesh, was established in 1876. 

Ruins at Puthia, Rajshahi, Bangladesh
Rajshahi Municipality was renamed as Rajshahi Pourashabha, and finally, Rajshahi Pourshava was declared Rajshahi City Corporation in 1991. Besides the City Corporation, a governing body named Rajshahi Unnayan Kortripokhkho (Rajshahi Development Authority-RDA) is there to plan the development of the city and to coordinate all the development related work. 

History:

Rajshahi district was a part of the Pundra region of ancient Bengal. The capital of Vijay Sen, the king who led military operations in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia was located 9 miles (14 km) to the west of Rajshahi town. In medieval times, the region came to be known as "Rampur Boalia". The origin of the present name of "Rajshahi" is debated among scholars. Most say that it takes its name from Hindu Kings and zamindars (or "Rajas") as Raj and the persianized Shahi; both of which means Royal or Kingdom. The administrative district was established in 1772 and the municipal corporation in 1876. Rajshahi was dominated by various Rajas, Maharajas and Zamindars. 

Panoramic image of Rajshahi city, Bangladesh
It was made a city corporation in 1991. During the British Raj, it was also known as "Beuleah" and was the administrative headquarters of Rajshahi district in Eastern Bengal and Assam. It was originally chosen as a commercial factory for the silk trade, which was being officially encouraged by the agricultural department of that time. The town contained a government college, and an industrial school for sericulture. Most of the public buildings were severely damaged by the earthquake of 12 June 1897. Throughout much of the early part of the twentieth century there was a daily steamer service on the Ganges which connected it to railheads that led to the then provincial capital of Calcutta as well as other cities in the province of Bengal. Along with all of Bangladesh, Rajshahi witnessed both great atrocities by the Pakistan army and heroic struggles by the freedom fighters during the liberation war in 1971. The largest mass grave in Bangladesh is located in Rajshahi University, which was used as an army camp during the war. On the other hand, one of the great battles of the war took place near Rajshahi. Captain Mohiuddin Jahangir, who died in battle, was awarded the highest honor (Bir Shrestho) by the Bangladesh government after the war. 

Rajshahi City Corporation Office
Climate

Under Köppen climate classification, Rajshahi has a tropical wet and dry climate. The climate of Rajshahi is generally marked with monsoons, high temperature, considerable humidity and moderate rainfall. The hot season commences early in March and continues till the middle of July. The maximum mean temperature observed is about 32 to 36 °C (90 to 97 °F) during the months of April, May, June and July and the minimum temperature recorded in January is about 7 to 16 °C (45 to 61 °F). The highest rainfall is observed during the months of monsoon. The annual rainfall in the district is about 1,448 millimetres (57.0 in). 

Civil Administration

Rajshahi is one of six metropolitan cities in Bangladesh. A mayor and 30 ward commissioners are elected for a five-year period by direct votes. Mr. Md. Mizanur Rahman Minu, was the first elected mayor of Rajshahi City Corporation. The present mayor (2009) is Mr Khairuzzaman Liton. 

Rajshahi Development Authority, Rajshahi
A new city hall, or City Corporation Building, has been built beside the Greater Road to provide all municipal services under one roof. The building, commonly known as Nagar Bhaban is a good and one of the few examples of modern architecture in Rajshahi. The city corporation is responsible for all the administrative work related to Rajshahi city corporation under its jurisdiction. Deputy Commissioner (DC), administrative chief of Rajshahi District,a Divisional Commissioner, administrative chief of Rajshahi Division,DIG for Rajshahi division & other divisional civil servants have their own offices here, which function as part of the government administrative set up. In addition, a governing body called Rajshahi Unnayan Kortripokhkho Rajshahi Development Authority (RDA) plans the development of the city and coordinates the development related works. RDA owns one of the major markets of Rajshahi, which is known as RDA market. Rajshahi WASA is responsible for water supply and drainage system within city area. It started functioning very recently in 2010. Rajshahi Metropolitan Police (RMP) headed by a Commissioner,controls law & order as well as traffic movements within the city. 

Bara Kuthi, Rajshahi
Economy

Rajshahi itself is an important tourist destination with the beautiful river beaches of Padma and its vast mango orchards. Other attractions in and near Rajshahi include: 
  • Varendra Research Museum 
  • Shrine of Hazrat Shah Makhdum Ruposh (R). It is located besides the river Padma, in the Dargah Para of the city. The name Dargah Para is derived from the word Dargah which means shrine and refers to the shrine of Hazrat Shah Makhdum Ruposh (R). 
  • Bara Kuthi (16th century Dutch establishment) 
  • Temple of King Kangsa Narayan 
  • Shona Dighi (Golden Pond) 
Apart from the usual agricultural products of Bangladesh, such as rice, wheat, potatoes and lentils, Rajshahi and its neighboring regions are specially suited from various crops such as Watermelons, Sugarcanes, Mangoes and Lichies. 
 
Rajshahi Krishi Unnayan Bank Head Office
Rajshahi Krishi Unnayan Bank, a nationalized bank with its head office at Rajshahi is working in a mission to help the agriculture sector of Rajshahi & Rangpur division. 

In spite of being an important city and located on a riverbank, industrial development in Rajshahi has not taken place to any great extent. Though locals have claimed that this is due to lack of attention from the central government in Dhaka, business community of the city also responsible for lack of initiative to build industries in the private sector. In the 60's an Industrial Park had been established in Rajshahi, which is now mainly home to industries producing products of the famous Rajshahi silk. Rajshahi is also home to number of jute mills, textile mills, a sugar mill and mango based industries. No doubt there will be rapid industrial development in Rajshahi if gas is supplied through pipeline which the people of Rajshahi have been demanding for a long time. The government has taken steps to supply gas to Rajshahi quickly and a project towards this end has already begun. Two 50KV power stations already built at Katakhali to meet the growing electricity demand of the city. 

Rajshahi New Bus Terminal, Nawdapara
Transport

Transportation in Rajshahi is very good. There is bus service, taxi cabs, three-wheeler auto rickshaw and horse-driven tomtom are available to move within the city. Rajshahi is well connected to the rest of country through roads, air, rail and water. 

Road

It takes about 4 to 5 hours by road to reach the capital, Dhaka from Rajshahi. A number of bus services, including air-conditioned and non-air conditioned buses, are available from and to Dhaka. Bus services to other major districts are also available from Rajshahi.
Shah Makhdum Airport, Rajshahi
Railway

Three Inter-City train services are operated by Bangladesh Railway, named "Silk City Express" "Padma Express" and "Dhumketu Express" between Dhaka and Rajshahi regularly.There are other inter-city,mail & local trains operated from here to connect Khulna city & other part of the country. 

Air

Shah Makhdum Airport is the primary airport serving the city. It is named after the famous Islamic preacher Hazrat Shah Makhdum (Rh.) is situated a short distance away from Rajshahi city, Domestic flights from Dhaka and Saidpur are available.
Tennis Complex, Rajshahi
Sports

There are three 15000+ capacity stadium in the city. There is also an international standard Tennis complex and few sports training academy in the city. 

Football

There is regular football/soccer league. City is the home of several national level club team like Digonto proshari. 

Cricket:

Rajshahi is one of the important place of cricket in Bangladesh. As regular supplier of cricketer in the national team, it is also the home of T20 team Duronto Rajshahi. The city has two cricket academies Banglatrack & Clemon, to grow and train upcoming cricketers. 

The silk making show room in Rajshahi
Heritage

Rajshahi is famous for its characteristic sweetmeats, not to be found anywhere else in the country. These special preparations include Roshkodom, Khaja, Raghobshahi and Kachagolla (Natore is specially famous for this particular sweetmeat). Along with neighboring Chapai Nababganj, Rajshahi is the home of the regions best mangoes and lichis. Rajshahi is also the home of Barendra Museum which is famous for its collection of local sculpture and other artifacts dating from medieval times, and of Rajshahi silk, the finest silk produced in Bangladesh. 

Media

Radio: 

Bangladesh Betar (Radio Bangladesh) has a regional station in Rajshahi which transmits various programs of mass interest. Rajshahi station has a broadcasting house and transmitters in different locations. Two transmitters of 100 kW and 10 kW transmitting capacity transmit the programs developed at the broadcasting house. The Rajshahi station transmits its programs in Medium Wavelength. The popularity of the radio is low in Rajshahi like other places of Bangladesh because of the low quality programmes of Bangladesh Betar. 

Radio Foorti logo
Radio Foorti has started its regional FM station in Rajshahi from 2010. The station transmits its Broadcasting on 88.00 MHz from the Rajshahi studio. The station airs 24 hour everyday. The station is getting increasingly popular to the young generation in very short period of time. The station broadcasts very high quality programs and music round the clock. 

Radio Padma 99.2 FM Bangladesh formally entered the era of community radio with the launch of Radio Padma FM 99.2, a community radio station initiated by the Centre for Communication and Development (CCD). 

Television

Bangladesh Television commonly known as BTV, is the national television channel of Bangladesh, has a relay center in Rajshahi city.
Shrine of Hazrat Shah Mokhdum in Rajshahi
Newspaper: 

There are large number of daily, weekly and monthly publications both in English and Bengali. The important dailies are sonardesh, sonalisongbad, sunshine, natunprovat, barta etc. 

Major Places

Shrine of Hazrat Shah Mokhdum. 

A Majar or Dorga (Shrine) is established around the grave of Hazrat Shah Mokhdum Ruposh (Rh.) at Dargahpara in Rajshahi city. It is said that Hazrat Shah Mokhdum Ruposh (Rh.) was the first Islam preacher in the Rajshahi region. It is also said that he came to Rajshahi through the river Padma riding on a crocodile. Even now, some crocodiles are reserved in the Dighi (Large Pond) next to the shrine of Hazrat Shah Mokhdum (Rh.).
Varendra Research Museum in Rajshahi
Dargahpara: 

Dargahpara is famous for the shrine of Hazrat Shah Mokhdum Ruposh (Rh.) and for the large bank of river Padma. Two famous educational institute, Rajshahi College and Rajshahi Collegiate School, are also situated in this area. There is also another shrine of Shah Turkan (Rh.) which is older than the shrine of Hazrat Shah Mokhdum Ruposh (Rh.).

Varendra: 

Research Museum The Varendra Research Museum, one of the oldest museums in this subcontinent, is situated in the heart of Rajshahi city. Its library contains 22,000 printed books and journals and 6000 manuscripts in Bengali, Sanskrit, Arabic and Persian languages. The library has been moved from the Museum building to a new, modern structure. Md Abdul Matin khan. 

The New Rajshahi Railway Station
It was one of the first non government initiatives for building a museum by some enlightened people with Kumar Sarat Kumar Roy during the British era. This museum has a large collection of statues of Lord Surya and some unique masterpieces illustrating the history of the locality and its civilization. 

Bangladesh Railway: 

The headquarter of Bangladesh Railway (Western Zone) is in Rajshahi. Rajshahi Railway Station is being modified and developed to house more passengers and to offer more services to the city dwellers. Rajshahi Railway Station is Very Nice. 

Rajshahi Central Park
Central Park and Zoo A: 

central park and zoo is one of the main attractions of Rajshahi city. A wide area with lush green trees and grasses also houses different animal species. It is located by the bank of river Padma. 

Baliapukur: 

Its situated between the Rajshahi University of Engineering & Technology (RUET) and old bus Terminal. A residential area, Padma Housing State has also been established beside this area. It is one of the largest but less well planned residential areas in Rajshahi. 

Borokuthi Rajshahi
Borokuthi: 

In the compound of the Barakuthi there is a small cemetery with graves dating back to the years of the nineteenth century. There are 14 tombs with thirteen epitaphs within the cemetery. Here also some natural calimetari which make people enjoy for time being.

Bulonpur: 

The district and divisional offices, the civil and criminal courts are situated in this particular area.

Chhoto Bongram:

Chottobongram is the largest area in Rajshahi. There are two Children parks, Bonghobondhu College, Highway Road and 7 great masjids etc. It boasts of having a large mango and lychee garden. It has become a nice professional residential area with a unique communal and academic atmosphere that makes it one of the most desirable residential locations in the city. 

Government Laboratory High School
Boro Bongram: 

It is a new area, emerging alongside Airport road and the city also growing towards Noahata airport area. The mango crossing with RAKUB, RDA head office, new bus terminal with a commercial zone are situated here. 

Kazihata:

Kazihata is a small part of the town but quite known for the presence of quite a lot of government and private institutions like Bangladesh Bank, Radio Bangladesh, TV studio (non functional), Christian mission hospital, House building finance corporation, Soil Research Institute and others. The famous government laboratory high school, Model school and college are also part of Kazihata. It is a commercial area of Rajshahi. 

Shaheb Bazar Rajshahi
Shaheb Bazar: 

This is also known as the zero point of the city, as it is the centre of Rajshahi city. Many shopping malls, markets, banks, insurance offices, hotels are situated within this area. Besides the old municipal office, Rajshahi Collegiate School, Rajshahi College, Masjid Mission Academy, Loknath school, Deaf and Mental schools are located here. The Shaheb Bazar mosque is situated just on the junction of the Natore road with Shaheb Bazar Road. There is an ancient establishment called Amir Ali Avenue within this area. The old municipality building is situated by the side of an old pond Named Sona Dighi (gold pond). 

Ranibazar: 

Situated alongside shahebbazar, it is a busy shopping area with a crossing. 
Kadirgonj, Rajshahi at Night
Alupotti Crossing: 

Its on the Natore road entrance of the city beside shahebbazar area, a commercially important area with cineplex and shopping malls. 

Kadirgonj: 

It is one of the oldest places in Rajshahi. It situated beside Shaheb Bazar. Rajshahi City Corporation is situated in that place. Shahid Kamrujjaman lived here. Many people come here to see their respect on him. Government women's college and some government and private schools are situated here. 

Hetamkhan: 

It is a huge residential area with a graveyard and a central mosque. The Varendra Research Museum and Sadar Hospital are situated in this area.
Mango roundabout, Rajshahi
Uposhahar: 

Uposhahar is a model township, first built for the Bihari refugee. The divisional headquarters of some notable company including Grameenphone, Robi axiata, Citycell, Social Marketing Company (SMC) and Indian assistant high commission offices are located here. 

Rajshahi Cantonment is located beside this area. There are Government primary school (Upashahor Government Model Primary School) and a High school (Government Satellite High School) in this area. There is a graveyard and 3 mosques. The main one is named Upashohor Koroitola Boro Moszid (mosque). Six playgrounds and an Eidgah are situated there. 

Motihar:

Motihar is nearly declared thana under Rajshahi city corporation. Some parts of Charghat Thana is also included in its area. The Rajshahi University is situated here on large campus surrounded by mango groves that presents a panoramic view. 

Rajshahi University of Engineering and Technology
Kazla/Talaimari: 

Two prestigious and renowned public universities, the University of Rajshahi (established in 1953) and the Rajshahi University of Engineering & Technology (RUET - established in 1964 as BIT, Bangladesh Institute of Technology and in 2002 it became the University) are located in Kazla-Talaimari area. Rajshahi is called the Educational Capital of Bangladesh and these two are the major educational institutions here in Rajshahi. Keeping pace with, peripheral campuses of several private universities have also been established in this area of Rajshahi.

Shadhur Morre: 

Shadhur Morre is located beside RUET.
Sheroil Govt. High School, Rajshahi
Sopura: 

It is an industrial zone, and a new township has grown up here on the northern side of the railway station. Here lie the district stadium and the Polytechnic institute. Now it is also a popular living area for the city dwellers.

Shiroil: 

It is the famous place in Rajshahi for the Railway Station and the old Bus Terminal. "Shiroil Govt. High School, Rajshahi" is located here.

Vadra:

Padma Residential Area and few more created by RDA are located here. It's one of the best place in the Rajshahi City. Elites of the city live in this area. The Home Economics College,Shahid Captain Monsur Ali Park are situated here. The only Liberation War Monument in Rajshahi is situated in Bhadra Roundabout. 

Katakhali, Rajshahi
Katakhali: 

Katakhali is situated beside the Rajshahi University and is famous for RAJSHAHI JUTE MILLS LIMITED and RAJSHAHI SUGAR MILLS LIMITED. Huge number of students of different educational institutions of Rajshahi city reside in this area. There is a power station and another one is under construction to meet the electricity demand of Rajshahi city.

Horagram: 

This area known as court area, is famous for mango orchard (Roy para). A railway station is also here.RCC established a two stored shopping mall named 'Horogram New Market'. Horogram bazaar famous for green vegetable marketing. The oldest sporting club "Digonto posary" is here. 

Rajshahi Medical College Hospital (RMCH)
Nowhata: 

Shah Makhdum Airport is situated here. It is a separate municipal area with some industrial units and market place. In future this area will come under city jurisdiction along with Katakhali municipal area.

Harian:

Harian, a place few Kilometers away from the city, is famous for a sugar mill which was established by B.I.D.C. There is also a rail station, some high schools and primary schools are here۔ 

Healthcare

The city has many private and government hospitals. Rajshahi Medical College Hospital (RMCH) is a tertiary level public hospital with teaching facility in graduate and postgraduate medical education. Other than RMCH there are children hospital, chest hospital, infectious disease, Sadar hospital run by government. There is a Christian missionary hospital in the city area. There is one private medical college and another two are under construction. 

The University of Rajshahi
Educational Institutions

Rajshahi is also an important educational center in Bangladesh. Major educational institutes include:
  • Rajshahi University 
  • Rajshahi University of Engineering & Technology 
  • Rajshahi Medical College 
  • Rajshahi College 
  • Rajshahi cadet college 
  • Rajshahi Government City College 
  • Rajshahi Government Women's College 
  • Teacher's Training College
New Government Degree College, Rajshahi
  • New Government Degree College 
  • Rajshahi Collegiate School and College (The oldest of the reign) 
  • Silk Research and Training Institute 
  • Rajshahi Polytechnique Institute 
  • Rajshahi Mohila Polytechnique Institute 
  • Asian University of Bangladesh, Rajshahi Campus 
  • Islami Bank Medical College 
  • Project Headway English training institute Uposhahar 
  • University of Information Technology and Sciences, Rajshahi Campus 
  • Barendra College 
  • Shah Mokhdum College 
  • Institute of Forest 
  • Birkutsha Abinash School and College, Bagmara, Rajshahi 
  • Northern University Bangladesh, Rajshahi Campus
Hassan Aziz ul Haque
  • Adarsha college, katakhali. 
  • Shardah Government Pilot High School. 
  • Shaleha Shah Mohammad high School. 
  • Bangladesh Polytechnic Institute 
Notable People
  • Andrew Kishore 
  • Hasan Azizul Huq 
  • Ila Mitra 
  • Ritwik Ghatak 
  • Sir Jadunath Sarkar 
  • Mohammad Shamsuzzoha 
  • Shah Mohammad Sharker 
  • Abu Bakkar Siddique

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