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 (32 feet).
As of 2001[update] India census, Chandannagar had a population of 162,166. Males constitute 52% of the population and females 48%. 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
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.
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 March 23, 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.
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 1955 Chandannagar was integrated into West Bengal state.
Heritage and Culture:
Jagaddhatri Puja is a major socio cultural event in this region.
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
The formal difference between goddess Durga and Jagaddhatri lies in Mayatantra and Jagaddhatri is mentioned with reference to Durga in Krishnanda’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 attraction of Jagaddhatri idol of Chandannagar is the ornamental decoration of the goddess with shola (stick) and beautiful canvas of mats with painting at the back of the image.
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.
* Sri Aurobindo Ghose: Took shelter in an escape from the British during Indian Independence Movement.
* Rash Behari Bose: Grew up here, carried on with his activities against the then British Government in India from here. He tested an explosive here on the eve of Kali Puja the year before another of the same sort sought out Lord Hardinge in Delhi. His ancestral house at Fatakgora still stands.
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 Dupleix college was also established by the missionaries. Later Dupleix college was known as Dupleix school from 1901. The school was renamed Kanailal Vidyamandir after the name of the revolutionary Kanailal Dutta, a student of this school, on May 17, 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.
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.Sri Aurobindo Vidya Mandir is one of the most renowned School of this town and is the only English medium School of the town for Boys.
Krishnabhabini Narisiksha 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 both boys and 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’s 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. Joesph’s Convent.
List of boys’ schools in Chandannagar
- Kanailal Vidyamandir
- Sri Aurobindo Vidyamandir (English medium)
- Kanailal Vidyamandir (French)
- Durga Charan Rakshit Bangavidyalaya
- Chandannagore Banga Vidyalaya
- Adarsa Shikshalaya
- Ganges Gurukul (Coed)
- Khalisani Vidya Mandir
- Durgamoyee Academy
List of girls’ schools in Chandannagar
- St. Anthony’s High School
- St.Joseph’s convent
- LalBagan Balika Vidyalaya
- Ushangini Balika Vidyalaya
- Prabartak Sangha
- Indumati Girls High School
- Khalisani Nari Siksha Mandir
- Krishna bhabini Narisikha Mandir
- Narua bholanath nari siksha mandir
List of colleges in Chandannagar
- Chandannagar Govt. College
- Khalisani Mahavidyalaya
- Institute of Education (P.G.) for Women, Chandernagore
- Women’s Polytechnic College
Places of tourist interest:
A beautiful tourist spot along the banks of the river Ganga. It is a superbly decorated pavement studded with lights surrounded by lushy green trees. It is about 1 km (0.62 mi) in length and 7 metres (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 Ganga. 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.
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 is also an attractive tourist spot.
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 Ganga. 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 ruling family of nearby Bansberia.
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 Dynak Basumoti a daly bengali news paper, Mr. Jatindra nath Bandopadhyay 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.
Chuti and New Digha are two very popular amusement parks situated in the western part of Chandannagar.
Roads and transport
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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.
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.
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.
Government of West Bengal (West Bengal Surface Transport Corporation) operates river services across river Hooghly (Ganga) and also between Chandannagore and Kolkata and Belur.