Narail District

Narail is a district in the south-western part of Bangladesh under the jurisdiction of Khulna division. The district lies in between 23°02′ and 23°19′ north latitudes and in between 89°23′ and 89°48′ east longitudes. Narail is bounded by Magura district on the north, Khulna and Bagerhat districts on the south, Faridpur and Gopalgonj districts on the east, Jessore district on the west. Narail was upgraded to a district in 1984. It has an area of 990.23 sq. km (382.33 sq. mi). Narail consists of 3 Upazilas, 2 Municipalities, 39 Union Parishads, 18 wards, 43 mahallas, 445 mouzas, and 651 villages. According to the 2011 Bangladesh Census, Narail district has a population of 721,668. Males constitute 49% of the population and females 51%. Density of the population is 730 inhabitants/km2.

Nothing is clearly known about the origin of the name of the district. It is believed that the district was named Narail after the name of the Zamindar family popularly known as Narail family. They established a post office for the first time in the district during British rule near Rotongonj. They modernized Narail and promoted culture, sports and education. According to many others, the name Narail originated from ‘Lareal’. Those who fight against the enemy are  known as lareal in the local language. In the time of Khan Jahan Ali, border guards were deployed at the borders of Narail. The canals were cut and parikhas were made at the state borders. Standing on a wide, high aisle beside a canal or parikha, they fought or were guarded by guards. Another common view is that the name Narail is derived from ‘Narano’ meaning movement, because some people think that the name Naral or Narail originated from the movement of a large stone.

The Human Development Index (HDI) of Narail is 0.622 which is 5th among all districts of Bangladesh. It indicates moderate life expectancy, literacy Rate and per capita income of the inhabitants. The district has a literacy rate of 61.30% for the population 7 years and above. Narail is situated on the bank of the river Chitra. Kumar, Madhumati, Kajla, Nabaganga and Bhairab are the main rivers that flow through the district. The average high temperature is 37.1°C and the average low temperature is 11.2°C. Annual rainfall averages 1467 millimetres. Numerous daily, weekly, fortnightly, monthly and literary newspapers and magazines are published from Narail. Daily Ocean, Weekly Prantik and Fortnightly Shatabdir Alo are notable among them. Notable folk songs of the district include Jarigan, Kabigan, Kirtan, Haloigan, Bhatiali and Meyeli geet. Besides, rhymes, riddle, mantra, proverbs and folk tale are also popular in the district. Folk traditions of Narail include inviting rain by putting mud on the body and singing of songs and distribution of sirni (sweet), floating of flowers and leaves on water on the last day of Ashwin to avoid diseases, distribution of Sirni to protect epidemic of cattle etc. Folk games and sports prevalent in the district are boat race, Chiburi, Kutkut, Kabadi, Echingbiching, Kanamachhi, Ekkadokka, etc. Traditional transport includes palanquins (extinct), horse carts, buffalo carts, bullock carts (almost extinct) and boats.


Narail sub-division was established in 1861 under Jessore district. At that time, Narail Sadar, Lohagara and Kalia police stations formed this sub-division. Alfadanga Thana and Abhaynagar Thana became part of this sub-division later. During the reorganization of the administrative boundaries in 1934, Perli of Abhaynagar, Bichali and Sheikhhati were also included in Narail district and the remaining Abhaynagar was included in Jessore district. At the time of creation of Pakistan in 1947, there were four police stations in this sub-division. On March 1, 1984, Narail sub-division was finally turned into a district. The land of Narail is sloping towards the south. The geography can be divided into three regions. It is a relatively high plateau in the north-west, a low-lying region on the banks of the Madhumati river in the north and east, and a medium-high region on the banks of the Nabaganga and Chitra rivers. The district has 243 km of paved roads, 74 km of semi-paved roads, 1815 km of unpaved roads and 6 nautical miles of waterways.

The economy of Narail is mostly dependent on agriculture. Main sources of income includes agriculture with 62.08%, non-agricultural laborer 2.51%, industry 1.48%, commerce 13.20%, transport and communication 3.47%, service 9.87%, construction 1.00%, religious service 0.20%, rent and remittance 0.86% and others 5.34%. Out of total 151,052 holdings of the district, 72.51% holdings are farms and produce varieties of crops mainly local and HYV paddy, sugarcane, wheat, vegetables, spices, jute, pulses, and other minor cereals. Various fruits like mango, banana, jackfruit, guava, coconut etc. are grown in the district. Almost all kinds of vegetables are cultivated, particularly bitter gourd or karala, pumpkin or misti kumra, potato and brinjals are abundantly grown. Pisciculture and rearing of livestock and poultry adds an additional income to rural households. Fish of different varieties are abundant in this district. Moreover, varieties of fish are caught from rivers, tributary channels, even from paddy field during the rainy season. Some valuable timber and forest trees are also grown in the district.

Narail had active participation in the Indigo Revolt during 1859-60, it has history during Tebhaga Movement in 1946 also. On 26 March 1971, the youths of Narail, under Professor Nur Mohammad Miah captured all arms and ammunitions of Narail Armoury and carried these to Lohagara. On 1 April a group of freedom fighters marched towards Jessore Cantonment to launch attack. Narail is a witness to a series of battle throughout the 9 months of war. Finally on 10 December, the freedom fighters attacked the Pak army from all sides and liberated Narail. On 14 December, Major Muhammad Abul Manzoor, Commander of Sector 8 during the Liberation War formally hoisted the flag of the Independent Bangladesh at the Dakbangalow of Narail. There are 2 mass graves at the premises of the Water Development Board of Narail Sadar and at village Itna of Lohagara upazila.

The district is predominately Muslims with a population of 549702. There are 148339 Hindus, 186 Buddhists, 21 Christians and 199 others practice other religions. The district of Narail has 1675 mosques, 248 temples, four churches, seven tombs and 11 shrines. The Radha Raman Smriti Tirtha Mandir, founded by Shri Tribhanga Brahmachary (Babaji of Shri Shri Bhagvat Sevashram Sangh) at Debbhog is a prominent place to visit. Nishinath Tola in Rupganj, Lakkhipasha Thakurbari, Goalbathan Mosque, Kadamtala Mosque, Ghazir Dargah at Naldi, Residence of Raja Keshab Roy at Wazirpur, Radha Govinda Mandir at Jorbangla, Kalibari at Lakshmipasha, Math at Baradia of Nihinathtala and ancient underground building at Banshgram are the remarkable archaeological heritage and relics of this district.

At a glance of Narail
01 Area 990.23 sq. km (382.33 sq. mi)
02 Population 721,668
03 Founding Year 1 March,1984
03 Density 730/km2
04 Literacy Rate 61.30%
05 Seats in the Parliament 2
06 Postcode 7500
07 Sector in Liberation War 8

Upazilas (3)

  • Narail Sadar
  • Lohagara
  • Kalia

Main Rivers

Chitra, Kumar, Madhumati, Kajla, Nabaganga, Bhairab

Main Newspapers

Daily Ocean, Weekly Prantik, Fortnightly Shatabdir Alo

Notable places

  • Radha Raman Smriti Tirtha Mandir
  • Nishinath Tola in Rupganj
  • Lakkhipasha Thakurbari
  • Goalbathan Mosque
  • Kadamtala Mosque
  • Ghazir Dargah at Naldi
  • Residence of Raja Keshab Roy
  • Radha Govinda Mandir
  • Kalibari at Lakshmipasha
  • Math at Baradia of Nihinathtala
  • Ancient underground building at Banshgram
  • Shishu Sarga
  • Niribili Picnic Spot and Farmhouse
  • Arunima Eco-park

 Highlighted Personalities

  • Bir Shrestha Nur Mohammad Sheikh
  • Rathindranath Bose
  • Syed Nowsher Ali
  • Uday Shankar
  • Pandit Ravi Shankar
  • Sheikh Mohammed Sultan
  • Moslem Uddin
  • Vijay Sarkar
  • Nihar Ranjan Gupta
  • Amal Sen
  • Nur Jalal
  • Kamal Dash Gupta
  • Sheikh Abdus Salam
  • Professor Nur Mohammad Mia
  • Mashrafe Bin Mortaza
  • Imran Parash

Written & Edited by Sadia Siddika Zitu

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