Noakhali District

Noakhali, one of the coastal district of Bangladesh, located in the South-eastern region of the country. The district was established in 1821 and named Noakhali in 1868. The name “Noakhali” originated from the terms “Noa” (New) and “Khal” (Canal). The name ‘Noakhali’ carries history of itself. Noakhali’s earlier name was ‘Bhulua’. Bhulua was part of Pundra Kingdom in the ancient period. In the 1660s, floodwaters of the Dakatia River flowing from the Tripura hills seriously affected the agricultural activities of the north-eastern region of Bhulua. A long canal was dug in 1660 to control the situation. The canal ran from the Dakatia through Ramganj, Sonaimuri and Chaumuhani to divert water flow to the junction of the Meghna River and Feni. After that, Bhulua began to be called by the name “Noakhali”.


Noakhali is a district under the supervision of Chittagong Division. The district is bounded by the Comilla district to the north, the Meghna estuary and the Bay of Bengal to the south, Feni and Chittagong districts to the east and Lakshmipur and Bhola districts to the west. It contains an area of 4,202 km2 (1,622 sq mi) that is divided into 9 upazilas, 8 municipalities, 72 wards, 153 mahallas, 91 unions, 882 mouzas and 967 villages. Senbagh Upazila, Begumganj Upazila, Chatkhil Upazila, Companiganj Upazila, Noakhali Sadar Upazila, Hatiya Upazila, Kabirhat Upazila, Sonaimuri Upazila, Suborno Char Upazila are the nine sub-divisions of the district. Senbagh Municipality, Noakhali Municipality (Maijdee), Chowmuhani Municipality, Chatkhil Municipality, Boshurhat Municipality, Hatiya Municipality, Kabirhat Municipality, Sonaimuri Municipality are the eight municipalities of the area. There are six National Parliament constituencies in Noakhali district.


The land of the district is very fertilised and also uphold rich fertile silt. The area consist of an extensive flat, coastal and delta land which is located on the tidal floodplain of the Meghna River delta. Divided by flat land and low relief, the area is influenced by diurnal tidal cycles which varies depending on seasons. The tidal fluctuations are most pronounced during the monsoon season. The Meghna estuary annually inundated and fertilised  an alluvial plain on three sides of Noakhali by depositing silt. The swift currents that course down from the Himalayas carry rich fertile silt. The silt settles along the coast gradually forming new land called the “chars” after reaching the Bay of Bengal. Noakhali has actually gained more than 73 km2 (28 sq mi) of land (chars) in the past fifty years.


Noakhali has a tropical climate. The average annual temperature of the district is 25.6 °C (78.1 °F) and the average annual rain fall is about 3,302 mm (130.0 in) which suggests that it has significant rainfall. 45.6 °C (114.1 °F) is the average temperature of the month May, which is the warmest month in Noakhali. On the other hand 19.5 °C (67.1 °F) on average makes January the coldest month of the year. In July, the rainfall reaches its peak, with an average of 671 mm (26.4 in). Noakhali consist of some notable Rivers and canals like Meghna, Bamni, Noakhali Khal, Mohendro Khal, Dakatia Khal, Chandraganj Khal, Noa khal etc.


Two hundred years ago Bhulua (at present Noakhali) Pargana included South Shahbazpur(Bhola), Lakshmipur, the mainland of Noakhali district and a portion of the present Feni district. In 1821, because of some administrative problems between the salt agents, Mr. Plyden, a salt agent and also a collectorate (district judge) of Bhulua by the governor general suggested to the governor general to establish a new district. The order of a new district passed on 29 March 1822 by the Governor General. The district was named Noakhali in 1868 and it was constituted with South Shabajpur, Sudharam, Begumganj, Ramganj, Raipur, Lakshmipur, Feni, Parshuram, Elahabad Pargana of Tippera and Hatia, Sandwhip and Bamni of Chittagong district. Noakhali district was divided into two sub-divisions. The first one was Feni constituted with Chhagalnaiya thana of Tippera, Mirshari of Chittagong, Feni Pargana, Parshuram and Sonagazi. The other Sadar Sub-division was formed with the remaining areas. In 1964, Sadar Sub-division was divided into two sub-divisions namely Sadar and Lakshmipur.


In 1946, before the partition of Indian subcontinent, communal tensions escalated throughout the subcontinent. Noakhali is the sufferer of one of the worst religious massacres during the 1946 riot known as the ‘Noakhali Genocide’. A huge number of mass killing, raping, looting, and forcible conversions took place. The great leader of India Mahatma Gandhi visited Noakhali after that religious violence.

In 1971, during the liberation war of Bangladesh, Pakistani Army and its supporting militias (Razakar) killed about 75 Bengladeshi Freedom fighters (Mukti Joddha) at Noakhali in a direct encounter with the Pakistan army on 15 June 1971, in front of the Sonapur Ahmadia School. Noakhali was liberated on 7 December 1971.


The total population of Noakhali district is 3,318,083 with Male- 1,685,169 and Female- 1,622,914.According to the 2011 census, the ratio of male to female is 92:100 and population density is 897/km2 (557/mi2). The urbanisation rate of Noakhali is 18.98%. The headquarter of the district is Maijdee consist of a population of 84,585 with 51.50% male and 48.50 female. The population density of the town is 5,915/km2 (3,675/mi2).


Noakhali is filled with people from many religiongs among which around 95.42% of the local population are Muslims, while 4.52% are Hindus. Christians and Buddhists constitute 0.02% and 0.03% respectively. The district uphold 4,159 mosques, 497 Eid Gah, 239 temples, two Buddhist pagodas and two churches. The language of this district is known as Noakhailla which is a Bengali-Assamese language of Bangladesh. This dialect does not consist any recognised grammar recording. The literacy rate of Noakhali district is 69.57% (male- 72.40% and female- 67.60%).


In terms of  remittence, around 40% of the people of Noakhali plays a vital role in Bangladesh by working abroad. Agriculture dominates the 65.37% of the district economy. The region produce varieties of crops namely, local and hybrid rice, wheat, vegetables, spices, cash crops, pulses, betel leaves, boro and aman paddy, peanut, varieties of pulses, chili, sugarcane, potato, and others. Various fruits like mango, banana, jack fruit, papaya, litchi, palm coconut and betel nut are grown. Fishes like Ruhi, Katla, mrigel, kala baush, koi, grass carp, Silver carp, Talapia, Nilotica and different species of local deshi fishes like Muralla, Punti, Khoksha, Kajuli, Kakila, Khailsha, Bain and Chela are small fish like Mola, Kachki have been introduced for commercial pisciculture (fish farming) in ponds and waterlands. Timber and forest trees are grown in this district including Koroi, Sheel koroi, Garjan, Jarul, Shimul, Mahagonny, Bamboo etc. also contribute in the economy of the district. Almost all varieties of birds that are seen throughout Bangladesh are also commonly seen in Noakhali.


The forest department of the government of Bangladesh created a mangrove forests in Nijhum Dwip. Keora of Kerfa is the most common type of planted tree species on the island. It has fast growing roots holding the sandy land. The tree occurs on newly accreted soil in moderately to strongly saline areas and is considered as a pioneer species in ecological succession. This island has been declared as a unique eco-tourist spot for its ideal natural setup with rich bio-diversification factors and its perennial mangrove forest with wild animals like spotted deer, wild boar and rhesus macaque and for the ideal habitat for fish resources which is also home of 5000 Cheetral deer.

At a glance of  Noakhali
01 Area 4,202.70 km2

(1,622.67 sq mi)

02 Population Total:3,109,078



03 Founding Year 1868
03 Density 740/km2

(1,900/sq mi)

04 Literacy Rate 70.65%
05 Seats in the Parliament 6
06 Postcode 3800
07 Sector in Liberation War


  • Senbagh Upazila
  • Begumganj Upazila
  • Chatkhil Upazila
  • Companiganj Upazila
  • Noakhali Sadar Upazila
  • Hatiya Upazila
  • Kabirhat Upazila
  • Sonaimuri Upazila
  • Suborno Char Upazila

Main River:

Meghna, Sandwip, Hatiya channel

Notable places

  • Noakhali Public Library (1895)
  • Bajra Shahi Mosque (1153 AH, Chatkhil)
  • Kali Statue (18th century) at Sirajpur union of Companiganj upazila).
  • Bashi Khondoker Mosque,
  • Birshrestha Ruhul Amin Memorial Museum,
  • Charbata Steamer Ghat
  • Gandhi Ashram – Joyag, Sonaimuri
  • Kamolarani Lake
  • Megha Ddighi
  • Nijhum Dweep
  • Noakhali Science and Technology University
  • Queen Luther’s Church—Sonapur
  • Ram Thakur Samadhi at Chaumohani
  • Rongomala Lake
  • Tri- Angle Lake

Highlighted Personalities

  • Moudud Ahmed (Former prime minister of Bangladesh, was member of 8th Parliament for the Noakhali-5 constituency.)
  • Moeen U Ahmed (Was the thirteenth chief of army staff of the Bangladesh Army from 15 June 2005 to 15 June 2009. He was born in Alipur village, Begumganj, Noakhali.)
  • Muzaffar Ahmed (Popularly known as “Kakababu”, one of the founders of the Communist Party of India, was educated at Noakhali Zilla School.)
  • Kamrul Ahsan (Currently serving as Bangladesh Ambassador to Russia, Secretary to the Government and former Bangladesh High Commissioner to Canada and Singapore.)
  • Harunur Rashid (Chairman of “Globe Group of Companies”.)
  • Mohammad Ruhul Amin (Bangladesh Navy engine room artificer posthumously awarded the nation’s highest bravery award for service during the Bangladesh Liberation War.)
  • Jharna Dhara Chowdhury (Social activist and Secretary of the Gandhi Ashram Trust in Noakhali. Awarded the Ekushey Padak for social service (2015) and Padma Shri award (2013).)
  • Kabir Chowdhury (Was an academic, essayist, materialist, translator, cultural worker, civil society activist in Bangladesh.)
  • Motaher Hussain Chowdhury (A Bengali writer, was born in Noakhali. Special work: Songskriti Kotha.)
  • Mufazzal Haider Chaudhury (Educator and a martyr of the Bangladesh War of Independence, was born in Khalishpur village in what is now Begumganj Upazila.)
  • Munier Choudhury (Bangladeshi educator, playwright, literary critic and political dissident. He was a victim of the mass killing of Bengali intellectuals in 1971.)
  • Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury (Current & First lady speaker of the Bangladesh parliament.)
  • Zahurul Haq (Was a sergeant in the Pakistan Air Force, whose arrest in the Agartala Conspiracy Case and 1969 death in custody led to mass protests, graduated from Noakhali Zilla School.)
  • MA Hashem (Founder and chairman of Partex Group.)
  • Belal Shafiul Huq (Was a four-star rank army general and the Former (17th) chief of army staff of the Bangladesh Army, in office since 25 June 2015 to 2019.)
  • Annisul Huq (Was an entrepreneur, TV show host and the former mayor of Dhaka North City Corporation. He was born in Kabirhat, Noakhali.)
  • Tabarak Husain (Career foreign service officer, former foreign secretary of Bangladesh and former Bangladesh ambassador to United States.)
  • Muhammad Ishaq (Bangladeshi historian.)
  • Abul Kashem (Chairman of “Abul Khair Group”.)
  • Serajul Alam Khan (A political theorist and founder of “Sadhin Bangla Nucleus” a secret organisation, which theorised the creation of Bangladesh.)
  • B. M. Musa (Awarded the Ekushey Padak for journalism in 1999, attended Noakhali Zilla School.)
  • Obaidul Quader (Present general secretary of the Bangladesh Awami League and Minister of Road Transport and Bridges Ministry, was born in Bara Rajapur village.)
  • Abdus Salam (Former editor of the Pakistan Observer, later the Bangladesh Observer. Ekushey Padak winning journalist.)
  • Abdus Shakur (Former Secretary to the Government and a leading litterateur and musicologist.)
  • Abdul Malek Ukil (A drafter of the Constitution of Bangladesh, member of parliament, Minister of Health, and Minister of Home Affairs, was born in Rajarampur village, Noakhali Sadar Upazila.)

Written & Edited by Shaima Akter Sethu.

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