Panchagarh District

Panchagarh is a district located on the Northwestern extremity of Bangladesh under the jurisdiction of Rangpur division. The district lies in between 26°00′ and 26°38′ north latitudes and in between 88°19′ and 88°49′ east longitudes. Panchagarh is bounded by West Bengal of India on the north, Dinajpur and Thakurgaon districts on the south, Nilphamari district on the east and West Bengal of India on the west. Panchagarh was a thana of Thakurgaon sub-division after the partition of India in 1947. It was upgraded into a sub-division on 1 January, 1980. It was finally  established as a separate district on 1 February, 1984. Panchagarh has an area of 1,404.62 sq. km (542.33 sq. mi). The district consists of 5 Upazilas, 2 municipalities and 43 Union Parishads. According to the 2011 Bangladesh Census, Panchagarh district has a population of 987,644. Males constitute 50.29% of the population and females 49.71%. Density of the population is 700 inhabitants/sq. km.

Panchagarh was initially known as “Pachagarh” in ancient times. There are three wide-accepted opinions regarding the origin of the name of the district. The first opinion says that Panchargarh was named after an ancient region called “Pancha Nagari” in the kingdom of Pundra Nagar. The second opinion is that it was named “Pancha” (meaning five), “Garh” (meaning fort) for the existence of five forts, namely, Bhitargarh, Hossaingarh, Mirgarh, Rajangarh and Devengarh in the area. Again, the word ‘garh’ also means forest. Since this region was widely forested before the partition of India, the name of the area might have been influenced by the existence of those forests. However, with the development of human settlements, there is almost no wildlife present in the district at present. Sir Radcliffe outlined the border of this district during the partition of India in 1947. The length of the border between Bangladesh and India present in Panchagarh is 286.87 km.

The Human Development Index (HDI) of Panchagarh is 0.614 which is 7th 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 51.08% for the population 7 years and above. Panchagarh is situated on the bank of the river Karotoa. Atrai, Tista, Nagor, Mahananda, Tangon, Dahuk, Pathraj, Bhulli, Talma, Chawai, Kurum, Tirnoi, and Chilka are the main rivers of the district. The average high temperature is 30.2°C and the average low temperature is 10.1°C. Annual rainfall averages 1955 millimetres. The soil in this district is sandy, alluvial and bears similarity with the soil of the old Himalayan basin. The land of this area is 150 feet (46 m) high from the sea level. Hard rock and pebbles are notable mineral resources of the district. There is a Rocks Museum in Panchagarh established in 2000. Numerous daily and weekly newspapers are published from Panchagarh. Daily Panchagarh Barta and Daily Panchagarh Alokito Uttor are notable among them. Bhawaiya song, Satya Pirer song, Jonger song, Vaisnava song, Baul song, Morsia, Natua, Guri Sangeet, Kirtan, Kavigan, folk tales, folk drama, proverbs, rhymes, riddle, etc. are notable folk culture prevailing in Panchagarh. Traditional Transport include Palanquin (extinct), horse carriage, bullock cart (nearly extinct) and boat. The inhabitants enjoy throwing coloured water at each other during the festival of Pohela Boishakh.

The economy of the district is mostly dependent on agriculture. Major sources of income comprises of agriculture with 70.96%, non-agricultural laborer 5.42%, industry 0.47%, commerce 9.6%, transport and communication 3.72%, service 4.83%, construction 0.73%, religious service 0.15%, rent and remittance 0.13% and others 3.99%. The major agricultural crops of Panchagarh are paddy, jute, wheat, potato and sugarcane. Extinct and nearly extinct crops are barley, aus paddy and kaun. The common fruits found in this area are mango, wood apple, jackfruit, black berry, guava, banana and tamarind. Banglabandha land port, located in Tetulia under Panchagarh plays an important role in the economy of the district.

Panchagarh Sugar Mills Ltd. is the oldest industry of the district. Other industries include tea gardens, rice mills, ice factories, garment factories, oil mills, and saw mills. The growing tea sector in Panchagarh is also playing a great role in the economy of the district. 246 tea gardens, including 18 big estates, 13 medium-size and 215 small-scale gardens set up on more than 1,815 acres of land in Tetulia and its surrounding areas have become a place for huge women employment. Among the tea gardens,  Kazi Tea Estate (KKTE) at Tetulia has earned wide reputation in both national and international markets for their popular Kazi & Kazi organic tea. They are earning huge amount of foreign exchange for Bangladesh.

Panchagarh was a Thana under Jalpaiguri district of West Bengal during the British rule in India. It was included in Thakurgaon sub-division under Dinajpur district after the partition of India in 1947. Panchagarh Sub-division was formed in 1980 and it was turned into a district in 1984. Sannyasi and Fakir Movements flourished in Panchagarh during 1763-1800. Many of the rebel Sannyasis were executed at a place named Sannyasi-kata near Bangla-bandha. Tebhaga Movement also originated from this district in 1946. The Pakistani army killed two members of EPR in Panchagarh at the beginning of the Liberation War. The district is witness to uncountable battles during the nine months of war. There are 2 mass graves on the bank of the Karotoa river and Atwari thana at Mirzapur Punna-dighi in the district. There is a mass killing site at the Char area on the eastern bank of the Karotoa river adjacent to the Panchagarh town. The memorial monument of the town is situated at Dhakka-mara in the town.

There are 11 enclaves (chhitmahal) of India in Panchagarh. They are Puthimari, Daikhat, Shalbari, Kajaldighi, Natak-toka and Nazirganj in Boda Upazila; Behula-danga, Balapara Kotbhajani and Dahla Khagrabari in Debiganj Upazila; Garati and Singimari in Panchagarh Sadar Upazila. Total area of the enclaves is 4837 hectare with a population 23963. Indigenous people of Santal tribe also lives in Panchagarh. The district has a long history with diversified culture of them.

The district is predominately Muslims with a population of 690893. There are 142350 Hindus, 2194 Buddhists, 42 Christians and 717 others practicing other religions.

At a glance of Panchagarh
01 Area 1,404.62 sq. km (542.33 sq. mi)
02 Population 987,644
03 Founding Year 1 February, 1984
03 Density 700/km2
04 Literacy Rate 51.08 %
05 Seats in the Parliament 2
06 Postcode 5000
07 Sector in Liberation War 6

Upazilas (5)

  • Panchagarh Sadar
  • Boda
  • Atwari
  • Dediganj
  • Tetulia

Main Rivers

Karotoa, Atrai, Tista, Nagor, Mahananda, Tangon, Dahuk, Pathraj, Bhulli, Talma, Chawai, Kurum, Tirnoi, and Chilka

Main Newspapers

Daily Panchagarh Barta, Daily Panchagarh Alokito Uttor

Notable places

  • Dahuk Picnic Spot
  • Rawshanpur Anandadhara
  • Bhadreshwar Temple
  • Bangladesh China Friendship Bridge
  • Chandrima Uddan at Debiganj
  • Bhitargarh
  • Hossaingarh
  • Mirgarh
  • Rajangarh
  • Devengarh
  • Maharaja Dighi
  • Badeshwari Mahapith Temple
  • Tea gardens on flat land
  • Mirzapur Shahi Mosque
  • Mirzapur Imambara
  • Shrine of Baro Aulia
  • Golakdham temple
  • Tetulia Dakbangalow
  • Tetulia Picnic Corner
  • Banglabandha Zero Point Banglabandha Land Port
  • Rocks Museum
  • Maharani Dham

Highlighted Personalities

  • Muhammad Jamiruddin Sarkar
  • Mirza Ghulam Hafiz
  • Advocate Sirajul Islam
  • Mohammad Sultan
  • Mohammad Farhad
  • Abdur Rahman
  • Shoriful Islam
  • Nurul Islam Sujon

Written & Edited by Sadia Siddika Zitu.

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