Rajshahi District

Rajshahi, also known as silk city for silk production and education city of Bangladesh for its highest literacy rate is situated at the North-Western part of Bangladesh and on the southern bank of one of the biggest rivers of Bangladesh, Padma. It consists of an area of about 2407.01 square kilometres including the Barind Tract, Diara and Char lands and has 23,77,314 people as per the census of 2011. It is located between 24°07′ and 24°43′ north latitudes and in between 88°17′ and 88°58′ east longitudes. Rajshahi has a tropical wet and dry climate. It is well known for high temperature in hot season and remarkably low temperature in cold season. Rainfall is usually moderate. The annual rainfall in the district is about 1448 mm. Rajshahi district is surrounded by Naogaon district on the north, West Bengal state of India and Kushtia on the south, Natore district on the east and Nawabganj on the west. There are one City Corporation, 9 upazilas, 4 police stations, 7 municipalities, 93 wards, 297 mahallas, 70 Union parishads, 1678 mouzas and 1858 villages.


Rajshahi region was considered under Pundravardhana of ancient Vanga. Rajshahi was found in 1634 according to the epigraphic records at the mausoleum of Sufi Saint Shah Makhdum. It is also heard that under the rule of Mughal Emperor Akbar, this region was given to the Puthia Raj family based in the Puthia Rajbari to govern. Another Mughal emperor, Jahangir gave the title of ‘Raja’ to the Puthia family. There has been a Dutch settlement in the 18th century.  Rajshahi district was officially established in 1772 and was divided into Maldaha, Bogra, Pabna, Natore, Naogaon and Capai Nawabganj subsequently. The present Rajshahi was known as ‘Beuleah’ under the British reign. It drew the attention of the British agricultural department on the grave potential of silk trade. During 1859-1860, the Indigo Resistance Movement spread over Rajshahi. Rajshahi town was turned into Municipality in 1876.  In the earlier 20th century, this region became a remarkable trade centre connected to Calcutta and other provinces by regular steamer service. Then, in the post-independence period, it was turned into Municipal Corporation in 1987 and into a City Corporation in 1991 afterwards.


During the long-nine-month-bloody- liberation war of Bangladesh, Rajshahi bore the testimony to several encounters, sudden attacks and killings between the brutal Pak army and the freedom fighters at different places such as Godagari Upazila, Belpukur bridge of Puthia upazila, Tahirpur Hat of Bagmara upazila, Nagarbari of Charghat upazila, Sardah, Baneshwar and Arani bridge. The Pak army established their military camps in Zoha Hall of Rajshahi University, Sardah Police Academy, Rajshahi Cadet College, Sardah Pilot School and at the brickfield of Roy Saheb. They brutally conducted mass killing on their advancing towards the Padma river bank. 27 youths of village Sonaikandi in Paba upazila were forced to dig a mass grave and shot dead immediately after the completion of digging. With further attacks and counter attacks on the Bolanpur police camp, Rajshahi- Nawabganj road, Kabasmul, hundreds of freedom fighters sacrificed their lives to achieve freedom and numerous innocent people were killed.


The transportation and inter-city and intra-city communication of Rajshahi is well organized. There are 96 metalled and 108 semi-metalled roads comprising a total length of about 330 km and 3295 km respectively. Moreover, the rail communication is up to the mark with six railways of about 73 km total length. Rajshahi Railway Station is considered one of the most worth visiting places in Rajshahi district. Rajshahi is also served by a domestic airport named Shah Makhdum Airport and it is located about 10 km north of the city.


Rajshahi Metropolitan is well known as Silk City of Bangladesh because the Bangladesh  Sericulture Development Board is situated here. The BSCIC Industrial town in Rajshahi comprises of seven silk factories. There is an inter-city train acknowledging the Silk industry in Rajshahi called Silk City express which links Rajshahi to Dhaka. At present there are 10 nursery and 7 mini farms for silk production. Besides, there are 13 well-decorated showrooms in BSCIC area for displaying and showing authentic silk clothes. Bangladesh has earned 133,884 USD by exporting silk in fiscal year 2014-’15.


The cottage industries of Rajshahi include weaving, bamboo, blacksmith, goldsmith, potter, woodwork, sewing, bronze etc. Jute, sugarcane, date molasses, mango, litchi, vegetables and turmeric are main exports of Rajshahi besides silk threads and silk clothes. With great development in agriculture, this city is also being renowned as a ‘grain store’. Rajshahi district has many notable rivers. Padma is the main tributary of the Ganges in the Himalayas and the second longest river in Bangladesh. The maximum depth of the Padma is 1561 feet and the average depth is 96 feet. Mahananda and Punarbhaba are main tributaries of the Padma. There are various more tributaries of the Padma such as Gorai, Arial Khan, Kumar, Mathavanga, Bhairab etc. and many embranchments including Madhumati, Pashur, Kopotaksh etc. They are covering and surrounding other neighbouring districts to Rajshahi.

Rajshahi has several traditional food items based on seasonal variety which are also delicious. Date juice is such a popular and authentic item in Rajshahi and it is famous mostly in winter season. There is a Bengali saying indicating the unparalleled taste of date juice: ‘khejur roshe shiter amej’ (it means, the colder in winter, the tastier the date juice). Kalai ruti is another authentic and traditional food of Rajshahi which is made as a loaf out of coarse flour and black legume (mashkalai lentils).It is served with various mouth-watering condiments (catni) or mashed eggplant or meat curry sometimes. Moreover, seasonal fruits and vegetables, pitha- pulis (cakes) are there.

The city is home to many renowned educational institutions of Bangladesh. There are 980 primary schools, 409 high schools, 221 Madrasahs, 74 colleges, 2 medical colleges and 2 universities. The head office of Rajshahi Agricultural Development Bank and Barind Multipurpose Development Authority (BMDA) is situated in the city. Besides, Rajshahi has set an admirable example undertaking the initiatives of Horticulture Development Centers and Cattle Development Farms. Fish sanctuaries have also been established in Godagari. Moreover, BCSIR laboratory, Sericulture research and training center, Fruits Research Center are some other important installations in Rajshahi. Rajshahi city has a small number of Santal people, a popular indigenous community of Bangladesh. There is ‘Santal para’ in MahishBathan area in Rajshahi where they live together. They have their indigenous language known as ‘Santali’ but they speak fluent Bangla too. Rajshahi has distinctive folk culture which includes Gambhira song, Kavigan, Meyeli geet, Puppet show, rhymes, folk tales and so on. With varieties of religions, cultures, inhabitants, Rajshahi has been built as a clean and peaceful city.

                                      At a glance of Rajshahi
1. Area 2407.01 km2 (929.35 sq mi)
2. Population 23,77,314

Men: 50.66%

Women: 49.34%

3 Founding Year 1772
4 Religious Muslim: 2136702

Hindu: 112643

Buddhist: 22765

Christian: 599

Others: 14165

5 Literacy rate 47.4%
6 Density 950 per sq km
7 Seats in the Parliament 6

Sub-districts or Upazila (9)

  • Bagha Upazila
  • Bagmara Upazila
  • Charghaṭ Upazila
  • Durgapur Upazila
  • Godagaɽi Upazila
  • Mohanpur Upazila
  • Paba Upazila
  • Puthia Upazila
  • Tanore Upazila

Police Station (4)

  • Boalia Thana
  • Matihar Thana
  • Rajpara Thana
  • Shah Makhdum Thana

Archaeological Heritage and Relics:

  • Two domed Kismat Madia Mosque
  • One domed Ruipara (Durgapur) Jami Mosque
  • Bagha Mosque
  • Bagdhani Mosque
  • Three domed Bhagna Jami Mosque
  • Tomb of Shah Makhdum
  • Tomb of Shah Sultan
  • Bara Kuthi
  • Talando Shiva Mandir
  • Godagari Royal Palace
  • Graveyard of Mira Alikuli Beg
  • Puthia Rajbari Complex
  • Puthia Temple Complex
  • Porsha Royal Palace
  • Govinda Mandir
  • Shiva Mandir
  • Gopal Mandir
  • Dolmancha

Remarkable places to visit

  • Borendra Research Museum
  • Bhuban Mohan Park also known as Captain Monsoor Ali Park
  • Rajshahi Cadet College
  • Rajshahi Sugar Mills
  • Rajshahi Medical College
  • Rajshahi University
  • Sarda Police Training Center
  • Shahid Qumruzzaman Central Park
  • Silk Industry
  • Rajshahi University of Engineering & Technology
  • BGB park.
  • Bangabandhu Novo Theatre
  • Padma garden

Notable Personalities

  • A.H.M. Qumruzzaman, politician
  • Akshay Kumar Maitreya, historian
  • Amir Ali, MLA, politician
  • Andrew Kishore, singer
  • Hasan Azizul Huq, linguist
  • Junaid Siddique, cricketer
  • Khabeeruddin Ahmed, politician
  • Khaled Masud Pilot, cricketer
  • Mohammad Shamsuzzoha, academic
  • Mrinal Haque, sculptor
  • Ritwik Ghatak, filmmaker
  • Sabbir Rahman, cricketer
  • Selina Hossain, novelist
  • Sir Jadunath Sarkar, historian

Written by Nushrat Ara.

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