Howrah or Haora (/ˈhaʊrə/) is an industrial city, a municipal corporation in the Howrah district, West Bengal, India. It is the headquarters of the district, and of the Howrah Sadar subdivision of the district. Located on the west bank of the Hoogli River, it is a twin city to Kolkata. Howrah is the second smallest district after Kolkata. The two cities are connected by four bridges on the river Ganges, these being the Howrah Bridge (also known as Rabindra Setu), the Vidyasagar Setu (also known as the second Hooghly Bridge), the Vivekananda Setu (also known as Bally Bridge), the Nivedita Setu (also known as Second Vivekananda Setu) and ferry services between various jetties.
Howrah Station serves as a terminal for two railway zones of India: the Eastern Railway and the South Eastern Railway. There are six other railway stations with the city, including the railway junction at Santragachhi and the terminal at Shalimar Station—all the six are part of the South Eastern Railway network. Dinabandhu Institution, an Institute of National Importance and a premier research institution, is also situated in Shibpur, Howrah. Two national highways—NH 2 and NH 6—are connected to Vidyasagar Setu via Kona Expressway. One endpoint of the Grand Trunk Road is at the Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Indian Botanic Garden here, where the Great Banyan tree stands. Bengal Engineering & Science University, over 150 years old, is a prestigious engineering university located in the city.
The history of the city of Howrah dates back over 500 years, but the district is situated in an area historically occupied by the ancient Bengali kingdom of Bhurshut. Venetian explorer Cesare Federici, who travelled in India during 1565–79, mentioned a place called Buttor in his journal circa 1578. As per his description, this was the a location into which large ships could travel (presumably the Hoogli River) and perhaps a commercial port. This place is identifiable with the modern day neighbourhood of Bator.Bator was also mentioned in the Bengali poetry Manasamangal written by Bipradas Pipilai in 1495.
In 1713, the Bengal Council of the British East India Company, on the accession of the Emperor Farrukhsiyar, grandson of Aurangzeb, to the throne of Delhi, sent a deputation to him with a petition for a settlement of five villages on west bank of Hooghly river along with thirty-three villages on the east bank.The list of villages appeared in the Consultation Book of the Council dated 4 May 1714. The five villages on the west bank on Hooghly river were: ‘Salica’ (Salkia), ‘Harirah’ (Howrah), ‘Cassundeah’ (Kasundia), ‘Ramkrishnopoor’ (Ramkrishnapur), and ‘Battar’ (Bator): all identifiable with localities of modern-day Howrah city.The deputation was successful except for these five villages.By 1728, most of the present-day Howrah district was part of either of the two zamindaris: Burdwan or Muhammand Aminpur.After Battle of Plassey, as per the treaty signed with the Nawab of Bengal, Mir Qasim, on 11 October 1760, Howrah district (then part of Burdwan) came under control of East India Company.In 1787, the Hooghly district was formed, and till 1819, the whole of the present day Howrah district was added to it.The Howrah district was separated from the Hooghly district in 1843.
By 1914 almost every major city in India was served by the Railways and the increased demand for its rolling stocks and repair works resulted in the establishment of railway workshop in Howrah. The light engineering industry grew up after 1914. This industrial boom continued throughout the second world war and brought with it rapid urbanisation phase in unplanned manner creating slums near the industrial establishments.Today, Howrah is famous for Howrah Station and Howrah Bridge.
Neighbourhoods and places of interest
Shibpur is a neighbourhood in south Howrah, near Vidyasagar Setu. Through the centuries it has been synonymous with the Great Banyan tree. The Great Banyan tree boasts of having the largest canopy in the world. It continues to grow and covers many city blocks and looks like a forest all by itself. The British established the Indian Botanical Gardens in 1786 between the Great Banyan tree and the Hoogly River. Here there is one end of the Grand Trunk Road.
The Bengal Engineering and Science University, Shibpur is the second oldest engineering university in India.
Don Bosco High & Technical School, Liluah is one of the best schools in Howrah in its northern suburb of Liluah, where there are many more schools.
There is a famous Rama Temple in Ramrajatala area, where Rama is worshiped for 4 months, starting from Rama Navami to the last Sunday of the month of Shravana. A big fair is held every year on the last day of worship.
Located near Santragachi Railway Station, the Santragachhi Jheel is a large lake that attracts migratory birds during winter. The lesser whistling duck is the most dominant species visible here.Forest Ministry of the State Government of West Bengal intends to convert the lake to a ‘wildlife conservation centre’.
Belur Math is the headquarters of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission, founded by Swami Vivekananda, a chief disciple of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. It is located on the west bank of Hooghly River, Belur, West Bengal, India and is one of the significant institutions in Calcutta.
Andul,one of the ancient Census townunder the Sadar sub-division in Howrah district,was once acknowledged as one of the most royal and exquisite place in the Howrah district,due to the residences of three zamindar families- Dutta Chaudhury,Kundu Chaudhury and the Rajas (Rai). The total region of Andul including Argori up to Amta belonged to this zamindar family of “Dutta Chaudhury”.
It was considered that the more than 500-year-old ancestral zamindari house of “Dutta Chaudhury” is totally obliterated now, one cannot even find any fragment of it. But they are celebrating their more than 500-year-old Durga Puja still now in their Thakur Dalan. But the Zamindari House (Bari/Bati) of “Kundu Chaudhury” can still be seen today. They were given the charge of the regions of Daner Sk Lane and few parts of Howrah (main) city along with Mauri. And the palace or “Rajar bari” of the Rajas can also be seen today, which has now become a historical site of Andul.
“Kamal Nursery” and “The Indian Nursery”two of the most famous names in the Indian horticulture industry are situated at Andul. Howrah Flower Growers’ Association organize flower exhibition at Kamal Nursery every year.
Lake Land Country Club is a 30-acre club and resort at Kona Express way, between Howrah station and NH6. It is 10 minutes drive from Vidyasagar Setu. Lake Land is one of the resorts in Kolkata- Howrah region. It is dotted with greenery, and has three lakes surrounding it. It is also one of the most sought after event destinations in Kolkata-Howrah region
Panchwati Fortune Park Hotel is right behind the lake land country club, it is the only four-star hotel in Howrah. Built over 3 acres of land, Panchwati Fortune Park hotel is managed by ITC welcome group. It has 70 rooms, 3 conference halls, and several indoor out door amenities. The hotel reflects the changing landscape of Howrah.
Haragunge Bazaar is a century old market, located at heart of north Howrah, at Aurobindo Road, Salkia. It is under renovation, a new mall is under construction on top of existing market. The mall will have major brands such as reliance trends and reliance footprint. The mall will also have several restaurants, a three screen multiplex, and premium office space.
Gadiara is a village in Howrah District. This place is the point of convergence of the Damodar, the Rupnarayan and the Hoogli rivers. Gadiara is a popular picnic and daytrip spot for locals and tourists alike.
Benapur is another wonderful place in Howrah District for picnic lovers. This is located beside the Rupnarayan River. A huge green riverbank is waiting for picnic. This village is located just 10 km away from Bagnan on the Bagnan-Gadiara Road.
Avani Riverside Mall is the best example of Howrah’s changing skyline. Visible from across the river Hooghly, it is now the only destination for all who are looking to experience the joy of shopping, eating out and entertainment in Howrah.
Spread over a massive 600,000 square feet area, Avani Riverside also hosts multiplex, PVR Cinemas has four Screens with 1186 seats and provides an exceptional digital movie experience to the cine-goers of the city.