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रानाघाट जं. - RHA

Greater Kolkata

"Ranaghat" is a city and a municipality in Nadia district in the state of West Bengal, India. It is the headquarters of the Ranaghat subdivision. It is on the Churni River, 74 kilometres north of Kolkata. It is compact but one of the most populous cities of West Bengal. It is known for its handloom industry, various types of flowers and floriculture and a flower market. The town has recently expanded. Urban area is about 8 km2, but the total rural and urban area is more than 30 km2. The total population was just over 200,000 in 2011.

After independence Ranaghat was chosen to be the district capital but later Krishnanagar was selected instead.

Ranaghat has existed since the United Kingdom invaded India. The most likely origin for the name of the town comes from Rani (Queen)

Rana (a Rajput warrior) and Ghat (steps leading to the river). A myth is still prevalent that the name of the town came from the bandit 'Rana Dacoit', who used to pillage this area five

six hundred years back and he used to give ''pujas'' to the goddess Kali to thank her.

A large percentage of the population are the families of Hindu refugees from Bangladesh, who fled during the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971 with Pakistan. There are also many families who had extensive ties to foreign investments in the town. Ranaghat also played an important role in the struggle of freedom of India.

This is the home town of some notable Bengali people. Film actress Rakhee Gulzar was born and brought up in a refugee colony in Ranaghat. Athlete and olympian Soma Biswas is from Ranaghat. Poet Joy Goswami born and brought up in the town near Chotobazar area. Krishna Panti was known as one of the "5 Great Noblemen of Bengal." He and his descendants the Pal-Chaudhuri family donated land and built many of the town's temples and cultural institutions, including the Happy Club and Pal-Chaudhuri school, and many of the streets of the town are named after them. Born in a mud hut, Krishna Panti rose to become one of the greatest merchants of Bengal, and a great philanthropist. He was given the title Pal-Chaudhuri and became Zamindar over a huge area of Nadia. Employing Scottish architects, he built palatial buildings, temples and gardens, which are some of the only such buildings in the region to remain mostly intact.

The town is exactly 74 kilometres north of Calcutta and 26 kilometres south of Krishnanagar, Nadia, Nadia District headquarter. It is on the banks of River Churni.

Ranaghat and Taherpur police stations have jurisdiction over Ranaghat, Birnagar, Taherpur and Ranaghat I CD Block. The total area covered by the Ranaghat police station is 250 km2 and the population covered was 624,151 in 2001.

India census, Ranaghat had a population of 68,754. Males constitute 51% of the population and females 49%. Ranaghat had an average literacy rate of 84%, higher than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy was 87%, and female literacy was 80%. In Ranaghat, 8% of the population was under 6 years old.

In the 2011 census, Ranaghat Urban Agglomeration had a population of 235,583, out of which 119,578 were male and 116,005 were female. The 0-6 years population was 18,575. Effective literacy rate for the 7+ population was 86.10%. Male literacy was 89.77% and female literacy at 82.33%

The following places might be of interest to visitors.#"Nokari" Nokari is a nearby picnic spot.# "Pal-Chaudhuri House" -- The Pal-Chaudhuri House at Ghatak Para is a reminder of the historical importance of the Zamindars of Nadia. The house was built over 250 years ago by Krishna Panti, born in a mud hut, who rose to become one of the greatest merchants of Bengal. He was given the title Pal-Chaudhuri and became Zamindar over a huge area of Nadia. He built this house with over 300 rooms for his descendants, employing Scottish architects. The buildings, temples and gardens have intricate terra cotta work, and are some of the only such buildings in the region that remain mostly intact.# "Churni Nodir ghat" -- The bank of River Churni is a pleasant break from the scorching heat of summer months. The recently built bridge over the Churni connects Ainshtola (on the west bank of Churni) to Chotobazar on the east bank.# "Siddheshwari Temple" -- Temple in the heart of the town, Siddheshwaritala, that has existed for over 150 years. Devotees, especially women, pray here regularly.# "Nistarini Temple" -- Another temple near the Happy-Club maidan.# "Ranaghat Forest" -- Outside the main township, Ranaghat Forest is a picnic spot.# The "Dey Chowdhury" house is also an ancient piece of architecture and is well-kept.

Ranaghat is an important place of business. Small traders from nearby towns and villages purchase goods from Ranaghat Town Bazar. Both wholesale and retail business have developed here.The economy of Ranaghat and its surrounding region is mostly based on agriculture. Paddy (rice), flour, wheat and fruits are produced by farmers outside the main township. Various dairy products are transported to Kolkata every morning. A cold storage had been renovated by former chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya at Nokari village, located on east half of the town.

"The Department of Food Processing Industries of India was planning to set up a market complex exclusively for florists in Ranaghat." Ranaghat has one of the capturing market of flowers in West Bengal.

Another industry which receives immense government patronage is handicraft and boutiques. At least 1000 people depend on this for their livelihood. Aishtala (situated on the west bank of river Churni) is a place for textile weaving. Moreover, ready-made garments are trendy clothes of late became very popular among the teens and youths. IT infrastructure is getting popularised lately.

The land prices in Ranaghat have increased hugely in a four-year period.

The town has a large number of primary and high-schools and a college for higher education.

The town is inhabited mostly by Bengali Hindus. Durga-puja, like in all other Bengali communities, is the largest and most colourful festival and is celebrated throughout the town. Pujas belonging to the old families of Ranaghat are a few hundred years old. Purohit Para Sadu Bauni (পুরোহিত পাড়া সদু বাউনী) and Sharmabari are the oldest of pujas, they are of 700 years

older, both started by Raja Krishnachandra Rai. The Durga idol at Ghatak Bari is made of cement, a permanent structure which is one of the first of its kind in the region. The big budgeted and grand theme pujas are mainly done by Dey Chowdhury Para Sharbojonin, Panthapara, Talpukrpara & Nabarun sangha. East side of this town is famous for Kali puja. There are several clubs like Friends' club, coopers camp, Mahaprabhu sporting club, Beltala club, Sanghamitra club, Netaji sangha, D.L Roy institute organizing such pujas.other major Hindu pujas are celebrated as well. Rath-yatra is another big festival of the town. Every year millions of people from the town and nearby places come to see the rath, enjoy various rides and have fun during the month of June-July at the happy club maidan & swasthyonnati Math rath-yatra-utsav. Recently some local clubs have started celebrating Jagaddhatri puja. A Hindu festival called 'Dol yatra' is celebrated everywhere at the town. A village named 'Harinagar' is known for 'kirtan', a gathering of Hindu religious people in a motive to know God Krishna, is very popular.

The Christian community celebrates Christmas at Begopara Church outside the main township. During Christmas, people from all religions join the party. Moreover, there is a mosque at Nasra-para, on the outskirts of the town. Hindu-Muslim-Christians are living together in good harmony and peace.

Cricket and Association football are the most popular sports. Karate has been a great interest amongst the youth of Ranaghat since the 1980s. Since then many boys and girls have excelled in this field and brought laurels for Ranaghat even from national and international arena.

It is one of the most important railway junctions in the Sealdah-Murshidabad railway section. The "Maitree Express" linking Kolkata and Dhaka passes through Ranaghat.

The city is well connected to the Sealdah railway station through the Sealdah-Ranaghat Line. Local and passenger trains are available every half-an-hour. The Railway Minister recently passed a bill for running an express train in the Sealdah-Lalgola route which would reduce the current 2 hour journey by at least one hour. This project requires significant funding which may prevent it from materializing.

The Railway station at Ranaghat has a long history. The Sealdah-Ranaghat rail connection was made during the British Period. This main line was opened in September 1862. Ranaghat-Kalyani and Ranaghat-Shantipur sections were electrified in the financial year 1963-64.

From Ranaghat railway station, trains travel both north and south. Local trains are available to: Krishnanagar City Junction railway station, Shantipur, Gede, Nadia, Bangaon and Sealdah. A handful of express passenger trains between Lalgola and Sealdah also stop at Ranaghat. An express train Bhagirathi express runs mainly for the office-goers in the morning. It departs from Ranaghat for Sealdah at 8:50 in the morning and in the evening leaves Sealdah station at 6:25pm for Ranaghat. It takes around 1 and half hour in comparison to the 2 hours taken by local trains. Couple of Ladies-onlyl trains; one from Krishnanagar via Ranaghat to Sealdah, another from Ranaghat to Sealdah was inaugurated in the year 2010.

Railway ministries of India are taking steps to make Ranaghat Railway station as a station of national importance. Numerous plans have been considered for the modernization and improvement of the platforms and the surrounding area in the latest Railway Budget of India. But illegal hawkers and traders continue to create hindrance.

The town has three bus-stands, one at Rathtala, one near Ranaghat College and one over GNPC Road opposite police phari. CSTC buses plying from Kolkata going to North Bengal also has a stop at Ranaghat on NH-34. Buses ply to Krishnanagar, Hanskhali, Aishmali, Palassey, Bethua and other parts of Nadia district. Some long-distance night buses to north Bengal are also available. People in general, though prefer trains because of ready availability and more convenience.

State Highway 11 (West Bengal) meets National Highway 12 (India) at Ranaghat.

Auto rickshaw service might be popular in other cities of West Bengal but it is not available here. There are very few private cars.

Nearest airport from the town being the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport at Dum Dum, almost 65 km from the town.

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