Rajshahi (Bengali: রাজশাহী, [radʒ.ʃaɦi]) is a metropolitan city and a major urban, administrative, commercial and educational centre of Bangladesh. It is also the administrative seat of the eponymous division and district. Located on the north bank of the Padma River, near the Bangladesh–India border, the city is surrounded by the satellite towns of Nowhata and Katakhali, which together build an urban agglomeration of about 1 million population.[4][5] Modern Rajshahi lies in the ancient region of Pundravardhana. The foundation of the city dates to 1634, according to epigraphic records at the mausoleum of Sufi saint Shah Makhdum. The area hosted a Dutch settlement in the 18th century.[6] The Rajshahi municipality was constituted during the British Raj in 1876. It was a divisional capital of the greater Rajshahi division which was the largest division in Bengal Province.

Administration Building of Rajshahi College
Skyline of Shaheb Bazar
Paris Road inside RU
Lalon Shah Open Stage
Education City, Silk City, City of Mango, Green City, Clean City
Rajshahi is located in Bangladesh Rajshahi division
Location of Rajshahi in Rajshahi division
Rajshahi is located in Bangladesh
Rajshahi (Bangladesh)
Coordinates: 24°22′N 88°36′E / 24.367°N 88.600°E / 24.367; 88.600
Country Bangladesh
Granted city status1991
 • TypeMayor-Council
 • BodyRajshahi City Corporation
 • MayorA. H. M. Khairuzzaman Liton
 • Police CommissionerAbu Kalam Siddique, PPM (Bar)
 • Metropolis120.98 km2 (46.71 sq mi)
 • Rank04
18 m (59 ft)
 • Urban
 • Metro
Time zoneUTC+6 (BST)
Postal code
6000, 6100, 6203
National Calling Code+880
Calling Code old0721
Calling Code new025888
PoliceRajshahi Metropolitan Police
AirportShah Makhdum Airport

Rajshahi is a historic center of silk production. Varendra Research Museum, the oldest of its kind in Bangladesh, is located in the city. Sometimes the city is referred as the City of Education.[7] The city is home to many renowned educational institutions of Bangladesh. The head office of Rajshahi Agricultural Development Bank and Barind Multipurpose Development Authority (BMDA) is situated in the city. The Shah Makhdum Airport serves Rajshahi. According to The Guardian, Rajshahi is the cleanest city of Bangladesh.[8]

History edit

Rajshahi district was a part of the Pundra region of ancient Bengal ruled by the Pundra Kingdom. The capital of Prince Vijaya, the king who led military operations in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia was located 14 kilometres (9 mi) to the west of Rajshahi town. Rajshahi was dominated by various Maharajas, Rajas and Zamindars.[9] During Deo Raja's period, the region was known as Mohakalgarh. In 1288-89 the Raja was defeated by Shah Makhdum Rupos. The region came to be known as Rampur Boalia after the establishment of an administrative office in 1825.[10] The origin of the present name of "Rajshahi" is debated among scholars. Most say that it takes its name from Hindu Kings Rajshahi Raj (or "Rajas") as Raj and the persianised Shahi; both of which mean "royal" or "kingdom".[11] The administrative district was established in 1772 and the municipal corporation in 1876.

Rajshahi Railway Station in the 1930s

During the British raj, it was also known as "Beuleah" and was the administrative headquarters of the Rajshahi district in Eastern Bengal and Assam. It was originally chosen as a commercial factory for the silk trade, which was being officially encouraged by the agricultural department of that time. The town contained a government college and an industrial school for sericulture. Most of the public buildings were severely damaged by the earthquake of 12 June 1897.[12] Throughout much of the early part of the twentieth century there was a daily steamer service on the Ganges which connected it to rail-heads that led to the then provincial capital of Calcutta as well as other cities in the province of Bengal.

Pakistani Eastern Command plan for the defence of East Pakistan from 1967 to 1971 (generic representation—some unit locations not shown).

Rajshahi witnessed great atrocities by the Pakistan army in the 1962 Rajshahi massacres of Bangladeshis.[citation needed] During the Bangladesh Liberation War, Pakistan Army created an ad hoc Rajshahi brigade, deployed in September.[13]

Rajshahi was made a city corporation in 1991.

Geography edit

Topography edit

A road in Rajshahi after rainfall

Geographically Rajshahi is situated within Barind Tract, 23 m (75 ft) above sea level, and lies at 24°22′26″N 88°36′04″E / 24.37389°N 88.60111°E / 24.37389; 88.60111. The city is located on the alluvial plains of the Padma River, which runs through southern side of the city. It is bounded on the east, north and west by Paba Upazila (subdivision of a district) of the district.

Rajshahi District is bounded by Naogaon District to the north, Natore District to the east, and Chapai Nawabganj District and the river Padma & Kushtia District to the south.

Climate edit

Under the Köppen climate classification, Rajshahi has a tropical wet and dry climate. The climate of Rajshahi is generally marked with monsoons, high temperature, considerable humidity and moderate rainfall. The hot season commences early in March and continues till the middle of July. The maximum mean temperature observed is about 32 to 36 °C (90 to 97 °F) during the months of April, May, June and July and the minimum temperature recorded in January is about 7 to 16 °C (45 to 61 °F). The highest rainfall is observed during the months of monsoon. The annual rainfall in the district is about 1,448 millimetres (57.0 in).

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 30.0
Mean daily maximum °C (°F) 24.1
Daily mean °C (°F) 16.5
Mean daily minimum °C (°F) 10.6
Record low °C (°F) 3.4
Average precipitation mm (inches) 8.0
Average rainy days 2 3 3 6 10 12 15 14 13 5 2 1 86
Average relative humidity (%) 78 71 63 65 75 83 87 86 86 83 78 78 78
Source 1: Bangladesh Meteorological Department[14][15][16]
Source 2: WeatherBase.Com

Although once noted for its air pollution, since 2014 the levels of particulates have been dramatically reduced by various efforts to switch to cleaner fuels and to battery-powered vehicles, to pave earth streets, to encourage walking and bicycle transport, and to plant vegetation.[17] The levels of PM10 dropped by 67% and PM2.5 which are particularly harmful to human health, dropped from 70 to 37 micrograms per cubic metre between 2014 and 2016.[17]

Parks and greenery edit

Rajshahi Central Park

Shaheed A.H.M Qamaruzzaman Central Park and Zoo is one of the popular public places in Rajshahi city. A wide area with green trees and grasses houses different animal species. It is located by the bank of the Padma River. Other parks in the city are Bhubon Mohon Park and Captain Monsur Ali Park. Shahid Zia's children's park is specially designed for children's amusement. The bank of the Padma River along the city is also a destination for recreation. The bank is a planned zone in many parts of the city to accommodate city dwellers for recreation purposes. In 2015, Munsguard Park near the old Dutch Boro Kuthi building and Lalonshah Park near Shahmukhdum Eidgah was built bordering the bank[18] to provide residents a place to enjoy the views of the Padma river.

Points of interest edit

The Padma River passes by the southern side of the city
  • Banks of the Padma River: One of the largest rivers in South Asia. During the Monsoon season, the water level rises.
  • Varendra Research Museum: Established in 1910, the museum is dedicated to ancient history and culture. It has a collection of artefacts relating to Hindu, Buddhist and Muslim heritage. Some of these date back to the 16th century. It is maintained by the University, located in the centre of town.
  • Shrine of Shah Makhdum Rupos: A dargah (tomb) was established to mark the resting place of Shah Makhdum in 1635. He was the first preacher of Islam in the region. Legend has it that he arrived by riding down the Padma on two crocodiles. To preserve this myth, some crocodiles are kept in the pond next to the shrine.
Dargah of Shah Makhdum Rupos
  • Shaheed A.H.M Qamaruzzaman Central Park and Zoo: The park is a wide area with trees and grass. The zoo houses a variety of animal species. It is located by the bank of the river Padma.
  • Shahid Zia Park: An amusement park, it has a mono rail and bumping cars. It is under the Rajshahi City Corporation.
  • University of Rajshahi: This campus is within a few kilometres from the city centre. The second largest university in Bangladesh.
  • Shaheb Bazar: This is the centre of the city, where most of the shopping malls and commercial buildings are located.
  • Ghoramara: The oldest part of Rajshahi City, consisting of most of the oldest (70 to 100 years old) buildings.
  • Boro Kuthi: In the compound of the Barakuthi there is a small cemetery with groves dating back to the nineteenth century. There are 14 tombs with thirteen epitaphs within the cemetery.
  • Upashohor: This is a planned model town. Rajshahi Cantonment is located beside this area.
  • Motihar: Rajshahi University is situated in this area on a large campus surrounded by mango groves.
  • Kashia-Danga: From this area a massive mango tree garden area of Rajshahi starts. It is in the western part of the city, near Rajshahi court railway station.
  • Santal Para: Located inside the Mahish-Bathan Area. Some Santal tribes people live here.
  • Bangabandhu Novo Theatre, Rajshahi: Establishment of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Novo Theatre, Rajshahi is being implemented.[19]

Administration edit

Rajshahi City Corporation headquarter

Rajshahi is the headquarters of one of the eight administrative divisions of Bangladesh. Divisional Commissioner, who is the administrative chief of Rajshahi Division, DIG for Rajshahi division and other divisional civil servants have their own offices in the city, which functions as part of the government administrative setup. Deputy Commissioner (DC) who is the administrative chief of Rajshahi District, Civil Surgeon and other district-level civil servants have their offices in the city. District judges as well as Metropolitan magistrates have their offices within the city.

Rajshahi is one of seven metropolitan cities in Bangladesh. One mayor and 30 ward commissioners are elected for five-year terms by direct votes. Rajshahi City Corporation is responsible for all the administrative work related to city governance under its jurisdiction.

Rajshahi Metropolitan Police (RMP), headed by a Commissioner, controls law and order as well as traffic movements within the metropolitan area.

Rajshahi Unnayan Kortripokhkho/Rajshahi Development Authority (RDA) plans and coordinates the development-related works within the metropolitan area. Rajshahi WASA is responsible for the water supply and drainage system within the city area.

Economy edit

Rajshahi has been famous for its silk textiles since the British period. There are also several jute mills in Rajshahi. At present many glass-making factories have been set up in Rajshahi. Rajshahi City Corporation has constructed BSIC. Industrial City-02 in Paba Upazila of Rajshahi. And work is underway on a leather industry area. There will also be a 1,200-acre industrial zone under the Bangladesh Economic Zone (BEPZA). Bangabandhu Hi-Tech Park will play an important role in the development of IT in Rajshahi. When completed, it will revolutionize information and communication technology in the region, which will employ about 50,000 people.

There is also a char on the banks of the river Padma near the city of Rajshahi. Rajshahi City Corporation has plans to build another economic zone on the char. When the construction of the char is completed, it will become the commercial center of North Bengal

Culture edit

Arts and festivals edit

Bengali New Year / বাংলা নববর্ষ celebration rally at Rajshahi city

Rajshahi is famous for Rajshahi silk, which has a special status as clothing material in the Indian subcontinent. Rajshahi is the home of the region's best mangoes and lichis. Rajshahi is also the location of Barendra Museum, which is known for its collection of local sculptures and other artifacts dating from medieval times. It also has some important structures made by the British like the T Dam.

Pohela Baishakh, the Bengali New Year, and Pahela Falgun, the first day of spring of the Bengali month Falgun, in the Bengali calendar, is festively celebrated in the city. There are widespread celebrations of Muslim festivals of Eid ul-Fitr, Eid ul-Adha, and Muharram; Hindu festivals of Durga Puja, the Buddhist festival of Buddha Purnima; and the Christian festival of Christmas across the city.

Media edit

There are many Bengali daily newspapers published in the city, including Sonali Sangbad, Uttorbongo Protidin, Sunshine, Dainik Barta, Sonar Desh, Natun Provat, and Amader Rajshahi.[20] There are also many online news portal such as Uttarkal, Padmatimes24, rajshahinews24.com, silkcitynews.com, Shadhin Janapad, News Rajshahi 24 and others.

The government-run Bangladesh Television and Bangladesh Betar have transmission centres in Rajshahi.

A local FM radio station, Radio Padma, transmits at 99.2 MHz frequency and Radio Foorti transmits at 88.0 MHz.

There is also five press clubs in Rajshahi City. Known as Rajshahi City Press Club, Rajshahi Press Club, Rajshahi Metropolitan Press Club, Rajshahi Varendra Press Club and Rajshahi Padma Press Club.

Sports edit

Shaheed Qamaruzzaman Stadium

There are three 15,000+ capacity stadiums in the city. One is at the centre of the city which is normally called the Rajshahi District Stadium, another is inside the Rajshahi University and the last one used for cricket is located at Terokhadia called Shaheed Qamaruzzaman Stadium. There is also an international standard tennis complex and a few sports training academies in the city.

Many national-level footballers groomed in the city such as former Bangladesh national team captain Mohammed Mohsin and recently midfielder Manik Hossain Molla. The city is the home of several national-level club teams like Diganta Proshari Sangha[21] and Sonali Otit Club. There are also a few football training academies including one in Rajshahi's central eidgah (large open ground used on special occasions for Muslim prayers) and in the Zilla stadium.

The city is an important place for cricket in Bangladesh. As a regular supplier of cricketers in the national team, it is also the home of Bangladesh Premier League team Rajshahi Kings. The city has two cricket academies Banglatrack and Clemon, to grow and train upcoming cricketers.

Rajshahi is also known for hockey. Many local hockey practice clubs allow playing at national, inter-university, college, and school levels. There are National Team hockey players from Rajshahi. Late Mintu was one of them and by his name, there is "Mintu Chottor" at Lokkhipur Mor, Rajshahi.

Transport edit

Rajshahi central railway station

Road edit

Rajshahi is connected to most other parts of the country via the N6 national highway. There are two intercity bus terminals in the city. It takes about 5 to 6 hours by road to reach the capital city Dhaka. Several bus services, including air-conditioned and non-air-conditioned buses, are available to and from Dhaka. Bus services to other major cities and the district's headquarters are also available from Rajshahi.

Shah Makhdum Airport, Rajshahi

Railway edit

Four inter-city train services are operated by Bangladesh Railway, named Silk City Express, Padma Express and Dhumketu Express, and Bonolota Express between Dhaka and Rajshahi railway station regularly.[22] There are other inter-city, mail and local trains operated from Rajshahi to Khulna and other regions of the country. There are two other railway stations in the city, Rajshahi Court and Rajshahi University.

Air edit

The city is served by Shah Makhdum Airport, named after the Islamic preacher Shah Makhdum Rupos, situated at Nowhata, a commuter town of the city. Biman Bangladesh Airlines, Novoair, and US-Bangla Airlines operate domestic flights to and from Dhaka.


Public transport edit

Auto rickshaws and charging rickshaws are the main modes of transport within the city and metro area.[23] Once there was plenty of Tomtom (horse-driven cart) in the city, which are still found, but fewer in numbers. There are bus and minibus services in a limited number of routes, connecting suburban areas of the city. Plenty of rental car agencies operate within the city and metro area, where sedans, SUVs, and micro-buses are available to hire hourly or daily. Ride-sharing services like Uber and Obhai are also available in the city.

Healthcare edit

The city has many government, private and NGO-run hospitals. Rajshahi Medical College Hospital (RMCH) is a tertiary-level public hospital with a teaching facility for graduate and postgraduate medical education. There are two private medical college hospitals, and another two are under construction in the city. There is also a government-run children's hospital, one chest hospital, a district-level government hospital and a Christian missionary hospital within the city area.

Demographics edit

Religions in Rajshahi city (2011)[24]
Religion Percent
Other or not stated

At the time of the 2011 census, Rajshahi had a population of 449,756 in 99,545 households. Rajshahi has a sex ratio of 930 females per 1000 males and a literacy rate of 74.1%.[24]

Bengali is the main language for the citizens of the city. Many distinctive Bengali dialects and regional languages are also spoken. There is a minority Urdu-speaking population, who are descendants of displaced Muslims from the eastern part of British India who sought refuge during the separation of India and Pakistan in 1947.

Education edit

Administrative building of Rajshahi University
Shabash Bangladesh, a sculpture commemorating the liberation war
Administrative building of Rajshahi College, one of the oldest educational institutes of Bangladesh

Rajshahi, commonly referred to as Education City, is home to many government and private educational institutions. The city is home to the Rajshahi College- which is the third oldest college in Bangladesh after Dhaka College, and Chittagong College. Rajshahi Medical College is the second oldest medical college in erstwhile East Pakistan. The University of Rajshahi is the second oldest and one of the largest public universities in the country. Rajshahi Engineering College, now known as RUET, was the second engineering college established in the then East Pakistan in 1964.

Major educational institutes include:

Notable residents edit

Twin towns and sister cities edit

Rajshahi's twin town and sister city is:

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "Area, Population and Literacy Rate by Paurashava −2001" (PDF). Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 December 2008. Retrieved 19 August 2009.
  2. ^ "PM opens 8 new police stations in Rajshahi". Rising Sun. 22 February 2018. Retrieved 15 September 2018.
  3. ^ "Statistical Pocket book 2008, Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics" Archived 19 April 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Rajshahi (Bangladesh): City Districts and Subdistricts – Population Statistics in Maps and Charts".
  5. ^ "Rajshahi Population 2024".
  6. ^ "Rajshahi – Bangladesh".
  7. ^ "Rajshahi will be the city of entrepreneurs in 5 years". The Business Standard. 28 January 2022. Retrieved 20 May 2023.
  8. ^ "Rajshahi: the city that took on air pollution – and won". the Guardian. 17 June 2016. Retrieved 6 October 2022.
  9. ^ Singh, Nagendra Kr (1 January 2003). Encyclopaedia Of Bangladesh (Set Of 30 Vols.). Anmol Publications Pvt. Limited. ISBN 9788126113903 – via Google Books.
  10. ^ "মহাকালগড় থেকে রাজশাহী, শহরটি এখনো শান্তির". Prothom Alo. Retrieved 13 October 2021.
  11. ^ "800 years of Rajshahi city". The Independent. Archived from the original on 6 June 2013. Retrieved 8 July 2011.
  12. ^ Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Rajshahi" . Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  13. ^ Salik, Siddiq, Witness to Surrender, pp126
  14. ^ "Climate of Bangladesh" (PDF). Bangladesh Meteorological Department. pp. 19–23. Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 December 2018. Retrieved 24 December 2018.
  15. ^ "Normal Monthly Rainy Day" (PDF). Bangladesh Meteorological Department. Archived from the original on 9 July 2017. Retrieved 26 April 2018.
  16. ^ "Normal Monthly Humidity" (PDF). Bangladesh Meteorological Department. Archived from the original on 24 December 2018. Retrieved 26 April 2018.
  17. ^ a b Graham-Harrison, Emma; Doshi, Vidhi (17 June 2016). "Rajshahi: the city that took on air pollution – and won". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 July 2016.
  18. ^ লালন শাহ পার্ক লিজ দেওয়া হবে না : রাসিক. Kaler Kanthao (in Bengali). Retrieved 28 August 2019.
  19. ^ "Construction work of Bangabandhu Novo Theatre goes on in full swing in Rajshahi".
  20. ^ পত্র-পত্রিকা (in Bengali).
  21. ^ "Champions Club Cup from today". The Daily Star. 22 May 2009. Retrieved 21 January 2024.
  22. ^ "First Rajshahi-Dhaka direct train launched". The Daily Star. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  23. ^ "Unlicensed auto-rickshaws rise in Rajshahi City - - observerbd.com". The Daily Observer. Retrieved 7 March 2024.
  24. ^ a b "Community Series - Rajshahi District" (PDF). bbs.gov.bd. Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics.
  25. ^ "Kunstlotteri for Rajshahi" [Art lottery for Rajshahi]. Kristiansand Municipality (in Norwegian). [Every three years Kristiansands schools and kindergartens hold an action for Rajshahi in Bangladesh, our sister city since 1979.]

Notes edit

External links edit