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Ancient to Modern: A Journey of a City Rajshahi

The People’s Republic of Bangladesh is usually known as Bangladesh that means “Country of Bengal”. Today here I am going to introduce you with this country and especially with the most ancient city of Bangladesh. I am talking about the city of Education, the Silk city, Rajshahi. Rajshahi is a city in western Bangladesh, and the divisional headquarters of Rajshahi Division as well as the administrative district that bears its name and is one of the seven metropolitan cities of Bangladesh.

RajshahiRajshahi was formerly known as Rampur Boalia. The town was given importance in 1825, when the East India Company shifted the administrative headquarters to the district of Rajshahi from Natore to then Rampur Boalia, mainly for the ease of communication from Calcutta through the Hooghly river, Bhairab River and Padma river.

The Heritage

Rajshahi SilkRajshahi is famous for its characteristic sweetmeats, not to be found anywhere else in the country. These special preparations include Roshkodom, Khaja, Raghobshahi and Kachagolla. Along with neighboring Chapai Nababganj, Rajshahi is the home of the regions best mangoes and lichis. Rajshahi is also the home of Barendra Museum which is famous for its collection of local sculpture and other artifacts dating from medieval times, and of Rajshahi silk, the finest silk produced in Bangladesh. Rajshahi Silk is the name given to the silk products produced in Rajshahi, Bangladesh. It is a famous name in the domain of clothing, especially in saris. Rajshahi silk is a delicate and soft fibre produced from the cocoons of silkworms and is covered with a protein called Sericin.

Rajshahi Silk

History

Rajshahi district was a part of the Pundra region of ancient Bengal. The capital of Vijay Sen, the king who led military operations in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia was located 9 miles (14 km) to the west of Rajshahi town. In medieval times, the region came to be known as “Rampur Boalia”. The origin of the present name of “Rajshahi” is debated among scholars. Most say that it takes its name from Hindu Kings and zamindars or “Rajas” as Raj and the persianized Shahi; both of which means Royal or Kingdom. The administrative district was established in 1772 and the municipal corporation in 1876. Rajshahi Municipality, which was one of the first municipalities in Bangladesh, was established in 1876. It was renamed as Rajshahi Pourasabha, and finally, Rajshahi Pourashava was declared as Rajshahi City Corporation in 1991. Besides the City Corporation, the governing body named Rajshahi Development Authority (RDA) to plan the development of the city and to coordinate all the development related work.

Administration

Rajshahi City Corporation
Rajshahi City Corporation Building Known as Nagar Bhaban

Rajshahi is one of seven metropolitan cities in Bangladesh. A mayor and 30 ward commissioners are elected for a five-year period by direct votes. Mr. Md. Mizanur Rahman Minu, was the first elected mayor of Rajshahi City Corporation. The present mayor (2013) is Mr Md.Mosaddek Hosain bulbul.

Rajshahi City Corporation (RCC) is responsible for all the administrative work related city governance under its jurisdiction. Rajshahi Metropolitan Police,headed by its commissioner has its head office in the city. Deputy Commissioner (DC,) who is the administrative chief of Rajshahi District & other district level civil servants have their offices. There is offices for District judges as well as Metropolitan courts. Divisional Commissioner, who is the administrative chief of Rajshahi Division,DIG for Rajshahi division & other divisional civil servants have their own offices in the city, which functions as part of the government administrative set up. In addition, a governing body called Rajshahi Development Authority (RDA) plans the development of the city and coordinates the development related works. RDA owns one of the major markets of Rajshahi, which is known as RDA market. Rajshahi WASA is responsible for water supply and drainage system within city area. It started functioning very recently in 2010. Rajshahi Metropolitan Police (RMP) headed by a Commissioner,controls law & order as well as traffic movements within the city.

Interesting Places in the City

Shrine of Hazrat Shah Mokhdum Ruposh (Rh.) pond and Mosque
Shrine of Hazrat Shah Mokhdum Ruposh (Rh.) pond and Mosque

Shrine of Hazrat Shah Mokhdum (Rh.): A Majar or Dorga (Shrine) is established around the grave of Hazrat Shah Mokhdum Ruposh (Rh.) at Dargahpara in Rajshahi city. It is said that Hazrat Shah Mokhdum Ruposh (Rh.) was the first Islam preacher in the Rajshahi region. It is also said that he came to Rajshahi through the river Padma riding on a crocodile. Even now, some crocodiles are reserved in the Dighi (Large Pond) next to the shrine of Hazrat Shah Mokhdum (Rh.). Dargahpara is famous for the shrine of Hazrat Shah Mokhdum Ruposh (Rh.) and for the large bank of river Padma. Two famous educational institute, Rajshahi College and Rajshahi Collegiate School, are also situated in this area. There is also another shrine of Shah Turkan (Rh.) which is older than the shrine of Hazrat Shah Mokhdum Ruposh (Rh.).

Shrine of Hazrat Shah Mokhdum Ruposh (Rh.)
Shrine of Hazrat Shah Mokhdum Ruposh (Rh.)

Varendra Research Museum:

Varendra Research Museum
Varendra Research Museum

Varendra Research Museum, one of the oldest museums in this subcontinent, is situated in the heart of Rajshahi city. Its library contains 22,000 printed books and journals and 6000 manuscripts in Bengali, Sanskrit, Arabic and Persian languages. The library has been moved from the Museum building to a new, modern structure.It was one of the first non government initiatives for building a museum by some enlightened people with Kumar Sarat Kumar Roy during the British era. This museum has a large collection of statues of Lord Surya and some unique masterpieces illustrating the history of the locality and its civilization.

Varendra Research Museum
Varendra Research Museum

Bangladesh Railway & Rajshahi central station: The headquarter of Bangladesh Railway (Western Zone) is in Rajshahi. Rajshahi Railway Station is being modified and developed to house more passengers and to offer more services to the city dwellers. Rajshahi Railway Station is Very Nice.

Rajshahi Railway Station
Rajshahi Railway Station

Borokuthi: In the compound of the Barakuthi there is a small cemetery with groves dating back to the years of the nineteenth century. There are 14 tombs with thirteen epitaphs within the cemetery. Here also some natural calimetari which make people enjoy for time being.

Borokuthi
Borokuthi

That’s not enough actually, there have a lots of places to visit and I know when you will be here, you’ll love to visit Rajshahi.

Education

University of Rajshahi: University of Rajshahi or Rajshahi University is a public university located in Rajshahi, a city in north-western Bangladesh. University of Rajshahi was established in 1953, the second university to be established in what was then East Pakistan.

Rajshahi University
Administrative Building of Rajshahi University

The university’s forty-seven departments are organized into nine faculties. Rajshahi University is located in a 753 acres (3 km2) campus in Motihar thana (police station), 3 kilometres (2 mi) from the Rajshahi city center. With 25,000 students and close to 1000 academic staff, it is one of the largest universities in Bangladesh.

Rajshahi College: Rajshahi College is one of the oldest institutions of higher education in Bangladesh. Established in 1873 in Rajshahi city, it is said to be the third oldest college in Bangladesh after Dhaka College and Chittagong College. Rajshahi College was the first institution in the territories now comprising Bangladesh to award a Masters degree. It also offers three years bachelor and four years honours degree courses in various disciplines. The college is affiliated with the National University. Since 1996 it has stopped enrolling Higher Secondary students. Situated in the city center, Rajshahi College is adjacent to Rajshahi Collegiate School and is very near the famous Barendra Museum.

Rajshahi College
Administrative Building of Rajshahi College

Rajshahi Medical College: Rajshahi Medical College, located in Rajshahi, Bangladesh, is a state-sponsored medical school affiliated with the Rajshahi University.

Rajshahi Medical College
Rajshahi Medical College

It was established in 1958, the second such institution in erstwhile East Pakistan after Dhaka Medical College. It has a large hospital that is the central provider for advanced health care in the northern part of Bangladesh.

Rajshahi Medical College admits 175 students every year for its M.B.B.S. program. It’s dental unit admits a further 50 students. Students are admitted in these programs after high school and get a degree after 5 years of study and 1 year internship in the Government owned public hospital.

It has two boys’ hostel named ‘shahid muktijoddha kazi nur un nobi hostel’ and ‘shahid shah moinul ahsan pinku hostel’. Shahid muktijoddha kazi nur un nobi hostel is locally known as Main Hostel. It has three girls’ hostel named ‘polin hostel’,’falguni hostel’ and ‘ayesha siddiqua hostel’.Besides there are also two hostels for intern doctors.one for males and another for females.The name of the male intern doctors’ hostel is ‘shahid jamil akhtar roton hostel’.

These are the main educational institute in Rajshahi and because of their glorious history we call our city with the name of “City of Education.

However, today I have took a long space! It’s time to go but I will return soon with some recent developments in Rajshahi. I wish you will love Rajshahi!

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