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Courtyard of the Hooghly Imambara

Hugli-Chinsurah (Bengali: হুগলি-চুঁচুড়া Hugli-Cum̐cuṛā) is the headquarters of the Hooghly district of West Bengal, India. Lying on its namesake Hooghly River, 35 km (22 mi) north of Kolkata, Hooghly has a strong significance in the history of Bengal.


Bandel Church

Hugli-Chinsurah (হুগলি-চুঁচুড়া, HOOG-lih CHOOn-choo-rrah) is actually an amalgamation of the three port towns of Bandel, Hooghly and Chinsurah. Bandel and Hooghly were Portuguese colonies from 1580 to 1629, while Chinsurah was a Dutch colony from 1626 to 1825. Unfortunately, except Bandel Church and Dutch cemetery, nothing much of non-British colonial legacy remains in these towns.


In 1536, Portuguese traders obtained a permit from Bengali Sultan Mahmud Shah to trade in this area. In 1579, Mughal Emperor Akbar gave permission to Portuguese captain Pedro Tavares to establish a city anywhere in Bengal. They chose Hooghly (Portuguese: Ugulim) and it became the first European settlement in Bengal. Hooghly became a major commercial centre and the largest port in Bengal within a few decades.

In 1580, the captain obtained the emperor's full permission to preach the Catholic faith publicly, and erect churches. Thus the Bandel Church was built in 1599, which is one of the oldest churches in West Bengal. In 1629, political disorder struck the city and the Mughal governor of Bengal expelled the Portuguese. The Bandel Church was also burnt down. A newer church was built over the ruin in 1660 by Gomez de Soto.

In 1656, the Dutch erected a factory in nearby Chinsurah. However, in 1685, a dispute having taken place between the English factors and the Mughals, the factory was bombarded and burned to the ground. The burned factory was rebuilt into a fort named Fort Gustavus in 1740, which was later demolished along with the Governor's House.

In 1690, Job Charnock decided to shift the British trading centre from Hooghly to Calcutta. The reason behind this decision was the strategically safe location of Calcutta and its proximity to the Bay of Bengal. As a result, trade and commerce in Bengal shifted from Hooghly to Calcutta and Hooghly lost its importance.

In 1759, the Dutch garrison of Chinsurah, on its march to Chandernagore, attacked a British force under Colonel Forde. The Battle of Chinsurah lasted less than half an hour and ended with the rout of the Dutch attackers. In 1795, during the Napoleonic Wars, a British garrison occupied the town. Although the peace of 1814 restored Chinsurah to the Dutch, the Dutch ceded all their possessions in India to the British in 1825.


Like most of West Bengal, the native language of the people of Hooghly is Bengali. Although it is generally not a problem getting by with English, learning some Bengali will make your trip much smoother.

Get in[edit]

Dutch Cemetery, Chinsurah

By plane[edit]

The nearest airport is Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport (CCU IATA) in Kolkata.

By train[edit]

Hooghly-Chinsurah has four railway stations, Bandel Junction  Eastern  (BDC), Chuchura  Eastern  (CNS), Hooghly  Eastern  (HGY) and Hooghly Ghat  Eastern  (HYG).

1 Bandel Junction  Eastern  Bandel Junction railway station on Wikipedia is the main station and the junction of Howrah–Bardhaman main line, Bandel–Katwa line and Bandel–Naihati line. Many express trains on these lines stop at Bandel. Curiously, the station's main exit is at the opposite of the main city and you have to go through an underpass by road to get to the main city. The road meets the Grand Trunk Road at Bandel More.

2 Chuchura  Eastern  Chuchura railway station on Wikipedia and 3 Hooghly  Eastern  Hooghly railway station on Wikipedia on Howrah–Bardhaman main line are some of the oldest railway stations in India. The first commercial railway service in Eastern India began on 15 August 1854 on its first run between Howrah and Hooghly.

4 Hooghly Ghat  Eastern  Hooghly Ghat railway station on Wikipedia is on the branch line connecting Bandel and Naihati.

By car[edit]

Hugli-Chinsurah is connected with Kolkata by the Grand Trunk Road and Old Delhi Road. Old Delhi Road is preferable whenever possible because the GT Road is consumed by local traffic and it is a daunting task to drive through the potholed roads.

By ferry[edit]

  • 5 Chinsurah Ferry Ghat. Ferry service to Naihati from 6AM to 10PM.

Get around[edit]

Map of Hugli-Chinsurah

Auto-rickshaws, minibuses and cycle rickshaws are available from the stations to the prominent attractions, including the Bandel Church, Imambara and Dutch Cemetery.

See and do[edit]

Bandel and Hooghly[edit]

Lahiri Baba Ashram
  • 1 Bandel Church (Bandel Basilica, Basilica of the Holy Rosary). One of the oldest churches in West Bengal, standing as a memorial to the Portuguese settlement in Bengal. It is dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary. The present church and monastery are said to be built in 1660 by Gomez de Soto having the keystone of the old church bearing the date 1599 over the eastern gate of the Monastery. In front of the church stands a ship's mast which was presented by the captain of a vessel which had encountered a storm in the Bay of Bengal and was allegedly saved by the grace of the Virgin Mary. There is the statue of "One lady of Happy Voyage" in the middle of the church. The church has three altars, a small organ and several tombstones. Basilica of the Holy-Rosary (Q2887171) on Wikidata Basilica of the Holy Rosary, Bandel on Wikipedia
  • 2 Debanandapur (2 km (1.2 mi) W of suburban: Bandel Junction  Eastern ). The birthplace of Bengali novelist Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay (1874–1938). He had written several novels and short stories, and most of them were translated into other languages and even brought to silver screens. There also is a library named Sarat Smriti Pathagar, which includes a museum room containing the things used by the famous writer. Debanandapur (Q36447346) on Wikidata Debanandapur on Wikipedia
  • 3 Hooghly Jail (Hooghly District Correctional Home). Founded in 1817 beside the Hooghly River, Hooghly Jail is one of the oldest prison centres in West Bengal. During British rule, political prisoners were kept there in solitary confinement. Hooghly jail (Q110907711) on Wikidata Hooghly Jail on Wikipedia
  • 4 Hooghly Imambara (suburban: Hooghly Ghat  Eastern ). A congregation hall for Shia Muslims. It was built with the money of Haji Muhammad Mohsin from 1841 to 1861. The building is a two storied structure, with a tall clock tower over the entrance gate. The mosque has intricate designs and texts from Quran engraved on the wall. The interior of the mosque is decorated with marbles, candles and hanging lanterns. Hooghly Imambara (Q5897737) on Wikidata Hooghly Imambara on Wikipedia
  • 5 Lahiri Baba Ashram (Adharalay), Old Delhi Road, Rajhat (W of suburban: Bandel Junction  Eastern ). 10AM–noon and 4–6PM. The temple is known for its architecture and environment, and was built in 2003 on the philosophy of Yogiraj Shyamacharan Lahiri. It is open to all visitors regardless of creed and caste. The temple has blended the Rajasthani and South Indian temple architectures. The gopuram at the entrance is magnificent. There are numerous temples other than the main temple in the ashram area. Not only that, there are separate prayer places for Christians and Muslims. The campus is full of ancient mango trees and flower gardens on both sides. Free.

Jubilee Bridge and Sampreeti Setu[edit]

Jubilee Bridge and Sampreeti Setu

The 6 Jubilee Bridge Jubilee Bridge (India) on Wikipedia is a former rail bridge over the Hooghly River between Bandel and Naihati. The bridge was opened on 16 February 1885 in the golden jubilee year of the reign of Queen Victoria. The bridge served the people for 129 years, and several generations used the service to cross the River Hooghly. The bridge was the first permanent crossing over the Hooghly, which had been considered unbridgeable owing to difficult foundation conditions at that time.

The bridge was replaced by Sampreeti Setu Sampreeti Bridge on Wikipedia (New Jubilee Bridge) in 2016, which is India's first continuous truss bridge. However, the aged Jubilee Bridge is still there and is obscured by Sampreeti Setu when viewed from the south.


Susanna Anna Maria Memorial
  • 7 Bandemataram Bhaban (Bankim Bhawan). One of the residences of Bengali novelist Bankim Chandra Chatterjee. He lived in this house during 1877–1881. It is said that he composed the patriotic song Vande Mataram ("praise to the mother") at the Hooghly Riverbank. It was later converted into a museum describing the history of Chinsurah. Bandemataram Bhaban (Q67593304) on Wikidata
  • 8 Chinsurah Clock Tower (Ghorir More). A clock tower built in 1914 to commemorate the life of the British King Edward VII. He was the eldest son of Queen Victoria. The statue in front of the tower is that of Bhupati Majumdar. Chinsurah clock tower (Q96742574) on Wikidata
  • 9 Chinsurah Court. The district court of Hooghly. The courthouse was originally a British military barracks built after the demolition of Fort Gustavus in 1829, which became the seat of the district court since 1871.
  • 10 Dutch Cemetery. One of the few extant non-British colonial legacies in Chinsurah. It is one of the oldest Christian cemeteries of India dating from 1743 to the end of the 19th century. It is maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). Dutch Cemetery (Q29032413) on Wikidata Dutch Cemetery, Chinsurah on Wikipedia
  • 11 Susanna Anna Maria Memorial. The monument is a blend of neoclassical and baroque architectures. It is dedicated to Susanna Anna Maria (died 1809). She had married twice: once to the Dutch Director of Bengal and later to an English businessman. However, according to popular legend, she had seven husbands, which became the basis of Ruskin Bond's novel Susanna's Seven Husbands and the Hindi movie Saat Khoon Maaf ("seven murders (are) pardoned"). However, there's no evidence to support this legend. Dutch Memorial Monument of Susanna Anna Maria (Q29960686) on Wikidata
  • 12 Tomb of Haji Muhammad Mohsin, Imambara Rd (N of suburban: Hooghly Ghat  Eastern ; next to the Jubilee Bridge). Haji Muhammad Mohsin (1732–1812) was a philanthropist. He had inherited a lot of money from his relatives and spent them mostly in philanthropy. He had built a waqf trust in 1804 to spend his remaining money in philanthropy. The Hooghly Imambara, Hooghly Mohsin College and numerous other colleges were built with the money of Haji Muhammad Mohsin.


Various shopping malls have sprung up in the city, especially after 2000. Compared to foreign markets they are cheap, especially when buying wholesale. Bargaining is done here without anyone raising their brows. One can buy good handicrafts for souvenirs.

  • Bandel Bazar. One of the biggest and most important markets in Hooghly. It's the hub of agricultural imports and export. Vegetables, fruits (especially mango, and watermelon) and rice are exported from the market.

Eat and drink[edit]





  • 1 Imambara District Hospital.

Go next[edit]

Routes through Hooghly
BardhamanRural Hooghly  NW  S  ChandannagarSerampore
NabadwipAmbika Kalna  N  S  ChandannagarSerampore
BardhamanRural Hooghly  NW  S  ChandannagarSerampore

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