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Courtyard of the Hooghly Imambara

Hugli-Chinsurah (Bengali: হুগলি-চুঁচুড়া HOOG-lih CHÕO-choo-rrah), also spelt Hugli-Chuchura, 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.


The Hugli-Chinsurah Municipality is an amalgamation of the twin historic towns of Hooghly and Chinsurah. Hooghly was a Portuguese colony from 1580 to 1629, while Chinsurah was a Dutch colony from 1626 to 1825.



In 1536, Portuguese traders obtained a permit from Bengali Sultan Mahmud Shah to trade in this area. In 1579–80, 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 1629, political disorder struck the city and the Mughal governor of Bengal expelled the Portuguese.

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. However, Hooghly played a role in the Bengali Renaissance and the Indian independence movement. Bengali writer Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay composed the Indian patriotic song Vande Mataram in Hooghly.


In 1656, the Dutch also erected a factory in Chinsurah. However, in 1685, a dispute having taken place between the English factors and the Nawab, 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 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]

By plane[edit]

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

By train[edit]

Hooghly has several railway stations, of which Bandel and Hooghly stations are the busiest ones. Other stations are at Chuchura and Hooghly Ghat.

  • 1 Bandel Junction railway station (station code: BDC). The main station and a junction of Howrah–Bardhaman Main, Bandel–Katwa and Bandel–Naihati lines. Auto-rickshaws, minibuses and cycle rickshaws are available from Bandel station to the Bandel Church. Bandel Junction railway station (Q4854508) on Wikidata Bandel Junction railway station on Wikipedia
  • 2 Hooghly railway station (station code: HGY). One of the oldest railway stations in India, with the first commercial railway service in Eastern India began on 15 August 1854 on its first run between Howrah Junction railway station to Hooghly railway station. Hooghly railway station (Q15224988) on Wikidata Hooghly railway station on Wikipedia

By car[edit]

Hooghly is connected 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]

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

Get around[edit]

Map of Hugli-Chinsurah

See and do[edit]

  • 1 Chinsurah Clock Tower (Ghorir More). A clock tower with Edwardian architecture. Chinsurah clock tower (Q96742574) on Wikidata
  • 2 Chinsurah Court. The court building was originally a British military barracks built after the demolition of Fort Gustavus in 1829.
  • 3 Dutch Cemetery. Dutch Cemetery (Q29032413) on Wikidata Dutch Cemetery, Chinsurah on Wikipedia
  • 4 Dutch Memorial Monument of Susanna Anna Maria. Dutch Memorial Monument of Susanna Anna Maria (Q29960686) on Wikidata
  • 5 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
  • 6 Hooghly Imambara. Hooghly Imambara (Q5897737) on Wikidata Hooghly Imambara on Wikipedia
  • 7 Jubilee Bridge. A former rail bridge over the Hooghly River between Hooghly 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 is the first permanent crossing over the Hooghly, which had been considered unbridgeable owing to difficult foundation conditions at that time. Jubilee Bridge (Q6301813) on Wikidata Jubilee Bridge (India) on Wikipedia
  • 8 Sampreeti Setu (New Jubilee Bridge). The first continuous truss bridge in India. It connects Hooghly and Naihati and replaces the aged Jubilee bridge in 2016. Sampreeti Setu (Q31726197) on Wikidata Sampreeti Bridge on Wikipedia
  • 9 Sarat Chandra Smriti Mandir, Debanandapur (2 km (1.2 mi) from Bandel station). Birthplace of the novelist Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay.

Bandel Church[edit]

Bandel Church
  • 10 Bandel Church (Bandel Basilica, Basilica of the Holy Rosary), Bandel. Basilica of the Holy-Rosary (Q2887171) on Wikidata Basilica of the Holy Rosary, Bandel on Wikipedia

One of the oldest Christian 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.


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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