Welcome to Katwa, a quaint sub-divisional town and railway junction located in the Purba Bardhaman district of the Indian state of West Bengal. Nestled at the confluence of the Ganga and Ajay rivers, this charming town has a rich history and a unique blend of cultures. With its strategic location as a border city of three districts, Katwa is a melting pot of diverse traditions that have evolved over centuries. Join us as we explore the many delights of Katwa.
Katwa has a history that spans more than five hundred years. The town was originally known as Indranee Pargana, and later renamed Kantak Nagari. One of the town’s most significant events occurred in January 1510 when Sri Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu received Diksha from his guru Kesava Bharati at the site of the current Sri Gauranga Bari Temple in Katwa. Since then, the town has been a sacred place for Vaishnavites. Katwa was considered the gateway to Murshidabad, the erstwhile capital of the subah of Bengal. The town played a crucial role in the Battle of Plassey, with Robert Clive holding a council of war in Katwa on 21 June 1757, where the decision was taken to cross the Hooghly River to Plassey. Today, Katwa is a thriving trading town with an economy based on agriculture and agro-related trades.
Katwa is located at 23.65°N 88.13°E / 23.65; 88.13. It has an average elevation of 21 m (69 ft) and is situated between the Ajay River and the Hooghly River. The town is bounded by water to the east, west, and north. Katwa police station has jurisdiction over Katwa and Dainhat municipalities, and Katwa I and Katwa II CD Blocks. The area covered is 351.03 km2.
As per the 2011 Census of India, Katwa had a total population of 81,615, with a density of 9,681/km2. The population breakdown by religion was: Hindus (66,899), Muslims (14,488), Sikhs (50), Christians (44), Buddhists (9), Jains (4), and Unspecified/Not Stated (121). Katwa has a total area of 8.53 km2. Only 11.56% of the population live in the urban areas, while 88.44% of the population of the Katwa subdivision live in rural areas.
Katwa has a rich cultural heritage and is home to many places of interest. Some of the notable locations in the town include:
Sri Gauranga Bari Temple: where Sri Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu received Diksha from his guru Kesava Bharati.
Madhaitala Ashram: a center of Gaudiya Vaishnav culture.
Shah Alams Dargah: a building of archaeological interest built in the early-18th century by Nawab Murshid Quli Khan, Nawab of Bengal.
Katwa and its surrounding areas are especially well known for their raucous Kartik Puja, colloquially known as Kartik Larai. The object of worship is the boy-faced deity, Kartik, in reference to the youth of the deity. In the greater Katwa area, over 250 separate organizations organize pujas and unofficially compete with each other over the sophistication of the theme or the sculpture of the deity. After the day of the puja, the deities are paraded in carnival throughout town on their way to be ritually submerged in the nearby Hooghly River. The processions usually feature loud music and dancing, leading to a town-wide, festival-like ambiance enjoyed by all participants and spectators.
Katwa is served by WB State Highway 6, also known as STKK Road, connecting Katwa to Suri, Birbhum in north and Nabadwip, Kalna City, Bansberia and Grand Trunk Road in south, and WB State Highway 14 connecting Katwa to Balgona, Bardhaman, Guskara, National Highway 19 (previously known as National Highway 2) in the west and Palashi in the east. Katwa Junction is a railway junction on 5 ft 6 in (1,676 mm) broad gauge railway line from Howrah railway station to New Jalpaiguri railway station via Azimganj Junction railway station. Although Katwa is a railway junction, the number of trains running through this station is less. The Bardhaman-Katwa line, after conversion from narrow gauge to electrified broad gauge, was opened to the public on 12 January 2018. Katwa is also the site of a floating terminal on National Waterway 1 consisting of a pontoon placed on the waterfront with a berth of 30 m (98 ft).
Katwa is a hidden gem, waiting to be discovered by travelers seeking an authentic experience. With its rich cultural heritage, friendly locals, and beautiful surroundings, it is the perfect destination for those looking to explore the best of West Bengal. Come and discover the many treasures of Katwa for yourself!