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Like other parts of Bengal, there has been an inter-racial mixing in Murshidabad as well. The original inhabitants of the district are found among the Hindu & the Muslim communities. There have been immigrations in the ancient period from the Northern India (Karnary & Rajputana) and the Southern India (Karnat). During the Nawabi regime the Jains from Rajasthan came and settled here. Now they mostly live in the Jiaganj – Azimganj area. During the early Turkishmuasions, Turk, Arab and Persian immigrants also settled here ; but their numbers are few. Europeans from countries like England, France, Netherlands etc. settled here temporarily during the eighteenth century. But there are hardly any Europeans in the district now. There is a sizable number of Santhals in the in the Nabagram Block of Lalbagh Sub-Division. But they have also migrated about a hundred years ago from the neighbouring Birbhum district and other parts of the Chhotanagpur Plateau. Among other native communities Mal and Rajbansi, communities need special mention. The Chais are peculiar to this district and neighbouring Malda.
 

I. Flora:
There is hardly any forest covering in the district. Most of it has trees common to the deltaic regions of the State. In the west and the north regions of the district, one gets to see plants similar to the plateau regions of the State. The common crops are also similar to that of the deltaic Bengal. There are fruit bearing trees of various types; but what the district boasts of is its varieties of mango delicacies. Many varieties available are unique to the district and trace their origin to the days of the Nawabs. Shadulla (Himsagar), Ranipasand (favourite to the queen), Begumpasand (favourite to the Begum), Sharanga, Mulayamjam, Kohitur (the king of mangoes) are among the varieties cherished by the connoisseurs.

II. Fauna:
i) Animals:
One, who has visited the district recently, would find it very hard to believe that tigers, rhinoceroses, and wild buffaloes roamed here till the mid-nineteenth century. Leopards and wild boars were found even much later. But now the only wild animals found are perhaps a few jackals. The black-faced monkey is however found in abundance as well; their herds are a common site even in Berhampore Town.
ii) Birds:
Though there is no forest coverage, there are many water bodies like rivers, canals, lakes and ponds and an abundance of trees and shrubs in the district. Therefore, here one finds birds of many species including some migratory birds. The water bodies attract many water birds like the dabchick / little grebe, cormorants of different types, Indian shag, darter, ibis, herons, egrets, storks, teals and ducks of many kind. Besides one gets to see kites, pheasants, fowls & partridges, owls, vultures, pigeons & doves, woodpeckers, cuckoos, swifts, larks, ioras, orioles and shrikes. Among the household birds are drongoes, mynas, babblers, pigeons, doves, and crows. Of the smaller birds the tailorbird, wagtails, sunbirds and weaverbirds are worth mentioning. The list is, obviously, not exhaustive. The area is attractive for the bird-lovers.

Picture
(Click to Enlarge)

Name

Bengali name

Scientific Name

Brief Description for a watcher

Dabchick.. Dabchick / Little grebe Pandubi Podiceps rujicollis Dark coloured; swims like a duck, but smaller in size;
Darter.. Darter Gayar Anhingarufa Black, larger than a cormorant.
Honey Buzzard.. Honey Buzzard

Mou-baz

Pernisptilorhyncus Crow-sized, changing colours many times till fully grown.
Hoopoe..

Hoopoe

Mohan-chura Upmpa epops Woodpecker with a beautiful crest
Spotted Dove.. Spotted Dove Tile Ghughu Sheptopelia chinensis Dove with spots on throat & body.
Black Drongo.. Black Drongo Phinge Dicrurous adsimillis Black with divided tails; expert fliers; household birds;
Wood Shrike.. Common Wood shrike Dukka Campephagidae

Sparrow-like hue; longish tail, black patch from beak to eyes and white eyebrows;

 
TOP
I.  General Description:
The Central district of West-Bengal is situated on south of Ganga River
North latitude: 230 43' and 240 52'            East longitude: 870 49' and 880 44'
II. Boundaries:

In shape, the district resembles an isosceles triangle with its apex pointing to the North-West.The Padma River flows through the entire eastern boundary, separating the district from the districts, Malda and Rajshahi (Bangladesh). Burdwan and Nadia are the Southern side and Birbhum and the Pakur (Jharkhand) are on the western side of the District.

III. Natural Divisions:

The river Bhagirathi has bifurcated the triangle shaped district and divided it into two broad geographical regions of almost equal area and having a striking difference in their geology, in the agricultural and habitational pattern and even in the religions of their inhabitants.
a) The Rarha Area – This is the area to the west of the Bhagirathi having the pre-dominant geographical character of a plateau. It is substantially a continuation of the Sub-Vindhyan region of laterite clay and nodular ghuting. The land is high, slightly undulating, but is interspersed with numerous swamps and beds of old rivers. The soil is greyish and reddish, rich in lime and iron oxide. The rivers in this part originate from hill torrents and they are prone to overflowing due to sudden rain. Hijal: It is a tract within Rarha, situated in the south-west of the district near the confluence of the Mor and Dwarka, is about 50 sq. miles in area. Here the country becomes more open, and, in place of rice fields large stretches of thatching grass cover an almost treeless plain. During the rains, this area is widely inundated with water. Again, it becomes dry in the winter and a large portion of it is cultivated with Rabi crops.
b) The Bagri Area – This is the area to the east of the Bhagirathi formed by Gangetic alluvial deposit. This area was formed later than the Rarha Area.
It lies entirely between the Ganga, the Bhagirathi and the Jalangi River. The area is low, is therefore, exposed to annual inundations resulting in fresh silt deposits, and hence it is very fertile. Various crops are grown here, not to be surpassed by any part of the State. 
The Kalantar bill is a continuation of Bagri in the south-eastern corner of the district and receives the drainage of the swampy rivers in the eastern part of the district. It is a very swampy tract of dark clay and it is good as a rice growing area

 IV. Geology:

The tract of Bagri, lying east of Bhagirathi is covered with recent alluvium, consisting of sandy clay and sand along the course of the rivers, and fine silt consolidating into clay in the flatter parts of the plain; sometimes the areas form saucer–like depressions. A bank of stiff clay, gravels and calcareous nodules called ghuting forms the junction of the alluvium and higher grounds on the west of Bhagirathi. In the north-west of the district are some isolated clay hillocks.

The geological formations in the district are as follows:

Period

Soil Formation

Area of the district

Jurassic

Rajmahal Trap

Northern part

Pleistocene Recent

Older alluvium & Laterite clay

Western part

Recent

Alluvium

Eastern part

 
V. Lines of Drainage

The general inclination of the district west of the Baghirathi is from north – west to south – east; but in the tract east of Bhagirathi,  the lines of drainage are somewhat irregular as the main rivers do not uniformly takes this direction.

Though the western half of the district slopes eastwards toward the Baghirathi, a number of the hill streams do not find their way directly into that river; they are intercepted by bils or marshes and for the most part are carried off to the south by the Dwarka. The two chief drainage basins in this part of the district are that of the Bansloi in the north and that of the dwarka with its confluents, in the south. The large bils act as reservoirs during the flood by absorbing some of the excess water carried down by these streams, and also drain the excess water through the streams, emanating out of them.

 The eastern half of the district may be described as an isosceles triangle. The Ganga (Padma) and the Bhagirathi forms the two equal sides; The Jalangi forms almost the entire base. However, the line of drainage is not along any of these rivers. The local rainfalls in this part of the district do not run off either into the Ganga or the Bhagirathi. The floods of these two great rivers converge towards each other, and ultimately make their way in a south – eastern direction. It may be roughly stated that the greater part of the surplus water ultimately falls into the Jalangi by means of the Gobranalah, the Bhairab and the Sialmari. During rainy seasons these canals, are connected with a number of bils, forming a network of water communication.

 
The Rivers and Canals: TOP

River/Canals

Course

Tributaries/ Estuaries

More information

Ganga/ Padma

Touches the district at its northern-most point and flows south-west along the eastern boundary of the district.

Tributaries: Bhagirathi, Jalangi, Bhairab
Estuary:Mahananda
(Lalgola)

 

Bhagirathi

Branches off from the Ganga at Nurpur, 25 Km below Farakka, runs parallel to her for about 2 Km, winds its way to the South and leaves the district north of Plassey.

 

On its banks, mainly on the east, historic and wealthy towns like Murshadabad, Jangipur and Jiaganj lie.

Jalangi

Originates from the Ganga shifts eastwards, flows along the Murshidabad-Bangladesh boundary & then southward along the Murshidabad–Nadia boundary; then goes into Nadia district.

Estuary: Bhairab

 

Bhairab

Originates from the Ganga in Lalgola and meets the Jalangi to the north of Nadia district.

 

It is an old river and is partly deserted.

Bansoli

Enters Murshidabad from Birbhum near village Husainpur, flows east and falls into the Bhagirathi north of Jangipur.

 

 

Dwaraka / Babla

Enters Murshidabad from Birbhum near Morgram, flows eastward and then to the south-east, forms the eastern boundary of Kandi sub-division and leaves the district at Raghupur.

Estuaries:
Mayurakshi & Kuriya (on the right bank)

Though a moderate river, it has several names and many small tributaries and estuaries. Its many backwaters and side channels also connect it with the Bhagirathi.

Brahmani

 

All originate from the hills of Birbhum, flows to the west and falls into the Dwaraka

 

All are hill streams with beds full of pebbles & yellow clay

Mayurakshi/ Mor

Kuriya

Feeder Canal ( Man-made – Farakka Barrage Project )

Originates off the upstream of the Farakka barrage and falls into the Bhagirathi down stream of Jangipur Barrage.

 

26˝ of length.

 

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