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Murshidabad District

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About the Murshidabad district

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Brief About Murshidabad District

Richness of History :
The district got its present name in the early eighteenth century and its present shape in the latter half of the eighteenth century, the earliest evidences of history in the district date back to the pre-historic days perhaps as early as circa 1500 B.C.

The capital city of Sasanka, the great king of Gouda (comprising the most of Bengal) in the seventh century AD and perhaps that of Mahipala, one of the later Pala kings of Bengal, were in this district too. The Nawab Murshid Quli Khan made Murshidabad the capital city of Sube Bangla, comprising of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa. The East India Company reigned from here for many years after the Battle of Plassey; Travellers extolled its glory through ages.

Here thrived the cultures of many races and of religions like Buddhism, Brahmanism, Vaishnavism, Jainism, Islam and Christianity. Here settled the European traders like the Dutch, the British, the French and the Armenians.

The Land
The great river Bhagirathi has bifurcated the triangle shaped district and has divided it into two broad historical and geographical regions.

I) The Radha Area – This is the area on the right side of the Bhagirathi having the pre-dominant geographical character of a plateau. It was also known as Gouda.

II) The Bagdi Area – This is the area on the left side of the river formed by the Gangetic alluvial deposits. It was also known as Bangal. This area was formed later than the Radha.
The Age of Pre-History and Proto-History
During the excavation of the irrigation-cum-navigational channel from the Ganga in 1974, just to the North-East of Farakka Barrage, evidence of ancient civilization was found.

I) The Pre-Maurya Era 
The first mention of the Radha region is found in the Jaina scripture Acharanga Sutra. The scripture mentions a visit to the Radha by Mahavira in the 6th century BC. Probably he did not visit Murshidabad but possibly visited Radha areas under Birbhum and Bankura districts. However Bimbisara (6th century BC) or later the Nandas might have brought Radha and Bagdi areas of Murshidabad within their empire. 
II) The Maurya Era
Chandragupta Maurya (324-300 BC) established the Maurya Empire by ousting the Nandas. Though the Chinese traveler Hiuen-Tsang made references of Ashoka stupas at Karnasuvarna it cannot be said with certainty whether this district area formed part of the Maurya Empire at any time.
III) The Post-Maurya Era
Whether this area was under the rule of the post-Maurya empires like the Shungas, Kanvas or Kushanas cannot be ascertained. However, some Kushana coins have been found at Rajbari Danga; but findings of these coins do not necessarily imply occupation. 

Excavations at Rajbari Danga: Excavations at Rajbari Danga near Karnasubarna Railway Station were done by the Archaeology Department of the Kolkata University in 1962, 1964 & 1979. They revealed evidence of civilizations in four layers dating back to the 2nd- 3rd Century AD and up to the 2nd- 3rd Century AD. 
IV) The Gupta Era (AD 4th Century to 6th Century) 
It can be said with some certainly that areas of this district were under the rule of the Gupta, which might have continued up to the early 6th Century AD. 
There is evidence of this in the chronicles of the Chinese traveler I-Tsing (AD 673 – 675), the Allahabad Pillar Edict of Samudragupta (AD 335 – 338), Damodarpur copper plate of Chadragupta-II, Brihatsamhita (5th century AD) of Barahamihira. Besides, there are archeological evidence within the district, like Gupta coins found at Rajbari Danga, Gitagram (near Salar) and Gouripur (near Mahipala).
V) The Gouda Kingdom and Sasanka
The Gupta suzerainty over Gauda or Gaudaka (as mentioned in Brihatsamhita) became merely nominal by the 6th century AD. From the Haraha inscription of Maukhari King Ishanavarma dated AD 554