Bogra (Bengali: বগুড়া) is a town, and one of the oldest towns in northern Bangladesh. It is a centre of commerce and trade within the Bogra District and located under the Rajshahi Division. Bogra is sometimes described as the nerve centre of Northern Bangladesh. Amongst many notable activities, it has been hosting cricket test matches in Shaheed Chandu Stadium. Bogra is also home to the Western Wing of Bangladesh Highway Police. Bogra is also the battle honour of 5/11 Gorkha Rifles of Indian Army which fought a fierce battle with Pakistani army here during the Liberation war of Bangladesh in 1971 along with Muktibahni. Bogra town also has an importance in terms of transport in northern Bangladesh, as it’s situated at the centre. Very close to the town there is a place called Mahasthangarh which was the earliest capital city of Bangladesh, formerly known as Pundravardhana. This place is considered to be sacred by Buddhists, Muslims and Hindus alike and is visited by tourists from all over Bangladesh throughout the year. Former president of Bangladesh Ziaur Rahman and Muhammad Ali Bogra a former Prime Minister of Pakistan both were born in the district.
The history says it was the oldest city of Bengal in the Great Emperor Ashoka’s India. He conquered the Bengal (Bongo) and founded this old city called Pundra Bardhan. It was famously written in famous ancient travellers of that time. An ancient engraved stone believed to be of Gupta era was discovered from the bank of a pond near Sura Masjid at Ghoraghat Upazila in Dinajpur in October 2008. In the Bangladesh Liberation War, the area witnessed a fierce battle – Battle of Bogra – between the Mukti Bahini and Indian Army (together/combined) which defeated the Pakistan Army.
Bagura or Bogra was a town and district of British India, in the Rajshahi division of eastern Bengal and Assam. The town is situated on the right bank of the river Karatoya. But the present District Of Bogra, was first formed in 1821. It contains an area of 1359 mi² (3,520 km²). In 1901 the population of the town was 7,094 and of the district (on a reduced area) was 854,533, showing an increase of 11% in the decade. The district stretches out in a level plain, intersected by numerous streams and dotted with patches of jungle. The Karatoya flows from north to south, dividing it into two portions, possessing very distinct characteristics. The eastern tract consists of rich alluvial soil, well watered, and subject to fertilizing inundations, yielding heavy crops of coarse rice, oil-seeds and jute. The western portion of the district is high-lying and produces the finer qualities of rice. The principal rivers are formed by the different channels of the Brahmaputra, which river here bears the local names of the Konai, the Daokoba and the Jamuna, the last forming a portion of the eastern boundary of the district. Its bed is studded with alluvial islands. The Brahmaputra and its channels, together with three minor streams, the Bangali, Karatoya and Atrai, afford admirable facilities for commerce, and render every part of the district accessible to native cargo boats of large burden. The rivers swarm with fish. The former production of indigo is extinct, and the industry of silk-spinning is decaying. There is no town with as many as 10,000 inhabitants, trade being conducted at riverside marts. Nor are there any metalled roads. Several lines of railway (the Eastern Bengal, &c.), however, serve the district.
In the recent years there has been a significant development in town infrastructure. with new advanced urban planning. The town roads have been restructured and widened and telecommunications have greatly improved within the city. Gas connection through buried pipes has been set up. In recent years, red chili production in Bogra has taken a large shape, for which many companies like Square, Acme, BD Food are collecting chili from as many as 12 centers of Bogra. The business turnover has crossed 100 crore. Banking in Bogra has significantly expanded with the branch expansion of private and specialized banks such as Standard Chartered Bank, Dutch Bangla Bank, BRAC Bank and so on.Furthermore, online banking, ATM and modern banking facilities have been introduced. Bogra is undergoing industrialization and urbanization. There are many IT and software, technology and computer services companies in Bogra and more companies are launching business here. Grameen Group and Groupe Danone, a French company, entered into a joint venture named Grameen Danone and set up a nutritious yogurt project in Bogra in 2008. The project aims to produce 500,000 pots of yogurt by the end of 2009. Bogra is home to country’s largest foundry industry. Irrigation pump, tube-well and other metal castings produced in Bogra are exported to West Bengal, Assam, Meghalaya, Bihar, Bhutan and the amount of export is increasing. Most of the city’s workforce is involved in agriculture (29.95%), agricultural (12.53%), commerce (18.11%), service (15.62%), transport (6.66%), wage laborer (2.2%) and others (14.93%).
Mahasthangarh, the earliest urban archaeological site so far discovered in Bangladesh is located in Bogra. The village Mahasthan in Shibganj thana of Bogra District contains the remains of an ancient city which was called Pundranagara or Paundravardhanapura in the territory of Pundravardhana. This place is considered to be sacred by Buddhists, Muslims and Hindus alike. Another tourist attraction is the Goku Medh, an excavated mound in the village of Gokul under Bogra Sadar Upazila, about two kilometres southwest of mahasthan citadel. Excavations in 1934-36 by NG Majumdar revealed a gigantic shrine or sputa plinth built in the terraced cellular style of construction. “Behular Bashor Ghar” which is very near to Mahasthangar is a popular place for the tourists. Tourists from all over Bangladesh visit this place throughout the year. Nawab Palace (called Neelkuthi during the British period) and Jaina Temple are two eminent archaeological sights located in Bogra. 4 star hotel, Hotel Naz Garden, is situated at the heart of Bogra city.
Bogra has a strong cultural affinity to Baul, Marfati, Lalon and Sufi music. There are a number of local newspapers and journals in Bogra. The Daily Bangladesh (one of the oldest published newspaper, just after the liberation war of 1971), The Daily Koratoa, The Daily Bogra, The Daily Chandni-Bazar, The Durjoy Bangla, The Daily Uttaranchal, The Mukto Barta, The Sokaler Anan-Do and The Daily Aaj O Agamikal are among the main local newspapers.
Bogra contains numerous educational institutes, Bogra Zilla School is the most famous among them. Established in 1853, Bogra Zilla School is situated at the centre of Bogra. It also houses the Govt. Girls’ High School (famous as Victoria Memorial or VM School) girls high school which is government owned. There are many other schools such as BIAM Laboratory School, SOS ,RDA, YMCA Schools etc. and the only English Medium School is International Turkish Hope School (I.T.H.S.)in Uposhohor. I.T.H.S. is an English Medium School which offers education from Playgroup to A Level. I.T.H.S. has started its operation in Bogra in 2008 and each day getting better responses from the inhabitants of Bogra. Govt. Azizul Haque College is under the National University. A large medical college and hospital named Shaheed Ziaur Rahman Medical College and Hospital, equipped with advanced facilities has been started recently. Bogra also houses the largest English school & college in the North Bengal region named Millennium Scholastic School & College, which was established in 1998. It follows the National Curriculum in English from Nursery through H.S.C.. the Bogra Polytechnic institute and Institute of Information Technology Bogra, Janata Institute of Medical Technology (JIMT) established in the year 2000 is the oldest private medical institute outside of Dhaka city is also located in Bogra town. Bogra is also the home to Bhandari Girls’ School, and Govt. Mujibur Rahman Women’s College founded by a prominent industrialist Mujibur Rahman Bhandari.
Notable people from Bogra
- Prafulla Chaki (1888–1908) – Bengali revolutionary
- Muhammad Ali Bogra (died 1969), former Prime Minister of Pakistan, 1953–1955
- Akhteruzzaman Elias (1943–1997), Novelist and short story writer
- Ziaur Rahman (1936–1981), Bir Uttam, Sector Commander of Liberation War, former Chief of Bangladesh Army & President of Bangladesh
- Khademul Bashar (1935–1976), Bir Uttam, Sector Commander of Liberation War & former Chief of Bangladesh Air Force.
- M. R. Akhtar Mukul (1929–2004), Writer & Journalist
- Gaziul Haque (1929–2009), Language movement veteran
- Prabhas Chandra Sen, Historian & Author
- Romena Afaz (born 1926), Novelist
- Mushfiqur Rahim, Cricketer, National Team
- Shafiul Islam, Cricketer, National Team
- Shimul Zaman, Singer
- Mujibur Rahman Bhandari,(died May 4th, 1963) one of the highest tax payer of his time–Industrialist (used to own Bogra Cotton Mill)
Bogra was once the industrial capital of Bangladesh. There were several heavy industries. Most of them were owned by the local elite family “BHANDARI”, “JAMIL”, ‘KHALIFA’. Various industries of “TAJMA” were also a name among the rich and famous. Bhandari’s had several establishments. Among them, Bogra Cotton Spinning Mills, North Bengal Tannery, Habib Match Factory, Golam Kibria Soap Works, Bhandari Glass works, Bhandari Biri were the prime one’s. In the other hand Jamil’s are keeping their business like Jamil Housing, Jamil shopping complex, Jan-e-saba community center and others. Tajma still leading there position, Mr. Amjad Hossain Tajma, Managing Director of the Tajma group of Industry heading their business named Tajma Creamic Industry, Tajma Enamel Industry, Transfer Paper Limited, Agrofresh Limited, Snowbe Ice Cream Industry and so on.
Religion in Bogra District
The district of Bogra consists 3472 mosques, 686 temples, 37 churches and 58 tombs.
There are quite a few rivers in the Bogra District. The Karatoya is the central divider of water-channel of the district, the other rivers may be classified into the eastern and western systems. Names of the some important rivers of this district are as follows:
- The Bangali
- The Karatoya
- The Jamuna
- The Nagar
- The Tulshiganga
Main crops Aush, aman, boro rice; jute, wheat, potato, mustard, pepper, vegetables, banana, sugarcane and betel leaf.
Main fruits Mango, jackfruit, guava, blackberry, custard apple, Indian palm, papaya, pineapple, banana, coconut, wood apple, litchi, wild jackfruit, date palm, tamarind, lemon betel nut.