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Neighbourhood in Kolkata (Calcutta)
Behala downtown, from ODRC Govt Housing.
|District||South 24 Parganas|
|Metro Station||Behala Sakherbazar(under construction), Behala Chowrasta(under construction) and Behala Bazar(under construction)|
|Municipal Corporation||Kolkata Municipal Corporation|
|KMC wards||118, 119, 120, 121, 122, 123, 124, 125, 126, 127, 128, 129, 130, 131 and 132|
|Elevation||36 ft (11 m)|
|Time zone||UTC+5:30 (IST)|
700034(Behala), 700060(Parnasree Pally), 700061(Sarsuna), 700008(Barisha), 700063(Thakurpukur), 700038(Sahapur), 700082(Haridevpur_partially)
|Area code(s)||+91 33|
|Lok Sabha constituency||Kolkata Dakshin|
|Vidhan Sabha constituency||Behala Paschim and Behala Purba|
Behala, is a locality of South West Kolkata in the Indian state of West Bengal. Behala is a part of Kolkata Municipal Corporation area. Now it is broadly spread across Ward Nos. 118, 119, 120, 121, 122, 123, 124, 125, 126, 127, 128, 129, 130, 131 and 132 of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation and is divided into two Vidhan Sabha constituencies: Behala Paschim and Behala Purba. Behala, Parnasree, Thakurpukur, Haridevpur and Sarsuna police stations serve this area under the South West Division of Kolkata Police also known as Behala Division (The division comprises Behala, Sarsuna, Haridevpur, Thakurpukur, Parnasree and Taratola).
Behala is one of the oldest residential areas of the city. The Sabarna Roy Choudhury's, one of the oldest zamindar families of western Bengal and the trustee of Kalighat Kali Temple lives here. It is also home to Sourav Ganguly, former Indian national cricket captain and Sovan Chatterjee, the former Mayor of Kolkata.
Behala is also an important industrial area of the city. There are many factories and industries which include the manufacturing units like chemicals, plastic and plastic recycling, spray painting, metal plating and galvanizing. There are many schools, hospitals, banks and other important institutes in the region.
The Durga Puja celebration of Sabarna Roy Choudhury family at Barisha was launched in 1610 by Laksmikanta Majumdar, making it the second oldest family Durga Puja in western Bengal. Today Durga Puja at Behala is marked by exotic theme-based sarbojanin pujas. Barisha Chandi Mela, a 10-day fair held every year in November–December since 1792, is a popular festival.
The word Behala is commonly believed to have its root in Behula, the name of the female protagonist of Manasamangalkavya. Alternatively, the name may have been derived from the Bengali term Bahulapur ("land of many rivers" or "dark city"). "Bahula" is also an epithet of the goddesses Chandi and Kali. Rev. James Long, who used to live in this parts, described Behala as Byala in one of his early writings. It is also known that Behala comprised many small villages before the whole place was urbanised and each village here had a suffix -behala with its name i.e. Bazarbehala, Tamtelbehala, Bnorshebehala (Barisha), Sorshunnobehala (Sarsuna) etc. Names like Rajarbaganbehala, Sahapurbehala, Naskarpurbehala and Santoshbatibehala are also found in the old proceedings of South Suburban Municipality.
In early days Behala is a part of Sundarban. The history of Barisha dated back to the Pala Era. In the 12th century, Barisha was a small village of farmers, fishermen and honey-gathers when a Kulin Kayastha named Dhananjay Mitra settled here. During the reign of Akbar Barisha came under the lordship of Basanta Roy who set up his capital at modern-day Sarsuna. Roy’s nephew and the king of Jessore Pratapaditya murdered him and incorporated Barisha with his kingdom. After the Mughals defeated Pratapaditya, Laksmikanta Majumdar of the Sabarna Roy Choudhury family was given jagirdari of a vast tract of land by Raja Man Singh in 1608. The three villages of Sutanuti, Govindapur and Kalikata were basically parts of a khasmahal (an estate) belonging to the Mughal emperor himself, whose jagirdari rights were held by the Sabarna Roy Choudhury family.
On 10 November 1698, to the dissatisfaction of the entire Sabarna Roy Choudhury family, the British East India Company signed the rights of the villages- Kalikata, Gobindapur and Sutanuti (which later merged to form the city of Calcutta).
Settlement in the area dates back to the 1797, but its urbanization is relatively recent. Population growth started in Behala after the partition of India.
'Aath-chala'-the ancestral home of Sabarna Roy Choudhury's zamindari could be regarded as the most ancient historical structure (though mostly ruined) in the entire city of Kolkata. It is the structure, sitting under which under a lease from the Sabarna Roy Choudhury family on 10 November 1698.
Behala encompasses one of the largest suburban agglomerations of the city of Kolkata. It consists of many small localities like Sahapur, New Alipore (partially), Parnasree Pally, Behala Bazaar, Manton, Behala Chowrasta (Barisha), Muchipara, Sakherbazaar, Silpara, Bakultala, Shakuntala Park, Kadamtala, Thakurpukur, Haridevpur, Sarsuna and Joka. Huge growth of population especially since the early eighties resulted in the area being on the radar of both the daily wage earners, common populace and educated classes. Due to this enormous and unplanned growth, the traffic is by and large dependent on the arterial Diamond Harbour Road, in spite of the availability of the parallel James Long Sarani (Commonly known as Rail Line since the old and now defunct Kalighat Falta Railway ran here) as an option. During the construction the Taratala flyover, a large portion of traffic flowed through James Long Sarani to avoid construction activity, causing development of other areas of Behala.
Encroachments by street-hawkers of the sidewalks on both sides of the busy Diamond Harbour Road is a major problem. Areas like Behala Bazar, Behala Chowrasta and Behala Sakherbazaar have been added to the 'Calcutta Green Zone' and traffic moves at a snail's pace during the peak office hours. Previously there were tram lines along the middle of Diamond Harbour Road from Joka to Mominpur and often people used the trams to go to Esplanade. The service on this stretch has been withdrawn now. Mominpur to Behala Bazaar service was closed in 2006 due to the Taratala flyover. Behala Bazaar to Joka service was also closed in 2011 due to the elevated metro railway construction on the Diamond Harbour road, which will run from Joka to Esplanade (Kolkata Metro Line 3).
SL Dhanuka Girls' hostel that has come up at Behala on Diamond Harbour Road, inaugurated on 24 March 2017 by the Chief minister of Bengal Mamata Banerjee.
Behala Women police station, located at the same address as above, covers all police districts under the jurisdiction of the South West division i.e. Sarsuna, Taratala, Behala, Parnasree, Thakurpukur and Haridevpur.
Various buses are available to move around Behala to Kolkata. The recent collapse of the Majerhat Bridge which was one of the major roads connecting Behala to the rest of Calcutta has led to massive traffic snarls in the area.
Trams used to be popular vehicles for commuting to and from several parts of Behala, but of late the trend has seen a reversal for their slow speed. After the construction of Taratala flyover, the only truncated tram service from Behala Bazaar to Joka became deplorable and finally closed as a result of the Esplanade-Joka Metro Project.
Behala Airport more commonly referred as Behala Flying Training Institute (BFTI) or Behala Flying Club (BFC) is the second of the two airports in the Kolkata Metropolitan Area and other being the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport. There are plans to upgrade the airport. Recently a helicopter service has been started to connect Kolkata with Durgapur by air.
Former President Ms. Pratibha Patil laid the foundation stone of Joka to Esplanade Metro Rail Project (Kolkata Metro Line 3) in presence of Central Finance Minister and Governor of West Bengal in September, 2010.
Durga Puja, as in the rest of West Bengal, is the most popular festival in Behala. The family Durga Puja celebration of the Sabarna Roy Choudhurys, launched in 1610 by Laksmikanta Majumdar, is the oldest recorded Durga Puja observation in Behala as well as the second oldest in western Bengal. Today, six Durga Pujas are being held in the Barisha branch of the family: Aatchala, Baro Bari, Mejo Bari, Benaki Bari, Kalikingkar Bhawan and Majher Bari. Durga Puja at the house of Roy Bahadur near 14 No. Bus Stand is also quite old. Durga Puja is also observed by many other old families of this area as well as by numerous local clubs. Jora Mandir Haldar Barir Durga Puja is 327 years old and is one of the oldest Durga Pujas of Kolkata. The puja is conducted by the descendants of Lakkhi Narayan Haldar inside there premises.
Kali Puja is also observed with great reverence in Behala. A 15-day fair is held at Parnasree Pally by Sarkari Abasan (Behala College ground), Parnasree Club and Surja Sangha during Kali Puja. Shankar Paik’s Kali Puja at Pathakpara attracts many people not only for the colourful soirees but also for the Sada Kali (white Kali) idol along with traditional puja of Behala Bijoyee Sangha at Manton. Yuva Gosthi at Roybahadur Road arranges an Annakut festival during Kali Puja. Behala Siddeshwari Kali Temple and Halder's Kali Temple at Behala Bazar attracts many people during the occasion. Among the family Kali Puja celebrations, the houses of Bhabani Bala Dasi and Shib Dulal Basu are well known.
Jagatdhatri Puja is also celebrated in this locality.
The area of Behala hosts art fairs on a regular basis. The most prominent auditorium of the region is Sarat Sadan, which is a part of the Manton Shopping Complex. The movie theaters in Behala are distributed along the length of the Diamond Harbor Road and the most notable ones are Ajanta (near Pathakpara), Ashoka (near Manton), Elora (near Tram depot) and Pushpasree (near Sakherbazar).
People from Behala
- Sourav Ganguly – Indian cricketer, Indian captain, a cricket analyst and commentator
- Arnab Mondal - Indian footballer
- Sovan Chatterjee – Former Mayor of Kolkata, Former Minister and BJP Leader
- Partha Chatterjee – MLA [Behala (W)] and Former Minister for Industries and Present Minister for Education, Government of West Bengal
- Anjan Choudhury – director of Bengali commercial films
- Pijush Ganguly – Bengali actor in films, television and stage
- Aniket Chattopadhaya – director of Bengali films
- Bickram Ghosh – percussionist, and Page 3 celebrity
- Dona Ganguly – Odissi dancer
- Aparajita Auddy – Bengali film and television actress
- Anupam Roy – Bengali singer and songwriter
- Hiran – Bengali Actor, Business Man, Politician, Singer, Writer and Social Worker.
The Diamond Harbour Road is dotted on both sides with shops and eateries. Clothes, jewellery, electronic items, sports goods, books and footwear can be found in a multitude of stores all along the stretch from Taratala to Manton. Recent additions to the shopping scene include shopping malls and factory outlets.
Schools in Behala are affiliated to the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education, the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE) and the Central Board for Secondary Education (CBSE). Major schools in this region are K. E. Carmel School, Behala, K. E. Carmel School, Sursuna, Meghmala Roy Education Center, Vivekananda Mission School, Joka, M.P Birla Foundation Higher Secondary School & National Gems Higher Secondary School, Orient Day School, G. B. Memorial Institution, Barisha High School, Barisha girls high school, Behala Blind School, D.A.V Institutions (formerly D.A.V Public School), GEMS Akademia International School, Delhi Public School (Joka ) South Kolkata, Behala Arya Vidyamandir, Vivekananda Palli Kishore Bharati High School, Vidya Bharati, Bidya Bhaban, Orient Day School, Bratachari Vidyasram, Behala High School, Behala Girls High School, Behala Shyamasundari Vidyapith etc. Behala College, Sarsuna College, Thakurpukur Vivekananda College and Vivekananda Women’s College, affiliated with the University of Calcutta are three major colleges in the area. The Indian Institute of Management Calcutta, Joka is also very close to Behala. ESIC Medical College in Joka is also a part of Behala.
Places of interest
- Douglas Grounds (Oxford Mission)
- State Archaeological Museum, Satyen Roy Road
- Sabarna Roy Chowdhury Family houses at Barisha
- Sabarna Sangrahashala, Baro Bari, Barisha
- St. Peter's Church, CNI
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Behala.|
Kolkata/Southern fringes travel guide from Wikivoyage