Dinajpur once belonged to the ancient kingdom of Purdrabardhwan. The British established their administrative control in 1793. When Bengal was partitioned in 1947, a large part of Dinajpur district went to West Bengal, which then became West Dinajpur. The people of this district made an important contribution to the Liberation war in 1971.
Dinajpur city, situated on the banks of the Punarbhaba, is the administrative center for the district. It is connected with the entire country by a network of railways and roads. It is important as a road junction, and rice, jute, wheat, and sugarcane is cultivated in the countryside around. The airport connects it to entire northern Bangladesh. It has jute and rice processing industries, jute seed farms and a thermoelectric power station. There are several colleges with affiliation with Rajshahi University.
Dinajpur district is a repository of many interesting and historical sights and monuments which will be both educative and highly enjoyable for the visitor.
The old northeast part of the city, once the abode of the Maharaja, is full of interest – it is said that the district got its name from him. The grand ruins of the Rajbari (king’s palace) are to be found in the outskirts in the north east. The palace was originally protected by moats and high ramparts. Now the approach lies through a high arched gate facing towards the west. There is a painted Krishna temple located within the place, which is a wonderful example of the Bengali architectural style.
Kantanagar Temple, built by Maharaja Pran Nath in 1752, is among the most ornate of the later medieval temples to be found in the country, and is located just outside the city. The entire temple surface is covered with beautiful terra-cotta sculpture depicting flora, fauna, mythological scenes, geometric designs and contemporary social themes. This temple is rightly acknowledged as the best example of its type using terra-cotta and brick, built by the local artisans of Bengal. Originally, the temple had a nine-tower structure with four richly carved ornamental towers at two levels, with a spire in the centre crowning the third. An earthquake in the latter part of the 19th century damaged the temple badly, but one can still see the foundations of the towers. The temple is dedicated to the Hindu deity Krishna.
There are also the ancient, 9th century ruins of the Pala dynasty. There are several forts belonging to the Mughal era, built in the 16th and 17th centuries.
Other attractions include the Shopnopuri artificial amusement park and the Ramsagar lake with rest houses, which is a good picnic spot with facilities for fishing and boating amidst peaceful and lush green countryside.
The famous Kanthejees Temple combines a mixture of the Hindu and Mughal (Akbar) styles of architecture.
About three hours’ drive will take the visitor to the location of the beautiful Buddhist stupas at Paharpur.