Online Encyclopedia

GOALPARA

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V12, Page 161 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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GOALPARA, a town and district of British India, in the Brahmaputra valley division of eastern Bengal and Assam. The town (pop. 6287) overlooks the Brahmaputra. It was the frontier outpost of the Mahommedan power, and has long been a flourishing seat of river trade. The civil station is built on the summit of a small hill commanding a magnificent view of the valley of the Brahmaputra, bounded on the north by the snowy ranges of the Himalayas and on the south by the Garo hills. The native town is built on the western slope of the hill, and the lower portion is subject to inundation from the marshy land which extends in every direction. It has declined in importance since the district headquarters were removed to Dhubri in 1879, and it suffered severely from the earthquake of the 12th of June 1897. The DISTRICT comprises an area of 3961 sq. m. It is situated along the Brahmaputra, at the corner where the river takes its southerly course from Assam into Bengal. The scenery is striking. Along the banks of the river grow clumps of cane and reed; farther back stretch fields of rice cultivation, broken only by the fruit trees surrounding the villages, and in the background rise the forest-clad hills overtopped by the white peaks of the Himalayas. The soil of the hills is of a red ochreous earth, with blocks of granite and sandstone interspersed; that of the plains is of alluvial formation. Earthquakes are common and occasionally severe shocks have been experienced. The Brahmaputra annually inundates vast tracts of country. Numerous extensive forests yield valuable timber. Wild animals of all kinds are found. In 1901 the population was 462,083, showing an increase of 2% in the decade. Rice forms the staple crop. Mustard and jute are also largely grown. The manufactures consist of the making of brass and iron utensils and of gold and silver ornaments, weaving of silk cloth, basket-work and pottery. The cultivation of tea has been introduced but does not flourish anywhere in the district. Local trade is in the hands of Marwari merchants, and is carried on at the bazars, weekly hats or markets and periodical fairs. The chief exports are mustard-seed, jute, cotton, timber, lac, silk cloth, india-rubber and tea; the imports, Bengal rice, European piece goods, salt, hardware, oil and tobacco. Dhubri (pop. 3737), the administrative headquarters of the district, stands on the Brahmaputra where that river takes its great bend south. It is the termination of the emigration road from North Bengal and of the river steamers that connect with the North Bengal railway. It is also served by the eastern Bengal State railway.
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