The gateway of North Bengal, Malda, once the capital of Gour-Banga with its 3456 sq km lay of land classified into Tal, Diara, and Barind awaits the advent of tourists and people of archeological interest with its wealth to be enjoyed and its huge potential to be explored.
This portion of the Earth is washed by the waves of the rivers the Ganges, Mahananda, Fulahar, and Kalindi and had been the witness of different empires raised, flourished, and cast down near oblivion by a successor kingdom built upon the relics of its predecessor. Panini mentioned a city name Gourpura, which by strong reason may be identified as the city of Gouda, ruins of which are situated in this district. Examples are the legion of the relic of a predecessor kingdom being used in the monuments of the successor kingdoms.
It had been within the limits of ancient ‘Gour’ and ‘Pandua’(Pundrabardhana). These two cities had been the capital of Bengal in ancient and medieval ages and are equidistant, north and south, from English Bazar town (once known as Engelzavad established by the British rulers).
The boundary of Gour was changed in different ages since the 5th century BC and its name can be found in Puranic texts. Pundranagar was the provincial capital of the Maurya Empire.
Gour and Pundrabardhana formed parts of the Mourya empire as is evinced from the inscriptions, Brahmilipi on a seal discovered from the ruins of Mahasthangarh in the Bogura District of Bangladesh. Hiuen Tsang saw many Asokan stupas at Pundrabardhana.
The inscriptions discovered in the district of undivided Dinajpur and other parts of North Bengal along with the Allahabad pillar inscriptions of Samudragupta clearly indicate that the whole of North Bengal is far east as Kamrup formed a part of the Gupta empire.
After the Guptas at the beginning of the 7th century AD Sasanka, the king of Karnasubarna as well as the king of Gour ruled independently for more than three decades. From the middle of the 8th century to the end of the 11th century the Pala dynasty ruled Bengal, and the kings were devoted to Buddhism. It was during their reign that the Jagadalla Vihara (monastery) in Barindri flourished paralleling Nalanda, Vikramshila, and Devikot.
The Pala Dynasty yielded to the emergence of the Sen Dynasty, the Sen rulers were Hindus, and in the habit of moving from place to place within their kingdom. At the time of Lakshman, Sen Goud was known as Lakshmanabati. The Sen kings ruled Bengal till Bakhtiyar Khilji conquered Bengal in 1204 AD.
Thereafter the Muslim rule lasted for about five hundred years before Sirajuddaulah was defeated by Lord Clive at the battle of Plassey in 1757 whence the British rule started. From the ancient period, different rulers with assorted origins, religions, and dynasties had left the imprints of their kingdom /dynasty on the earth in this district, most of them have failed to win over the tide of time as history has lifted one kingdom and later cast it down, sometimes into total oblivion. Those, which still stand on the earth in the form of ruins and relics, nevertheless remind the past pomp and grandeur and are able to make the tourists and people of archeological interest sneak in.
This district was formed out of some portions of outlying areas of the Purnia, Dinajpur, and Rajshahi districts in 1813. At the time of Dr. B. Hamilton ( 1808 – 09 ), the presents thanas of Gazole, Malda, Bamongola, and part of Habibpur were included in the district of Dinajpur and the thanas of Harischandrapur, Kharba, Ratua, Manikchak, and Kaliachak were included in the district of Purnia. In 1813, in consequence of the prevalence of serious crimes in the Kaliachak and Sahebganj thanas and also on the rivers, a Joint Magistrate and Deputy Collector were appointed at Englishbazar with jurisdiction over a number of police stations centering that place and taken from the two districts. Thus the district of Malda was born. The year 1832 saw the establishment of a separate treasury and the year 1859 the posting of a full-fledged Magistrate and collector.
Up to 1876, this district formed part of the Rajshahi Division and between 1876 & 1905, it formed part of the Bhagalpur Division. In 1905, it was again transferred to Rajshahi Division, and till 1947 Malda remained in this division. In August 1947, this district was affected by partition, between the 12th & 15th 0f August. 1947, the fate of the district as to which side it should go, to Pakistan or to India was undecided because the announcement of the partition award of Sir Radcliffe did not make this point clear. During these few days, the district was under a Magistrate of East Pakistan, when the details of the Radcliffe award were published, the district came over to West Bengal on the 17th of August. 1947.