B URD WAN DISTRICT
Raniganj stage. The Barakars consist chiefly of sandstones, conglomer-
ates, and coal-seams of somewhat irregular character, thinning out at
short distances; black carbonaceous shales with numerous bands of
clay ironstone constitute the ironstone shales ; and the Raniganj beds
are made up of coarse and fine sandstones, mostly false-bedded and
feldspathic, and shales and coal-seams, which are frequently continuous
over considerable areas. The Panchet group is composed of greenish
and grey shales at the base, superimposed by red clays and coarse sand-
stones. All these groups have yielded plant fossils; and the Panchet
rocks contain, in addition, reptilian and fish remains.
In land under rice cultivation are found the usual marsh weeds of
the Gangetic plain and many sedges. On ponds and in ditches and
still streams float aquatic plants and many submerged water-weeds.
The District contains no forests, but the laterite country is in places
clothed with coppices of sal (Shorea robusla). The villages and towns
are surrounded by the usual shrubberies of semi-spontaneous and sub-
economic shrubs and small trees. Species of figs, notably the pipal
and the banyan, make up, along with bamboos, tamarind, red cotton-tree
(Bombax malabaricum), mango (Mangifera), Moringa, and Odina Wodier~
the arborescent part of these thickets, in which are often present the
palms Phoenix dactylifera and Borassus fabellifer. Hedges and waste
places are covered with climbing creepers and various milkweeds.
Roadsides are often clothed with a sward of short grasses, and open
glades with tall coarse grasses.
Leopards are found in the jungles adjoining the Bhagirathi, and
wolves and hyenas are also occasionally met with.
Exceptionally high day temperatures are the feature of the hot
season, the mean maximum rising to ior° in April. The mean tempera-
ture for the year is 8o°. Humidity is comparatively low, the mean
for the year being 77 per cent. The annual rainfall averages 54 inches,
of which 9-2 inches fall in June, 12 in July, and 11-7 in August.
In 1770 the town of Burdwan was practically destroyed by a rising
of the Damodar, and the whole country between this river and the
Ajay was submerged. In September, 1823, the Damodar and Bhagirathi
flooded the country, causing immense damage and loss of life; and
in 1855 there was another serious flood, when the embankment on
the right bank of the Damodar was destroyed. The country is now
protected by embankments along the left bank of the Damodar and
the right bank of the Ajay.
Burdwan has been identified as the Parthalis or Portalis which,
according to the Greek geographers, was the royal city of the Gangarides.
In the seventh century, under the Gupta kings, the
History. District formed part of a kingdom known as Karna
Suvarna, and subsequently, under the Sen dynasty, of the Rarh division