Diamond Harbour (Bengali: ডায়মন্ড হারবার) is in the southern suburbs of Kolkata, on the eastern banks of the Hooghly River quite near where the river meets the Bay of Bengal. This small town is a popular weekend tourist spot located in South 24 Parganas district.
Earlier known as Hajipur, this charming place was named Diamond Harbour by the British although currently there are no piers or jetties at this location, except for the ruins of a fort. It used to be considered a safe resting spot for oceangoing ships and offered a spectacular view of the river. After the Rupnarayan River joins the Hughli, the river bends south and widens out to a form a huge expanse of water. A little further down, the Haldi river joins it.
In earlier days Diamond Harbour used to be a stronghold of Portuguese pirates. The ruins of the fort of Chingrikhali (locally known as Purano Kella) can still be seen. It is believed to be linked with the Portuguese but some opine that the East India Company built it before they could establish themselves in Kolkata. There is an old lighthouse nearby. Diamond Harbour municipality was established in 1982.
As per 2011 Census of India Diamond Harbour had a total population of 41,802, of which 21,050 (50%) were males and 20,752 (50%) were females. Population below 6 years was 3,688. The total number of literates in Diamond Harbour was 32,753 (85.93% of the population over 6 years).
As of 2001 India census, Diamond Harbour had a population of 37,238. Males constitute 51% of the population and females 49%. Diamond Harbour has an average literacy rate of 72%, higher than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy is 77% and, female literacy is 67%. In Diamond Harbour, 10% of the population is under 6 years of age.
This small town with a picturesque setting is the gateway to the south-western part of the district leading to such places as Gangasagar, Kakdwip, Namkhana and Bakkhali. Gangasagar is a Hindu pilgrimage site where Hindus perform ablutions to wash away their sins. Bakkhali is gaining in popularity as a beach resort. There is a five star hotel with a magnificent panoramic view of the river at Raichak. Jetties at Diamond Harbour, Raichak and 'Nurpur' provide steamer service to the other bank of the wide river estuary. There are few heritage places like Village Bolshiddhi's Shiv Temple i.e. 3 km away from Diamond Harbour Town. Sarisha hat is famous and nice joint for weekend grocery and Ramakrishna Vidya Mandir.
The area being in the proximity of the Bay of Bengal, there is scope for development of ports and shipping activity. The special economic zone at Falta is one of the eight such zones of the Government of India. It has container-handling jetty. The Government of West Bengal proposes to construct a minor port at Kulpi with facilities for handling containers.
As large oceangoing ships with full load of goods cannot enter the river ports at Kolkata and Haldia, the need for a seaport in the area has been felt for a long time. Such a future port would obviously be located south of Diamond Harbour but would enhance the importance of the place as a base for the port. Raichak is also pretty near by.
Kolkata Port Trust is considering construction of cargo handling jetties at Diamond harbour.Chingrikhali Fort (Purano Kella)
South Bengal Museum at Noongola nearby Diamond Harbour Girls' High School.
Famous Fish Market (Nagendra Bazar)
NH 12 passes through Diamond Harbour.