Where Is Gurap?

West Bengal

In this post, we will be walking you through a virtual trip to Gurap! Gurap is in India, of course, but more specifically, Gurap is located in the state of West Bengal, which has a population of over 100,000,000 people over an area of approximately 35,000 square miles. It is not in the top ten largest states of India, but it is the fourth-most populous state. The primary language of West Bengal is Bengali, but Hindi and Santali are the second and third most commonly spoken languages. East of Bengal, you will find Bangladesh (literally, “Land of Bengal”!), while Nepal and Bhutan lie to the north. To the west and south lie the rest of India. The state capital of West Bengal is Kolkata. We may associate Bengal with its tigers, but it is also known for having produced Asia’s first Nobel laureate, Rabindranath Tagore.

Gurap

Let’s take a quick visit to Gurap! The schools founded with the assistance of Tribe Rising India are located in Gurap, a village in the Hooghly district of the state of West Bengal, India. The area is made up of flat floodplains that are part of the delta of the Ganges River. The local population is approximately 59% rural and 41% urban, with Gurap’s population estimated in 2011 to be about 7850 people. The town is known to be a “hidden gem” dotted with intricate terracotta temples dedicated to the Hindu gods Krishna and Shiva.

Hugli District

Hugli! The village of Gurap is located in West Bengal, India, and more specifically, in the Hugli district (also spelled Hoogli or Hooghly). The district is named after the Hugli River, about 25 miles north of Kolkata, and the town of Hugli was a river port for trading purposes before the colonization of India. Portuguese traders were the first to build a church in the region, in 1599. The main product of the region is jute, a fiber that can be spun into thread. There is also a car manufacturing plant in the city of Uttarpara. In the last few years, there is a growing garment industry, including a factory just 10 minutes from Gurap St Xavier’s.

Kolkata

Did you know that Gurap is not far from Kolkata (formerly known as Calcutta), the capital of West Bengal?  Kolkata is a bustling city of approximately 4.5 million people over an area of about 80 square miles!  (Imagine a population nearly the size of Los Angeles, but over an area about one-sixth the size!)

 

In addition to being the hub of the work of the Missionaries of Charity, founded by St. Mother Teresa, the city is known for its grand colonial architecture, cultural festivals and art galleries.

St. Xavier's Burdwan

In any discussion about Gurap, you are likely also to hear reference to Burdwan (or Bardhaman, as it is sometimes written). Why?  This is the city about 25 miles northwest of Gurap where St. Xavier’s School (K-12 and college) is located, and where Fr. Maria Joseph serves as principal.  Burdwan has long been a hub of education in India, including the establishment of Burdwan Raj College in 1881.

St. Xavier's College Kolkata

Something to look forward to! Gurap students are working hard so that they might – one day! – pursue university studies at St. Xavier’s College in Kolkata. St. Xavier’s is a private, Catholic, autonomous college run by the Calcutta Province of the Society of Jesus. It was founded by the Jesuits in 1860 and named for St. Francis Xavier, a Jesuit saint of the 16th century who traveled to India. In 2006, it became the first autonomous college in West Bengal, India. An autonomous college has full control over its curriculum, whereas a university college follows the government-determined curriculum.

 

Chamrusai

The town of Chamrusai boasts the first major school in West Bengal thanks to a Jesuit from Belgium. The Jesuit Fathers played an important role in establishing and growing this province in West Bengal. They had foresight to buy land and realized the Santals could receive a boost out of poverty buy owning land, so some of the land was gifted to the Santals.

This region is very rural compared to Gurap! (It is a 5-hour ride from Gurap to Chamrusai, including unnamed streets as you get closer.) If you use Google maps to see the Chamrusai bus stop, you will get the idea!  The school is K-5. Some children board, but many others walk to and from school (as they would walk to a neighborhood school in the US). There are about 450 students total. Since it is so rural, many Santals live and work in the area.

Visitors receive an even more traditional welcoming ceremony at this school, as their feet are washed outdoors before they enter the school! Currently, the hostels become the classrooms. 

Today’s plan is to build a new school and encourage students to attend middle school/high school in Gurap! 

SAVE THE DATE

TRIBE RISING INDIA’S 2024 ANNUAL FUNDRAISING GALA
THURSDAY, AUGUST 22, 2024
5:30-8:30 PM
CORINTHIAN YACHT CLUB, TIBURON

TO PLEDGE AN EARLY SPONSORSHIP, CONTACT ANNETTE [email protected]

Candid has once again awarded Tribe Rising India its Platinum Seal of Transparency, the highest level of recognition offered by GuideStar, the world’s largest source of nonprofit information!

Help us build up our growing student body:
  • Honor someone special by gifting a scholarship in her or his name(s)–a great holiday gift for that someone who has everything! 
  • Donate to our capital campaign or annual fundraiser to help us complete the Gurap K-12 campus.

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