Right at the banks of the river Ganges is Panihati, 5 km north from Dakshineswar and 5 km away south of Barrackpore Gandhighat. The locality steeped with illustrious history of more than five hundred years. A confluence of religious, cultural and business/ industrial activities has created Panihati into a prominent place in the history of Bengal and India.
This place has an unique distinction of having the footsteps of the great men like : Sri Chaitanya & Nityananda Mahaprabhu, Sri Ram Krishna Paramahansa, Rabindra Nath Tagore, Swami Vivekananda, Mahtama Gandhi, Acaharya Parfulla Chandra Roy, Subhash Chandra Bose.
Others great Indians who have links with Panihati are : Pandit Jawhar Lal Nehru, Shyamaprosad Mukherjee, Sardar Ballav Bhai Patel, Sri Prashanta Chandra Mahalanbis, Maa Anando Moyee, Swami Abhedananda, Girish Chandra Ghosh, Badsha Khan, Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy, Moulana Abul Kalam Azad, Sarojini Naidu, Padmaja Naidu, G. D. Birla, Jamanlal Bajaj, Satish Chandra Dasgupta, Rajshekhar Basu, Sukumar Roy and others.
In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries Panihati became focal point for academic activities in and around the then Calcutta. The Founder of Asiatic Society, Bharatbhandhu William Jones came here to learn Sanskrit. Anti Malaria Society, founded by Rai Bahadur Gopal Chandra Chatterjee (also Vice Chairman Of Panihati Municipality) was one of the Pioneers in the Co-operative Movement and Health awareness activity in India.
Sri Chaitanya Deb halted at Panihati on his way to Puri. Sri Nityananda Mahaprabhu performed Danda dan in 1517.. This occasion is celebrated as Danda Utsab or Chida Utsav in the Bengali month of Jyaistha every year. The commemorative festival recalling Sri Chitanaya's visit to Raghav Bhavan on his way back from Puri is celebrated since 1321 B.S. in the Bengali month of Kartick.
Sri Ramkrishna (then Gadadhar first visited Panihati in 1858 at the age of 22 years ( Sri Sri RamKrishna Lilaprasanga by Swami Sardananda, page 90 , Vol.1).
Sri Ramkrishna Paramhansa used to attend the Chida Utsav at Mahotsabtala with his disciples and bhaktas. His visits at 1883 and 1885 have been depicted in the Sri Ram Krishna Kathamrita by Srimo, Sri Sri Ramkrishna Lilaprasanga by Swami Saradananda) and Sri Sri Ramkrishna Punthi by Sri Akshay sen).
Mani Sen a great Bhakta of Sri Ramkrishna was a resident of Panihati. After demise of Muthurbabu, Mani Sen served as a ‘Rasatdar” for a brief period also. Sri Ramkrishna was invited by Mani Sen at Panihati.
Notable disciples/ Bhaktas who accompanied Sri Ramkrishna at various times : Rakhal (later Swami Brahma Nanda), Naren - Later Swami Vivekananda, Kali - latter Swami Abhedananda, Girish Ghosh, Bhabanath (later Swami Premananda), Master (Srimo- Mahendralal Gupta - The famous writer of Ramkrishna Kathamrita, Balaram Basu, Ramchandra Dutta, Jogin Ma, Golap Ma etc. Sri Ram Krishna regarded this place very holi and sacred (Ramkrishana kathamrita- Vol. II- Chapter- 11, pp- 275) and participated in the mela where he used to dance with the bhaktas and plunged into Samadhi.
Rabindra Nath Tagore at his boyhood spent some period at the garden house - Gobinda Home on the river bank at Panihati. This stay made a mark as narrated in his reminiscences "Jiban Smriti". He made several visits later on in 1919, 1933 and 1934.
Swami Vivekananda Came by Boat at Gobinda Home which was earlier considered for setting up the "Belur Math" (The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda/Volume 7/Conversations And Dialogues/XIII. Earlier in 1883, he made a visit to Panihati Mahotsab when he accompanied Sri Ramkrishna Dev. He also visited Agarpara.
Acharya Prafulla Chandra Roy set up Bengal Chemicals on a land of 45 acres at Panihati, B.T. Road with the spirit of patriotism and self reliance. Dr. Roy also was attached with Sodepur Khadi Ashram for promotion cottage Industries. Under his inspiration several industries were setup at Panihati area by his students and followers.
Mahatma Gandhi inaugurated Sodepur Khadi Pratisthan, setup by Satish Chandra Das Gupta near Sodepur Railway station. Sodepur Khadi Pratisthan also known as Khadi Ashram was regarded as his second home by Mahtama Gandhi. The inauguration was attended by Pandit Matilal Nehru, Srinivas Iyengar (Congress President), Sir P.C. Roy, Jamanlal Bajaj and others. He visited and stayed 8 times in this Ashram in the years 1938, 1939, 1940, 1945, 1946 and 1947.
Inauguration of Basanti Cotton Mills on 8 August 1934 by Rabindra Nath in presence of Acharya Prafulla Chandra Roy and others.
Historic meeting was held with Subhash Chandra at Sodepur Khadi Pratisthan by Congress leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and others following Tripuri Congress Conference. On 29th April Subhas Chandra resigned from the post of Congress President.
Mahatma Gandhi visited Panihati Mahotsabtala Ghat on 18th January. He set off for Noakhali Yatra from Sodepur on 6th November.
Important meeting was held at Sodepur Khadi Pratisthan with participation of Gandhiji, Sarat Chandra Bose, H. S. Surabardi, Shyamaprosad Mukherjee regarding partition of India.