Malda district is a district in West Bengal, India. It lies 347 km (215 miles) north of Kolkata, the state capital. Mango, jute and silk are the most notable products of this district. The special variety of mango produced in this region, popularly known by the name of the district, is exported across the world and is acclaimed internationally. The folk culture of gombhira is a feature of the district, being a unique way of representation of joy and sorrow of daily life of the common people, as well as the unique medium of presentation on national and international matters. According to the National Investigation Agency Malda is believed to be a hub of a fake currency racket. It is reported that 90 per cent of the fake currency that enters India from Pakistan via Bangladesh comes in from Malda which borders the neighbouring country.
Pāṇini mentioned a city named Gourpura, which by strong reason may be identified as the city of Gouda, ruins of which are situated in this district. Examples are legion of the relics 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. Pundranagara was the provincial capital of the Maurya Empire. Gour and Pundravardhana formed parts of the Mourya empire as is evinced from the inscriptions, Brahmi script on a seal discovered from the ruins of Mahasthangarh in the Bogra District of Bangladesh. Xuanzang saw many Ashokan stupas at Pundravardhana.
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 as far east as Kamrup formed a part of the Gupta Empire.
Malda, the district headquarters which lends its name to the district, during its early days grew up only near the side of the river Mahananda, and now the place is known as Phulbari. Some of the oldest houses can be found here. The city started to grow since 1925-1930. Now nearly a half-million people live in this city, and it is one of the biggest cities of West Bengal. It is a part of the former Gour. The town is recognized as the English Bazaar municipality. Its notable railway station is named as Malda Town.
In 2006 the Ministry of Panchayati Raj named Malda one of the country’s 250 most backward districts (out of a total of 640). It is one of the eleven districts in West Bengal currently receiving funds from the Backward Regions Grant Fund Programme (BRGF)