Not very far to the north of Kolkata is a little town known as Adi Saptagram. Today, it is no more than a provincial town but in its heyday, Saptagram or ‘Satgaon’, as it was then called, was one of the most important cities in Bengal, and one of the region’s chief ports.
Cities in Bengal have risen and fallen with changes in the course of its fickle rivers, and this is what scripted the story of Satgaon. The city’s benefactor: the Saraswati River, a distributary of the Bhagirathi or the Hooghly, but a lifeline that all but dried up by the 17th century CE. Satgaon emerged as the biggest port in Eastern India after the port of Tamralipti, or Tamluk, south of Satgaon, went into decline after the 10th century CE, possibly due to the silting up of the Rupnarayan River or a change in its course.
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