Baburhat an inter-district wholesale centre well-known for trading in handloom textiles. Its full name is Shekherchar Baburhat. It is located at Shekherchar in Sadar upazila of Narsingdi District on the bank of the brahmaputra, 35 km away from Dhaka on the highway to Sylhet. On the way from Dhaka to Shekherchar there is a small market called Madhabdirhat or Madhabdi Baburhat. It is located in araihazar upazila of Narayanganj district. Legend goes that the zamindar of the area, one Ashu Babu, first set up the market at Madhabdi in the 1930s. But for some reason there was a dispute between him and his brother Kali Babu, which led Kali Babu, Pramatha Babu and Gopal Babu to establish an alternative market called Baburhat at Shekherchar. Soon, market grew into a big bazaar and has ever since been known as Baburhat.
This region has for long been famous for handloom textiles. The weavers have been bringing their weekly production here for wholesale. There was a time, when the market was accessible only by boat. During the Second World War, one Momin Company built a road and introduced bus service. The railway station at Narsingdi is close to the market. Now a days, the wholesalers come to the market by river, rail and road. Once this area was famous for weaving muslin cloth and also its thread. But after the Industrial Revolution in England threads were imported from England much cheaper than local thread. As a result, the weavers became dependent on British made yarn. Towards the end of British rule, several textile mills such as Narayanganj, Dhakeshwari, Lakhsminarayan and Chittaranjan were set up. During the Pakistan period, Kaliganj Cotton Mill was only the venture to produce yarn.
At present, there are at least a thousand shops trading in textiles in the market. At one time, it used to open for trading on Sundays but nowadays, trading is done on three days a week. [Fazle Rabbi]