It is a town of historical importance. Uttarpara is home to some of the biggest industrial setups in the state. It has the Shaw Wallace Distilliery, Shalimar Wire Products, Hindustan Motors which is the only vehicle plant in West Bengal which manufactures the car Hindustan Ambassador.
Uttarpara Kotrung is the municipality.
"Gangaar Paschim Kul, Varanasi Samatul, Taar Madhya Uttam Uttarpara Gram, Sabarna Choudhury Dwija Narayan Naam..."
In English, "Uttarpara is located on west bank of Ganges, just as Varanasi. It was set up by the descendants of Sabarna Choudhury..."
Atul Krishna Ray, in his book Lakshmikanta: A Chapter In The Social History Of Bengal (1928) has written that Ratneshwar Roy Choudhury(1670-1720) belonged to the Sabarna Roy Choudhury family of Barisha-Behala. In 1709 Ratneshwar had purchased Chakbali tract from Sheoraphuli fiefdom of Manohar Roy. Since it was on the north of Chakbali, the place was called Uttarpara. He is the fourth generation in the family of Lakshmikanta, who was awarded the titles of Roy and Choudhury by Mughal Emperor Jahangir. The entire Kolkata of today and the adjacent Sundarbans belonged to the Sabarna Choudhuries. Lakshmikanta's father, Kamdev Brahmachari who had become a saint and resided at Varanasi, had expressed that a piece of tract be bought by the family on the same side of Ganges as that of Varanasi. The Kalighat Kali Temple was installed by Kamdev Brahmachari. Lakhmikanta was the great grandson of Panchanan Gangopadhyay, who had joined Emperor Humayun's Afgan cavalry and raised a haveli for which the place was called Havei Shahar, now Halisahar.
Amarnathnath Bandyopadhyay, in his book Bangsha Parichay (1911), has detailed all the Brahmin and Kayastha families of the then Uttarpara. It contains genealogy of each and every family. Sabarna Choudhury Paribar Parishad of Barisha-Behala has copies of both the above books.
Ootarpara, in those days was marshland - bereft of decent human settlement. Only fishermen of Patni, Malo castes and a few Muslims lived there. Their trade was fishing, marketing fishing equipments, ferry service and dacoity.Ratneshwar cleared the entire area and developed it as a progressive town.
The compulsion of Kaulinya system made Ratneswar, who was a non-Kulin Brahmin, to bring Kulin Brahmin families for matrimony. Gradually, many Brahmin families like Durga Charan Banerjee, Ramtanu Chatterjee, Ramnidhi Chatterjee, Nandalal Mukherjee etc. migrated and settled at Ootarpara through matrimonial relation with descendants of Ratneswar Roychoudhury. Many of these families afterwards took leading role in intellectual and spiritual development of Uttarpara. It is not know how and when 'Ootarpara' became more sober sounding Uttarpara.
In 1909, Aurobindo Ghosh gave his last political speech before leaving for Pondichery to embrace monkhood. This speech, known as 'Uttarpara Speech', is a valuable work for understanding Hinduism and Sanatan dharma by Sri Aurobindo.
Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose also came to Uttarpara once and gave his political speech. A heritage building is under renovation process to keep the memory of this great freedom fighter.
The Hungry Generation literary movement which changed the course of Bengali creative literature, was started by two brothers, Malay Roy Choudhury and Samir Roychoudhury, decendents of the founder of Uttarpara, Ratneshwar Roychoudhury. The literary movement had its meetings in their ancestral home Sabarna Villa on Choudhury Para Street, which was visited by such literary stalwarts as Sunil Gangopadhyay, Shakti Chattopadhyay and many others.