Kanthi is a sub-divisional town in the district of Midnapore
. The town extends to an area of about 18 sq km. Kanthi is derived from the Sanskrit
word 'Kanthika.' The Britishers changed this name to Kontai, to avoid confusion with the Kandi in Murshidabad District
. The town has a high literacy rate of 90.94%.
The town has historical significance in that Contai originally was a part of the Hijli Kingdom, which was a tributary state of Orissa, ruled by the Hindu King Gopinath Pattanayak and his heirs. Earlier Contai was marshy forest land, with numerous sandy hills and sand dunes.
Contai sub-division was established in the year 1852. Negua was initially a subdivisional headquarter, which was shifted to Contai in 1863.
Contai is renowned for the contribution of the people there during the Indian freedom struggle. The independence movements of the Contai people under the leadership of Birendra Nath Sasmal in the 'Bangabhanga' movement in the 'Ain Amanya' movement in 1930, and 'August Biplab' in 1942 are etched as an unforgettable chapter in the history of India.
Contai houses the Ramakrishna Mutt and Ramakrishna Mission Sevashram established in
the year 1927, and the Gouria Mutt. A branch of the Brahma Samaj is also functioning here.
Kapalkundala Mandir, Baba Saheber Court Gora, Rajbari, Digha, Junput are the major tourist spots. Another point of interest is the 75 m high lighthouse at Dariapur, which is 25 to 30 km from Contai.
Kanthi (Contai) Railway Station is the railway station that serves this town. All long and short distance buses are available from Contai Central Bus Stand.