The foundation of Sanskrit College was laid during the British regime based on a recommendation by HT James Prinsep and Thomas Babington Macaulay. It was under the auspices of Rt. Honorable William Pit Amherst that John Paskal Larkins Esquire, a scholar of oracular knowledge laid the first foundation stone of the college in 1824. H.H. Wilson, the Secretary to the then British Govt., took a major role in establishing this college to impart knowledge of ancient literature, philosophy, Hindu Law, grammar, Indian Culture and to promote the learning of Sanskrit among British officials as well as the Indians. The college has continued to spread the light of knowledge since its inception and survives as a heritage institute and a premier educational organization of the country at present. Pandit Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, E.B. Cowell, Pt. Haraprasad Shastri, S. N. Dasgupta, Pt. Joyagopal Tarkalankar, M.M Pt. Mahesh Chandra Náayaratna, Pt. Satish Chandra Vidyabhushan, Pt. Taranath Vachaspati, Pt. Prem Chandra Tarka Bagish, Pt. Kalipada Tarkacharya, Dr. Kalidas Bhattacharyya, MM Pt. Chinnaswamy Sashtri, H. H. Wilson, Prof. Durga Mohan Bhattacharya, Gourinath Sastri are some eminent stalwarts who have enriched and enhanced the College over the years. The college continues to stand tall even after 188 years and specializes in the scholarship of Indian Tradition, Oriental Philosophy and Religion with undergraduate programmes in Sanskrit, (both formal and TOL system) Pali, Linguistics, Ancient Indian and World History, Bengali and English at present. Sanskrit is also taught at the post graduate level. The college has a library of distinction and scholarship comprising of more than 3 lakhs books and more than 17000 manuscripts including some rare ones. Noted for its immense historical importance the library is frequently visited by several scholars and academicians across the world for research purposes.
The institution rose into prominence and glory during the Principal ship of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar. It was in 1851 that the college first opened its doors for the students belonging to the non-Brahmin community as well. Pandit Mahesh Chandra Náayaratna Bhattacharya C.I.E, played a vital role in reviving the “Tol” system in Sanskrit Education and introduced the tradition of titles or “Upadhis”. The College has been one of the finest seats of academic excellence in matters pertaining Eastern philosophy, ancient Indian history and ancient Indian languages like Pali and Prakrit. It had played a major role in the social, cultural and religious transformation of thought during nineteenth century and was one of the pioneering institutions to steer in what came to be popularly regarded as the Bengal Renaissance in history. In terms of scholarship and intellectual output, Sanskrit College has contributed immensely to the enrichment of knowledge, growth, learning and development of ancient Indian society and interpretation of the ancient Indian texts.
The transformation of Sanskrit College as The Sanskrit College and University has been done by the Government of West Bengal vide the Legislative Act XXXIII of 2015 and it becomes functioning on the 15th Day of June 2016 with the joining of its First Vice Chancellor Professor Dilipkumar Mohanta.