Nichindapur - a village on the bank of Ichamati river. Mango orchards, bamboo grooves, bananas and coconuts....One of a thousand such villages in Bengal. Here lives Harihar Ray with his family consisting his wife Sarbajaya, his daughter Durga and a distant cousin Indirthakrun. The story revolves around Harihar and his improvised family fight of survival against the rich zamindars. Priest by profession, Harihar has distinct talent of poetry. But nothing going well, he gets a job as an accountant at the zamindar's treasury but does not get any remuneration. In the course of time, he is blessed Apu, his son. His lack of means and various circumstances drive his daughter to die of pnemonia. This proves a turning point in his life and he with his family, leaves for Benaras seeking a better life.