Prafulla Chandra Ray was born in Khulna in 1861. His father Harish Chandra Ray was a land proprietor. He started his education in his village school.
In 1870, his family migrated to Calcutta. Ray and his elder brother were admitted to Hare School in 1874.
When he was in the fourth standard, he suffered from a sever attack of dysentery. It hampered his health throughout his life.
In 1879, he passed the Entrance Examination.