Saturday, December 14, 2019 | ePaper

A walk through Kolkata’s colonial past

  • Print


Panchali Dey :
olonial history is in the DNA of Kolkata, and there is no denying the fact. In fact, a memorial is also dedicated to the British queen, the Victoria Memorial Hall. Contrary to the popular belief, the British were not the only colonisers to call Bengal its home.
If you trace back the history of Kolkata’s heritage at the Hooghly river, an arm of Ganges river, which provides access to Kolkata from the Bay of Bengal, you will get evidence of how the river brought the European traders here. And if specifics are considered, the British were not the first to arrive here. When in 1690, Job Charnok landed in Kolkata to establish a trading post, the Portuguese, Armenians, Danes, Dutch and French were already settled nearby. Not to miss the fact that all of them left an indelible mark in Kolkata.
If you happen to visit these quarters, you will see cemeteries, clock towers and churches that have been the silent spectator of European presence for almost 400 years. If this intrigues you to sample a piece of Kolkata’s colonial history, interlaced with European heritage, a trip to Kolkata’s own ‘Little Europe’ is all that you need to plan. Check out the places and plan your itinerary accordingly for a fun trip.
Serampore
This place is located around 20km north of Kolkata on the right bank of Hoogly river. Serampore used to be a Danish colony from 1752 to 1845, and was known as Frederick Nagar, who was named a Danish king. This place is also known for the Danish missionary trio William Ward, Joshua Marshman and William Carrey, who arrived during the early part of 19th century, and took on the responsibility to reform the society. Here, you will find Serampore College, which was the brain child of the missionary trio. It is the oldest degree college in Asia.
Along the river, there are several other colonial mansions dating back to the days of Danes, such as the Baptist Mission Church. Then, there is a small park in front of the church that houses 15 Danish canons. These canons earlier used to be in different parts of Serampore, but they were all brought together for public display in 1950.
Chinsurah
It is a small town in Kolkata's Hooghly district, which holds more of history than it reveals. The Dutch settled there in the early 17th century to trade spices, opium, salt and muslin. Today, it is more of a multi-cultural town that reflects the elapsed history of the Dutch in Chinsurah. When here, visit the famous Dutch cemetery that has around 45 graves, with the oldest one dating back to 1743!
Ghorir More, Bara Seal Bari and Shamdeshwar Temple are some places that need a special mention. Try visiting these places if you are interested in tracing the past.  
Bandel
Bandel was formerly a Portuguese colony, located barely 8km from Chandannagar, which later on succumbed to the test of time. This place is, however, popular for being a weekend destination because of its convenient location from the city. There is an old-era feel to this place that is hard to miss. The Portuguese structures that further add fervour to this place cannot be ignored simply. It will push you to delve into the enchanting history of this place. Bandel Basilica and Hoogly Imambara are places that you should not miss when you are in Bandel.
Chandernagore
Said to be one of first outpost’s of India’s colonial past, Chandernagore is more like Puducherry. At first sight, this place will be like any other usual town in India. This place makes for an interesting stop though it lost most of its past glory. A few French buildings managed to survive till date and are standing tall to remind visitors of French influence in this place. In short, spending some time here will feel like going on a French holiday that is laced with distinctive Bengali twist.
The Strand is the Sacred Heart Church in Chandernagore, one of the best attractions of the place and you need to visit it to find the reason behind its popularity. Then, there is Durgacharan Rakshit Ghat built in the 1920s. Spend some alone time here to get the feel of the place. It is however not just restricted to French heritage, the town also boasts of several temples, such as the popular Nandadulal Temple.

More News For this Category

Belgium is what dreams are made of-chocolates, biking, sailing on canals

Belgium is what dreams are made of-chocolates, biking, sailing on canals

Weekend Plus Desk :Atrip to Western Europe’s outré destination, Belgium, is like chasing your dreams of all things nice. Biking on countryside terrains, sailing on zig-zagging canals, devouring world’s

Mutton Paya Soup

Mutton Paya Soup

Ingredients :6 lamb trotterssalt as required2 green cardamom3 finely chopped onion1/2 tablespoon ginger paste1 finely chopped tomato1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder1 1/2 tablespoon roasted chana dalwater as required1/2 tablespoon

Aloo Paratha

Aloo Paratha

Ingredients :7-potato1 handful coriander leaves4 tablespoon butter1 1/2 tablespoon salt1 tablespoon chaat masala2 dashes asafoetida4 green chilli1/2 teaspoon black pepper1 large onion1 tablespoon red chilli1/2 tablespoon garam masala powder1

Amari Dhaka launches new Friday getaway

Amari Dhaka launches new Friday getaway

Weekend Plus Desk :Looking for a bubble of warmth and serenity in this long gray winter? Amari Dhaka is bringing a relaxing Friday getaway for you and your loved

#FemiToon exhibition, seminar on ‘Generation Equality Dialogue’ at ULAB

#FemiToon exhibition, seminar on ‘Generation Equality Dialogue’ at ULAB

Weekend Plus Report :The ULAB Social Welfare Club organised a seminar on ‘Generation Equality Dialogue’ at the university campus recently.  The seminar was delivered by Farah Kabir, National Director

Ways to lose your facial fat

Ways to lose your facial fat

Weekend Plus DeskLosing weight is a complex task, but what is even tougher is to lose fat from a specific area of your body. Facial fat is quite frustrating

Is eating fast harmful   to your body?

Is eating fast harmful to your body?

Weekend Plus DeskSo many of us consider eating a job and not a way to nourish our bodies. But did you know that eating in haste and forcing the

Climate or Geo-engineering

Climate or Geo-engineering

Mohammad Sadat Hussain Rafsanjani :Our weather is changing. Some says the hospitable nature of earth is threatened. For instance, according to the NASA, the carbon-di-oxides are at their highest

Planet- friendly skincare

Planet- friendly skincare

Weekend Plus Desk :In a world where words like climate change and sustainable living are moving beyond clever captions, it’s time to look closely at your day-to-day beauty routine.

Hair mistakes you’re making this winter

Weekend Plus Desk :Hair care, like other beauty practices, has only gotten more airtime over the years. People are now more aware and careful about the products they use.