An almost crumbling townhouse, a reminder of the golden era of Calcutta’s architecture, has got a new lease of life. And with it, Calcuttans have another reason to flaunt and celebrate their heritage.
Iftekhar Ahsan of Calcutta Walks and his childhood friend Chris Chen, along with Ranvir Shah, a Chennai resident who fell in love with Calcutta many moons ago as a tourist, came together to buy the 90-year-old Majumdar bari in Fariapukur, restore the property and turn it into a bed and breakfast, set to open on May 7.
With the help of conservation architect Akhil Ranjan Sarkar and scenographer Swarup Dutta, the old-world charm of the heritage structure was seamlessly blended with amenities of the modern world. The result: a pretty boutique hotel reminiscent of the architectural beauty of the colonial era in the heart of north Calcutta, once referred to as ‘black town’ by the British.
“One reason we turned this old building into a B&B is to inspire and encourage others to invest in such properties and turn them into commercially viable ventures. Only then can we save our city’s built heritage by not letting them get demolished,” said Iftekhar.
“Almost everything that was part of the old structure has either been reclaimed, recycled or upcycled,” added Swarup.
One of the most dramatic displays at Calcutta Bungalow is in the Mochipara room — a giant installation made of shoe lasts. “We have used elements from the cobbler’s repertoire to commemorate the craftsmanship,” said Swarup. We loved how the conductor bags, typical of the city’s public transport, found their place on the walls.