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Heritage Walk

Calcutta Heritage Collective is organising walking tours that rediscover old ‘Calcutta’

Trot around Kolkata’s bylanes exploring insightful stories from a past era and architecture that transcends time

Lygeia Gomes | Published 10.11.22, 07:36 PM
A winter morning walking tour around Dalhousie

A winter morning walking tour around Dalhousie

Image courtesy Calcutta Heritage Collective

We know that Kolkata has a rich history, but do we know its intricacies? There’s a spot that still has one of the gas lights which used to once light up the city before electric lamp posts made an appearance. There is a red-bricked locality that’s a melting pot of cultures and religions, and a region that was once the epicentre of Bengali literature.

Calcutta Heritage Collective, a trust aiming to create awareness about Kolkata’s storied history, is organising a number of walking tours over the next two months that will retell tales from old Calcutta. “We’re a group of like-minded individuals on a path to restore the architecture of Kolkata, along with spreading awareness about the city’s history. We host these walks every year and try to do them differently, so you can always come back,” says Mukul Agarwal, a trustee of the Calcutta Heritage Collective.

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This year, the trust has a total of seven walks lined up — from a stroll down the charming Cornwallis Street to a sprint through the old cemeteries of the city. Here’s the lowdown…

The Nationalist Trail

This walk through the lanes of north Kolkata takes you through Bidhan Sarani (the erstwhile Cornwallis Street) built in the early 1800s, and tells you the tales that transpired in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The roots of the Bengal Renaissance are also uncovered through the architecture of that era.

When: November 12

Starting point: Bethune College

Ending point: Sadharan Brahmo Samaj, Bidhan Sarani

Timings: 7.30am to 9.30am

The Chowringhee Chase

The Chowringhee Chase takes you through the stories of the part of town that was predominantly inhabited by the British during the Raj and the road that “was the main north-south artery through the city, leading to Chitpore in the north and Chowringhee, a village and later, a suburb of Calcutta in the south,” says Mukul. 

When: November 17

Starting point: K.C. Das, Esplanade

Ending point: Theatre Road crossing

Duration: 7.30am to 9.30am

Once Upon a Time in Park Street

We know today’s Park Street as an artery that’s always abuzz. But if you want to know what it was ‘once upon a time’  — from the history behind the name to the neighbourhoods once considered the outskirts of the city — sign up for this tour.

When: December 11 

Starting point: South Park Street Cemetery

Ending point: Asiatic Society

Duration: 7.30am to 9.30am

All The World’s a Stage — A Theatre Walk

The ‘thakur dalan’ at Jorasanko

The ‘thakur dalan’ at Jorasanko

Wikimedia Commons

“The Theatre Walk is an experience where we aim to celebrate the spirit of the women who have once left their footprints here,” says Mukul. The walk will take the participants through the historical theatrical sites in north Calcutta, where the thakur dalans of the great mansions were the epicentre of early Bengali theatre. Look forward to learning about Jorasanko Thakurbari, the site of the National Theatre, and more.

When: December 18

Starting point: Poddar Court

Ending point: Jorasanko Thakur Bari

Duration : 7.30am to 10.30am

A Walking Tryst in Bow Bazaar

Bow Bazar is a melting pot of culture, history, trade and religion that co-exists in a beautiful manner. Temples, shrines, beautiful baris jostle with dingy workshops of the jewellers, the remnants of glorious theatres and stories of the famed kothas that were once centres of a glorious music culture.

When: January 15

Starting point: Hind Inox

Ending point: College Street crossing

Duration: 7.30am to 9.30am

The Graves of the Raj

South Park Street Cemetery

South Park Street Cemetery

Wikimedia Commons

This walk takes you through the old cemeteries of Kolkata with a visit to South Park Street Cemetery to talk about grave architecture and learn about life and death in colonial Calcutta. You’ll also view the graves of Kolkata’s pioneering personalities, and find out who the ‘most beautiful girl in Calcutta’ was in the late 18th century.

When: January 22

Starting point: South Park Street Cemetery

Ending point: Scottish Cemetery

Duration: 7.30am to 9.30am

Boi Para Walk

The Boi Para Walk takes you through this journey of an intense social reform movement of the 19th and 20th centuries — popularly called The Bengal Renaissance — in College Street, which was at the heart of the movement. 

When: January 27  

Starting point: Sanskrit College

Ending point: Patuatola Lane

Duration: 7.30am to 9.30am

Last updated on 10.11.22, 07:37 PM
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