Long before the British realised how lucrative a colony in India could be, there were other European powers that had already set camp in the subcontinent. One of the few settlers who came here before the Brits were the Danes. Unlike the British, they settled in on a limited area on the banks of the river Ganga that they then called Fredriksnagore, in honour of the Danish King Frederik V. Now, this riverside town is known as Serampore and its Danish heritage is evident at The Denmark Tavern by The Park Hotels.
A riverside property overlooking the serene Ganges, the handsome yellow ochre building of the tavern is majestic. Centuries ago, it had first been established as The Denmark Tavern and Hotel and was operated by a British innkeeper, James Parr. However, it had been in ruins till a restoration project between the National Museum of Denmark, in partnership with the Danish association, Realdania and the government of West Bengal was initiated. Along with the tavern, several other Danish landmarks in the city were also revived.
The Tavern, which first opened in 2018, is easily accessible via several routes. A car ride from the city can take up to two hours and a local train from Howrah station to Serampore station can take about 30 minutes, after which you can take local transport to get to the Tavern. The town of Barrackpore lies just across the river from Serampore and if you come via Barrackpore, you can easily avail yourself of a ferry ride from ‘Dhobi Ghat’. Look out for the Tavern while you cross the river, given its location right on the riverside.
Upon arrival, one is greeted with fragrant tuberose garlands, a glass of refreshing lime soda made of gondhoraj lime and chenna murki, a popular sweet from Serampore (small cubes that are not too sweet and only a little syrupy). The Tavern houses six rooms, which are available for reservation and a restaurant that is accessible to walk-in guests as well. Surrounded by welltended and sunny gardens and comprising other activity areas, staying at the property is an experience in itself. It is perfect for a quick weekend trip or even a day trip out of the city.
More about it
What: The Denmark Tavern
Where: Serampore Police Line, N.N Roy Street, LP 39. 2/1, Serampore
Booking: Call on 9830269302 or log on to www.theparkhotels.com/the-denmark-tavern
Prices: Rs 10,000 plus taxes with breakfast for river-facing suites, Rs 7,500 plus taxes with breakfast for the other rooms
Timings for the restaurant: Noon to 9pm