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Old February 26th, 2006, 06:54 PM   #1
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Heritage Buildings of Kolkata Urban Agglomeration

There are about 800 listed heritage buildings in Kolkata of which about 84 are considered to be very important. Some are well maintained while a lot of them are in various stages of decay. It has been difficult to maintain many of these buildings because of lack of funds, expensive maintenance costs, disputed ownership, unauthorized occupation, low rentals and probably a hundred more reasons. The general atmosphere of shabbiness, lethargy and cholche na cholbe na (is not happening and will not happen) attitude may have a played role too. However things seem to be improving for the city and who knows maybe the future of these buildings will be better than the current state.
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Old February 26th, 2006, 06:58 PM   #2
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National Library

The Belvedere Estate was was built in the late 17th century and was acquired by the government in 1854 to become the Vice Regal House. Built in Italian Renaissance style, the Belvedere was the official residence of the Lieutenant Governor of Bengal. The Viceroy used to reside here until 1911, when the capital was shifted to New Delhi. However it continued to be the Viceroy's "winter" residence where he hosted the annual Christmas Ball.

Spread over 30 acres in Alipore, today the Belvedere Estate houses the National Library of India. It is the largest library in the country and is designated to collect, disseminate and preserve the printed material produced in the country.

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Old February 26th, 2006, 07:17 PM   #3
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Bidhansabha Bhaban (Assembly House)

The West Bengal Legislative Assembly is a H shaped building and was built in 1931. It is reminiscent of the Euro-Moghul architecture of New Delhi. The present West Bengal Legislature is unicameral and consists of 294 elected members and one nominated member from the Anglo-Indian community. Its term is five years, unless sooner dissolved.


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Old February 26th, 2006, 07:36 PM   #4
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Calcutta High Court

Formerly the High Court of India, this building was built in 1872. It is built in Gothic style and was designed by Walter Granville who modelled it on the belfry at Yepers in Belgium.

Pic - sigma147100


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Old February 26th, 2006, 08:13 PM   #5
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Tipu Sultan's Mosque

Tipu Sultan's Mosque or the Dharamtollah Mosque was constructed by Mohammed, the son of Tipu Sultan in 1842. Members of Tipu Sultan's family were deported to Calcutta from Mysore after his death in Srirangapatnam.(Many believe that the mosque was constructed by Ghulam Mohammed, who built a similar mosque at Tollygunge in south Kolkata.)

Tipu's mosque is in the heart of Kolkata, right in Chowringhee. It has been restored but unfortunately, they have not been able to remove/rehabilitate the ugly/ramshackle stalls surrounding it which have been there for ages.

For those of you who want to know more of Tipu Sultan.

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Old February 26th, 2006, 08:35 PM   #6
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Dakshineswar Temple

The temple complex was built by Rani Rashmoni between 1847 and 1855. The main temple is dedicated to Bhavatarini (Goddess Kali). Situated in north Kolkata on the banks of the river Hooghly (just north of the Vivekananda Bride), the complex has been renovated and is pretty well maintained inside. The temple is famous for its association with Sri Ramakrishna Paramahnsa.

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Old February 26th, 2006, 09:02 PM   #7
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Kalighat Temple

The Kali Temple in Kalighat was built in 1809 on the spot of an older sixteenth century temple. It is one of the 51 Shakti Peethas. The neighbourhood of Kalighat is amongst the poorest in the city and has become more famous for Mother Teresa's Nirmal Hriday. A question remains (a personal one) as to why this area where millions of dollars and rupees pour in to please Gods and act as saviours, nothing much has changed.

One of Bengal's famous style of paintings - Kalighat Pat Paintings evolved from here.

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Old February 26th, 2006, 09:10 PM   #8
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Parasnath Jain Temple

The Parasnath Jain Temple is an oasis of beauty in congested north Calcutta. It is dedicated to Sital Nath, the 10th of the 24 Jain Tirthankaras (Prophets). It was built in 1867.

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Old February 26th, 2006, 09:39 PM   #9
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The Great Eastern Hotel

One of the nation's oldest hotels, the hotel is an example and a witness of Kolkata's rise, downfall and present attempts to claw back to old glory.
David Wilson, an Englishman, setup the hotel in 1840 as the The Auckland Hotel ( named after the then Governor General Lord Auckland). After nearly 15 years since its inception the hotel was floated as a company called the Great Eastern Hotel Wine and General Purveying Co. The hotel continued to grow in popularity and all through maintained its social exclusiveness. Its exterior style and ornamentation matched its interior elegance, and it became the favourite haunt of the city's elite. Newspapers of those days reported in detail the lavish parties inside, as Great Eastern became the nucleus of high society activities. By 1883, the entire premises of the hotel were electrified. It was probably the first hotel in the country to be illuminated by electric lights. So exalted was its reputation, that for a while, the hotel was even referred to as the `Jewel of the East'. In 1915, it was re-christened Great Eastern Hotel Co. Ltd. By The hotel continued to flourish.During the Second World War, many soldiers of the allied forces passing through Kolkata were accommodated here.

THE decline started in the early 1970s, when bickering among the partners led to a financial crisis. As the hotel was tottering on the brink of closure, the Congress (I) government of West Bengal took over the management of the hotel. The degeneration continued, until the Left Front government tried in vain to arrest it by nationalising it on July 17, 1980.

More details here.

But the hotel continued to disappoint its patrons and lose business. Government departments ran up huge bills while using the hotel's facilities and never paid up. The hotel has now been taken over by the Mr Lalit Suri's Bharat Hotels Group. The name of the hotel will be changed to The Grand Great Eastern Hotel. It will be re-developed as a five-star deluxe heritage property. It will be partially operational within the next one year and fully operational within the next two years.

photo - Timir Mozumdar


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Old February 28th, 2006, 03:19 PM   #10
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India Government Mint

Although not as old as the Strand Road Silver Mint (which is crumbling and has been declared a heritage building), work on this mint was started in the late 1930'sand the foundation work had been completed by early 1942. But due to 2nd World War the construction was interrupted. The Alipore Mint was opened five years after independence on 19th March, 1952.

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_________________________

While the Alipore Mint is well maintained and is functional, the once magnificent Silver Mint on Strand Road lies dilapidated and uncared for. Read more about the Strand Road mint here.

Last edited by Suncity; February 28th, 2006 at 03:24 PM.
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Old February 28th, 2006, 03:48 PM   #11
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Kolkata Police

This building popularly known as Lalbazar (from the neighbourhood) was the palatial building complex of a merchant named John Plamer. It was bought over by the government in 1835 to house the permanent headquarters of the Calcutta Police.

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Old March 1st, 2006, 05:20 AM   #12
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Jorasanko Thakurbati/Thakurbari

The brithplace of Rabindranath Thakur (Tagore), this 18th century family mansion was built by his grandfather Prince Dwarkanath Tagore. Rabindranath Tagore also breathed his last in this mansion. It is now the Rabindra Bharati museum. The Rabindra Bharati University is in an adjacent building in the same complex.

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Old March 1st, 2006, 02:40 PM   #13
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Bengal Nagpur Railway (BNR) House

It's not yet "heritage" status but still an important landmark in the cty's heritage. The almost 100-year-old grand Bengal Nagpur Railway (BNR) House is now the South Eastern Railway headquarters. It is part of the erstwhile estate of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah. Construction of the building, which had once housed the headquarters of erstwhile BNR, was started on April 10, 1906. It was commissioned a year later. The building cost more than Rs 7 lakh. The mansion, standing on 53,613 sq ft, has been restored to its original form and the railway authorities are planning to seek heritage status for it. There are several other mansions in the complex including one in which the Nawab himself had lived for sometime.

Nawab Wajid Ali Shah was the (1822-1887) was the tenth and last nawab of the princely kingdom of Awadh (Oudh) in present day Uttar Pradesh in India. Awadh was eventually annexed peacefully on February 7, 1856 - days before the ninth anniversary of his coronation. The Nawab was exiled to Garden Reach in Metiabruj, then a suburb of Kolkata, where he lived out the rest of his life off a generous pension. He was a poet, playwright, dancer and great patron of the arts. He is widely credited with the revival of Kathak as a major form of classical Indian dance. More here.

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Old March 1st, 2006, 04:15 PM   #14
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St Paul's Cathedral

Built between 1839 and 1847, St Paul's Cathedral is one of the city's most famous landmarks.

Pic - Michael Perez

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Old March 9th, 2006, 04:22 AM   #15
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Town Hall

The Town Hall was completed in 1814. This historical Hall had been the venue of public meetings and social gatherings. The Swadeshi Movement was formally launched from a Town Hall meeting of 7 August 1905. It underwent a restoration a few years back.

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Old April 1st, 2006, 11:46 PM   #16
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very nice pix!!
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Old April 7th, 2006, 11:40 PM   #17
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Sun................Awesome. City of Joy is such a historic place.
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Old April 13th, 2006, 02:04 AM   #18
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doesn't Kolkata have a burmese style pagoda. I thought I saw a small pic before.??
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Old April 13th, 2006, 02:52 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by magestom
doesn't Kolkata have a burmese style pagoda. I thought I saw a small pic before.??
Yes, it does.

Th Eden Gardens Pagoda was built in 1852 in Prome, a city in Burma (Myanmar). Lord Dalhousie, the then Governor General of India, on a visit to Prome in 1853, was very impressed with the pagoda. He had it brought over to Calcutta in 1854. The pagoda was finally set up in 1856 in Eden Gardens (which also houses the famous Ranji Stadium).

photo copyright Jane and Richard

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Old April 13th, 2006, 03:07 AM   #20
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Shaheed Minar (tower of the martyrs) is named after martyrs of the freedom movement. It was formerly known as the Ochterlony Monument and was erected after the Gurkha War of 1816, in which the East India Company was commanded by Sir David Ochterlony.

photo copyright ossiflocke

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