RECONNECTING : TRAMS AND BUILT HERITAGE
Tram is the Kolkata’s old tradition at effect. Kolkata is the only Indian city which maintains such rich heritage. The first tram rolled out on the tracks way back in February 28, 1873. A horse drawn tram system opened in January 1881 after a premature experiment in 1873 and a steam tramway line opened in 1882. Electric trams began plying on March 27, 1902 and by 1921 there were 56 km of track and 512 cars in service. Kolkata tramway provides a leisurely way of observing the historic parts of Kolkata and Sutanuti.
Heritage tour on tram starts from Esplanade Tram terminus. Then it turns towards BBD Bagh (Dalhousie Square) and passes by Writer’s Building, the General Post Office, the Tank Square and the St. Andrews Church. Further it moves towards north and enters the Chitpore Road and passes through neighbourhoods and communities. It goes past the Nakhodia Mosque, the House of Rabindranath, the Kumartuli area, the Jain temple and many more to reach the Belgachia tram depot.
The tram retraces from here and connects to Bidhan Sarani. On the way back, it passes by the Star Theatre, the Arya Samaj Temple, the Presidency College and coffee house on College Street.It moves further towards south and takes Lenin Sarani and passes by the Carey’s church, and finally rattles its way back to Esplanade.
SIGNIFICANT HERITAGE BUILDINGS IN DALHOUSIE SQUARE, KOLKATA
The Government House, the former residence of the Governor General of India and now the official residence of the Governor of West Bengal, was built between 1779-1805 by Wellesley and designed by Wyatt. The whole palace like structure is adorned with a majestic dome.
On the west side of Dalhousie Square is the General Post Office built on the site of the Old Fort William. It was opened to the public in 1868 and designed by Walter Granville.
On the northern side of Dalhousie Square is Writers’ Building, so called for having been in the first instance erected for the residence writers or junior civil servants of the East India Company. The building was constructed in 1776 under the architure ship of Thomas Lyon.
St. Andrews Church towards Dalhousie Square East is a Presbyferian Church of the Church of England, opened to the public on 8th of March, 1818. The Church stands symmetrically on the axis of the Old Court House Street occupying the site of the old Mayor’s Court and Supreme Court of Marquess of Hastings.
West Bengal cabinet renamed Dalhousie Square as Binoy Badal Dinesh Bagh after the name of threevaliant freedom fighters on Novembar 8, 1969.
SIGNIFICANT HERITAGE BUILDINGS AND PLACES ALONG CHITPORE ROAD
Chitpore Road was a pilgrim street connecting Black Pagoda in the North to the Kalighat Temple at Govindapur in the South.
On the Chitpore stands the beautiful and stately Nakhoda Mosque, a prayerhouse of distinctive oriental character and design.
North of M.G. Road, on the tiny Muktaram Babu street off Chittaranjan Avenue, the extraordinary Marble Palace preserves the lavish and sensuous treasures of the Mallick family.
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On Dwarkanath Tagore Lane, just off Chitpore Road, is the campus of Rabindranath Tagore’s liberal arts university, Rabindra Bharati. Housed in he ancestral home of Rabindranath, where he was born and died, the university holds a collection of his paintings and original manuscripts of his writings.
Jorasanko and Pathuriaghata along Chitpore Road used to be a major center for Bengali arts and culture in the nineteenth century, being the residence of the older and established traditional Bengali families.
The Black Pagoda, a temple complex built by the first Black zamindar Govinda Ram Mitter was a landmark site in the early eighteenth century Kolkata.
The Jain Temple in Belgachia, next to the bridge is a simple red sandstone structure set in manicured lawns, dedicated to the Digambara sect.
SIGNIFICANT HERITAGE BUILDINGS ALONG COLLEGE STREET
College Street is paved with books on almost all subjects-Marxist tracts, literature, classical philosophy, or the post modern thinkers.
The Presidency College, established as Hindoo College by David Hare in 1817 and later renamed in 1855, stands right there on College Street with its 175 plus years of academic brilliance.
Facing Presidency College inside the same premises is the David Hare School – an austere three-storied building.
Adjacent to Hare School is the Calcutta University, the first to be founded in India in 1857 as an examination and degree conferring body.
The Ashutosh Museum has the distinction of being the first university museum in India ontaining specimens of sculpture, paintings and folk arts from various parts of Eastern India.
College Square is adorned with the statues of famous personalities and a swimming pool. Added to the array of books, the Coffee House at College Square attract people with infusion and black coffee, cigarettes and adda of a wide range of topics.
So, heritage ride on tram provides you with a unique opportunity to savour the rich tradition of Kolkata.
8-30—11-30 A.M. (during October to February)
7-30—10-00A.M. (during April to September)
This tour will only be on Sundays. Assembly at the Esplanade Tram Terminus.
For Information and Reservation Contact:
West Bengal Tourism Centre, 2/5,B.B.D. Bag (East), Kolkata 700001.
Bingsha Shatabdi, 75, Park Street, Kolkata 700016.
India Tourism, Kolkata, Embassy, Shakespeare Sarani, Kolkata 700071.
Fare —— Rs. 100/- per person
Calcutta, the City of Joy wakes up with the sounds of bells coming out of the rattling of trams, early in the morning, every day. Trams are integral part of heritage of Kolkata.
Tram ride is Joy ride, In India, only Kolkata can offer this ride. A Tram ride for ‘Heritage on tracks’ offers a unique opportunity for our acquaintances with the heritage of this city. Page – 2