The Raj Heritage Walk
Kolikata (+Sutanati & Gobindopur) -> Calcutta -> Kolkata (as we call it today).It is indeed a very interesting story of how the British started trading in this part of the world rivalling the earlier entrants like Portugese , French & Dutch. Many a booming cannon later, the British became the leading traders. What followed was a small fort, a big port, a great battle, many changing fortunes and lots of colonial cunning and politics. The British East India Company and later the Flag of the British Empire gave a lot of importance to Calcutta for its trading, political and administrative clout. Calcutta was after all the Capital of British India until December 1911 and arguably the second most important city in the Empire after London.
Naturally, a lot of important centres of power were built in the emerging city. Along with Defence & Administrative centres came, institutions for Entertainment, Education and Emancipation. The light of European renaissance came as an ambient source and later cascaded into its own indigenous, self generating brightness.
During The Raj Heritage Walk, we take you to the then-centre-of-power, show you the colonial buildings (which in many cases are fine examples of European Architecture with eastern influences in some instances) & the River Front where trading took place and the Royal Navy Exercised. We also tell you the fantastic stories, some of which cause goose bumps for their incredulous ferocity and adventure and yet some may sound outright hilarious today in hindsight. Sipping the organic packaged drink in the form of tender coconut water right from the fruit, be refreshed, enthralled, amused and entertained. Be enlightened about the Raj days.
The tour is centred around the Dalhousie Square (the names have changed but the Raj hangover continues and sometimes we still call places in their old names. Names that were usually given by the British Empire in Honour of their successive Viceroys and similarly important people). The formal name today is B.B.D. Baag, in honour of the bravery 3 of India's freedom fighters. Oh, that's another thrilling story, should you want to hear it!
We will look at the Writers Building, originally served as the office for writers of the British East India Company, hence the name. Designed by Thomas Lyon in 1780, it received its impressive Corinthian façade, an example of the Neo-Renaissance style, in 1889.
The Royal Exchange Place, A one-time residence of Robert Clive and now the office of the Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry
The General Post Office (G.P.O.): A heritage building right in the heart of Dalhousie Square, Kolkata housing the general post office. This two-storied Victorian style building with an impressive dome is a key landmark for Kolkata. This is the site where the first Fort William built by the British East India Company once stood.
St. John's Church's yard has the Mausoleum of Job Charnock. The building is supposedly the oldest piece of masonry in Calcutta.
Raj Bhavan is the official residence of the Governor of West Bengal. Built in 1803 it was known as the Government House in the pre - independence days.Later after the transfer of power from the British East India Company to the British Crown in 1858 it became the official residence of the Viceroy of India.
The Ochterlony Monument as it was formerly called (The Shaheed Minar or Martyrs' Monument is it's new name) was erected in 1825 by Major General Sir David Ochterlony, commander of the British East India Company, to the victory of the East India Company’s forces over the Gurkhas in the Anglo-Nepalese War. The monument was constructed in his memory.
The Raj Heritage Walk would be of a duration of 2 hours with possibility of 1/2 an hour spill over to account for your extra time for photography, etc. (only where ever it is allowed and if other group members are ok with it). We usually conduct this tour in the early mornings between 6.30 a.m. - 9.30 a.m. local time as it helps you to walk comfortably in the pleasant mornings and in time to go for a hearty breakfast at your chosen place for you are sure to build up a massive appetite after the tour.
The usual starting point of the walk is the Esplanade Tram Depot and the tour ends there too. However, we can make special arrangements to pick you up from your hotel in Airconditioned Cars and drop you off at the same place or any place within 1 km of your pick up point.
For our honorariums for steering the tour and extra expenses for facilities required by you beyond the scope of this tour, please contact us directly. We usually go ahead with a minimum of 2 explorers.