To begin any cultural tour of any major city in India, we would have to revisit the British influence. Kolkata is no different. Kolkata was India's capital until the British looked to Delhi.
This tour will take you to the beautiful structures built during the British era, begining with Dalhousie Square (now renamed BBD Bagh after three Indian freedom fighters), the charming heart of Kolkata. Ringed by colonial British buildings from the 18th and 19th centuries, this square was the center for British administrative and commercial control over India.
We will showcase for you the most important buildings in the area. You will trace the fortunes of the British Empire through these buildings, hear stories of the people who commissioned them, and get an insight into history and politics that linger behind these buildings.
"The highlights of the tour include Writer’s Building, St. John’s Church, Job Charnock’s Tomb, General Post Office and Old Government House."
Significance of each place of the tour
B.B.D. Bagh, formerly called Dalhousie Square, is the shortened version for Benoy-Badal-Dinesh Bagh. It is the seat of power of the state government, as well as the central business district in Kolkata in the Indian state of West Bengal.
B.B.D. Bagh was created as the center of the British East India Company's trading post along the banks of the Hooghly River. Between the river and the tank (now known as Lal Dighi), lay the original Fort William.
The Writers' Building, often shortened to just Writers', is the secretariat building of the State Government of West Bengal in India. It is located in West Bengal's capital city of Kolkata.
It housed the office of the Chief Minister of West Bengal until 4 October 2013. Now most of the departments have moved out to another building named Nabanna in Howrah on a temporary basis for facilitating renovation of the Writers'.
The building went under renovation in late 2013, in a project costing ₹200 crore (US$30 million). Prior to this, the state Secretariat and Chief Minister’s office temporarily shifted to the Howrah River Bridge Commissioners Building.
In February 2014, the project was stalled after conservation experts and the state Public Works Department found the plan submitted by an architect firm insufficient.
Meanwhile, a team of Jadavpur University and Bengal Engineering and Science University,Shibpur architects was invited to conduct tests of the structure, before the actual renovation could be commenced.
St. John’s Church
St. John’s Church, originally a cathedral, was among the first public buildings erected by the East India Company after Kolkata became the effective capital of British India. Located at the North – Western corner of Raj Bhavan construction of the St. John’s Church started in 1784, with Rs 30,000 raised through a public lottery, and was completed in 1787.
St. John’s Church is the third oldest church in Calcutta (Kolkata) only next to the Armenian and the Old Mission Church. St. John’s Church served as the Anglican Cathedral of Calcutta (Kolkata) till 1847 when it was transferred to St. Paul’s Cathedral. St. John's Church was modeled according to the St Martin-in-the-Fields of London.
Job Charnock’s Tomb
Located within the St John Church, Job Charnock's Tomb is truly a sight to behold. One of the oldest English monuments in the city, it was constructed in the memory of English merchant-adventurer, Job Charnock, who is popularly believed to have founded the city of Kolkata in 1690.
The mausoleum was built by Job Charnock's successor and son-in-law Sir Charles Eyre, in 1695. Constructed from a unique kind of rock called 'Charnockite', this edifice projects the deep rooted respect that was bestowed upon this individual. The tomb itself is engraved with a short text in Latin honoring the man.
General Post Office
The General Post Office, Kolkata, is the central post office of the city of Kolkata, India, and the chief post office of West Bengal. The post-office handles most of the city's inbound and outbound mail and parcels. Situated in the B.B.D. Bagh area, the imposing structure of the GPO is one of the landmarks in the city.
The site where the GPO is located was actually the site of the first Fort William. An alley beside the post office was the site of the guardhouse that housed the infamous 1756 Black Hole of Calcutta (1756). The General Post Office was designed in 1864 by Walter B. Grenville (1819-1874), who acted as consulting architect to the government of India from 1863 to 1868.
Old Government House
In the early nineteenth century Calcutta (Kolkata) was at the height of its golden age. Known as the City of Palaces or St. Petersburg of the East, Calcutta was the richest, largest and the most elegant colonial cities of India. It was during this time one of Calcutta's finest colonial structure the Government House (later Raj Bhavan) was constructed.
Before 1799, the Governor General resided in a rented house, called Bukimham House, located in the same location. The land belonged to Mohammad Reza Khan, a Nawab of Chitpur. It was in 1799 the then Governor General of India, Lord Wellesley, took the initiative of building a palace, because he believed that India should be ruled from a palace and not from a country house. Wellesley wanted to make a statement to the imperial authority and power and so the building was done on a grand scale.
Google maps of the tour
Cost of the tour
"Prices are based on minimum 2 adults. If there is just one adult OR if there is one adult + 1 child, please select ‘2’ adults to complete the reservation. We will charge for a minimum of 2 adults. ".
What is included in the tour
- A private air-conditioned vehicle
- Service of an English speaking guide on private basis
- Complimentary mineral water
What is not included in the tour
- Entrance fees
- Camera fee
- Any other item not mentioned under ‘Inclusions’
Things to know about the tour
- Booking should be made at least 2 days prior (excluding weekends)
- For any entrance fee or camera fee, please pay directly (our guide will assist you in buying any entry tickets, if applicable)
- After you book the experience a voucher will be generated and sent to your email ID. The voucher will have all the information – including contact details of the experience provider
- A 'No Show' will result in No Refund.
- You will be collected from within the city limits.
- Duration of the trip is 3-4 hours (from pick up to drop off)
- Best time to do this experience is between 9AM and 5PM
Book your walking tour of colonial Kolkata now