Choong Ye Tong, Chinese Church (Temple)
Meredith Street, Calcutta (Kolkata)
Also see: My blog post on Calcutta (Kolkata) Chinatown
I was welcomed into a small courtyard, with walls lined with sepia tinted photographs bound in ornate frames. Flights of stairs led me to the the second floor housing a small hermitage housing beautiful images of unknown Gods and Goddess. Yes this is the Choong Ye Tong, Chinese Church (Temple), one of the seven Chinese Temples of Central Calcutta.
~ Birth Place of Calcutta Chinatown ~
In the late 18th century a Chinese tea trader by the name of Tong Achew landed on the banks of Hooghly, somewhere near present day Budge – Budge, never to return again. The then Governor General Warren Hasting granted land to Achew to set up a sugar cane plantation and sugar factory. According to records to British East India Company “Achew was granted 650 bighas of land about 6 miles south of Budge – Budge for an annual rent of Rs 45.”
After acquiring the land Achew set up a sugar – cane plantation along with a sugar mill. He brought in a band of Chinese workers to work in his plantation and factory and thus forming the first Chinese settlement in India. But Achew died soon after and his sugar factory was abandoned. His workers left for the city of Calcutta, where their descendents still continue to live.