Home > Calcutta (Kolkata), Calcutta Heritage, General > Maniktala Christian Cemetery, Kolkata

Maniktala Christian Cemetery, Kolkata

Maniktala Christian Cemetery, Kolkata

Family Graves of Toru and Aru Dutt

Overgrown with tall grasses & bushes, infested with dogs and a few unimpressive scattered graves is the best way of describing the Maniktala Christian Cemetery.

Maniktala Christian Cemetery, Maniktala, Kolkata (Calcutta)

Maniktala Christian Cemetery, Maniktala, Kolkata (Calcutta)

The Cemetery itself is difficult to spot and even people living in the neighborhood are totally unaware of its existence.

Located behind the Leprosy Mission Hospital it is approached through a small gate next to the hospital.

Gate of Maniktala Christian Cemetery

Gate of Maniktala Christian Cemetery

The gate bares the the inscription “Maniktalla Christian Cemetery.” The board is covered by a branch of a tree making it almost invisible.

There is also a small metal board saying “Trespassers will be prosecuted” and “entry prohibited” in Bengali. The notice can be ignored as there is no restriction in entry nor in photography.

The Maniktala Christian Cemetery, is still active, but it is in an utter state of neglect. A family stays in the cemetery and the uses the cemetery for drying clothes.

Maniktala Christian Cemetery

Maniktala Christian Cemetery

The cemetery is surrounded by a low wall making it accessible to dogs and it also doubles up as a playground for local kids.

There are scattered graves all over and during the monsoon time the grass reaches well over the waist level.

Most of the graves belong to Bengali Christians and Banerjee and Dutt are common sir names. On closer inspection one can definitely spot a few Anglican names too.

On the north – eastern corner of the Maniktala Christian Cemetery lies the family grave of the Rambagan Dutt Family.

Maniktala Christian Cemetery, graves of Toru Dutt's family

Maniktala Christian Cemetery, graves of Toru Dutt’s family

A small enclosure, which looks more like a rectangular well, houses the grave of Toru Dutt and her family. Toru Dutt, the first Indian women to write proses and poetry in both English and French, is buried along with his siblings Aru and Abju.

The enclosure also houses the grave of their parents, father Govin Chunder and mother Khetramoni.

The enclosure have been the result of a restoration effort by local organization Pather Panchali.

The restored graves were inaugurated by the then sports minister Subhas Chakraborty in 2007. A black granite plaque on the inner walls of the enclosure proudly tells the tale of restoration.

Epitaphs Toru, Aru and Abju Dutt along with the restoration plaque, Maniktala Christian Cemetery.

Epitaphs Toru, Aru and Abju Dutt along with the restoration plaque, Maniktala Christian Cemetery.

Sadly the unplanned restoration has robbed the graves of its beauty and turning them into a single piece of concrete with only the marble tablets visible.

Rambagan Dutt Family Tree

Rambagan Dutt Family Tree

Toru belonged to the Rambagan Dutt family and was the cousin of writer and ICS Romesh Dutt.

In 1854 Toru’s cousin Omesh embraced Christianity, along with his three uncles, including Toru’s father Govin. They were largely influenced by David Hare, William Carey and Alexander Duff.

Toru wrote Le Journal de Mademoiselle d’Arvers, Sheaf Gleaned in French Fields and Ancient Ballads and Legends in India.

In 1869 Aru and Toru travelled to Europe and visited France, Italy and England. Due to ill health they were forced to return. They never recovered from their illness. Aru died 23 July 1874 (aged 20) and Toru on 30 August 1877 (aged 21).

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  1. May 25, 2015 at 10:41 AM

    Superb post, Rangan! The sleeping dog (does it lie?) and the colourful clothes on the drying line adds to the pathos.

  2. June 18, 2015 at 1:20 PM

    Oh wow…came across another slice of history of this city!

    • June 18, 2015 at 9:16 PM

      Calcutta is full of hidden gems, even after exploring the city for decades I still stumble upon new pieces of history.

      • June 18, 2015 at 9:59 PM

        I hope you continue exploring such sites and keep sharing them with us!

  3. Sayan Banerjee
    September 6, 2015 at 1:12 PM

    Sir I am a student of photography.I am very passionate to shoot horror photography,before going to any location especially while any graveyard I always keep your blog as a guide.I am looking to start a magazine about haunted,so I would be glad and pleased if you help me regarding it.

    • September 11, 2015 at 9:59 PM

      Thanks Sayan for the comment, but what is horror photography??? I am been wondering in the cemeteries for over two decades but have never sen any any horror!!! So I have no idea how t photograph horror.

      A magazine about haunted, will it be on Kolkata only??? what about the frequency of publication??

      Thanks once more and do keep in touch.

  4. Samik Dutta
    October 29, 2015 at 6:07 PM

    Thanks for the lovely information. I happened to belong to Dutt family of Rambagan and my ancestral home is still at Rambagan next to the original house of Ramesh Dutt although I stay in Mumbai but frequently go to my ancestral house. My house is very close to the house where Taru Dutt and her family used to stay. I feel soo proud to be a part of this glorious family.

  5. March 9, 2016 at 10:25 AM

    Hey Dear Rangan Datta,
    Your Blog is really good and very nice information. I would like to read your suggestion again so update me at: turo

  6. March 9, 2016 at 10:28 AM

    Hey Rangan Dutta,
    I really like your blog. It is really nice information and i would like to read your update blog soon. Visit me to at :turo

  7. Ranjan Datta
    June 14, 2016 at 4:37 PM

    I also belong to Dutt family of Rambagan . I had visited this cemetery few years back and also met the group who maintain this land.They are from Rasomoy Dutt’s line .I belong to Harish Chandra’s line and have created a family tree.It is very interesting. I stay at Raja Gurudas Street next to old Romesh Dutt’s residence. So far only the old building of Toru Dutt is still in tact.
    I know you find old Calcutta(Kolkata) fascinating so am I.

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