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Calcutta Times, Passion Club, Heritage Walk

Calcutta Times, Passion Club, Heritage Walk

Confluence of Culture

After the grand success of Happy Street, the Calcutta Times of The Times of India started their next project of Passion Clubs.

Group Photo, Calcutta Times, Passion Club, Heritage Walk of Confluence of Cultures.

Group Photo, Calcutta Times, Passion Club, Heritage Walk of Confluence of Cultures.

The Heritage, Photography and Food Passion Clubs were formed and the activities started soon after, with the objective of making the Calcuttans aware of their own heritage.

The walkers hit the road, Calcutta Times, Heritage Walk

The walkers hit the road, Calcutta Times, Heritage Walk

The first heritage walk was scheduled on 6 Sept, 2015 and was known as the Confluence of Culture and focused on the ethnic minority groups of Calcutta. I, as a member of Kolkata Bloggers, was invited to attend the walk. The route was similar to the Second Wikipedia Photwalk of Kolkata, which was held on 3 March, 2013.

The meeting point was the Indian Airlines Building on C R Avenue and the time was 8:00 am. I reached about 5 minutes early to find a large group of fellow heritage enthusiast have already reached and there were quiet a few were familiar faces.

From The Times of India there was journalist Bishwabijoy Mitra and photographer Arijit Dutta, the whole event was overseen by Jit Sengupta, of Times of India group. Last but not the least was walk leader Jay Saraogi, a young Calcuttan, who runs a travel agency focusing on the unknown aspect of the City of Joy.

Calcutta Times Passion Club, Heritage Walk, Bow Barracks

Calcutta Times Passion Club, Heritage Walk, Bow Barracks

There was some problems regarding the registration but it was soon sorted off by the TOI management. Jay started off with a brief introduction on the multi cultural aspect of the city and soon the heritage lovers hit the road.

The first stop was the Bow Barracks, a First World War (WWI) Barracks for the allied forces, which presently is predominantly inhabited by the Anglo Indian community.

Jay also let us inside the Buddhist Temple and the Parsi Dharmasala, which are located on either ends of the Bow Barracks. An Parsi lady at the Parsi Dharmasala not only gave a brief of the dharmasala but also provided a details of Parsi food.

Briefing session inside the Parsi Dharmasala

Briefing session inside the Parsi Dharmasala

The next stop was the Parsi Fire Temple in Metcalfe Street (Bandook Gali). As usual we were restricted to the ground floor only. The first floor, which houses the holy fire, is totally out of bounds of non Parsis. Next we headed for Tiretta Bazar (Calcutta’s Old Chintown), but sadly nothing was mentioned about the Aga Khan’s Palace located bang opposite the Parsi Temple.

It was almost 9:00 am when we reached Tireta Bazar and the famous Chinese Breakfast was on its closing phase. We headed for the Chinese Temples of Tiretta Bazar and the first stop was the Toong On Church.

Jay explained the history Toong On Church, which once housed the famous Nanking Restaurant, considered to be the oldest Chinese Restaurant in India. Next stop was the Sea Ip Church, the second of the six Chinese Temples of the region.

Calcutta Times Heritage Walkers at Beth El Synagogue

Calcutta Times Heritage Walkers at Beth El Synagogue

Next it was time to head for the Ezra Street and the old abandoned Parsi Fire Temple was skipped because of time constraint, but we were soon in the Pollock Street for the Beth El Synagogue. The grand interiors were a stunning surprise for the most of the visitors, who were visiting a Synagogue for the first time.

But the nearby Magen David Synagogue had much more to offer and the simple interiors of the Naveh Shalome Synagogue were no less interesting.

Next Jay lead us through the winding lanes to the Armenian Church, the oldest Christian Church of the city. Sadly we were not allowed inside the church and with Jay’s permission I took up the initiative of showing some of the important graves in the church compound.

Calcutta Times, Passion Club Heritage Walk

Calcutta Times, Passion Club Heritage Walk

Next and the final stop was the nearby Portuguese Church, which also has a very decorative interiors.

Here also Jay provided me the opportunity of guiding the walkers and I did my best to highlight some of the interesting plaques on the Portuguese Church wall.

Finally like all good thing the Calcutta Times Passion Club’s first heritage walk came to an end. Certificates were distributed to the participants

Phone numbers and emails were exchanged and we all returned home with a dream of exploring the the other hidden aspects of our very own City of Joy.

  1. Vedant Agarwal
    September 9, 2015 at 10:21 AM

    Quite amazing Mr. Datta. I am a small enthusiast about Calcutta in my own little ways, and so I tried to register for this event but that was unsuccessful. I have been inside the Magen David Synagogue earlier as well as the chinese temples and the abondoned Parsi agiari and most of the other places mentioned. Such walks are always so mesmerizing. Hope i can join you in the next walk.

    • September 16, 2015 at 9:34 PM

      Dear Mr Agarwal, TOI had their own regestration system, no idea how it worked. Nice to know that you have been in most of the places that was covered in the Calcutta Times Heritage Trail.

      Keep exploring the City of Joy

  2. Sandweip Banerje
    September 10, 2015 at 9:09 AM

    It was a great experience to be a part of the Calcutta times passion heritage walk .
    In a small radius of 5 to 6 km ,it was amazing to know and see how diversified cultures co existed centuries ago . I was born in this city and had walked those lanes and by lanes many a times , but on 6th September 2015 , courtesy to TOI ,I found out that so little I knew before. Times of India deserves a BIG THANKS for this heritage walk. I look forward to be a part of many such walks to discover and enrich my knowledge of our city KOLKATA . Additional help was from Mr Rangan Dutta , who had an excellent knowledge about Old Calcutta . Thanks to Mr Rangan Dutta.

    • September 16, 2015 at 9:32 PM

      Thanks Sandweip, Calcutta is an amazing city and full of surprises and hidden gems. Even after two decades of exploring the city I still bump into new things.

  3. suvendu das
    April 15, 2017 at 2:21 PM

    can you tell me how to become a member? i am interested in the latest venture of CT heritage walk. so can you please help me?

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