A Heritage-Influencing Travel Guide To Colonial Architecture In Kolkata

Upon the rule of Delhi Sultanate from fourteenth century onwards, Bengal Sultanate ruled Calcutta. And that’s when the city gained momentum with military dominance and economic prosperity over regional empires. For Europeans, Bengal marked to be the richest to go for trading. These bygone days deserve a mention because they influenced the cultural heritage of the modern-day city – Kolkata. Colonial Architecture in Kolkata, thus, merits special attention.

An Introduction to Colonial Architecture in Kolkata

The city that was India’s capital for over 39 years has to house notable architectural buildings. In a world where trekking has become a major hiking activity, historical travelers are still interested to witness the colonial architectures in India, especially Kolkata. Kolkata, being a cosmopolitan and historic city, has its own share of influences on architectural front. What had been influencing factors for the city’s prominence have now become achievements for Kolkata tourism department. The prompting cultures of China, Jew, British, and other communities have made Kolkata a treasure trove of stunning architectural structures. Paying testaments to political, cultural, and social richness, the colonial buildings pay homage to the city’s bygone days!

A Heritage-Influencing Travel Guide to Colonial Architecture in Kolkata
Photo of ‘India – Kolkata 2 – 26 – interesting architecture’ by McKay Savage under CC BY 2.0

7 Old Heritage Buildings of Kolkata

Any inquisitive traveler can find these structures amazing! To pay elucidating attention to Colonial Architecture in Kolkata, keep reading on.

  1. Victoria Memorial

In Queen Victoria’s memory, this monument was built between years 1906 and 1921. William Emerson created this masterpiece in Indo-Saracenic era’s revivalist architectural styling! There are reasons why this monument tops the list of Colonial Architecture in India, especially Kolkata’s. The Markana marble is sourced from the land of Rajasthan and deserves a special vistor’s attention! It’s a unique combination of British and Indian designing styles. This impressive building gives you a great idea of architectural influences from Deccani, Mughal, Egyptian, as well as Venetian elements.

  1. Writer’s Building

If you’ve ever traveled to North Kolkata, you have already got mesmerized by the structures that the old houses of Kolkata can give a tourist. Besides, you might love the idea of witnessing the sheer prominence of Writer’s Building, formerly called Secretariat (?). Once you visit here, you have nothing else left other than marveling the influencing architectural design. Thomas Lyon designed this building. The building during the freedom struggles witnessed the addition of new blocks, the iron staircases, in the year 1906.

  1. Marble Palace

It’s a 19th century mansion that got its introduction with the hand of legendary Rajendra Mullick.  The Raja, when he built this palace, was a well-to-do Bengali merchant who had interest in art. That’s why he liked the idea of implementing marble floors and walls in this neoclassical 3-storeyed building! Alongside, it also features European and Indian artists’ paintings. Adding more, the interiors have been peppered with antique furniture, sculptures, and more such valuable items. Mullick’s descendant continued living in the Marble Palace, while some parts of it have been open to public.

  1. Town Hall

Designed in 1813, the purpose behind it was to offer places for the European community of Calcutta for gathering during social events. Now, it has become one of the old heritage buildings of Kolkata. The building has been built in Roman-Doric design and was earlier made use for judicial purposes in 18th century’s latter half. It also has a reference library with more than 12,000 journals and books!

A Heritage-Influencing Travel Guide to Colonial Architecture in Kolkata
Photo of ‘IMG_1856’ by Frances Voon under CC BY 2.0

  1. High Court

Speaking the beauty of neo-gothic architecture, High Court in Kolkata is one of traditional old houses of Kolkata that is given importance for judiciary purposes. Established in 1862, it was designed by Walter Granville, the popular British architect! The structure is believed to have been modeled on Ypres’ Cloth Hall in Belgium!

  1. Paul’s Cathedral

St. Paul’s Cathedral houses unique architectural design. Revealing Gothic revival architecture’s true beauty, it houses an Anglican background! It’s a CNI church that was established in 1847.

  1. Belvedere Estate

Latterly home to India’s National Library, Belvedere Estate is said to be constructed in the middle of 18th century. It is believed to be built by Mir Jafar Khan, the ruler (Nawab) during the 1760s. Later on, during the time of British, it got transferred to East India Company.

Speaking of National Library, not just in Kolkata, National Library is one of the most iconic structures, which has its name under the list of best Colonial Architecture in India. Near Belvedere Road, this historical spot is known for its rare collection of journals and books. Much to the knowledge of Kolkata’s bookworms, it’s expected to arrive in a whole new avatar in some days.

Planning for a Historic Tour to Colonial Architecture in Kolkata?

Call it achievements or influences, the impression that these aforementioned architectural building give is simply remarkable in a nutshell. So are you planning for a historic tour to Colonial Architecture in Kolkata now?

Featured Photo of ‘Colonial-Era Architecture – Central Kolkata – India – 02’ by Adam Jones under CC BY-SA 2.0

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