For many visitors touring India for the first time, it may seem like a place of diverse cultures and heritage. It is one of those few countries in the world where the language, culture, and tradition changes after every 100 kilometers. India has got many fascinating places, and as it was under the rule of the British, the English architecture has its clear imprints on many Indian cities. One such town in India where the British established themselves is the city of joy also known as Kolkata. It is a widely accepted fact within Kolkata that it was the capital of the British Empire in India. The East India Company under the leadership of the Englishmen conducted trade in Bengal and nearby areas. They also constructed many impressive architectural buildings in Kolkata and one of them is the present day Fort Williams.
A brief overview of Fort Williams
Fort Williamsis situated on the banks of river Hooghly at its eastern end. It was constructed by the British rulers during their initial years of rule. Fort Williamsis named after King William III and King William II. It was built in the year 1696 by the British East Indian Company. In this context, it is kind of interesting to note that the chief architects of Fort Williamsare Sir Charles Eyre and Sir John Beard. Quite interestingly, the South East Bastion and the North East Bastion were completed by them in 1701 and 1702. On the other hand, in the yae4r 1706, a factory was constructed by them in the center of the Fort Williams. Apart from this plant, the British rulers had created a great guard room that is also known as the Black Hole of Kolkata.
Photo by rhinoji
Fort Williams and its rich British history
In the year 1756, the King of Bengal, Siraj-Ud-Daulah attacked the British and conquered the city of Kolkata. Hence, the construction work at Fort Williamswas eventually stopped in the year 1756. On the other hand, during this phase, the British rulers constructed a new fort in the Maidan region of Kolkata. However, the reconstruction for Fort Williamsstarted in the year 1758. Sir Robert Clive undertook the responsibility of reconstructing this magnificent fort. It is an important fact to consider in this context that it took around two million pounds to complete the reconstruction work.
The modern day tourists can enjoy the vast architecture of the fort. Nowadays, the Fort Williamsserves as the headquarters of the Eastern Command of the Indian Army. Hence, for patriotic Indians, this place acts as a tourist spot as well as it serves as a destination that feels the heart of many nations loving Indians. With the leadership of Sir Robert Clive, it took almost 25 years to complete the building process of Fort Williams. The Fort Williamshas a fifty-foot high wall that is replete with seven gates and seven bastions. An outstanding fact about Fort Williamsis that it is the only fort in the whole world from where no gun firing has taken place.
The present state of Fort Williams
The Fort Williamsprimarily served as a Customs House since the year 1766. However, in recent days it belongs to the Indian Army and serves as their headquarters. The Fort Williamsis so huge in its capacity that it can accommodate 10000 army personnel with ease. Moreover, this fort has all amenities that can be found within a city. Fort Williamshas a church, a movie theater, and a swimming pool. Besides that, the Fort Williamsalso has two sports stadium and a hospital. The Army Arsenal that lies within the Fort Williamsis a thing that is worth visiting. Hence, it is vital to take prior permissions from the commanding officer of the Indian Army.
The places of interest that lie within Fort Williams
Several areas of interest lie within Fort Williamswhich can also appeal to the likes of many tourists. However, many tourists nowadays visit the places of interest within Fort Williamsto have a glimpse of rich heritage and culture. Here is the list of such sites:
St. Peters Church
For many nostalgic residents of Kolkata, St. Peters Church is a symbol of piousness. According to many old residents of Kolkata, this church is accessible to accommodate all people belonging to various religious backgrounds. However, recently, it has been turned into the library for army men. On the other hand, the Fort Williamsalso has a museum that contains documents from the Bangladesh Liberation War.
The Golf Club
The golf club that is situated exclusively inside Fort Williamsis also known by the name of The Fort William Environmental Park and Training Area. This golf club is set up primarily to increase the popularity of this beautiful game. However, nowadays it is being frequented by retired army personnel of the4 Indian Army. It has perfect holes and numerous trees that unarguably makes it one of the finest golf courses in India. On the other hand, this golf course attracts the attention of several foreign players who are eager to play golf in this beautiful golf course.
Fort Williams College
In the past, the Fort Williamsalso has a college that was primarily built for the transfusion of English language and culture into the rich heritage of Kolkata. This college was established by Lord Wellesley and had specialization courses in Oriental Studies. Besides that this college was accessible as many eminent teachers interacted with the students in this very college campus. However, with the diminishing importance of the British rulers in Kolkata, this college was primarily stopped. Nowadays, the Fort Williams witnesses a large number of crowds in the Republic Day of India as the tourists can see the full grandeur of the march past of the Indian Army.