The Early Calcutta Walk

When the British settled down to trade in Eastern India they needed the help of intermediaries for sourcing trading material and other facilities for them. They also required people to keep accounts, do constabulary work,  provide civic services, etc.  Although, there came a lot of people from Britain, local help was of paramount importance.  The most important of local people were the traders and middlemen. The local Indian traders made a lot of profit trading with the British. They created a lot of wealth in a very short time and being immensely rich, needed to show of their wealth, power, clout and newly acquired aristocracy.  They started to get entertained by "Bai Dances" or Rent-able Danseuse and even started to splurge money Marrying off their Cats with a lot of glitz. They also started building palatial houses that are  curious mixtures of different European and Indian styles. These palaces often were built to overshadow rival palaces and so on. There are so many interesting stories centred around these incidents which, as we have mentioned before, range from the hilarious to jaw dropping incredulity. We will surely tell you some of those stories during the walk.

The Walk will take us through the narrow streets of Old Calcutta where time seems to have frozen in places. Your Local Friend in Kolkata will steer you through the maze of Tram Cars, Hand Pulled Rickshaws, Tuk Tuk Auto Rickshaws, cycles, pedestrians and pavement shopkeepers. We will pass Mansions, Palaces, Mosques, Temples, Churches, artefact sellers and what not. You may want to give your legs a little rest and we can hop into a passing quaint tram car at any point of the walk and hop of whenever we fancy doing so. There will be no rigidity in this walk.

The walk will end in either the
Marble Palace or the Jorasanko Thakurbari.

You may choose to complete the tour with neither, either or both these destinations  after the walk. These  visiting points are  beyond the scope of the walk but we can extend the programme to facilitate better understanding & appreciation . Each of these locations can take over an hour to see and you may as well schedule your time till late afternoon, if you want to complete the tour. Rest you feet, revitalise yourself with hygienic refreshments we provide and you are ready to start again. 

The Jorasanko Thakurbari, once the abode of generations of luminaries who excelled in various disciplines over generations and were significant contributors to Bengal and Indian Renaissance, today houses a Museum and University. The sons of the house have among them, Asia's First Nobel Laureate, The Kabiguru (The Guru of Poetry) Rabindranath Thakur (Tagore).  Poet (Nobel Laureate), Author, Dramatist, Singer, Painter, Educationalist (founder of Asia's first open air School and University at Shantiniketan),  Humanist & Philosopher, Tagore along with other illustrious members of his family, gave a lot to India. A museum built in the Mansion gives you glimpses of his life and times.

After Jorasanko, you can again choose to end the tour or carry on to see the Marble Palace. The property of the Mullick Family, this sprawling palace houses many genuine pieces of art, some awesome marble periodic sculptures, a huge Lawn, a water body with marble fountains and a mini zoo. It is prudent to let your eyes pick out the genuinely great  artefacts from the many knick-knack  objects lying about, although all of antique value.

If you have taken this tour as an extended walk, we suggest you take a tram ride back to a more convenient location,  to proceed for your evening destination,  in case you have not gone in fort an AC Cab extra or you are not a part our
Early Calcutta Drive Along tour.

The Early Calcutta Walk would be of a duration of 2.5 hours with possibility of 1/2 an hour spill over to account for your extra time for photography, etc. (only where ever it is allowed and if other group members are ok with it). We usually conduct this tour in the early mornings between 8.00 a.m. - 11.00 a.m.  local time as it helps you to walk comfortably in the pleasant mornings .

The usual starting point of the walk is opposite  Lal Bazar Police H.Q (A Heritage Building in itself) and the tour ends either at the Marble Palace Gate or at Jorasanko Thakurbari Gate . However, we can make special arrangements to pick you up from your hotel in Air-conditioned Cars and drop you off at the same place or any place within 1 km of your pick up point.

More of Early Calcutta & its  MansionsIn addition to the above, we can take you on a 1/2 day tour of Old Calcutta in a chauffeured, air conditioned car for a more detailed visit , allowing you to cover many more sites and the assurance of your Local Friend in Kolkata.

For our honorariums towards  steering the tour and extra expenses for facilities required by you beyond the scope of this tour, please contact us directly. We usually go ahead with a minimum of 2 explorers.