Food & Travel South Asia

Kolkata | Chowringhee

There is no direct flight from Bagdogra to Ranchi. We are having a stopover in Kolkata. We checked in at the Peerless Inn, at Chowringhee. Chowringhee is a neighbourhood in central Kolkata steeped in history, it is a business district, as well as a shopper’s destination and entertainment-hotel centre. ‘Chowringhee’ is believed to be named after a yogi — Chourangi Giri, who discovered an image of the goddess Kali’s face and founded the original Kalighat temple. Chowringhee is one of the best addresses in Kolkata. It still oozes of the imperial heritage. The building nearby are majestic and imposing and reminds of the British raj. From the hotel window, I can get wonderful view of Esplanade.

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A distant view of Raj Bhavan
A distant view of Raj Bhavan

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Just across is the Metropolitan Building — an iconic landmark in Chowringhee. Formerly known as the Whiteway Laidlaw department store, it was a famous department store in Calcutta during the British Rule in India. This net-baroque emporium — with domes, a clock tower, and arched recessed windows — exemplifies fashionable shopping during the British Raj in British India. The building was built in the year 1905. Post Independence Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. assumed ownership, so people know it more commonly as Metropolitan Building. The building was restored by Life Insurance Corporation of India.

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Corner tower of the Metropolitan Building
Corner tower of the Metropolitan Building with dome and clock — an important landmark overseeing Chowringhee

The tall Shahid Minar can also be seen from the room window with the Eden Gardens stadium as the backdrop. Shahid Minar was erected in 1828 in memory of Major-general Sir David Ochterlony, commander of the British East India Company, to commemorate both his successful defense of Delhi against the Marathas in 1804 and the victory of the East India Company’s armed forces over the Gurkhas in the Anglo-Nepalese War.

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In August 1969, it was rededicated to the memory of the martyrs of the Indian freedom movement and hence renamed the “Shahid Minar” in memory of the martyrs of the Indian independence movement.

Shahid Minar with Eden Gardens as the backdrop
Shahid Minar with Eden Gardens as the backdrop

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