Calcutta, a city that smelled of heritage in every nook and corner of its streets is slowly and steadily losing the magnificent heritage buildings which it once proudly boasted of. It's sad and extremely disheartening to see the new destroying the old instead of nurturing it. Like a fresh new breath of life, the city gifted me "Calcutta Bungalow". It is the heartfelt love for the city and its heritage that convinced Calcutta Walks, Iftekar Ahsan and his friends to take up this herculean, yet so very important task to set an example for others. Jaipur with all its beautiful havelis is a treat to the eyes and soul. However he chose my city. He created something extremely beautiful from an old and beautiful rambling bungalow (established 1926) which would otherwise have faced a sad death.
“Calcutta Bungalow”, Calcutta’s first heritage bed and breakfast opens its doors to Calcuttans and tourists alike.
The rooms are 6 in all,each named and designed according to a particular locality of the old Calcutta we knew. The rooms are aptly decorated and designed with props and other features which enhance the theme. Sahibpara, Darjipara,Potuapara, Jatrapara and Mochipara. Each room has a working typewriter and beautifully designed chandeliers and poster beds. Keeping the old charm intact it also houses all the modern amenities and air conditioners. I stayed at Jatrapara which is a tribute to the age old form of specialised live drama called “Jatra”. The room is beautifully decorated with hand painted Jatra posters, stage props and extremely apt furniture.
The dinner course meal looked like a foodies delight with a full course bengali/continental menu. However the breakfast was quintessential bengali with beautiful “luchis”, “alu torkari ( potato curry), a fruit platter and tea in earthen cups. I am quite sure the lunch/dinner would be worth it. Please, do try it.
Each corner has a story to tell. Every room is different and unique in its own way. The dining area is beautifully decorated with street snacks in glass jars, age old newspaper advertisements, old Calcutta artifacts and lights fitted inside cylindrical loudspeakers which are used in street announcements. The impeccable art design will surely stun you wherever you look. The reception area is an artists delight. Old table clock cases are used to house small lights creating an ambient atmosphere. Apart from that numerous paintings, wall decor and traditional statues add to the rustic charm of the place. Rickshaw bells, a symbol of Calcutta take up the role of key chains for your rooms. There's a three storeyed chandelier made of kitchen utensils which hangs from the roof down all three floors. It surely is a masterpiece and deserves a separate line. The verandahs are traditionally brushed up to give one the old Bengali charm which we so miss nowadays. There is also a terrace with a lovely seating area and a rooftop cafe which i heard is on its way. Sahibpara houses a copper bathtub. The water bottles are copper and glass.All in all, every corner you look, you see something unique and reminiscent of the past.
Ever smiling people greet you as you knock on the beautiful old door. Every need is taken care of. The people are simple and caring. Anirban Dutta is a helping hand in every way right from the booking procedure till you check out.
As I conclude I would request each and every Calcuttan to experience this lovely gift to Calcutta. Go there, see a different city, smell the history around and most importantly spread the word. I congratulate Calcutta Walks and Iftekar Ahsan for spearheading this project and gifting my city the first of its kind heritage bungalow.
(P.S:- Be sure to check out the lovely green ambassador which remains parked outside. It smells of history too.)
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