"Heritage plays an important role in the identity of a place, it reflects its image and reveals stories of its past epitomising its sense of character. If understood and managed properly it has the power to effectively contribute to the overall quality of urban environment as well as serve as the starting point of sustainable urban development."
READ MOREThe Heritage & People of Chandernagore is a heritage conservation and community engagement project aimed at finding meaning and relevance of this shared cultural heritage. The objective of the project is to bring Chandernagore on the global platform and draw attention to its conservation and tourism development. It hopes to empower the youth of Chandernagore and build pride in their town's heritage. With the aim of inspiring the youth to discover their past, a series of workshops and competitions were conducted over the summer of 2015 to encourage active engagement with the settlement and local sites . An initiative of Aishwarya Tipnis Architects this project has been supported by the Fondation VMF, a Paris based NGO, Les Amis du Patrimoine Pondichérien (APP), French Heritage in India Society (FHI) as well as the Embassy of France in India. Institut de Chandernagore have been the collaborating partners for the workshops.
We are in the process of building a comprehensive website recording the memories of the people of Chandernagore. We are inviting everyone who has lived, worked or passed through Chandernagore to share their photos and memories to create a shared album of history. Please do drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
Located approximately 50kms to the north of Calcutta along the west bank of the Hooghly river are a string of settlements which form a unique ensemble of erstwhile trading posts of European powers French (Chandernagore), Dutch (Chinsurah), Danish (Serampore) and Portuguese (Bandel) in close proximity. Fondly known as the "Europe on the Ganges" this ensemble is a unique cultural landscape, an exceptional centre of maritime trade in the 17th Century. A testimony to the confluence of cultures and a starting point of the "Contemporary Bengali Culture" manifested in the form of architecture, town planning, literature and art that developed in the region.
READ MOREChandernagore was the first trading post on the eastern bank of the Hooghly, set up by the French in 1696. It grew to a prosperous trading town under the governance of Joseph Francois Dupleix and was the second most important French settlement in India after Pondicherry. In 1757 after the Battle of Plassey, Chandernagore was captured and plundered by the British. It was returned to the French in 1765, after the Treaty of Paris but continued to decline and was eventually overshadowed by the British settlement at Calcutta for the next two centuries. After Indian independence in 1947, Chandernagore was declared a free city and its citizens voted in favour of joining the Indian Republic and merged with the State of West Bengal in 1954..
Similar to other colonial French settlements, it was planned on a grid iron pattern, with broad tree lined avenues opening on to the quay with modest ground plus one storied buildings aligned along the street much like Pondicherry and Senegal. Chandernagore was designed as a trading town and not a military establishment, native Bengali merchants were invited to trade and settle in the city and added to its prosperity. The urban fabric of Chandernagore is a physical manifestation of the confluence of the French & Bengali cultures, Bengali merchants like Indranarayan Choudhury, Harihar Sett, Durgacharan Rakshit played important roles in the administration and development of the town. Most of the houses retained their Indian planning around the courtyards and chose to employ European aesthetics in the architectural expressions of the buildings. Chandernagore has played a very significant role in the development of revolutionary thoughts and activities against the British. Rashbehari Bose, Kanialal Dutt, Motilal Roy, Charu Charan Roy took refuge here and several of the revolutionary activities were planned at the Prabartak Sangha.
Easily accessible from Kolkata via road and rail, Chandernagore today functions as a suburb to Kolkata and although it forms a part of the Kolkata Metropolitan Area , it has an independent Municipality.