Back in 2015, I remember having the first conversation about what is now the Calcutta Bungalow with Iftekhar Ahsan. I had known Ifte since college and had watched his Calcutta Walks growing in popularity, till it became the number one thing for visitors to do, on Tripadvisor. A Bed & Breakfast for his guests seemed like the logical next step.
“What does a hotel say”, Ifte asked me over a cup of tea. “They say that outside there is chaos, but once you step in, you are insulated from it, in this oasis of peace. I am suggesting the exact opposite, don’t escape the chaos…embrace it”. With that in mind, Ifte and his partners at Calcutta Walks purchased a dilapidated Bengali home in the North Calcutta neighbourhood of Shyambazar and began the long and painful process of converting it into something that would delight his guests. I shot the building immediately after he took possession, in 2015, and I have to say, I had doubts the project would ever work. The house was an absolute dump! Decades of junk stored all over the place, to the point where it was impossible to use some of the stairs! How could this ever be converted into a hotel?
Three years later, after extensive work by restoration architect Akhil Ranjan Sarkar and scenographer Swarup Dutta, we have our answer. Here are a set of photos shot from the same spots, 3 years apart, to show you how dramatic this transformation has been.
The Calcutta Bungalow is now open. For bookings, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit https://calcuttabungalow.com/
- by Deepanjan Ghosh