Monday, 28 March 2016

Army & Navy Stores, Chowringhee

I distinctly remember the day I first heard the name “Kanak Buildings”. I was in college and was entering the Maidan Metro station when I happened to look up and on the wall found the sign saying “Kanak Building Exit”. While I was much less curious about heritage buildings back then, it did strike me as very odd. The red and white building in Edwardian style could pass for a Raj era government building. But “Kanak” was an Indian woman’s name! What the hell was going on here anyway? Many years later, when I started writing about Calcutta’s (Kolkata) heritage buildings, I chanced upon the Flickr page of DCR Finch and discovered that this was once The Army & Navy Stores.


Monday, 21 March 2016

The Metropolitan Laboratory & Nursing Home Ltd., Theatre Road

“That building over there? That used to be the Metropolitan Nursing Home”, said my colleague Robin in answer to my question. He has been working at our office on Camac Street for much longer than I have, and our 13th-floor veranda gives us a bird’s eye view of the building on 18 Theatre Road (now Shakespeare Sarani). By the time I started working, the building was far past its prime, the nursing home was shut, and the entire plot was overgrown. It was only recently, over a cup of tea at my uncle’s house on Amherst Street that it emerged that my uncle, Dr. Dipak Ranjan Sarbadhikari was connected to this building.

Monday, 14 March 2016

Victoria Memorial, Lucknow

It is not only Calcutta (Kolkata) that has a Victoria Memorial, but also Lucknow! I was completely unaware of this monument until I visited Lucknow in the winter of 2014. Although Lucknow’s Victoria Memorial is nowhere near as grand as Calcutta’s, it is a beautiful monument and sadly, not many outside of Lucknow seem to know about it.


Monday, 7 March 2016

Aurangabad Caves

Before we visited Aurangabad, I had done some basic research on the city and the surrounding areas of the Indian state of Maharashtra, and it is during that research that I had found out about the Aurangabad Caves. I planned an itinerary and sent my sister off to the Maharashtra Tourism office in Calcutta (Kolkata) to make some enquiries. She came back and told me that the Maharashtra Tourism office had never heard of the Aurangabad Caves! I was rather taken aback; after all, the caves are mentioned even in the Wikipedia article about the city. But it seems, in spite of being nearly 2000 years old, the Aurangabad Caves are not really high on any tourist’s list of priorities.