Kolkata, the city of joy was once considered as the capital of British India and the nerve of the East India Company. It has seen huge European migration for a very long time and has witnessed a lot of historical events which has left its proof behind. You will find here the cemeteries of Indians, English, French, Dutch, Americans as well as Greeks. The graves have a gamut of history inscribed in them which will take you back to the 18th and 19th century. Some of the oldest cemeteries of Kolkata are:
Lower Circular Road Cemetery
At the crossing of Park Street and Mullick Bazaar, this Cemetery was built in 1840. This cemetery is a huge one and as of now, new burials take place. If you visit the place you will find many names which you have read in the history of Kolkata. The cemeteries of Michael Madhusudan Dutta, the famous Bengali poet and that of John Drinkwater Bethune, the champion of education for women are easily identified by appropriate signboards on the path. The tranquility of the place with its lonely setting makes its overall ambiance free from all sort of disturbances of the crowded city like Kolkata. Do visit this place on the ‘All Souls Day’ when the place is decorated with candles throughout.
South Park Street Cemetery
South Park Street Cemetery, a historical landmark and one of the oldest cemeteries is no more active. There is a place where you can get a glimpse of the graves of the martyrs from the British era that dates back to the 1600’s. The architecture of the tombs varies from style to style, and it’s very interesting to take a stroll amidst them admiring the gothic styled structures.
The Scottish Cemetery, established in 1820, was active till 1940. This is the burial ground for over 1600 ‘Scottish dissenters’ and members of the Scottish Presbyterian Church in colonial Kolkata. It offers a rustic reminder of the bygone era of Indian history. The atmosphere is serene which makes the place perfect for visitors who are peace lovers.
The only Greek Cemetery in Kolkata is located near Phoolbagan at Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad Sarani. It has a prayer house that is under the Greek Church of Kolkata. You will find burials here since the 1800’s. There is also a small chapel where the mourners pray. It evokes the Greek culture and reminds us of the Greek invaders who came to Kolkata and became the main reason of its construction.
This cemetery is beautifully maintained and presents a picture of the erstwhile Calcutta, the legacy of WWII and the impact of English rule. It conjures up the memories of the devastating world wars. You will also find many Hindu and Muslim burials here. This place is totally transformed on ‘All souls day’ evening with candles.
So, these are some of the most prominent cemeteries in Kolkata, that which gives you a rustic reminder of a bygone era of Indian history and should definitely not be missed. These places are also a photographer’s delight.