The Ghats of Kolkata- Unheard Stories!

The term ‘Ghat’ is mostly used in certain parts of South Asia refers to a series of steps leading one down to a water body, which is usually a holy river.  In regions where Bengali is spoken ‘ghat’ means a set of stairs as which can lead to something as small as a pond or as large as a big river. In river side cities in India since the olden times, they were constructed mainly to give access to the river Ganga. The ghats in Kolkata have their own history and significance and their names have been found mentioned in the books of several authors and poets. The meanderingHooghlyRiver flowing through the heart of Kolkata has facilitated the building of recreational spots andGhats which let us appreciate the beauty of this holy river as has been done by prominent people of yesteryears.

The Outram

This ghat has a colonial history to be linked with. It has been built and dedicated to Sir James Outram who was a foot soldier in the army of the British East India Company and later rose to the rank of a general because of his bravery and commitment. Located to the south of Babughat this ghat is known to be one of Kolkata’s premier riverside entertainment spots. A multipurpose ghat, one can use it for bathing, conducting ceremonies of birth and death and also immerse idols during the festive season. Its importance is highlighted specially during the Durga Puja when mass idols are immersed here. The nearby tourist attractions which you can also take a trip to from here are Maidan, Race Course, Victoria Memorial andMillenniumPark.

The Princep Ghat

This ghat was built under the beautification drive undertaken by the British East India Company during the British rule. It has been built in the memory of the famous British scholar James Prinsep. He was the honorable secretary of the Asiatic Society. His role in deciphering Emperor Akbar’s Brahminical script is worth appreciating. His untimely death at the age of forty let the Kolkatans to pay a tribute to this great man by opening this ghat to the public in 1843. This is a charming recreational spot where tourists can spend hours sitting on benches and have a glimpse of the large stretch ofHooghlyRiver. One can also while away the time watching the boatmen work and sing. The boats made available can offer you a tempting voyage to visit the majestic Belur Math and Dakhshineswar temple. The boat ride is the most pleasing way to discover the subtle charms of the city.

Annapurna Ghat

This ghat was previously known as Raghu Mitra’s Ghat whose father Govindo Ram Mitra was ranked as ‘black deputee’ by the British during the British Rule. Bishnu Ram Chakraborty of Bag Bazaar was appointed as the ‘Ameen’ of Kolkata during the same time when Warren Hastings was the Governor General. BeforeHastingsset off forEnglandhe presented 52 acres of land to Bishnu Ram Chakraborty. He then built four Shiva temples on Raghu Mitra’s ghat in 1776 and devoted himself to the worshipping of goddessAnnapurnaevery day. Thus, the ghat then came to be known as Annapurna Ghat.

Armenian Ghat

This is a ghat that has stood the test of time. The Armenians were among the most earliest foreign immigrants to have settled in Kolkata. The Armenian who took the responsibility of constructing this ghat was Manvel Hazaar Maliyan. The centre of all attention is the flower market here with its variety of rare beautiful blossoms that come from varied districts of West Bengal andIndia. Flowers like Lilies, Dutch rose, Gladioli, Dahlias are displayed on a huge scale and you have to pitch the right bargain if you wish to lay your hands on them. The other treat to the eyes is the open air wrestling amphitheatre with budding wrestlers competing with one another. Also, the riverside massage therapist is another delightful thing when you want a quick massage to relax your tired muscles.

The above ghats form a fascinating place for tourists and also for the ordinary citizens. The romanticism and history associated with these ghats stay immortal through the years as people continue to appreciate their beauty and charm.       

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