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Walking with Ghosts: The Calcutta Ghost Tour

Spectral Urban Studies:

Walking with Ghosts, A Tour with Anthony Khatchaturian

This midnight walk explores Colonial Kolkata at a particularly evocative moment: midnight, when the spectres of history return to haunt us. We see major colonial buildings, monuments and locations in the story of the city. We will discuss theory and counter-theory as we sit outside the city’s Writer’s Building at 2 am.

This route covers The Battle of Lal Dighi, the battle fought on June 17, 1956, between Siraj-ud-Dowla, the Nawab of Bengal, and the British East india company. We will go past the the site of the infamous 'Black Hole of Calcutta', when it is said Siraj-ud-Daulah, the Nawab of Bengal held British prisoners of war for one fatal night on 20 June 1756. We see the residence of a man who was once Asia’s most powerful, we go past the first Italian restaurant and the first five-star hotel in Asia.

The walk begins at 11.30 pm sharp outside the front of New Market (opposite Khadims). This is a walking tour, so please be prepared to walk (approx 4-5 kms of walking). Wear comfortable shoes and clothing. Bring drinking water. Photography allowed and encouraged. Police will be notified of our route and do keep checking on us. 

Start Time: 11.30 pm.
Start Point: Front/main entrance of New Market on Lindsay Street,
Route: Lindsay Street - Bertram Street - S.N Banerjee Road - Chowringhee - Esplanade - Siraj Ud Daulah Sarani - Government Place - Red Cross Place - Dalhousie South - Hare Street - Church Lane - Old Post Office Street - Esplanade Row West - Government Place West - Council House Street - Netaji Subhas Road - Dalhousie North. 
End Time: 03.00 (approximately)
End Point: Writer's Building, Dalhousie North

There will be one comfort break along the route at a 5 Star hotel and at least one shop open for last minute water/snacks etc, but do not rely on this. 

In the event of an encounter with ghosts, the guide accepts no responsibility for anyone's safety. The guide will be the first to run away, very fast!

Anthony Khatchaturian, a philanthropist and descendant of Johness Carapiet Galstaun, creator of most of the Raj era buildings in Kolkata, started the Ghost Walks as an interesting way of showcasing the city's built heritage. His family built 350 buildings across Kolkata - Nizam Palace, Freemasons Hall, Queens Mansions, all of Ballygunge and donated towards the construction of the Victoria Memorial. He was born in Calcutta but grew up in the UK where he worked with 'Scotland Yard' for 10 years.

The Black Hole of Empire

Chatterjee, Partha, The Black Hole of Empire: History of a Global Process of Power (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2012) (download here)
Chattopadhyay, Swati, Representing Calcutta Modernity, Nationalism, and the Colonial Uncanny, Routledge: 2005 (download here)

* Do note this is an optional visit: you need to enroll, and there will be a small extra fee.

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