Past and Present
heritage of old buildings and parks is comparable to the finest
European cities. But we may be fast losing the public treasures
that would have made generations of residents to
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proud about their city. It is time to take a stock of the situation.
This website has been set up to document the existing heritage
buildings facing imminent demolition or those, which are continually
This website also documents those heritage buildings that have
been well preserved and are also well-maintained for the purpose
of encouraging the effort of the concerned authorities or individuals
as the case may be. We must take note of their invaluable contribution,
give credit where it is due and also cite them as examples for
every citizen and public body functioning in the city.
Belvedere, once the winter residence of British Viceroys, today
houses the National Library in Alipur. It is one of the well-maintained
palaces that still exist today. Even here the negligence of concerned
authorities is evident from a sketch by Desmond Doig (left) showing
cables and encroaching wilderness in the foreground and a ladder poised
on the roof left behind by workers.
Some buildings and parks officially declared to be part of the 300
year old city's heritage are in urgent need of a face-lift and long-term
restoration and maintenance works. It will not do to put the blame
on the civic authorities only as the part of the situation has been
brought about by indifferent individuals.
In Europe and other developed countries, citizens' opinion and active
participation through pressure groups have succeeded in preserving
their heritage along with the civic authorities. In Kolkata, however,
we regularly witness the gradual transformation of old mansions
to ruined structures until they are demolished and replaced by modern
structures or unplanned constructions.
Now and Then:
Chowringhee, the central district of Kolkata has often been compared
to internationally well-known city centres for their historical
importance. Although today it would seem that the comparison ends
only as far as the location is concerned, a century or so ago this
area could be indeed justifiably ranked as one of the world's most
well-known urban centres like Piccadilly, Fifth Avenue, Tiananmen
Square or Champs Elysees. We present you a visual feature article
on Kolkata's rich architectural heritage during their glory years
in contrast to their present condition.>>