Express News Service
The cartography of reminiscence is crosshatched with paths to the previous. The forgotten city of Serampore, or Srirampur because it was known as till the 17th century, is simply over an hour’s drive from Kolkata and serves as a gallery of Indian colonial life. The penchant for renaming locations isn’t confined to the creativeness, or lack of it, of neo-nationalists. The Dutch renamed Srirampur Fredericknagore after the Nawab of Bengal allowed their East India Company—there have been a number of of them these days—to open a buying and selling put up there. They promptly created a European enclave quarantined from the cowdung-steaming lanes and vibrant village bazaars, and constructed a promenade alongside the riverbank the place gents in night gown and girls with dainty umbrellas and parasols ‘took the air’ as if Serampore was simply one other Amsterdam or Utrecht.
In 1845, Denmark bought Fredericknagore to the British East India Company after dropping a warfare to the British. The promenade remains to be there; solely now, native youngsters romance on its municipal benches and idols of Kali lean towards the age-old banyans that stoop to meditate on the tides. Serampore stays a type of little colonial mementos of India’s pre-Independence historical past, with slim streets and little maidaans the place cows ruminate, youngsters play, rickshaw pullers smoke and gossip idly whereas the English church of St Olaf investigates the goings and comings of souls and clouds within the sky above.
All these Indian idyll scenes are a brief stroll away from a cheerfully painted colonial constructing on an elevated sidewalk which observes the river Hooghly nonchalantly. Until 1786, troopers from the Netherlands saved their flagstaff and cannons right here. An English tavern keeper from Calcutta named Mr Parr purchased it to open a resort and tavern. Three centuries later, it was reborn as The Denmark Tavern, now operated by The Park, Calcutta—a pleasing two-storey, yellow-painted edifice with proud spherical pillars and inexperienced louvered home windows by means of which cooks are seen making the perfect caramel custard and roast hen sandwiches this aspect of the river. Temptation right here is the delectable Danish pastry from the little Flury’s outlet hugging the wall like a coy sister.
The Denmark Tavern has 5 giant rooms with excessive ceilings and pastel partitions sporting comfy beds and fashionable loos. The restaurant located within the two-storey central atrium serves Continental and Bengali meals—strive the Danish type hen sausage and the Bengali fish curry—in basic Park service type: discreet, courteous and quick.
The resort is being expanded to accommodate extra rooms as a result of they’re largely full. The quietness contained in the constructing contrasts with the noises of the city across the somnolent constructing: watch the river in its everlasting passage from the primary flooring terrace with a chilly beer in hand, because the boats hint pale slipstreams of ships from one other time and shore. The Park has positioned the tavern as “the oldest hotel in India”. The Great Dane of Serampore is indubitably one of the distinctive in India.