Fancy a cup from the famous Coffee House? Want to smell the scent of millions of books of every subject imaginable thronging the pavements, beckoning every hungry soul to come forward and just read?
Won’t it be nice circling around a large pool square, crunching on delicious fuchkas and bhel puri, or buying quality wedding cards for the upcoming nuptial?
Or maybe you would want to taste the amazing icy cold Paramount mocktails, or commit gluttony over mishtis and momos and plain old Bengali vaat macher/mangsher torkari?
There is only one place in Calcutta where you can enjoy all while thousands of people cross its intersections as they run towards their busy work life, and armed with a DSLR camera you can procure some of the best photographs you will ever get. During the much awaited Durga Puja days, you can get in line to see the pandals and idols at Md. Ali Park, Santosh Mitra Square, the famous College Square or you can happily get lost in all its glory. This is the legendary College Street we are talking about.
The Presidency University, established as Hindoo College by David Hare in 1817 and later renamed in 1855, stands right there on College Street with its 175 plus years of academic brilliance. Opposite it is Hindu School, also founded in 1817.
Facing Presidency College inside the same premises is the David Hare School – an austere three-storied building.
Adjacent to Hare School is the Calcutta University, the first to be founded in India in 1857 as an examination and degree conferring body.
Check out the map in the link below. See point 3? That’s where I’m studying now…..at Calcutta Medical College, founded by David Hare in 1835. It, as you can see in the following image, is a personal favorite of mine, not only because I get to enjoy the much revered college culture of the North, but also due to its location, history, pride and of course, food!
HOW TO REACH
For your convenience, open the link to the map.
To reach it you can hail the Eastern Railway Network of India. After arriving at Sealdah, make your way towards Mahatma Gandhi Road (MG Road). This can be a bit confusing. All you’ve got to do then is ask which way is College Street. After coming out of the station area, you can either walk north or hail a bus from the foot of the bridge. Keep on the left pavement of MG Road. The bus will take you directly to its intersection with College Street. Or if you have chosen to walk, then turn left at Surya Sen Street crossing, once you have crossed Purabi Cinema Hall. Walking straight along Surya Sen Street for 5-7 mins, you will reach the middle of College Street, where you’ll find the Gate No. 1 of Calcutta Medical College.
Of course, if you choose a taxi or car, you can be exactly where you want to be just as easily.
Oh yes, there’s the route from the Chittaranjan Avenue Road too. You can enter through Gate No. 6 (RIO gate) of Calcutta Medical College on CR Avenue Road. To reach Gate No.6 there’s the car or cab option, or the Metro Rail gate (Medical College is written at the gate) of Central Metro Station which is located adjacent to Gate No.6. Now just follow the road among the hospital buildings straight east and exit through Gate Nos.1 or 2 or 3, whichever you can find. Voila, you’re now at College Street!
It was not only Bengal’s battle of Plassey (1757) which jerked the whole nation but also it was the Tram which made the Calcuttans dumbfounded. Ever since the first horse drawn Tram carriages hit the rails in 1881, a new era of history was created. Amidst lot of hurdles, barriers and setbacks, it has stood firmly tall witnessing the golden decades of our history through its wheels. In fact, Tram can be considered as one aspect which gives the city a charm of publicity. Series of transformations, and renovations from horses to electricity in 1902 has never deprived the Tram of its luxurious, easy going lifestyle-profitable status.
Historical Tram rail lines now intersect the road, traversed by coaches run by electricity, but most of the time they get lost under the smoke and tyres of cars, cabs and buses, making us oblivious to them during heavy traffic. However let me tell you, travelling in a tram is in itself a wonderful experience where you just sit relaxed and watch it advance at snail’s pace against the flow of the rest of the traffic along College Street. Whereas the diesel run automobiles travel towards MG Road, the trams travel both ways. Select the link to check out which tram routes you should take for a quick relaxation.
You can enjoy just watching College Street as a part of the Heritage Tram Tour of Calcutta by Calcutta Tramways Company Ltd.
8-30—11-30 A.M. (during October to February)
7-30—10-00A.M. (during April to September)
This tour will only be on Sundays. Assembly is at the Esplanade Tram Terminus.
For reservation and enquiries, contact the following:
- West Bengal Tourism Centre, 2/5,B.B.D. Bag (East), Kolkata 700001.
- Bingsha Shatabdi, 75, Park Street, Kolkata 700016.
- India Tourism, Kolkata, Embassy, Shakespeare Sarani, Kolkata 700071.
Fare —— Rs. 100/- per person
Heritage tour on tram starts from Esplanade Tram terminus. Then it turns towards BBD Bagh (Dalhousie Square) and passes by Writer’s Building, the General Post Office, the Tank Square and the St. Andrews Church. Further it moves towards north and enters the Chitpore Road and passes through neighbourhoods and communities. It goes past the Nakhodia Mosque, the House of Rabindranath, the Kumartuli area, the Jain temple and many more to reach the Belgachia tram depot.
The tram retraces from here and connects to Bidhan Sarani. On the way back, it passes by the Star Theatre, the Arya Samaj Temple, the Presidency College and coffee house on College Street.It moves further towards south and takes Lenin Sarani and passes by the Carey’s church, and finally rattles its way back to Esplanade.
History has kept this street preserved. You miss it, and you miss the soul of the City of Joy.
I will keep you updated on everything ‘College Street’. Like its personal diary. Be sure to give a peek-a-boo once in a while. And my friends here, write up whatever you love about our college neighbourhood! I’ll post it with your credentials. This blog post has a long way to go. For now, ciao!