Located in the vicinity of College Square, Presidency College and Calcutta University, the Eden Hindu Hostel, popularly known as Hindu Hostel, was established in 1886 primarily for housing the Hindu students of Presidency College, who came to the city from the districts. However, that discriminating policy was withdrawn on a later date and now it is open to all. Since the hostel was built out of the funds raised by Sir Ashley Eden, it was named after him. The architect of the building was W.B. Gwyther, while the contractor was Rai Khetter Chunder Bannerjee.
The huge structure of the Eden Hindu Hostel consists of six blocks, known as the Wards. The two storey building in the north wing, adjacent to P.C Sarkar Street, includes ward I and II, while the three storey building in the east wing, adjacent to the campus of Calcutta University, includes ward no III, IV and V. It is an old styled brick-red dignified building, equipped with two huge wooden staircases. Each room is as big as a big classroom with 15-foot high ceilings and teak doors and windows. After a century of its inception, the hostel was further extended to accommodate the postgraduate students. The new construction, which began in 1988, took seven years to complete. The hostel, divided into six wards, houses over 274 boarders, which include both the undergraduate and the postgraduate students. It also has eight guest rooms, available on rental basis, for the visiting parents or other guest of the students.
There is a plaque outside the dignified red brick building decorated with long and wide green windows. It indicates, Dr Rajendra Prasad lived in the building between July 1902 and December 1907, as a student of the Presidency College. Apart from the first President of the country, the alumni of the hostel also include Dr Meghnad Saha, Amartya Sen, Sukhamoy Chakraborty and Rathin Sengupta. In 1916, when a deputy superintendent of police Basanta Kumar Chatterjee was murdered, the hostel was raided by police, though no one could be nailed. Much later, during the Naxalite movement, eight boarders were expelled from the hostel.
The Hindu Hostel was always more than a boarding and lodging space for the students. It was a place of bonhomie, spirited political debate and also a creative space. According to the centenary publication of Presidency College, the hostel ran a bilingual magazine called Suhrid in 1894. In those days, there was a keen rivalry between the wards, each of which had its own manuscript magazine with names such as ‘Sense and Nonsense’ and ‘Highland Review’. However, all the wards of the hostel would come together for Saraswati Puja. Today, apart from participating in various sports tournaments throughout the year, the boarders enthusiastically take part in cultural activities like Saraswati Puja, Freshers’ welcome, Re union and others.
Due to lack of maintenance, the condition of the hostel deteriorated in the 1990s and after a long delay, it was closed for renovation in June 2015. After the end of the job, it was opened again for the boarders in the later part of 2018. In the process of renovation, the old ovens were replaced by gas ovens and the roof of the hostel, which had been badly damaged, has been repaired as well.