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House of a forgotten poet - Hem Chandra Bandyopadhyay
Ghari Ghar Gateway, Calcutta - Romantic Ruins
3161    Dibyendu Banerjee    23/03/2019

Busy commuters of the southern part of the city of Calcutta must have casually glanced at the old and dilapidated structure of a neglected archway that seems to be standing isolated in the hustle and bustle of the locality. In fact, today nobody cares to give it an inquisitive look, let alone to be interested to know anything about it. However, the ornamented, but ruinous gateway, located very near to the Tollygunge Police Station, is a dumb witness of an important period of old Calcutta and linked with the history of a famous royal family of the country.

The gateway, officially located on 79 Deshpran Sasmal Road, is locally known as Ghari Ghar. In fact, once upon a time there was a clock on the top of the gateway, which has been lost with time. The gateway was constructed by Prince Rahimuddin Shah, one of the grandsons of Tipu Sultan. It was built as the entrance to the Imambara built by him in 1865. Hence, it is also known in the locality as the gateway to Tollygunge Nabab Bari.

Ghari Ghar Gateway

An Imambara is a congregation hall used by the Shia Muslims (the Shi’ites) for their ceremonies, especially during the first 10 days of Muharram. This particular Imambara or the Tollygunge Nabab Bari, built by Prince Rahimuddin Shah, is located in a narrow lane, named after him, approachable through the Ghari Ghar Gateway. Built in 1865, the Imambara was renovated in 2009, but the gateway remained neglected and untouched. Somehow, the renovated interior of the 19th century Imambara has a modern look. The single storey structure consists of two halls with a short flight of steps made of marble, known as Minbar, used as a platform by the Imam to speak to the congregation, to deliver sermons.

Nevertheless, the isolated and unattended Ghai Ghar Gateway needs immediate and sympathetic attention to save it from an unceremonious disaster.

Ghari Ghar Gateway
House of a forgotten poet - Hem Chandra Bandyopadhyay
Author Details
Dibyendu Banerjee
Ex student of Scottish Church College. Served a Nationalised Bank for nearly 35 years. Authored novels in Bengali. Translated into Bengali novels/short stories of Leo Tolstoy, Eric Maria Remarque, D.H.Lawrence, Harold Robbins, Guy de Maupassant, Somerset Maugham and others. Also compiled collections of short stories from Africa and Third World. Interested in literature, history, music, sports and international films.
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