Khelat Bhawan was constructed by Khelat Chandra Ghosh at 47 Pathuriaghat Street in the year 1846. At the time of Warren Hastings the Ghosh family came to Pathurighata in Calcutta, from a village in Hooghly, named Karatiya. Khelat Chandra Ghosh was the son of Babu Deb Narayan Ghosh and the grandson of Babu Ramlochon Ghosh, who was a clerk under Lord Hastings. Born in the year 1827 at 46 Pathuriaghata Street, Khelat Chandra was a man with a lot of dignity and was a very learned person. He became established in the court of Warren Hastings as a ‘Diwan’ and was an honorary district magistrate too.
In his personal life, he was a philanthropist, donated land for the construction of the Tala tank and was respected in the society for his social welfare, religious, spiritual and cultural activities. He was a maestro of Indian classical music and during his life time, he was very much active in the promotion of fine arts like music, culture and literature.
Designed and constructed by the reputed architecture company, Martin & Burn, the construction of Khelat Bhawan started in 1844 and was duly completed in 1846. The imposing mansion with tall Corinthian pillars was decorated with beautiful marble sculptures, numerous paintings, huge and glamorous crystal chandeliers, added with lots of other aesthetic objects. The artifacts include a Thomson Chronometre grandfather clock in the Study, which was brought from London to Kolkata in 1819.
The façade of the mansion decorated with the towering columns and the arched inner courtyard marked it as one of the most elegant buildings of the North Calcutta. The graceful marble staircase of the building with wood paneling on either side, lands in a long corridor of the upper floor. The blue and white elephants, which bordered both sides of the corridor, were once used as flowerpot stands. The huge building consists of a Nach Ghar, a grand dancing hall, adorned with a fascinating Belgian cut-glass chandelier. However, today the character of the hall is completely changed and is converted to Khelat Ghosh Memorial Hall.
Following the tradition of the day, Khelat Bhawan was also built with three main parts. The front section, known as the Bahir Mahal, was used for entertaining the visitors, guests and the outsiders.
In fact, it was a well decorated theatre hall, where meetings or music conferences were also held. The residential area or the Andar Mahal was for the use of the family members only and was strictly prohibited for the outsiders. The Bagan Bari, the third part of the building, was actually a separate building in the carefully maintained garden area.
Apart from the traditional three sections, Khelat Bhawan also included a customary Thakur Dalan, the place of worship, where all the religious ceremonies or rituals of the family were held regularly, all through the year.
Khelat Bhawan was one of the most important live theatre venues in Calcutta and had always been at the forefront of the performing arts. Many eminent persons of the period visited Khelat Bhawan on various occasions. The visitors included among others, Shri Ramakrishna Paramhansa Dev, Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Rajendra Prasad and Sarbapali Radhakrishnan.