What this tour is about: In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Kolkata was the epicenter of an intense social reform movement. Popularly called ‘The Bengal Renaissance’, this movement questioned existing orthodoxies, particularly with respect to women, marriage, the dowry system, the caste system and religion. Religious scholars, literary giants, journalists, patriotic orators and scientists, all came together during the Bengal Renaissance in a vibrant intellectual awakening.
The area around College Street in Kolkata was the heart of this movement. Several leading institutions of learning were set up here, which continue to be the premier colleges of the city. The entire street is lined with bookstalls, and there are usually crowds of students browsing through the wares, looking for specific textbooks and tutorials.
In addition to schools, colleges and universities, this area is also home to reformist social movements like the Brahmo Samaj and the Arya Samaj, which have their own unique belief systems. The Buddhist Mahabodhi Society’s headquarters are also here.
Another popular Kolkata landmark in this area is Coffee House. This large airy café has long been the traditional “adda” or hang-out where Calcutta’s intellectuals gathered to discuss and debate every issue under the sun.
A visit to College Street provides an interesting insight into the social and intellectual concerns that shaped India, culminating in the struggle for independence from British rule. As you walk through the area, you encounter a heady and diverse set of belief systems and philosophies. You also also get a glimpse of today’s educated youth, their concerns and ethos. This walk provides an interesting contrast between nineteenth century Calcutta versus modern Kolkata.
What this walk will cover: We’ll start the walk from the Central Metro Station. From here, we will walk through the nearby area, covering Calcutta Medical College, Calcutta University, College Square, the Mahabodhi Society, College Street (bazaar area), Presidency College, Arya Samaj, Brahmo Samaj and Vivekanand House. In between, we will also take a break at the popular Coffee House.
|Start Place||:||Central Metro Station|
|End Point||:||Vivekanand House|
|Cost||:||Rs 1500 per person for a minimum of 2 persons. Solo travellers pay for two|
|Includes||:||English/French speaking guide, personalised walk, illustrated handouts, all taxes|