Armenian Ghat, Calcutta, 1734

BathingGha-t-fromFrederickPelitiWebsite

আর্মানি ঘাট, কলকাতা, ১৭৩৪

Armenian Ghat was built in 1734 by Manvel Hazaar Maliyan, a celebrated Calcutta trader of Armenian origin. This elegant ferry ghat was just one of the many contributions made by the benevolent Armenian toward developing Calcutta’s infrastructure and sociocultural rapport. Hazaar Maliyan, better known in Calcutta society as Huzoorimal – an westernized version of the conventional form of his Armenian name. Armenians were involved in spice to jewelry trade, and this river pier was built specifically to tackle the docking of the merchants of the town.

The Armenian Ghat, locally called Armani ghat, stood on the Hooghly river bank with its gracefully designed cast iron structure. The Ghat was situated on river edge besides the Mallick Bazaar flower market adjacent to the old Howrah Bridge. As in other ghats on the holy river, people used to come here also to take bath, and devotees to worship.

EIR[booingCounter-Armanighat

A cropped image from a panoramic photograph of river ghats, by Bourne and Shepherd, c.1880’s. See

It also facilitated running of some well-liked public transport services conducted by the EIR company. From 15th August 1854, the company(EIR) ran a regular service, morning an evening, between Howrah and Hugli with stops at Bali, Serampore and Chandernagar. The fare ranged from Rs.3 by first class to 7 annas by third class. The main booking office was at Armenian Ghat, and the fare covered the ferry to the station on the opposite bank. Besids the passanger ferry services, The Cachar Sunderbund dispatch steamers are berthed at Armenian Ghat, while the Assam Sunderbund vessels work from Jagarnath Ghat.

During 1854 – 1874, the Eastern Railways had their Calcutta Station, and Ticket Reservation Room in Armenian Ghat. From this counter the passengers had to buy train tickets and then cross the Ganges on Railway owned steamers/ launches to board their train from platform at Howrah.  This arrangement continued until the construction of Howrah Pantoon Bridge was complete in 1874.

Cropped view of ‘Old Court House Street, Calcutta’, by Bourne and Shepherd, c.1880’s. See full view

Armenian Ghat turned into a demanding spot for the Calcutta commuters, and it helped them when the Tramway Company introduced in February 1873 their trial service to run a 2.4-mile (3.9 km) horse-drawn tramway service between Sealdah and Armenian Ghat Street on trial. After a short break the Company, registered as Calcutta Tramway Co. Ltd, laid anew Metre-gauge horse-drawn tram tracks from Sealdah to Armenian Ghat via Bowbazar Street, Dalhousie Square and Strand Road. The service discontinued in 1902.

The Armenian Ghat, one of the prime heritage sites of the city is now lost to oblivion and the eyeful marina is replaced by an unimaginable open-air gym.

The Photograph of the Armenian Ghat featured at the top was taken by Chevalier Federico Peliti, the famous Italian hotelier and restaurateur of Calcutta who happened to be an excellent amateur photographer. Date unknown.

 

See
ARMENIAN GHAT PAVILION: AN UPDATE OF 28 MAY 2015 POST

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Old Fort Ghat, Calcutta, c1787

oldFortGhaut2পুরনো কেল্লার ঘাট, কলকাতা, c১৭৮৭
This is a view of the Old Fort Ghat adjoining old Fort William. The old Fort was built at the turn of the eighteenth century. In 1757, an attack on the fort by the forces of Siraj-ud-Daulah, the Nawab of Bengal, led the British to build a new fort in the Maidan. The old Fort buildings were repaired and used as The Company’s factory and offices including the Customs House that stared functioning from 1766. Both goods and passengers were unloaded from ships at the landing-stage shown here. According to the instructions issued by the Customs House in February 1807, “no goods whatever imported at Calcutta. From sea, or for exportation from Calcutta by sea, will, in future, allowed to be landed at, or shipped from any other Ghaut, but that to the south of the custom house at Calcutta.” The ghat was also a popular bathing place for the people of Calcutta.
Coloured etching with aquatint by Thomas Daniell (1749-1840) c1787

Chandpal Ghat, Calcutta, c1814

Chandpal Ghat by James Baillie Fraser - 1826চাঁদপাল ঘাট, কলকাতা, c১৮১৪
This view of riverside depicted by James Baillie Fraser with bathers and ferry near Chandpal Ghat, the bussiest ferry ghat of Calcutta for a long time. Existence of Chandpal Ghat as the southernmost Ghat on Hooghly is easily discernable in the ‘Plan of Fort William and part of the city of Calcutta’ surveyed in 1753. With the landing of Sir Philip Francis and his fellow Councillors of the Supreme Council for India under East India Company at Chandpal Ghat in 1774, it became a class apart from the other Ghats. Incidentally, this Ghat took its name not from an elite Indian, but from an obscure and forgotten native shopkeeper Chandranath Pal or Chand Pal who used to sell his petty merchandise beside the Ghat. Until the railway was opened the principal landing place was customarily the well-known Chandpal Ghat. Lord Cornwallis was the first Governor General who landed at this Ghat on 12th September 1786. Chandpal Ghat became the gateway not only of Calcutta but also of British India for a long time to come. Calcutta was then fast becoming the first City of Asia. Expansion in every sphere of it was then its hallmark, Ghats included. See more
This is plate one from James Baillie Fraser’s ‘Views of Calcutta and its Environs’. Fraser (1783-1856)