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.

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Great Eastern Hotel, Old Court House Street, Calcutta, 1920

greateasterhotel1920s

ওল্ড কোর্ট হাউস স্ট্রিটে গ্রেট ঈস্টার্ন হোটেল, নীচতলায় নিউম্যান কম্পানির বইপত্রের দোকান , কলকাতা, c১৯২০
The imposing palatial building of the colonial era hotel, The Great Eastern Hotel, still stands there on the Old Court House Street, Calcutta. It was established in 1840 or 1841 by David Wilson as the Auckland Hotel, named after George Eden, 1st Earl of Auckland, then Governor General of India. Prior to opening the hotel, Wilson ran a bakery at the same site. The hotel opened with 100 rooms and a department store on the ground floor. The Auckland was expanded in the 1860s and renamed from D. Wilson and Co. to Great Eastern Hotel Wine and General Purveying Co. In 1915, It became the Great Eastern Hotel in 1915. It was said of the hotel in 1883 that “a man could walk in at one end, buy a complete outfit, a wedding present, or seeds for the garden, have an excellent meal, a burra peg (double) and if the barmaid was agreeable, walk out at the other end engaged to be married” (City of Dreadful Night by Rudyard Kipling)
Source: eBay.Photographer unidentified.

Great Eastern Hotel, Old Court House Street, Calcutta, 1850s

গ্রেট ঈস্টার্ন হোটেল, ওল্ড কোর্ট হাউস স্ট্রিট, কলকাতা, c১৮৫০
The imposing palatial building of the colonial era hotel, The Great Eastern Hotel, still stands there on the Old Court House Street, Calcutta. It was established in 1840 or 1841 by David Wilson as the Auckland Hotel, named after George Eden, 1st Earl of Auckland, then Governor General of India. Prior to opening the hotel, Wilson ran a bakery at the same site. The hotel opened with 100 rooms and a department store on the ground floor. The Auckland was expanded in the 1860s and renamed from D. Wilson and Co. to Great Eastern Hotel Wine and General Purveying Co. In 1915, It became the Great Eastern Hotel in 1915. It was said of the hotel in 1883 that “a man could walk in at one end, buy a complete outfit, a wedding present, or seeds for the garden, have an excellent meal, a burra peg (double) and if the barmaid was agreeable, walk out at the other end engaged to be married” (City of Dreadful Night by Rudyard Kipling)
The Photograph was taken by Francis Frith in 1850s

Old Court House Street, Calcutta, 1850s

পুরনো কোর্ট হাউস স্ট্রিটের দৃশ্য (ছবিতে উল্লিখিত কাউনসিল হাউস রোড  সংকেতটি বিভ্রান্তিকর) , কলকাতা, c১৮৫০
The view was incorrectly captioned in the original as Council House Street instead of Old Court House Street as evident from the description. Old Court House Street connects Esplanade Row (East). It acquired its name from the old court house, that was located where St. John’s Church now stands. The northern part of the stretch is known as Dalhousie Square (East). It was constructed around 1781, when the finishing touches were put to the new Fort William. It is linked with the name of Col. Henry Watson, who brought about many improvements in Calcutta, including the laying out of surrounding Esplanade. The Red Road is an extension of this street. Council House Street connects the western part of Dalhousie Square with Esplanade Row. The view of the St. Andrews Kirk, and Great Eastern Hotel can be seen in the present location. Interestingly, the scene captured in the shot is found an exact match  in ‘Old Court House Street‘ – a wood engraving by some unidentified artist.
This image is a whole-plate albumen print from wet collodion glass negative of photograph taken by Frith Frith in 1850s.

Old Court House Street looking south, Calcutta, 1865

দক্ষিনমুখী ওল্ড কোর্টহাউস স্ট্রীট, কলকাতা, ১৮৬৫

A view of the southern end of Old Court House Street, from the north-east corner of the grounds of Government House, looking towards the Maidan and showing the classical-designed premises of various businesses on the east side of the street.

Photograph was taken by Samuel Bourne in the 1865.

Old Court House Street, Calcutta, 1875

graphic1875-OldCourtHouseSt

ওলড কোর্টহাউস স্ট্রীট, কলকাতার দৃশ্য, ১৮৭৫
Old Court House Street connects Esplanade Row (East). It acquired its name from the old court house, that was located where St. John’s Church now stands. The northern part of the stretch is known as Dalhousie Square (East). It was constructed around 1781, when the finishing touches were put to the new Fort William. It is linked with the name of Col. Henry Watson, who brought about many improvements in Calcutta, including the laying out of surrounding Esplanade. The Red Road is an extension of this street. Council House Street connects the western part of Dalhousie Square with Esplanade Row. The view of the St. John’s Church, and Great Eastern Hotel can be seen in the present location. Interestingly, the scene captured here is found an exact match in the photograph ‘Old Court House Street‘ –taken by Francis Frith in 1850s.
Detailed view of the Old Court House Street, Calcutta published in the magazine, The Graphic, in 1875.
A wood engravings by some unidentified European artist.