Black Pagoda : Nabaratna Kali Temple (Gentoo Pagoda), Chitpore Road, Calcutta, 1787

Gentoo Pagoda and House

নবরত্ন কালী মন্দির, গেন্টু  বা কালো প্যাগোডা   নামে পরিচিত, চিৎপুর রোড, কলকাতা, ১৭৮৭
This is a view of the Nabaratna temple of the Godess Kali, also known as ‘Black Pagoda’ and ‘Gentu Pagoda’, which was built on the Chitpore Road in 1731 by Govindram Mitter (1720-56), a wealthy Hindu landlord. Its 165-feet spire was a navigational aid for sailors, the reason why they called it a ‘pagoda’. The building was never properly completed and decayed so much over time that the main tower with five domes collapsed around 1813.
This is a coloured etching with aquatint entitled Hindu Pagoda and House by Thomas Daniell (1749-1840) , published in 1787


Please see Updated version under new caption

Manohur Doss’s Tank, Chowringhee Road. 1833

মনোহর দাসের পুকুর, চৌরঙ্গী সীমান্ত, কলকাতা, ১৮৩৩

This lithograph derives from plate 10 from William Wood’s ‘Views of Calcutta’. This view is the only one of Wood’s series to show specifically Indian-style dwellings in Calcutta. They are near the first of the large ‘tanks’, or manmade reservoirs, on the edge of the Chowringhee district. The tanks were used as a general water-supply, for bathing and washing by the inhabitants of the city. A clear view of Manohur Doss’s Tank can be seen in in the Panoramic View Of Chowringhee Road Across Maidan

This lithograph is taken from plate 10 from ‘Views of Calcutta’ – an album of paintings by William Wood.

Chowringhee Theatre, Theatre Road, Lower Chowringhee, 1833

থিয়েটার রোডের অধুনালুপ্ত রঙ্গালয়, ‘চৌরঙ্গি থিয়েটার’, ১৮৩৩
This image shows the imposing theatre on the corner of Theatre Street and Lower Chowringhee Road. The whole site between Chowringee Road and Elysiam Row (Now Lord Sinha Road) was occupied by the Chowringee Theatre. The adjacent house to the north was known as Ballards’ Place. The expenses of the construction and the cost of the materials for the stage were borne by a number of gentlemen subscribing amongst themselves the shares of Rs. 100 each. It was beautifully crowned with a dome. The Chowringhee Theatre (1813 to 1839) was the principal theatrical venue in the city.  Some affluent British theatre-lovers along with a few Bengali elites founded Chowringhee Theatre. Accordingly, this also came to be known as the ‘Subscription Theatre’ Among the illustrious patrons who donated generously for this Theatre, the names of Mr. Hares Heman Wilson, D.L. Richardson, Dwarakanath Thakur etc. deserve mention. It was inaugurated on 25th November, 1813 and the maiden play held here was a remarkable tragedy named ‘Castle Spectre’. Several dramas were performed here in course of time. The actors in the initial days were amateurs. Later, some renowned professional actors joined this troupe breaking away from the big banners. But, the Theatre was staggering due to acute financial stringency. In 1835, Prince Dwarakanath Thakur purchased it and made some drastic renovations. Unfortunately, in 1839, this Theatre was completely incinerated. After that it was never revamped and play acting was never resumed here. – Interestingly, the female roles at the theatre were played by professional actresses but male roles were taken by amateurs, such as William Princep, whose memoirs describe his theatre work in detail, both as actor and set designer, and give us insights into the running of the building.
This lithograph of painting dated 1833 is taken from plate 22 from ‘Views of Calcutta’ an album of paintings by William Wood.

Ballard’s Buildings, Theatre Road, Chowringhee, Calcutta, c1833

ব্যালারডস বিলডিং, থিয়েটার রোড, কলকাতা, c১৮৩৩
Unlike later printed and photographic panoramas, Wood’s had a moving viewpoint so that he gave an accurate vista of those parts of Calcutta which earned it the sobriquet ‘City of Palaces’. The elegant forms of the buildings of European Calcutta heralded an important stage in the history of architecture of the subcontinent: the evolution of Western styles into forms which would become commonplace in the Indian context. This building depicted shows what became the conventional pattern, a two or three storeyed block, well-proportioned and set in a garden, and with columned verandahs protecting its rooms from the heat. The Ballard’s buildings, consisting of numbers 47, 48, 49 and 50 at the corner of Chowringhee Road and Theatre Road, do not exist any longer. See Documents in the Life of Sri Aurobindo
Lithograph of plate 23 from William Wood’s ‘Views of Calcutta’.

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