Once Kolkata was a flourishing port and ships from all over the world made their way up the river Hooghly to trade at one of the oldest ports of the country. In those days the high seas were never a safe area. For protection against pirates, the ships had their own share of defensive mechanism, along with an ample share of gunpowder. But carrying gunpowder in the crowded docks of the Kolkata port was never safe and a single spark could trigger off devastation.
So the port authorities followed a simple but effective plan. The ships entering the port had to deposit the gunpowder long before they enter the port and they would pick it up on the return journey before they hit the high seas. The practice has long stopped but the massive buildings used to store the gun powder still remains.
Tong Achew, a Chinese tea trader also followed the same route. He set up the first sugar mill in India and was responsible for the first Chinese settlement of the country. Today the village of Achipur, named after Tong Achew, still stands with its Chinese Temple.
On his return from the Chicago Parliament of Religions Swami Vivekananda also sailed up the river and landed at Achipur, followed by a train ride to Sealdah from the old Budge Budge station. The waterway is also witness to the sad tale of the Komagata Maru, a Japanese ship ferrying Indian immigrants to Canada. After a denied entry in Canada, the ship returned to Kolkata. On arrival in Budge Budge the passengers were labelled as political agitators.
These arrivals along the Hooghly River has played a significant role in shaping not only the history of Kolkata but of the entire nation. Explore the places and spaces associated with these significant Hooghly River Arrivals on this virtual trail led by Rangan Datta and Tathagata Neogi.
The walk will be conducted via zoom. You will receive coordinates from the walk leader at least 12-hours before the scheduled start time of the walk.
Start Time: 19:00 (India) | 13:30 (UK) | 08:30 (US-Eastern)
Duration: 1.5 hours (+ 30 mins of Q & A)
Walk leader: Rangan Datta & Tathagata Neogi
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