Bhowanipore

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Bhawanipur
Neighbourhood in Kolkata (Calcutta)
Country  India
State West Bengal
City Kolkata
District Kolkata
KMC Wards 70, 71, 72, 73
Metro stations Rabindra Sadan, Netaji Bhavan and Jatin Das Park
Elevation 36 ft (11 m)
Time zone IST (UTC+6:30)
PIN 700 020
Area code(s) +91 33
Lok Sabha constituency Kolkata Dakshin
Vidhan Sabha constituency Bhabanipur

Bhowanipore or Bhabanipur is the oldest locality of South Kolkata in Kolkata district, West Bengal, India. It is located just south of the Lower Circular Road (now A.J.C. Bose Road). It is the second largest locality in South Kolkata after Ballygunge. The locality has its boundary touching the AJC Bose Road, Maidan, Victoria Memorial and consists of well-known and posh localities like Elgin Road, Gokhale Road, Woodburn Park, Bakulbagan Road, Harish Mukherjee Road, Beltala Road, Townshend Road and parts of Chakraberia and Lansdowne. The locality has an illustrious past and abounds with stories of great men and women who lived here, although in the recent years it has lost much of its glory to Ballygunge, which has gone ahead in terms of good roads, posh locales, and modern day developments.

History[edit]

Netaji's House in Elgin road, Bhowanipore

Bhowanipore is perhaps the first 'posh' south Kolkata neighbourhood. In the early 19th century, it was just a small village on the southern outskirts of the city of Calcutta. By the early 1850s it developed into a favourable home to many immigrants into the city from the countryside of East Bengal.[1] These immigrants were very literate and prosperous and just wanted to settle outside the more famous localities of northern Kolkata.

The Lower Circular Road (present AJC Bose Road) had just been constructed and the area just south of the road became home to many Indians who wanted to live in proximity to the city and yet away from it.

Many Englishmen also took fancy to the area and they also began settling in the area, but were far outnumbered by the local populace.

Initially the locality was bounded by Lansdowne Road (presently Sarat Bose Road) to the east, Russa Road (presently A.T. Mukherjee Road and S.P. Mukherjee Road) to the west and the Hazra Road to the south. But it expanded much more to the west, far beyond Harish Mukherjee Road to the Tolly Nullah.

The Jadu Babu's Bazaar on Asutosh Mukherjee Road was the heart of south Kolkata before Gariahat even developed. It is still the major market for the locality.

Many young people from the locality became notable individuals like Subhas Chandra Bose ("Netaji"), Sir Ashutosh Mukherjee and his son Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, Deshbandhu Chittaranjan Das, Uttam Kumar and lately Satyajit Ray, who made the area his home, among others.

Bhowanipore was also known as the Cinema Para, or the locality of the city which boasted of a string of cinema halls. The stretch started with Purna near Jadu Babu's Bazaar, and was followed up by Bharati, Indira, Bijoli, Basusree, Kalika, and Ujjwala, right upto the recesses of the Kalighat Temple. They were primarily famous for their screenings of Bengali, English and Hindi movies. However, due to the lack of patronage and drying up of the Bengali film box office in the mid 90s, and the first decade of the 2000s, most of these halls have been closed down. Basusree, Indira and Bijoli are still operational, though the condition is not that well of, Bharati, Kalika, and Ujjwala have been demolished to make way for multi storied buildings that host malls, educational institutes, and marriage halls. Purna has been closed down for more than a decade now, and there is little hope that it will be opened again.

Since the start of the 20th century, the area became home to a large number of immigrants from other parts of India. Sikhs, Gujaratis and Tamils now form a major population of the locality.

Bhowanipore also has its share of 21st century commercialization sweeping Kolkata. It is home to Kolkata's first mall-cum-multiplex - The Forum mall on Elgin Road with its Inox multiplex.

Many big companies have their head office in Bhowanipore, like Exide Industries Limited, Tata Tea Limited and Phillips India Limited to name a few. The head office of Automobile Association Of Eastern India is also located in this area.

The area also boasts of the 23 Palli Durga Mandir, a small yet beautiful Temple which houses a grand Ashta Dhaatu Murti of Durga, and nearby is the world famous Kalighat Kali Temple, and the Nakuleshwar Bhairav Temple, considered as one of the holiest of the holies in Hindu religion.

A club in the name of " Bhowanipore Club" founded by one Nani Mitra stands at the entrance of the Maidan near the Rani Rashmani Statue and presently managed by the " Sangbad Pratidin" group.

Asutosh Mukherjee road at Bhowanipore,the oldest locality in south Kolkata

Transport[edit]

Bhowanipore sits on some of the most important roads of Kolkata and till date the most accessible residential area of South Kolkata from its city-centre,and is excellently served by all buses plying through the southern part of the city.

The Kolkata Metro serves the area with the Rabindra Sadan, Netaji Bhavan and Jatin Das Park stations.

Medical facilities[edit]

SSKM Hospital, one of the oldest and most popular hospitals in the city of Kolkata

Educational institutions[edit]

Places of interest[edit]

The Forum Mall at Elgin Road, Bhowanipore
  • Netaji Bhawan, Elgin Road
  • Sir Ashutosh Mukherjee's house on Ashutosh Mukherjee Road
  • South Club, Kolkata's premier Tennis club
  • Satyajit Ray's rented house on Bishop Lefroy Road
  • The Forum Mall, Elgin Road
  • Puddapukur Swimming Centre, Lansdowne Road
  • Uttam Kumar's house at Girish Mukherjee Road
  • Ramkrishna Math- Gadhadhar Ashram on Harish Chatterjee Street
  • Swami Narayan Mandir, Chakraberia Road South.
  • Laxmi Narayan Mandir, Lansdown Road.
  • Northern Park, a historic park where many Freedom Fighters addressed their meetings

Notable residents[edit]

Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose was from Bhowanipore


See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Kolkata/South travel guide from Wikivoyage

Coordinates: 22°31′48″N 88°20′35″E / 22.530°N 88.343°E / 22.530; 88.343