destination india

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

a centurion of kolkata

The majestic Howrah Station will be one hundred years old on the first of December 2005. It is one of the two railway stations of Kolkata where long distance trains from different parts of the country terminate.

A program has been scheduled to mark the occasion. An exhibition of rare books and manuscripts and photographs will be thrown open to the public. The exhibition will be on the banks of the Hoogly. A book will also be released on the occasion. Excerpts from the book -

‘…….British architect Halsey Ralph Ricardo, who designed the station building, prepared the drawings. They, along with the maps, have been restored ……. “We came across a report stating that the new station building (the old complex) was commissioned on December 1, 1905,” said Majumdar. “The construction began in 1901 and continued till 1911,” he added.

Initially, the building housed six platforms. After electrification in 1957, the station was expanded. Detailed architectural drawings of the building were prepared between 1901 and 1905. They show provision for a zenana waiting room (ladies’ waiting room), a third-class waiting hall, intermediate waiting hall, third-class booking office and intermediate booking office. ………..“The huge clock was strategically placed on top of the tower in the north-eastern corner with the face towards the east, so that people crossing the Hooghly from Calcutta can see it from a distance,” the book explains.

According to the documents, the building cost Rs 4,62,695. Read more –

The station has, at present, 24 platforms and continuously handles incoming and outgoing trains both locals and long distance. The platforms and waiting halls are always jam-packed. Earlier, vendors and hawkers would occupy the platforms – nowadays, checks have been put and unauthorized vendors are not allowed to operate. There are taxi stands where taxis can be hired – there is also a provision of prepaid taxis. To enter the city proper, there are three routes – the first via the Howrah Bridge, the second by launch from the jetty just opposite the station and the third via the second Howrah Bridge.

An interesting link to ‘rediscovering india’ –


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