Last year in the month of November I made a short day trip to Chuchurah along with my wife and daughter. This was a road trip and since I do not drive myself I hired a car to take us around. I had two main intentions, one to visit Bandel Church and the second to visit my cousin brother who stays with his family in Khamarpara, Bokultala. My brother knew that I am into photography and blogging thus he asked me to plan it in a way so that in one day we would be visiting them as well as covering some old Dutch heritage sites.
Instead of writing about multiple locations within one blog which makes the blog really long and difficult to read I have decided to write in parts. I will be writing about:-
This blog will be regarding the Dutch Cemetery, in the coming days, I will keep adding one location after another. I would recommend travellers to follow the exact order mentioned above as this will help them visit all the sites within the shortest time without wasting going to and fro within the same stretch of road.
It takes around 2 – 3 hours to reach by car from Kolkata depending on the traffic, it’s better to go on a weekend just to avoid the heavy traffic. We took the route via Kalyani express toll way, this is a faster option in my opinion. By the time we reach Basberia it’s passed noon and we first settle down to finish some quick lunch before proceeding to our adventure.
Chuchurah or Chinsurah was a Dutch Colony from 1615 to 1825, just around seventy-five kilometres from Kolkata this rivalled the British Calcutta in terms of architectural beauty. Till today some of these marvellous structures still exist and the beauty can only be imagined during its peak. The Dutch wanted to use this as a production hub for fabric for export to various European cities.
The Dutch Cemetery was not the first one in this particular location, the original one was raised and was later shifted to this current location. The exact date of this shift cannot be concretely proven as no detailed report exists as of now. The current Dutch cemetery is a heritage site and is under the supervision of ASI (Archaeological Survey of India). It is to be noted that this cemetery is no longer in use and the local Christian population uses a plot of land on the right-hand side of this cemetery which is an active burial site. My eldest maternal uncle and aunt were buried here.
Since this is under the ASI thus its maintenance is being regularly done, this can be seen by the clear walkways around the cemetery. Though the tombs are more than centuries old still their grandeur can be well felt. It also to be noted that this was a Dutch cemetery but many English families were also buried here. This can be well understood if one studies the name on the graves and tombs.
There is one similarity that I have seen with South Park Street Cemetery, the tombs and cenotaphs are somewhat identical. You can spend hours around the cemetery enjoying the remarkable diversity of this city within a city.
The oldest record is that of Cornelis de Jonge (Jong) who died in the year 1743 and the last recorded burial was held in 1887 that of Emma Draper.
Thank you for visiting my blog, wait for my next Chinsurah Clock Tower Blog.