This is my second blog on Serampore and in my first blog, I had already given a short brief about the Danish rule of Serampore. It does not matter which country or kingdom ruled which part of Bengal they settled in that place and apart from creating schools, colleges, and churches something that they were forced to create were cemeteries.
It was the time when life expectancy especially for that of Europeans who were settled in India was very uncertain due to malaria, cholera, and other diseases which took down even the strongest of men. The women and children were especially venerable to such diseases. Apart from that, there was always the age factor that came into place.
So Serampore was no exception and three Christian cemeteries were created for the local European population. The Danish had their cemetery which was divided into two sections, one for the Roman Catholics and the other for the protestants. And the Baptist mission had its cemetery which I will discuss in my next blog.
About Serampore Danish Cemetery
This cemetery is currently under the supervision of ASI (Archeological Survey of India) and is a protected site. No new burials take place here and the last one that I could spot was in 1964.
A decade back this place was crumbling to the ground and extensive renovation was done by ASI and now all the crumbling memorials have been restored.
Unfortunately, only 4 stone plaques remain visible while the rest have all vanished due to years of non-maintenance as none of the relatives of the deceased buried here were there to take care of the graves.
Out of these 4, only 3 are historical especially the grave of Lt. Colonel Ole Bie who served as the governor of Danish Serampore and it was he who initiated the building of St. Olav’s Church.
The only gravestone which is in Danish that still can be seen today is that of Factor Casper Top.
Surprisingly the fourth one is as recent as 1964 belonging to Dr. Mrs. Emily Christadoss.
Initially, there was just a hedge fence around the cemetery which was later replaced with a brick wall around 1770.
Now all the structures within the Danish Cemetery have been restored with lime mortar and the entire property cleaned up.
Initially, it was believed 52 gravesites were present in this section of the only It was during the restoration work the ASI stumbled upon an additional of 9 graves which were then restored.
How to visit Serampore Danish Cemetery
Since the cemetery is under the supervision of ASI (Archeological Survey of India) thus this property remains barricaded and the main gate locked.
There is a deputed caretaker who comes and opens and closes the gates. He usually stays till 4 PM so ideally, the best time to visit would be between 10 AM to 4 PM.
Photography is allowed inside the cemetery and no tickets are required to enter this place.
This place can be easily clubbed together along with other Danish heritage sites in Serampore.
The street in front of the cemetery is very narrow and at most a small car can be parked right in front of the gate. This place is located around 1 kilometer from the Danish Tavern so you can also easily walk down from there.