Thursday, March 7, 2013

Gorosthaney Sabdhan (Beware in the cemetery)

Yesterday we had the privilege (though, privilege is a misnomer for a visit to a cemetery) of visiting the South Park Street Cemetery. It is a 20minute walk from the Park Street Metro Station and my two friends and I vanquished the heat to reach the site. Established in 1767,  it was in use till 1830 and is now a heritage site under the Archaeological Society of India. It consists of around 1600 graves or tombs and was the largest cemetery outside Europe and America till the 19th century. Most of the graves are of army officers, young wives and children.

Tomb of William Jones

Tomb of Henry Derozio

grave of an infant

Hindoo Stuart temple

Despite being in the heart of the city, it transports you miles away from it with its lush trees and shrubs (mango and silk cotton trees being present in majority and a huge banyan tree being the most prominent), grassy meadows, bougainvillea bushes, racing squirrels, pigeons and ominous crows flying around. Yes, like all tourist spots in Kolkata, it needs a little maintenance and also, we had to tip the guard for showing us the notable tombs (not having asked for it). But thank god, he did, or else we would be lost in the labyrinth of similar looking graves. The Hindoo Stuart temple/tomb and tombs of Derozio and William Jones are among the famous ones. Grave 363 muddled with our heads as we tried and tried to search for it and ultimately couldn't find it. It has nothing  but 'a virtuous mother' engraved in it, probably to keep the deceased anonymous.

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