A former Danish colony, Serampore or Srirampur, has maintained its historical charm. Walking through its streets is like strolling through an open-air museum. It is a must-visit destination, not only for history buffs, but also for photographers, and all those who like to explore off -beaten paths.
It is called as the birthplace of the intellectual movement of Renaissance in India. It is also the cradle of the Bengali font. And these historical specialties are evident even today as you walk through the narrow streets with pastel-colored houses on both sides. The looming mansions and the heritage structures will transport you back in time when Bengal has a rich glorious position in the country.
Even today some building flaunt paintings of the national freedom movement. For instance, you will see motifs of Raja Rammohun Roy and Bhagat Singh on a children’s hostel.
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As you walk a little ahead, you will come across a small structure. Though it looks like a temple from afar, it is actually a Danish chapel. Dating back to 1806, St. Olav’s Church, or the “Danish Church,” is one of the most significant relics of the Danish era.
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In fact, travellers are welcome to visit and stay in some of the old heritage homes. The 150-year-old Unique Lodge is one of them. Interestingly, its name comes from a unique architectural feature. Four pillars holding up a front balcony, an element novel to the time, it was built in as special permissions were taken to construct pillars on a public road since Serampore had no pavements then. The Lodge houses a rare collection of marble statues, porcelain artifacts, Burma teak furniture, and clocks.
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The river Hooghly coasts the city on one side. You can rent a colorful boat by the hour, and enjoy a ride along the historic banks. There is also a 235-year-old Danish Tavern, that serves sumptuous drinks even today.
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Serampore is an hour ride away from Kolkata by road or rail. So, if you want to explore a lesser-known chapter of history, then travel to Serampore to unbox a treasure chest of memorabilia and legendary stories.