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Ballygunge

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Ballygunge is an upmarket and posh locality in South Kolkata (India). It is flanked by Park Circus in the north, Kasba and the Eastern Railway south suburban line in the east, Dhakuria, Jadavpur and the Lakes (now called Rabindra Sarobar) in the south, and the localities of Bhowanipore and Manoharpukur in the west.

It is large area comprising of Old Ballygunge, Ballygunge Circular Road, Gurusaday Dutta Road, Palm Avenue, Hindustan Park, Mayfair Road, Ballygunge Place, Gariahat Road, the Lake Area, Deshapriya Park and some areas of Lansdowne Road (Sarat Bose Road).

Contents

History, Culture and Development

The term bâli meaning sand and gônj or village signifies that there used to be a huge deposit of sand here earlier. In fact, it is considered that while the British were digging the Mahratta Ditch as a precautionary measure to fortify the city against invading Maratha warriors, the sand and mud that was dug up used to be piled up in the area currently known as Ballygunge.

The locality started developing with the expansion of Kolkata city beyond the Mahratta Ditch (later the Upper and Lower Circular Roads and now the A.P.C.Road and A.J.C.Bose Road respectively), in the early and mid-20th century. Soon this locality became one of the addresses to have in town, with beautifully laid out areas like Gurusaday Dutt Road, Ballygunge Park, Queen's Park, Sunny Park, Hindustan Park, Merlin Park,Ballygunge Circular Road, Old Ballygunge Road (Ashutosh Chowdhury Avenue), Iron side Road, Mayfair Road, Mandeville Gardens (areas known today as 'Old Ballygunge". Stately bungalows came up on both sides of the tree-lined avenues.

The Tagore Estate used to have large holdings in the area. Maharaja Suren Tagore's house on Gurusaday Dutt Road was later bought by the Birlas, and the house has now become The Birla Industrial & Technological Museum. Others like Sir K G Gupta ICS, Gurusaday Dutt ICS(Founder of the Bratachari Movement - after whom the road was later named),K.K.Birla, B.M.Birla, Raja Anandilal Poddar, H L Somany and Nawab Farooqui also lived on Gurusaday Dutt Road. The Maharajah of Tripura built their Calcutta town house on Ballygunge Circular Road. Pramathesh Barua,who was the Maharaja of Gouripur(Assam), the famous Bengali Film Director also lived on Ballygunge Circular Road (now named Pramathesh Barua Sarani). So did the Maharajas of Santosh, Brajendrakishore Raychaudhuri, the zamindar of Gouripore (Bengal), who donated money to the National Council, which later became Jadavpur University, Sir S M Bose, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, the first Education Minister of India, Abhay Charan Banerjee (Sir R N Mukherjee's eldest son-in-law), L N Thapar, the industrialist, Suchitra Sen, the actress (she still does live there), Sita and Sachin Chaudhuri, the Finance Minister of India, and the Khaitans of Khaitan & Co, Solicitors. Leila Seth lived with her family on Ballygunge Circular Road. Maharajah of Nadia district at present Saumish Chandra Roy of Nadia has a house on 1, Bright Street. A cantonment area grew on Ballygunge Circular Road, along with several noted colleges and schools. The areas around the lakes - between Rashbehari Avenue and Southern Avenue (Meghnad Saha Sarani)began to be developed in the inter-war years and came to be known as the Rai Sahib-Rai Bahadur's colony because of the number of senior civil servants (bearing those titles) who retired and settled there. Other areas like the serpentine lanes of Fern Road, Kankulia Road(stretches later came to be known as Ballygunj Terrace), Garcha (parts later renamed as Dover Terrace), Motilal Nehru Road, Ballygunge Place East are also a part of Ballygunj.

Although the area reflects the city's problems of over-crowding and pollution, Ballygunge remains a sought after residential area.The removal of the "islands" around the tram tracks on Rashbehari Avenue and its trees has reduced its beauty.

The official residence of the Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court(formerly the residence of Justice Kamal Chandra Chunder), is in Ballygunge and the area has provided state Chief Ministers and Union Cabinet Ministers for the last three decades. The traditional burra sahibs - the senior company executives and bureaucrats - continue to be housed in the locality. The Consulates of Belgium, Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Indonesia and Thailand are located in Ballygunge. The Calcutta Cricket and Football Club is on Gurusaday Dutt Road.

As a result, Ballygunge is today the one of the most exclusive & posh locales of Calcutta, with land prices among the highest in the city. Since the 1970's colonial bungalows and detached houses have been giving place to multi-storied flats. In the seventies and eighties these were largely "co-operative" initiatives for the Bengali middle class. ("Saptaparni", "Paarijaat", "Ananda", "Meghamallar"); during the '90s, the developments became increasingly more swank as marble clad high rises were targeted at Calcutta's business communities; and finally the new millennium has seen condomiums with swimming pools and other facilities for the seriously affluent. Recent road development undertaken at the Old Ballygunge side, Rashbehari-Deshapriya park and Gariahat have improved the infrastructure in the Ballygunge area, although traffic snarls are still quite common along major arteries like Rash Behari Avenue, Gariahat Road and Syed Amir Ali Avenue during peak hours.

The southern part of the locality consists of the Gariahat area, renowned for clothes, jewellery, and a fresh food market including fish. Some renowned shops, retailers and wholesalers has set the trends of South Calcutta to becoming exclusively independent. Some of the best fashion shops are:

  • The Gucci Fashion Valley - [1]
  • DCM
  • Stanrose

A number of established retail brands have opened shop in this area and shopping malls are opening up rapidly. The Gariahat area is also a veritable gourmet's delight:

  • Bengali confectionery (Banchharam, Girish, Mouchak)
  • North Indian confectionery (Ganguram, Sharma's, Junior Brothers)
  • Snack Bars (Campari, Baked N Fried, Purbani)
  • Patisseries (Upper Crust, Kathleen's, Mongini's)
  • "Pice" Hotel (New Karco)
  • Bengali (Bhajahari Manna, 13 Paarbon, arifulrb)
  • Mughlai (Bedwin)
  • North Indian (Amber, Mirch Masala, Kwality)
  • South Indian (South Indian Club, Sonali)
  • Chinese (Krystal Chop Stick, Chinese Pavilion, Hatari,China Town, Green Chilli, Grub Club)
  • Punjabi (Ballygunge Phaari Dhaba)
  • "Junk" - "Phuchka" outside DCM Showroom (Gariahat Road) and assorted "Jhaal Muri" stalls. The best is obtainable in front of "Kola Villa" in Gol Park and south-western part of Vivekananda Park.

The area between Gariahat and Gol Park has several used-book stores lining the footpaths. At their best, they are more than equal to the more-renowned College Street booksellers and much better than the relatively overpriced shops on [Free School Street]. From disposable chart-topping thrillers to arcane magazines, they stock a large variety of titles. However, this market faces periodic fits of 'hawker evictions' off and on.

Further South is the Lake area, open green spaces and water bodies which act as lungs to the city. The Lake Stadium (Rabindra Sarobar Stadium) is here, and swimming and rowing institutions are dotted around the area. Of note are the Indian Life Saving Society (founded 1922 but known to one and all as Anderson Club); the [Calcutta Rowing Club] (established in 1958); the Bengal Rowing Club (founded 1929 as the Marwari Rowing Club)and the Calcutta Rowing Club.

Ballygunge is also noted for several established [Durga Puja]pandal - Ekdalia Park (on Ekdalia Road), Singhi Park (on Dover lane), Adi Ballygunge Sarbojonin, Deshapriya Park, Gol Park, Jagarani, Adi Kankulia etc. (during the Puja season in September/October).

Ballygunge is also home to the Dover Lane Music Festival, held annually, which is noted for its participants who hail from the best of Indian classical music]. Noted dancer and choreographer, Uday Shankar (elder brother of Ravi Shankar) used to live in the area. His wife Amala Shankar, their son: Ananda Shankar, and their daughter: Mamata Shankar continue to reside and run teaching establishments in Ballygunge. Rabindrasangeet is taught at a number of institutions in the locality, of which, Dakshini is perhaps the most celebrated.

Ballygunge Railway Station is an important junction on the Sealdah south-section of the [[Eastern Railway (India)[Eastern Railways]] suburban service. It is here that the lines to Lakhsmikantapur, Canning and Diamond Harbour on the one hand and Budge Budge on the other fork out. The Calcutta Tramways Company has a depot in the locality on Gariahat Road; the government bus services also maintains a depot next to Ballygunj Station. The underground Metro railway skirts Ballygunge, the closest station being "Kalighat" being about 2 km away from Gariahat-Rashbehari Avenue Crossing.

Educational institutions

Ballygunge is home to some of the better educational institutions in Kolkata.

  1. The School of Chinese Language, Sunny Park, an initiative of the Royal Bengal Group, chinese@royalbengalgroup.com
  2. South Point School, Mandeville Gardens, once considered to be the largest school in the world.
  3. St. Lawrence School, Ballygunge Circular Road
  4. Tirthapati Institution, Rash Behari Avenue
  5. Kamala Girls School, Lake Road (Kavi Bharati Sarani)
  6. Ballygunge Govt. School, whose alumni include Satyajit Ray, Surajit Sinha
  7. Ballygunge Shiksha Sadan, Gariahat Road
  8. Lycee , Hindusthan Road
  9. Modern High School for Girls, Syed Amir Ali Avenue
  10. Ballygunge Science College, Ballygunge Circular Road
  11. Patha Bhavan, Swinhoe Street, Palm Avenue and Ekdalia Road
  12. Patha Bhavan, Ballygunge Place and Merlin Park
  13. University Law College, Hazra Road
  14. South City College, Golpark
  15. Army Public School, Kolkata, Ballygunge maidan camp
  16. Kendriya Vidyalaya Ballygunge, Kolkata, Ballygunge maidan camp
  17. Basanti Devi College, Rashbehari Avenue, Kolkata
  18. Lake Girls' School, Lake Terrace, Kolkata

Places of interest

  • Gariahat Mall, located near Ballygunge Station
  • Gariahat Market, centred at the crossing of Rash Behari Avenue and Gariahat Road (known as Gariahat more)
  • Birla Temple on Old Ballygunge Road (near Ballygunge Phari)
  • Ice Skating Rink, Syed Amir Ali Avenue (Opposite to Ballygunge Park Road)
  • Birla Science & Technological Museum, Gurusaday Dutta Road
  • Max Mueller Bhavan, Ballygunge Circular Road
  • Bharat Sevashram Sangha, Rash Behari Avenue (near Ballygunge Station)
  • Calcutta Cricket & Football Club (CC&FC), Old Ballygunge Road & Gurusaday Dutta Rd crossing
  • Rabindra Sarobar and Ballygunge Lake (the biggest open area after Maidan in Calcutta) at Southern Avenue
  • Ramakrishna Mission at Golpark, a big library and convention centre
  • Birla Academy of Fine Arts on Southern Avenue
  • Lake Kalibari, on Southern Avenue
  • Dakshin Kalikata Samsad, Deshapriya Park
  • Dalhousie Institute, Jhowtalla Road
  • Deshapriya Park, a large open area with an integrated club adjacent to it
  • Maddox Square, on Ritchie Road-having a rose garden
  • Triangular Park, junction of Purnadas Road and Rash Behari Avenue
  • Mahanirban Math, opposite of Triangular Park
  • Lake Stadium
  • Mukta Mancha, Rabindra Sarobar
  • Buddhist Temple, Lake Temple Road
  • Theaters
  • Priya Cinema
  • Menoka Cinema
  • Inox Cinema
  • Dhabas
  • Sharma Dhaba, Ballygunge Circular Road
  • Azad Hind Dhaba, Ballygunge Circualar Road
  • Chaurasia Local Food Seller, Ballygunge Circular Road
  • Bachan's Dhaba, Rashbehari Crossing
  • Pizza
  • Dominos Pizza, Ballygunge Station Road.(Beside Bijon Setu Flyover).
  • Dominos Pizza, Ballygunge Circular Road (Opposite Pizza Hut)
  • Pizza Hut, Ballygunge Circular Road (Beside Chaurasia Local Food Stand)

Famous persons

  • Rikit Kundu, EAI Architect and Latin Salsa exponent, lived at ancestral home Kundu Nivas.
  • Saurav Ganguly, Awesome Indian cricketer. The "bengal tiger".
  • Satyendranath Tagore, first Indian I.C.S. Officer, and elder brother of Rabindra Nath, built a house on Store Road (Gurusaday Road), which is now the Birla Industrial & Technological Museum (Guru Saday Dutta Road).
  • Indira Devi Choudhurani, daughter of Satyendra Nath, wife of Pramatha Choudhuri, and once a muse of Rabindra Nath lived at 2 Bright Street (subsequently purchased by the Maharajahs of Nadia and today known as "Nadia House"). The house was purchased by Satyendra Nath for his only daughter and he died here.
  • Swarnakumari Devi (Mrs. J. N. Ghosal), elder sister of Rabindra Nath, mother of Sir Jyosna Nath Ghosal, ICS, lived with the latter at his house: 3 Sunny Park.
  • Gurusaday Dutt, ICS Officer, champion of tribal arts and craft lived on Store Road which now bears his name
  • Ghanshyam Das Birla, businessman and industrialist used to stay at Gurusaday Dutta Rd, where his descendants continue to live
  • Jyoti Basu, former Chief Minister of West Bengal has his ancestral house at 55B Hindustan Park and lived there till the mid eighties
  • Buddhadev Bhattacharya, the current Chief Minister of West Bengal, lives at 59A Palm Avenue
  • Somnath Chatterjee, Speaker of the House of the People (Lok Sabha) occupies his ancestral house at P514 Raja Basanta Roy Road
  • Pranab Mukherjee, Union Cabinet Minister (responsible at various times for Finance, Commerce, External Affairs and Defence Ministries) lives at 60/2/7 Lake Road
  • Indrajit Gupta, once Union Home Minister, General Secretary of the Communist Party of India, elected MP for 9 sessions, lived at 1 Dover Road (ancestral house)
  • Sir Bepin Behary Ghose, Law Member of the Viceroy's Executive Council lived at 11 Dover Lane.
  • Justice P.B. Chakravartti, first Indian to be the permanent Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court, used to live on Southern Avenue.
  • Justice Padma Khastagir, the first woman to sit on the Calcutta High Court Bench (and Acting Chief Justice) used to live in Southend Park.
  • Sir Jadunath Sircar, Padma Vibhushan, noted historian, once Vice Chancellor of Calcutta University, used to live at 10 Lake Terrace.
  • Prof. Megh Nad Saha, noted physicist, founder of the Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics, apparently used to live on what is now Southern Avenue.
  • Sir Asutosh Chaudhuri, High Court Judge, close friend of Rabindra Nath Tagore, political leader lived in Old Ballygunge.
  • Sarat Chandra Chatterjee noted Bengali novelist lived on Ashwini Dutt Road.
  • Satyajit Ray, film maker of world-wide fame, Academy Award Winner, used to live on Lake Temple Road.
  • Suchitra Sen, famous Bengali film actress lives on Ballygunge Circular Road.
  • Hemanta Mukherjee, doyen of Bengali music, (known as Hemant Kumar to the fans of his Hindi songs) used to live on Lake Avenue.
  • Sachin Dev Burman lived in a house that he bought/built in Southend Park.
  • Suchitra Mitra, noted exponent of Rabindra Sangeet, used to live on Swinhoe Street.
  • Buddhadeva Bose, a major Bengali writer of the twentieth century, the most multi-talented amongst those belonging to what is for convenience termed the 'post-Tagore' period, used to live at 202 Rash Behari Avenue.
  • Sunil Gangopadhyay, well known novelist and poet, lives on Mandeville Gardens
  • Buddhadeb Guha, well known novelist and poet, and his wife, noted exponent of Rabindra Sangeet Ritu Guha live on Ironside Road
  • Ruma Guha Thakurta, Singer, Actress and founder of Calcutta Youth Choir, lives at 38 Ballygunge Place.
  • Arghya Sen and Ashoketaru Banerjee, noted exponents of Rabindrasangeet, live in Ballygunge Place and Purnadas Road, respectively.
  • Rabindrasangeet singers: Sumitra Sen and her two daughters, Indrani and Srabani, live on Ballygunge Circular Road.
  • Nabanita Dev Sen, Litterateur, and only daughter of the poets Naren Dev and Radharani Devi, former wife of Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen, lives in the ancestral house "Bhaalobasha", 72 Hindustan Park.
  • Linguist, educationist, litterateur Professor Suniti Kumar Chattopadhyay, DLitt who did pioneering work on the origin and development of the Bengali language lived on Hindustan Park
  • Subrata Mukherjee, former Mayor of Kolkata, stays on Ekdalia Road.
  • P. C. Sorcar, Jr., magician, stays (like his father before him) on Ballygunge Station Road.
  • Mani Shankar Mukherjee (Shankar), well known Bengali writer and one of the best sellers in Bengali literature, stays at a flat on Bondel Road, Ballygunge.
  • Pronab Mitra Noted Medical Practitioner, Teacher, Poet Residing in Kankulia Road

Politics

In the 2006 elections to the state assembly Ahmed Javed Khan of AITC won the Ballygunge seat defeating his nearest rival Rabin Deb of CPI(M). Rabin Deb of CPI(M) defeated Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar of AITC in 2001 and Dibyendu Biswas of INC in 1996. Sachin Sen of CPI(M) defeated Sushobhan Basu of INC in 1991 and 1987, Rathin Talukdar of INC in 1987 and Subrata Mukherjee of INC in 1977.[1]

Ballygunge is part of Calcutta South (Lok Sabha constituency)[2]

References

  1. ^ 152 - Ballygunge Assembly Constituency. Partywise comparison since 1977. Election Commission of India. Retrieved on 2007-09-17.
  2. ^ General election to the Legislative Assembly, 2001 – List of Parliamentary and Assembly Constituencies. West Bengal. Election Commission of India. Retrieved on 2007-10-08.


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Coordinates: 22°32′N 88°22′E / 22.533, 88.367

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