The Forgotten Palaces of Calcutta

by Joanne Taylor

The Forgotten Palaces of Calcutta

The Forgotten Palaces of Calcutta discovers the old areas of the city, where heritage houses and history fill every crowded lane and secret courtyard. Languishing in another time and place, at the end of narrow lanes and behind untidy shop-fronts, Calcutta’s rich heritage waits to be discovered.

The great houses of Bengal’s merchant princes have been largely forgotten and rarely photographed. Many of the interiors have remained the same for over 200 years. While much has been written and photographed on the British colonial architecture and lifestyle, very little has been done on the Indian equivalent. The great families experienced enormous changes in fortune over the centuries, from great wealth and power during colonial times to dramatic economic and social upheaval after Independence. For the remaining occupants, their ancestral homes are bitter-sweet symbols of family pride, impossible to restore, or sometimes even to maintain.

By focusing on Calcutta’s heritage mansions and palaces, The Forgotten Palaces of Calcutta makes an important contribution to the architectural history of both Calcutta and India.

The Forgotten Palaces of Calcutta
THE AUTHOR
Australia-born Joanne Taylor is a Sydney-based scholar, writer and photographer with a passion for Indian architecture and culture. She has written for numerous publications, studied Indian history at the University of Sydney, and has done a thesis on Calcutta’s Great Houses for the University of New South Wales. Joanne first visited India in 1971, which left an indelible impression on her. In The Forgotten Palaces of Calcutta, she achieves her aim of showing another side of the city of Calcutta; a city which she feels, leaves a lasting impact on all who embrace it.
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