Shared Built Heritage (Pre Conference Tour) Ex-Kolkata
Ex- Kolkata Tour
Brief for Tour & Symposium of ISC Shared Built Heritage in West Bengal, India; December 2017
Destination Cover: Kolkata, Srerampore, Chandernagore, Chinsurah, Murshidabad
Length of tour: 07 Nights – 08 Days
As a country with a rich civilisational history, embedding complex, multi-layered narratives that are in a state of cultural continuum, Indian cities offer a dynamic canvas to explore many hidden layers and meanings of the past. Within this rich tapestry, the strand of shared built heritage in India takes on many forms and meanings, the most challenging being the layer associated with country’s colonial legacy The questions that remain at the core of this debate is whose heritage is this anyway? When the custodians are not the creators of the heritage, do we look to the glory of the past or move towards the future? What approach is appropriate for the treatment of shared built heritage in India? Over the last three decades there have been many initiatives, some government led, some privately steered and some ground-up community programmes that have explored the many facets of this shared built heritage across the country.
The choice of the tour explores the unique cultural landscape along the Hooghly river in West Bengal while the venue of symposium is Calcutta, together forming an excellent example of all the complexities faced by shared built heritage in India. This landscape is a physical testimony to the rise and fall of colonial ambitions in India beginning with the Mughal capital of Bengal at Murshidabad, followed by colonial trading posts of the French at Chandernagore, Danish at Serampore, Dutch at Chinsurah and the Portuguese at Bandel, and finally the British capital at Calcutta (now Kolkata).
The tour is planned to explore the shared built heritage of each of these settlements that is linked by the Hooghly river and the symposium shall provide the opportunity to explore the issues and challenges faced for their conservation and development. The tour will be stationed in Calcutta, also the symposium venue, and short trips would be designed to familiarise the participants with the area as well as the context of this heritage.