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 bittersweet symbols of family pride, impossible to restore or sometimes even to maintain.