40 kilometres from Calcutta on the banks of river Hoogly, lies this erstwhile French colony that is sure to transport you to the era bygone. Chandernagore, anglicised name of Chandanagar, is a unique French settlement. A French town with a Bengali heart, it is a testimony to the confluence of both cultures, a mélange of Indo-European expression superbly manifested in the quaint meandering streets, elegant promenade and homes planned around courtyards with European looking facades with intricate stucco detailing.
Popularly known as Petit France en Inde (Little France in India), it was the first trading post on the eastern bank of the Hoogly, set up by the French in 1696. It is representative of the shared cultural heritage, where French and Indian cultures have intermingled to form an Indo-European expression of a way of life reflected in the houses of the native population.
Information and Images: Aishwarya Tipnis, ‘Shared Urban Heritage in India: The Case of Chandernagore’, Context, Vol X, Issue 1, Spring/Summer 2013.
For more information on Aishwarya’s Project on the French Colonial Town, visit: https://www.aishwaryatipnisarchitects.com/french-colonial.html.