Saturday, 3 March 2018

232 year old Denmark tavern of Serampore recently restored back to old grandeur and charm

Outlook IndiaDanish Tavern, Serampore, W 

232 year old Danish Tavern, Serampore The Telegraph
Monuments are silent spectators of past events that may or may not have relevance in to day's context.  However, they play a key role in our society to keep the connectivity with the past. There will be no history if such monuments are lost for ever. In this respect, many Indian states, of late, are making efforts to repair and restore important monuments - both Indian and colonial so that they will be of great value to the posterity to understand the past legacy and heritage. In this respect, the recent restoration of Denmark (Danish) Tavern at Serampore, near Kolkata, West Bengal  is a good news to the heritage lovers.

  "Monuments and archaeological pieces serve as testimonies of man's greatness and establish a dialogue between civilizations showing the extent to which human beings are linked".                                   ........ Vicente Fox (www.brainyquote.com (/topics/monuments)

Serampore, a former colony of Denmark in West Bengal, has  countless monuments built during the heyday of  Danish rule. Among them, the one that has attracted the attention of the people as well as  tourists is the 232 year old Danish tavern cum a riverside cafe. Until a few years ago, this historical site was in ruins, almost in a dilapidated condition, and now this old tavern has just begun to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  The building is on the banks of Hoogley river just walk-able distance from the main street of Serampore.  Recently the old Denmark tavern, a two-storied building, has been resurrected back to  its old glory and charm. Amazingly the original look of the building is retained.  After a long spell of time the doors are open for the public to have a quite and enjoyable time in the heritage hotel in the midst of 18th century ambiance. The opening function (28 February, 2018) was attended by representatives of many Nordic and Scandinavian countries, including Denmark  and Sweden.
Denmark tavern, 1923, Serampore, West Bengal. natmus.dk
It will also have a bakery, handicrafts shop and lodging facilities. The café-by-the-Hooghly is being
run by Coffee House. The  revenue  from the cafe will go for  its maintenance, keeping in mind the retention of  heritage value of the structure. Thanks to the National Museum of Denmark and the West Bengal Heritage Commission who, in unison, worked on the restoration project. The restoration cost of Rs. 5 crore was borne by a private association called Realdania. This association takes keen  interest in architecture and planning and they collaborated with the West Bengal government (represented by WBTDC). The contribution made by restoration architect of the local government Mr. Manish Chakraborti needs to be mentioned. He skillfully used the talented masons from Murshidabad  and the Sunderbans and, in this respect, his toil never failed and gave him a good credict.  According to him this is the second government sponsored project after restoration of St Olav’s Church project (2016).  The Coffee House derived its inspiration from the double height atrium of the Coffee House, Calcutta. Already some rooms are available for boarders and the tavern will become functional pretty soon, say a few weeks from now. The restored tavern will be taken care of by WBTDC (West Bengal Tourism Development Corporation). The cafeteria  can accommodate about 60-70 people. Serampore was administered by Denmark under the name of  Frederiksnagore till 1845 when Britain bought the Indian possessions from Denmark. Earlier a Danish colony  had flourished by the river Hooghly between 1755 and 1845.
18th century English Tavern. Alamy
When the team began the restoration work a few years ago, they were groping in the dark, no body knew anything about the exact origin of the old ruined building. According to NMD (National Museum of Denmark) historian Simon Rastén , “Nobody remembered the original name of the ruined building. It was like a detective work to search the archives and it felt great when I realized that it must be the well-known Denmark Tavern and Hotel from 1786, which was located at the Nishan Ghat where the Danes kept their flagstaff and salutation cannons.”
CartoonStock
Bente Wolff, curator of Danish National Museum, told the reporters that  earlier they used sketches nearly 200 year old to arrive at the correct frontal view. During the British rule,  both the Tavarn and  hotel on the upper floor were  owned by one Mr. James   Parr who formerly owned London tavern. In the old painting, this old building is visible near the Flag-staff, directly facing thechanged hands Barrackpore Cantonment.  The opening of this tavern by Mr. Parr was announced in the Calcutta Gazette on 16 March 1786. Two yeras later on 3 April 1788, there was  a change of  ownership and the new owner was John Nichols

The Danes and like minded Bengalies  together restored an old heritage site that was once an active part of the Danish Colony in this  region of India. 

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata/danish-tavern-resumes-journey-after-232-yrs/articleshow/63102067.cms