With its name originating from the English word “barracks”, Barrackpore is a historically significant city on the banks of the Hooghly River near Kolkata. It was here that the British established their first army cantonment in India, with several rebellious acts in the 19th-century etching Barrackpore’s name in the national psyche.
Things to do
Overlooking the Hooghly River is Mangal Pandey Park, which is named in honour of a young Indian soldier who revolted against British rule during the Indian rebellion of 1857. The tree from which he was hanged still stands today and an inscribed statue depicting Pandey explains his contribution to India’s independence movement.
If you’re interested in the life and philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi, make a point of visiting the museum, research centre and library of Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya. Its five galleries exhibit books and personal belongings of Gandhi, as well as rare photos depicting freedom fighters from around the world. A short drive along the river will take you to the Gandhi Ghat where it’s said the Father of the Nation spent time in contemplation.
Adjacent to the Gandhi Ghat is the Annapurna Temple, which is an exact replica of the Dakshineswar Kali Temple built by the 19th-century philanthropist Rani Rashmoni. Another religious landmark not to miss in Barrackpore is St. Bartholomew’s Cathedral, a 19th-century Gothic-style church that is considered one of the finest monuments built during the British era.
Barrackpore is just over an hour’s drive from the centre of Kolkata and about an hour from Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport. Both trains and buses link the two cities, while ferries travel from Barrackpore to destinations along the Hooghly River. Taxis and rickshaws are readily available for getting around the city.