James Outram was born on 29th January 1803, in Derbyshire. After the death of his father in 1805, his mother moved to Aberdeenshire in 1810. He joined Marischal College, Aberdeen, in 1818 and in the next year an Indian cadarship was given to him. Within a year he became acting adjutant to the first battalion of the 12th regiment on its embodiment at Poona. From an ordinary foot soldier in the army of the British East India Company, he rose to the rank of a General because of his bravery and commitment. He became famous for his role in capturing Lucknow, during the so called, Indian Rebellion of 1857.
Outram Ghat was built along the eastern bank of the Hoogly River in late nineteenth century by British authorities and was dedicated to the memory of Sir James Outram. The colonial touch made the ‘Ghat’ a prominent landmark of the city During colonial era it was used to be a key port and the main anchorage for ships to East Bengal and Burma. Outram Ghat was once a crucial gateway to the city. There is still a dilapidated customs office here. It was also a preferred terminal for many foreign cargo vessels. In those days, this was a perfect place for a rendezvous and evening jaywalkers. In fact, most of the British gentry and quintessential Bengali people, preferably used this ghat, due to its advantageous location.
Unlike Prinsep Ghat, Babu Ghat, Armenian Ghat and the others, Outram Ghat does not have any structure or building. The broad flight of stairs goes down to the river for taking a dip. Its importance is highlighted especially during the festive season of Durga Puja when lots of idols are immersed here.
Today Outram ghat is known to be one of Kolkata’s most beautiful riverside entertainment spots. It is a unique spot for people to chill out in the sweltering summer afternoons and evenings. It also has a floating restaurant. Facilities for boating are also available. Recently a two kilometer stretch of the riverfront from Princep Memorial to Babu Ghat has been beautified.