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PALACES OF THE RICH &THE FAMOUS OF COLONIAL CALCUTTA – Ramdulal Niwas (house of Chhatu Babu & Latu Babu)

Ramdulal Niwas at Norh Calcutta

In the early 18th century Ramdulal Deb was one of the first Indians to make his riches under the British rule. He constructed his residential building “Ramdulal Niwas” at 67E, Beadon Street in North Calcutta, which is now a heritage venue. The brick-red building, situated near the present Beadon Street Post Office, was constructed in Victorian architecture during the early British Raj. The huge building with gorgeous columns includes a unique covered courtyard, which can be utilized to entertain four hundred guests at a time. It is said that at the instance of Ramdulal, USA opened its consulate in this city.

Ramdulal Niwas - Nameplate
Ramdulal Niwas – Nameplate

The Durga Puja of the Deb family, started in 1770 by Ramdulal, has continued till date in the said heritage venue. The idol is of traditional ‘Ek Chala’, Lakshmi and Saraswati are being worshipped here as Jaya-Bijaya.  Till the recent past, a unique ritual was followed by the family during Durga Puja. Just before the immersion of the idol on the day of Bijoya Dashami, two ‘Nilkontho’ birds (Indian Rollar Bird) were set free. It was believed that one of the birds would fly to Kailash to inform Lord Shiva about the imminent  arrival of Goddess Durga, while the other would come back to confirm the members of the family about the safe  departure of the Goddess.

Ramdulal Niwas - Durga Puja
Ramdulal Niwas – Durga Puja

Ramdulal Deb had two sons, Ashutosh and Pramatha Nath. The two brothers were more popularly known as Chhatu Babu and Latu Babu, for their lavish lifestyle. It is rumored that in those early days they used to light cigars with hundred rupee currency notes. There is a market, “Chhatu Babu-Latu Babur Bazar”, located just opposite Ramdulal Niwas, which was named after the Deb brothers. The Durga Puja of Deb family became famous during the time of these two brothers.

Chhatu Babu
Chhatu Babu
Latu Babu
Latu Babu

Due to proper maintenance the massive building is still in good condition. Today, the descendants of Ramdulal live  in other large mansions in the same locality.

Ramdulal Niwas - history of Durga Puja
Ramdulal Niwas – history of Durga Puja
Ramdulal Niwas - Covered Courtyard
Ramdulal Niwas – Covered Courtyard
Ramdulal Niwas inside
Ramdulal Niwas inside
Dibyendu Banerjee
Dibyendu Banerjee
Ex student of Scottish Church College. Served a Nationalised Bank for nearly 35 years. Authored novels in Bengali. Translated into Bengali novels/short stories of Leo Tolstoy, Eric Maria Remarque, D.H.Lawrence, Harold Robbins, Guy de Maupassant, Somerset Maugham and others. Also compiled collections of short stories from Africa and Third World. Interested in literature, history, music, sports and international films.

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