In Bengal, get a glimpse of Danish history in India

Kolkata, Nov 27 : To boost heritage tourism in West Bengal, an Indo-Danish restoration project is working towards preserving and documenting Danish relics in Srirampore (Serampore) town; work is 50 percent complete, an official said Wednesday.

When the work is completed in a few years, the edifices would be thrown open to the public who will then gain a glimpse into Danish history in India. The Danish East India Company had, in 1755, sent a representative to the nawab of Bengal seeking rights to do business in Bengal.

The ongoing renovation carried out by the state Heritage Commission and National Museum of Denmark (NMD) is centred at Srirampore, the town on the banks of the Hooghly river that hosted the Danes from 1755 to 1845 and became their trading post.

The project, initiated by NMD in 2008, is titled "The Serampore Initiative".

Officially christened Frederiksnagore by the Danes, the township, located 25 km north of Kolkata, has important monuments dating back to colonial rule by Denmark like St. Olav's Church built in 1806 and the Danish Government House that came up in 1755.

"There are six to seven sites in Srirampore that are being renovated. These sites are very large and most of them are in dilapidated condition. So far, more than 50 percent of the work has been done," the chairman of the state's Heritage Commission, Suvaprassana, told IANS.

"Both countries have contributed to the project in terms of funds, architectural experts, historians and renovators etc," he said.

According to him, structures such as the South Gate of the Danish Government House that forms the back entry to the building need a phenomenal amount of work.

Because the monument has links to Danish, British and Indian history, the restoration, which has been underway at the compound since 2009, is challenging, he said.

"These places are overgrown and therefore restoration needs attention to detail. Therefore, experts from various backgrounds are sought to maintain the originality of the structure," Suvaprassana said.

--IANS (Posted on 27-11-2013)

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