The Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival 2018 from 11-15 January celebrates the spirit of books, art and culture that Kolkata is famous for. The event, held at St Paul’s Cathedral (established in 1847) and at Oxford Bookstore, will have meaningful discussions with men and women of arts and letters, discover new talents, and engage and interact with the finest creative minds in the nation and globally.
As the official holiday partner for AKLF 2018, Flying Squirrel Holidays will organize three heritage walks in the city where participants will be able to go back in time and learn about old Kolkata, its people, architecture and neighbourhoods. Local historian and archaeologist Dr. Tathagata Neogi of Heritage Walk Calcutta, will be leading the walks and sharing interesting anecdotes about the city’s past, the early days of printing, literary figures, the local heroes and colonial life.
Writers, poets and artists participating in AKLF 2018 will also be part of these heritage walks which will be as follows:
Mark Wood’s Map: Dalhousie Square Walk
In this heritage walk we will retrace the steps of British administrator, Lieutenant Colonel Mark Wood to explore streets and identify buildings that were depicted in Wood’s detailed map of 1784 of the European Settlement in Calcutta. Several streets and buildings that the map depicted still survive, albeit in different names. You will learn about the history of the city following the Battle of Plassey when Calcutta emerged as the “Second City of the British Empire,” pass by Calcutta’s infamous opium exchange which features prominently in Amitav Ghosh’s Ibis Trilogy, take a peek at the Company Stables, walk by the Raj Bhavan, and hear the curious story of one specific late 19th century trash-can.
Friday, 12th Jan. (7:00 – 9.30 am)
South Park Street Cemetery Walk
In this walk we take you inside the South Park Street Cemetery, the largest non-church cemetery outside the Anglo-American world in the 19th century, where you learn about life and death in colonial Calcutta and and identify different types of grave architecture; visit the graves of pioneering personalities like Sir William Jones, Colin MacKenzie, Henry Louis Vivian De Rosario (Derozio); hear the story of the “most beautiful girl in Calcutta” in the late 18th century and learn about the hair-raising mission of a British envoy to Tibet.
Saturday, 13th Jan. (8.30 – 10.30 am)
The Pilgrim’s Trail: Chitpore Road Walk
Chitpore Road is older than Calcutta. Under the East India Company’s rule, this part of Kolkata was known as “native/black” town where both poor and affluent Indians lived. We will walk this historic route to explore its colourful past. The tour will take you through Kumartuli, the hub of the skilled idol-makers. You will visit some of the oldest surviving temples in the city, as well as the famous Sobhabazar Rajbari, home of Raja Nabakrishna Deb. We will talk about the history of early printing in this area, and see how Chitpore Road was perceived in the vernacular literature of the 19th and 20th centuries.
Sunday, 14th Jan. (7.00 – 9.30 am)
Price: INR 2,500 for each walk (including refreshments).