Embracing the banks of the Ganges River, just 30 km north of busy Kolkata, is the small, beautiful erstwhile French colony. Formerly known as Chandannagore, Chandannagar, today, continues to house remnants of French colonization, despite its turbulent past. In fact, though the rest of India won independence in 1947, Chandannagar continued to remain a stronghold of the French till 1950.
Once an important maritime and commerce hub, the French and the British fought many battles and skirmishes for control over this town. Though the British did take over governance at many points in history, during which they destroyed many of the French monuments and structures, the French colonizers were eventually victorious.
French colonization therefore left the town with a distinctively European legacy, with Chadannagar’s landscape still dotted with buildings, churches and museums that showcase French architectural styles. With a French aura but Bengali soul, Chandannagar is a popular destination for tourists within the state.
It is the town’s French ancestry that gives Chandannagar a unique edge. Most of the French establishments that have stood the test of time are concentrated in the area that is known as ‘the Strand’. This promenade by the river is popular with tourists and locals alike, whether strolling down the promenade or sitting down to enjoy the sunset in the evenings. The Sacred Heart Church, just off the Strand, is a beautiful testament to the past, with its stunning, intricate stained glass windows.
Another important landmark in the town is the erstwhile Duplex Mansion, which serves as the Chandannagar Museum today. The museum houses a fascinating collection of French artifacts that hark back to the colonial era.
Other sites, such as the Nandulal Temple, the terracotta temple, and the Durgacharan Rakshit Ghat are also worth a visit.
Auto-rickshaws can be found in Chandannagar, but they are not always easily available. Hiring a car from Kolkata and driving down is your best bet.
On a daily basis there are approximately 327 flights that operate at Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport.IndiGo, SpiceJet and Air India are the most popular airline brands that fly frequently to this airport.
Besides flying you can also reach Chandannagar through train.Chandan Nagaris one of the most popular train stations in Chandannagar.On an average about 12 trains pass through Chandannagar on a daily basis.Durgapur to Chandannagar, Barddhaman to Chandannagar, Bandel to Chandannagarare some of the most popular routes to Chandannagar with 42, 42, 42 trains weekly respectively.
By road Chandannagar is surrounded by Bhadreswar, Hugli-Chinsurah, Bhatpara which are 1.61 km, 3.56 km, 3.64 km away respectively. These places are ideal spots for people to plan their short weekend break.