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Fort William, a Relic of The Raj at Kolkutta

November 20, 2011  by: Madan G Singh  Points: 12   Category: Others    Views: 720

Fort William is a tribute to the Raj and is landmark for over 200 years


There is fort close to the banks of the river Hoogly. The Fort is a tribute to the Raj. This fort is located in the heart of Kolkata and presently is the headquarters of the Indian Army's eastern command. A fact not known to many is the original fort was built by John Goldsborough who named it after the English king William II. The fort was improved from 1701 to 1706 by Sir Charles Eyre.

In 1756 the fort was captured by Nawab Siraj ud Dowlah and was the venue of the famous 'black hole' tragedy when 146 Britishers and their supporters were confined in a small room in the guard-room of the fort and nearly a 100 died (but figures are disputed).

After the defeat of the Nawab at the hands of Robert Clive in 1757, the fort was again rebuilt. This time construction commenced in 1758 and lasted till 1781. The fort is a tribute to the British Raj and from the time one enters the gates one can sense the history of the British rule in India. There is an excellent chapel inside that is now converted into a library, which delineates the exploits of the British in the various campaigns in India.

The fort is shaped like an octagon and covers an area of 5 sq Km. It can house 10,000 troops and is surrounded by a moat that can be flooded if the need arises. With 6 gates the fort is an important landmark of Kolkata and one can't miss it if going on a visit to this ancient city. All around the fort are empty spaces, now considered the lungs of Calcutta. But at that time the empty spaces were kept as it is deliberately, to allow the canons on the ramparts of the fort have a clear view for firing.
The fort was the place where General JS Aurora burned teh midnight oil in 1971 as he planned the invasion of East Pakistan.


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