Serampore (formerly a Danish colony), now a sub-divisional town of Hooghly district of West Bengal had many heritage places. One such place is Unique Lodge (addressed locally as Singha Bari) of 21, Dey Street, Serampore – 712201.
The 130 year old house had many things from antique furniture, curios to clocks and lamps. This house was built by Durga Prasanna Bhattacharyya, a renowned building contractor during the British period. The lodge is unique in architecture meeting the strictest British standards of that era. I was told that the youngest portion of the house was built in 1926. Notun Sadar and the grand staircase was constructed in the early 1930s for an amount of one lakh rupees.
Originally belonging to Debipur of Bardhaman district, the family shifted to Serampore during the middle of the nineteenth century. It was Pandit Kalinath Bhattacharyya, the father of Durga Prasanna Bhattacharyya, who was asked by Pandit Iswarchandra Vidyasagar to come to Serampore to teach Sanskrit and, thereafter the family started living here at Dey Street. But Kalinath died young leaving his son Durga Prasanna, who had an intense desire to become a doctor; but could not fulfil his dream and instead became a renowned building contractor.
Inspired by Raja Rajendra Mullick’s famous Marble Palace’s garden and the zoo, he too owned a zoo, though private, housing Indian and Burmese white peacocks, macaws, cuckoos, African and Australian parrots, white and black swans, exotic pigeons and even spotted deer. Now one can witness different kinds of birds in the verandah of the first floor of the house.
Beautiful statues in the courtyard
Durga Prasanna also owned different species of dogs like Great Danes, Irish setters and English setters. He also bagged a large number of trophies in the dog shows. I have been shown those cups and throphies by his grandson Pradipta Bhattacharyya, who compulsorily visits his paternal property every weekend. Not only that he personally cleans each and every curios and furniture. He said that he is in the habit of purchasing old things and it started a decade back.
Different clocks in Unique Lodge
Mr. Bhattacharyya showed more than a dozen clocks, some of which are quite costly – all in running condition. He personally winds those clocks and I was little surprised and asked him does it last seven days. “Yes”, he answers. His love for his paternal property is reflected in his face.
Different lamp shades in Unique Lodge
When I visited this mansion, I was greeted by Bhattacharyya himself and he took me to a drawing room, which had a beautiful round table with Italian marble coupled with exquisite work from Agra.
I listened to the old Bengali songs being played in a record player and it made me nostalgic. The room temperature is pretty lower compared to outside. Different paintaings and portraits of the family members hung from the wall.
There is a beautiful fountain in the courtyard and a number of wrought iron chairs along with a rare collection of marble statues will surely take you a hundred years back. One can spend much time here and will not be dissapointed. I have been told that there exists 41 rooms – big and small in this two-and-a-half storied heritage house.
The house also has a rare collection of porcelain artefacts, Burma teak furniture, crockeries, chandeliars, and different lamp shades which adds to the beauty of the rooms. The most beautifully decorarted room is in the first floor which also has a large collection of curios and different toy cars – some of which are brought by Pradipta Bhattacharyya from the overseas and all are in spick and span. The carpet though old is beautifully kept. This room had the portraits of the family members and here I found the picture of Pandit Kalinath Bhattacharyya and his wife.
The thakur ghar or the room for worship was basically upstairs but it was now shifted to the ground floor. When I entered the room, a beautiful smell of insence stick makes the entire ambience truly mesmerizing.
I simply can’t believe how two hours were spent in seeing such beautiful things in Unique Lodge and Pradipta babu accompanied me to each and every room. It had truly been a great experience for me and I will always remember this trip to Serampore.
I feel indebted to Sri Praditpta Bhattacharrya who actually helped me a lot.
Date of posting: 9th September, 2018.
14 thoughts on “Unique Lodge, Serampore”
Eta besh bhalo hoyeche
Besh bhalo lekha
Beautiful heritage building beautifullly kept and restored by Pradipto. Visit to the place is a wonderful experience where you go down memory lane and can see the beautiful art and architecture of those days
Nicely explained . Filling proud .
It should be named ‘ROYAL LODGE’ instead of ‘UNIQUE LODGE’ and it is indeed the PRIDE of HOOGHLY DISTRICT.
Khub sundor laglo.Short trip er jonno apnar lekha khub kaje lagbey.Thank you
Pradipta babu has done us Seramporeans proud by taking up upkeep of Unique Lodge personally, instead of doing away with it for monetary gains. Kudos are also due to Kinjal for his beautiful write up and showcasing the beautiful mansion.
I appreciate both you and Pradiptababu for your concern and efforts. You are in search of our past glorious days and try to make us aware of it and Pradiptababu is working as a torch bearer of olden days who ushers the light on this invaluable inheritence. The care he gives to these antique objects makes him a real deserving person of this rich legacy.
My heartfelt thanks to Mr Pradip ta Bhattacharjee for the excellent maintenance of the heritage property.
Such fossilized remnants of our glorious past are worth celebrating in every possible manner. Kudos to you for bringing this specimen out in the open that otherwise would have remained in apparent obscurity. I have two questions: a) How are the names “Unique Lodge” and for that matter “Singha Bari” came to be associated with this edifice?, and of course b) Is it by any way possible for you to take us along to this fabulous haunt of the Bhattacharyas some day? I’m any way keen to explore Serampore (and Chinsurah) in much greater detail to have a real feel of these two historic places.
Nice heritage house,worth seeing.Presentation by Kinjal Bose is also praisable.
Nice & fine.
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It was with these questions in mind that I, along with 20 odd enthusiast visited under your mentorship at the Danish colony. We saw a lot of historical places which enriched our understanding. By going through ur article , it seemed it was a sheer miss to witness the another marvel of Srirampore’s rich history and glory. Definitely worth a visit . Next time would love to visit this literally unique lodge.