Kolkata, formerly known as Calcutta was the capital of India till 1911. So the city has seen all the phases of National movement, the rule of East India Company, and the British Crown. Hence, it is obvious that the city is filled up with the structures, buildings and monuments in relation to the British Rule. Shaheed Minar is one of them.
Shaheed Minar or Shahid Minar or Shohid Minar :
Former Name: Ochterlony Monument
New Name: Shaheed Minar
English Name: Martyr’s Monument
Coordinates: 22◦33’46’’ N, 88◦20’57’’ E
History Behind Shaheed Minar’s Establishment :
To commemorate the successful defense and victory of Sir David Ochterlony, who was the commander of British East India Company, the Company had constructed a monument which was known as Ochterlony Monument. The designer of monument was J.P Parker.The construction started on 1825 and completed on 1828.
After Independence, on 9th August 1969 the then United Front Government rededicated it in the memory of the martyrs of Indian Freedom Movement and renamed the monument as “Shaheed Minar”. From then onwards Ochterlony Monument is known as Shaheed Minar.
Description Of Shaheed Minar :
The altitude of the tower is 48m. The tower is located at Esplanade (Dharmatola), Kolkata. We also know it as the Qutub Minar of Kolkata. If one stands high on the tower, he/she can have a bird’s eye view of the city. The architectural style of the tower is the amalgamation of Egyptian, Syrian, and Turkish style. At present, the monument is under the safe custody of Government of West Bengal.
To reach above the tower one has to climb 218 steps. The Monument is white in color. The large ground in which the monument stands, We know it as the Shaheed Minar Maidan or Brigade Ground. And this ground has lots of political meetings held in the past and also in present. One such incident was the rally presided over by Rabindranath Tagore to condemn the killing of youths at Hijli in 1931.
Present Condition Of Shaheed Minar :
A tourist who had come to see the monument, jumped off from the lower balcony in 1997, so from that day onwards the visitors have to seek permission from the police to climb up the tower. The last person who has climbed the top of the tower was Gopal Krishna Gandhi (the former Governor) along with his family.
Mark Twain an American writer has coined the title “Cloud Kissing Monument” to the tower. It really seems that the tower kisses the clouds passing by when one sees the tower from its foot.
Shaheed Minar is a historical monument which has a history attached to it. If the visitors know the history related to it, then it will add scent to the gold. Hence, when you plan to visit this monument in the city of joy, know the history beforehand and enjoy the view.