Belvedere House, Kolkata once Viceroy's residence,- a colonial structure now restored

 To make Kolkata a center of   ‘vibrant cultural spaces’ three iconic colonial buildings, the Currency Building, Metcalfe Hall and Belvedere House were chosen for conservation and restoration because of time factors, poor maintenance, etc., these structures already lost their old splendor. Thanks to the efforts taken by the center and state governments. of  West Bengal. Now the three amazing structures are back to old glory, particularly, Belvedere   House where the most powerful English men who decided the fate of colonial India had resided. The Gov. of West Bengal in March, 2019   declared open the renovated Metcalfe Hall at the crossing of Hare Street and Strand Road, overlooking the Hooghly, and Belvedere House on the 30-acre Belvedere Estate in Alipore  as public exhibition space.Indian Museum se aside  a room at Belvedere House to curate an exhibition titled Story of India through Images and Symbols, besides an additional room to store countless artifacts  is allotted  to avoid space crunch  during exhibition.

Belvedere House, Kolkata, WB

Above image: Till 1912 Belvedere House in the suburb of Alipore close to Ft. William served as the residence of Viceroys and Gov. generals in the colonial period.  Once owned by Gov. Gen. Warren Hastings who made a lot of contribution to the growth of British Empire after Robert Clive. 

Banquet hall, Belvedere  House,Ali[pore Kolkata, 

tLocated in Alipore, Kolkata  Belvedere House was carefully restored back to old glory by   the Central Public Works Department (CPWD), which is also responsible for its maintenance. “We spent Rs 19 crore over five years to restore the building,” said Shrawan Kumar, joint secretary, ministry of culture and director general of National Library.  The banquet hall at Belvedere House is a glittering one   with a series  of beautiful and big chandeliers.  The first floor balcony  on either side of this  hall has a long parapet with symmetrical balusters  covering the space between  tall and big cylindrical white painted pillars. The hall served as the reading room of National Library before it  was shifted to Bhasha Bhawan.. The national library here  is the largest one in India. 

the Belvedere Estate.

The Belvedere   estate is a big one comprising 30 acres of land in the prime area of Kolkata and   inside the campus  lies the the National Library The building had been   in a state of neglect  for a long time. reason: as usual apathy on the part of government officials and poor interest in the old structure.  In the early colonial period under the East India company's administration it was  the official residence of   Governors of Bengal and the Viceroys of India. 

National library, Kolkata

This heritage building owes its origin to the rebel Nawab of Bengal Mir Jafar Ali Khan, a puppet in the hands of the British. Later under compulsion from the English company, he had to give up the throne at  Murshidabad (then capital of Bengal)  in favor of   Qasim Khan in 1760.  Mir Jafar  another rebel amir when Nawab Siraj ud daualah was the Nawab,   moved over to  Kolkata where he owned a large court house. His idea of shifting to Kolkata was  to be in close proximity with the British  so  that he could be safe from his enemies  when settled within the  Company's  fortifications at Alipore.  He is believed to have many  buildings  there and gifted  Belvedere House to Warren Hastings. After his sojourn in England, hes returned to Kolkata in 1772 

Hastings,  for certain personal reason,  sold the  Belvedere House to an English  Major Tolly in the 1780s for the sum of Rs. 60,000.  Upon Major Tolly's death in   1784 and his family sold the property in 1802.  Since 1854  till  1911 the Belvedere  had seen  many lieutenant governors, starting with Halliday, till the British India capital moved to Delhi. In the later years Belvedere became the official residence of the viceroy of India.  Soon  after Delhi Durbar in 1912 the capital moved from Kolkata to Delhi in 1912. As for the Belvedere House,  the Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal, who had hitherto resided in in that place  was upgraded to a full governor and transferred to Government House.  

 After independence the main building came under the management of the ASI- Archaeological Survey of India. In vast campus the government has built  housing  colonies  for the National Library employees and the other for central government employees. 

A major restoration work was in progress in the recent  past prior to 2019 and as part of this work many features  of the buildings including the paintings of Elizabeth Bruner, Santiniketan, as well as some old photographs of Kolkata by painters including Raja Deen Dayal got a face-lift.