Looking South Park Street Cemetery From A Practical Lens

What comes to your mind when you read the word 'cemetery' ? Are you afraid of visiting into one? Well the answer has to be yes. Every one of us has heard one ghost story related to cemetery. Specially when the cemetery is old, no longer taken care of and no longer visited by the relatives of the dead. But is this a hangout place for ghosts? Or just a place which needs restoration?

South Park Street Cemetery, situated in Mother Teresa Sarani, Kolkata is said to be one of the oldest non-church cemetery in the world. Established in 1767, the history is as old and rich as the Battle of Plassey. With over 1600 graves, it is one of the largest Christian cemetery in India. Anyone visiting the place will find it beautiful because of distinguished architectural plan. The cemetery is connected from one corner to other with pathways. The pathways also has drains surrounded by it to ensure cleanliness. The unique tomb styles are a mixture of Indo Saracenic and Gothic revival styles, indicating the Britishers paid importance to minute details as well. For one not knowing architectural styles, will find themselves in dilemma of the tombstones resembling temple features.

Cemetery is not a place where ghosts wait to haunt people. Looking from the most obvious side, it’s a place of rich heritage. South Park Street Cemetery has been closed in 1790 (reopened and operated till 1830) and much stories had been made on it. However, the reason for the activity seems very obvious. There’s hardly any space to step foot beside the pathways.

The cemetery has very less visitors. Not because it is haunted but the relatives of the buried are long gone. Scribes of “I love you” on tombstones are enough to give insight of people visiting the place and destroying a rich site. It is a very quiet place and thus a perception of ‘haunted’ is already present. But that is how a cemetery should be, right?

Coming to the condition of cemetery, it is a well maintained and clean as compared to the Lothian Cemetery of Delhi. It has lushy surroundings and makes the place look scenic and attracts camera lens. Two or three tombstones needs restoration badly. Unlike Lothian Cemetery, there is a office and staff to look after the cemetery.

If you are a history lover and know William Jones, Walter Landor Dickens ( son of Charles Dickens) , Henry Louis Vivian Derozio, they rest in South Park Street Cemetery. While the notable tombs list contains the name of Colin Mackenzie, the staff had no idea about it when asked. Just to mention, William Jones’ tomb stone is the tallest in Cemetery.

So if you are a history lover and happen to be in Kolkata, you will find this place serene. For those who are scared of the ghost aspect, this article gives you many reason for not believing in it and visiting the place.

This is a researched article by the author and has been earlier published on UC We Media.

Picture Courtesy : RituWrites