Cemeteries in Calcutta
Information on cemeteries in Calcutta.
Calcutta cemeteries listed in the Bengal Obituary, are:
- St John's Churchyard - from 1709 and maybe earlier.
- South Park Street Cemetery - "The Great Burial Ground of Chowringhee" - opened on 25 August 1767.
- North Park Street Cemetery "New burial ground Chowringhee" - probably opened in 1799 - on the opposite side of the road to South Park Street but no longer in existence. It was the final resting place of Richmond Thackeray (father of novelist), Lt Col James Achilles Kirkpatrick (the White Mughal) and other well known persons.
- The Mission Cemetery - "The Mission Burial Ground, Chowringhee, commonly called Mr Kiernander's" - opened in or by 1773 for the wife of Rev John Zachariah Kiernander but no longer in existence.
- Tiretta's Cemetery - "The French or Tiretta's Burial Ground, Park Street" - earliest record 1796, also no longer in extistence.
- Bhowanipore Cemetery - "The Military Burial Ground, beyond the General Hospital was opened in the year 1782-3"
- Lower Circular Road (at 184 Acharya Jagadis Bose Road) - "The New Burial Ground, Circular Road" was opened on 29 April 1840 for the remains of Captain E T Milner's child. This cemetery is still in use. However, the condition of the older graves in general is not good. The Christian Burial Board now oversees this cemetery and will identify and show visitors to a relevant grave. Burial records are maintained on site and the Board is contactable by email for enquiries.
- Scottish Cemetery (3 Karaya Road) - "The Scotch & Dissenters Burial Ground - was purchased in 1820.
- Armenian Church & Cemetery - the Armenian Church of St Nazareth built 1724 has a burial ground attached to it.
- Greek Church & cemetery - the Greek Church of the Transfiguration of Our Blessed Redeemer on Mount Tabor was consecreted 6 August 1781, but demolished and a new one built at Kalighat in 1926. "Greek cemetery at 105 Narkeldanga Main Road is forlorn" (NB: Interestingly I have a CD of pictures of Greek gravestones which was given to me, but need transcribing).
- Portuguese Church & burial grounds of which there seem to be several, the most notable may be the Portuguese Burial Ground at Boithakhana, opened on 8 February 1786.
- St Pauls Cathedral
3, 4 and 5 above adjoined opposite the South Park Street Cemetery which has been recently restored to a good standard. The sites of these cemeteries are now occupied by tall buildings.
There are Roman Catholic cemetries at 22 Convent Road and 169 Baliaghata Main Road.
Also mentioned are:
Fort William Burial Ground
As a result of new construction in the Fort in the 1880s, the ‘old’ burial ground is no longer in existence, and some of the headstones were moved and are now mounted on the walls at South Park Cemetery. The ‘new burial ground is part of the military base and is closed to the public.
These burial grounds are different burial grounds to those at Bhowanipore Cemetery, the old (separate) part of which is known as the Military Burial Ground.
A crematorium was erected in Calcutta in 1903, situated to the east of the Circular Road Cemetery. There was provision for the erection of a monument not exceeding 2 feet by 2 feet. It was intended mainly for the use of Europeans, Anglo- Indians and Indians who had adopted a European style of living. The Mini Cemetery with a closed Gas Crematorium (150 graves) is now under the control of the Christian Burial Board, Kolkata
Maps of Calcutta
For location of the cemeteries see Calcutta - Maps, where a number of maps produced at different dates are available.
- BACSA (British Association for Cemeteries in South Asia) cemetery publications are
- Calcutta: South Park Street: Register of Graves and Standing Tombs (from 1767) 1992 "128pp, 9 plans, also serves as index to tomb photos in BACSA archive"
- Calcutta: South Park Street by Maurice Shellim, 1986 (2nd edition) "On progress in restoring 'The Great Cemetery'. 28pp, 8 illustrations, 2 plans"
- Calcutta: French Cemetery by Basil La Bouchardiere, 1983 "Cemetery cleared in 1977 - a complete record. 28pp, 8 illustrations, 4 maps/plans"
- See BACSA Books.
- BACSA have put the indexes to these cemetery books online and these indexes are free to browse. If an indexed name is of interest then application can be made to BACSA for details of the relevant burial inscription - charges apply for this service
BACSA records at the British Library
The BACSA Archive at the British Library, shelfmark Mss Eur F370 includes entries in its catalogue under Cemetery Files . The Notes advise: The arrangement of this list and the names of provinces, places and cemeteries are based on the list which BACSA took over in 1976 from the British High Commission in India. The cemetery status (i.e. whether open or closed) is based on the information to hand, and may since have changed. If a particular cemetery is not in the list, some details of it may sometimes be found in the general file for the province or town in which it is situated.
The BACSA British Library archive catalogue is now available online at the BACSA website. Under BACSA Cemetery files select Calcutta and West Bengal.
- Christian Burial Board, Kolkata
- Photographs of South Park Street Cemetery including a small group by ron de lightbox Flickr.com
- This July 2009 post and this Aug 2009 post from the India List are about Lower Circular Road Cemetery.
- This India List April 2010 post mentions several cemeteries, including Lower Circular Road.
- Records of the Scottish Cemetery, Kolkata Grave number, name and burial year transcribed from handwritten cemetery records. Further information, where available, on request. From the archived website of St Andrews Church, Kolkata
- Scottish Cemetery Kolkata The official blog for the team who went to Kolkata in 2008 to survey the Scottish Cemetery for The Kolkata Scottish Heritage Trust
- Photographs of Scottish Cemetery, Park Street Cemetery, St Andrew's Church BBD Bagh, Bishop's House
- Mullickbazar grave of Economist founder James Wilson, died 11 August 1860, in this link from the Telegraph, Calcutta. ‘Father of Indian finance', he was finance member of the Viceroy of India Council, akin to the post of chancellor of the Indian Exchequer.
- www.indian-cemeteries.org has photographs and transcriptions from the following cemeteries:
- Lower Circular Road Cemetery.
- North Park Street Cemetery.
- Scotts Cemetery.
- South Park Street Cemetery.
- St Johns Church.
- St Johns Church Black Hole Memorial.
- St Pauls Cathedral.
- Kolkata (Calcutta) Jewish Cemetery from Indian Jewish Heritage Center Israel including
- A Historical Review of the Calcutta Jewish Cemetery The Oseh Haised Board also maintained the Jewish cemetery in Darjeeling.
- Burial Records
- Online Calcutta Jewish grave records National Sephardic Library, American Sephardi Federation
- Inscriptions from Bhowanipore Cemetery, Kolkata Over 700 names from Commonwealth War Graves Commission. cwgc.org
- Buried history by Shine Jacob Kolkata June 3, 2012 business-standard.com. Calcutta cemeteries. Includes advice that the East India Charitable Trust answers queries about Bhowanipore Cemetery in respect of the section they manage.(not War Graves) (Note: this function is not mentioned on the EICT website, although it is stated the Trust is actively associated with the British Association for Cemeteries in South Asia (BACSA). Select “Contact Us” in the EICT website for contact details). (In 2005 it was advised the Bhowanipore Cemetery was maintained by APHCI, the Association for the Preservation of Historical Cemeteries in India, the sister organisation of BACSA), with contact details given.)
Historical books online
- Asiaticus : In Two Parts. Part One, Ecclesiastical, Chronological and Historical Sketches. Part Two, the Epitaphs in the Different Burial Grounds in and about Calcutta by John Hawkesworth 1803. (80 pages) (Google Books)
- The Complete Monumental Register: Containing All the Epitaphs in the Different Churches and Burial Grounds in and about Calcutta by M Derozario 1815 (230 pages) (Google Books). Index of names.
- The Bengal Obituary: or, a record to perpetuate the memory of departed worth, being a compilation of tablets and monumental inscriptions from various parts of the Bengal and Agra presidencies 1851 Google Books has many records for cemeteries in Calcutta. Index of Names
- The Thackerays in India and some Calcutta Gravesby Sir William Wilson Hunter 1897 archive.org
- The full Bengal Obituary (1851) can be viewed online at archive.org or Google Books
- Evers, Maureen Kolkata research Rootsweb India Mailing List 21 November 2009. Retrieved 19 February 2015. The original advice was from Dr John Roberts.
- Murphy, Sylvia Kolkata research Rootsweb India Mailing List 18 November 2009. Retrieved 19 February 2015
- Municipal Calcutta by SW Goode 1916, available to read online, computer page 261, on the Digital Library of India website. Refer Online books-Digital Library of India for more details about this site.
- Kendall, John "preserving Fort William Cemetery record" Rootsweb India Mailing List, 22 October 2005. Retrieved 4 September 2014