Fourteen iconic eating houses that have been serving the city for decades will get the heritage tag from the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (Intach) on Saturday. They will get a specially designed blue enamelled plaque as a token of their resilience to stay in business despite all odds. This is being done as part of the just concluded Heritage Week.
This is the first time that Intach will be tagging public eateries as heritage. Till date, it has been awarding tags mostly to public buildings. There are just three privately owned buildings that have been tagged heritage so far. The Trust feels the eateries that have survived time are fine examples of intangible heritage that combine with built heritage, especially those where the addresses have not changed since their inception.
The two oldest establishments that will be felicitated on Saturday are Bhim Chandra Nag, which started way back in 1826, and Nakur Nandy, which has been in business since 1844. While both are known best for their sandesh creations, very few know that Bhim Nag has also brought the pantua to life. So the Intach citation will mention the pantua while awarding Bhim Nag. Other popular favourites like Dilkhusha Cabin (1918), Paramount (1918), Allen Kitchen (1920), Niranjan Agar (1927), Eau Chew Restaurant (1927) and Indian Coffee House (1942) are among those who will get the award. Intach has chosen Fairlawn Hotel (the building of this hotel was built in 1783), as the venue for the award ceremony. This hotel will be given the Intach heritage tag too but in a brass plaque.
“The only other building that was given the blue enamel tag in the past was the Acharya Bhavan, which used to be the residence of Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose,” said G M Kapur, the state convenor of Intach. Explaining what the blue enamel tag is, Kapur said that such tags are popular in foreign countries.
Owners of all the 14 eateries have been informed about their heritage status and they are thrilled. “The entire city is aware of the fact that we have turned 100 but to be honoured for it with a tag that you can display outside your establishment is definitely new,” said Utpal Basu of Dilkhusha Cabin.
It is not that all the eateries that have been chosen are very old. Some like Shiraz (1941) and Mocambo (1956) are a couple of exceptions. “While conducting our survey, we kept the cut off at 50 years. We not only looked at the age of the eatery but also the psychological connect that some brands have. Mocambo takes us back to an era when Park Street ruled the nightlife of Kolkata, complete with western music and dance and free-flowing drinks,” Kapur explained.
Source: Times of India