Fort William Kolkata

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Weather:

Time Required: 1-2 hrs

Timings:

10:00 AM - 5:30 PM

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Fort William, Kolkata Overview

The mighty edifice of Fort William is situated in the city of Kolkata, on the eastern bank of the  Hooghly River. Built in the year 1696, the fort is named after King William III and was the first stronghold of the British in the country. The magnificent structure is spread over 70.9 acres and is embellished with hundreds of arched windows that overlook lush green gardens. Meticulous stonework adorns the surface of the building and it took as long as took ten years to reach completion. However, it was soon realized that the building had a few loopholes, and a new octagonal building was constructed whose foundation was laid by Sir Robert Clive.

Over the course of its existence, Fort William has served a number of purposes, each of which was in stark contrast to the other. Initially, it comprised of wings and an inner bastion where prisoners were hauled which is why it was known as 'the black hole of Calcutta'. Today, Fort William is the property of the Indian Army and has a capacity of accommodating up to 10,000 army personnel. It also serves as the headquarters of the Eastern Command. Due to its importance with respect to Indian intelligence, access to the interiors of the fort is limited to army personnel and their relatives. However, you can visit the palace for its stunning architecture.

More on Fort William


Fort William has a long and illustrious history attached to its name. Interestingly, there are two Fort Williams. The original one was built in 1696 by the British East India Company under the authority of John Goldsborough. The construction was started along the Hooghly river and the South-East Bastion was the first its adjacent walls were the first sections to be constructed. Eventually, it was named after King William III in the year 1700. 1701 saw John Beard adding the North-East bastion to the fort and the construction of the Government House was started right in the centre of the fort. Finally, Fort William was completed in the year 1706 with the final edifice having two stories and projecting wings. An internal guard room became the 'Black Hole of Calcutta'.

In 1756, the Nawab of Bengal, Siraj Ud Daulah, attacked the Wiliam Fort and temporarily conquered the city. He renamed the region 'Alinagar' and assumed control of the fort as well. This led the British to build a new fort in the Maidan under the watchful eye of Robert Clive. The construction of the new fort began in 1758, after the Batte of Plassey in 1757. A period of two years and a cost of approximately two million pounds was incurred as well.

The new Willliam Fort is octagonal in shape and has an imposing structure made out of brick and mortar. Three of its sides faced the River Ganga while the remaining five had a beautiful maidan full of greenery in front of it. The design of the fort follows the pattern of a star and was constructed such that it was impregnable against cannon firing slid shot. A moat was included in the design as well which provided protection against fire and fighters trying to penetrate the wall. There are six gates that provide access to the fort, namely Chowringhee, Plassey, Calcutta, Water Gate, St Georges and the Treasury Gate. St. Peter Church was constructed inside the new Fort in the year 1928. 

The fort is now under the authority of the Indian Army. At present, the fort has many modern-day facilities it offers to its residing members including swimming pool, firing range and a boxing stadium. It is large enough to house nearly 10,000 interns and is a major resource for the Indian Armed Forces. 

Fort William is located in the center of the city. It is well connected by roads. Taxis and buses can easily be used to reach the destination.

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Fort William Reviews

9 months ago by Musharaf Hassan

Fort William built by English East India company is a fortified structure for secure transactions of the Company." The Black Hole of Calcutta" episode which took place in side the fort changed history of India for ever. It was just not the defeat of nawab of Bengal at the hands of Clive,but It was the beginning of the end of Muslim rule in India that paved the way for establishing British Paramountcy in India.The central characters Clive,Siraj-Ud-Daula and Mir Jaffer will all be remembered for their wrong deeds by generations of Indians. I cannot comment on the design or the concept of the structure.The British built so many structures in India that ,this one structure is not a marvel. This is one of the oldest constructions of British in India that changed the history of India which arises some inquisitive ness. This historical fort is out of bounds for ordinary Indians like me for it lodges the sensitive Eastern Command of the Indian army.

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