Just an Hour's Drive Away From Kolkata, a Danish Town Awaits Your Visit


This hidden gem with glorious colonial architecture and a rich heritage derived from the blend of Danish, British and Bengali cultures, still basks in the remnants of its prosperous past. With a lethargic laid-back vibe and an old-world charm, the town is perfect for a day's visit from Kolkata.


While the Danes first settled by the river Hooghly in 1698, they obtained permission for trade and set up a factory in Serampore only by 1755. With a flourishing trade in cotton and spices, both valuable goods in far-flung nations back then, the Danes set a base here and gradually developed the village into a charming town with a well developed infrastructure.

Serampore came to be known as Fredriksnagore, after the then monarch King Frederick V of Denmark. Unlike the British, the Danes would involve locals in administration and built colleges for education. As a result, the town became a hotbed for a cultural renaissance during the 18th century.

Photo of Just an Hour's Drive Away From Kolkata, a Danish Town Awaits Your Visit 2/6 by Neeti Chopra

Serampore's architecture fell into desolate ruins until a group of individuals, Bente Wolff and Manish Chakraborti, along with the Government of India and the Danish Ministry of Culture, started the job of restoring these heritage buildings to their former glory.

Things to do:

Visit St. Olav's Church

The bells no longer ring in this over 200-year-old church, which still has the monogram of King Christian VII of Denmark-Norway. The church was recently renovated to bring out its beauty with dark brown slatted windows and flat roof. Walk in to soak in the silence of the church which has witnessed plenty of history.

Marvel at the Serampore Rajbari

The Goswami Rajbari belonged to rich Bengali merchants who offered to buy Serampore from the Danes, when they decided to hand the town to the British. Unfortunately, the offer was rejected. Much like other mansions there, the Rajbari follows a neoclassical style of architecture with slatted windows, ornate brackets and friezes and majestic Corinthian pillars. The Bengali movie Bhooter Bhobishyat was shot here.

Stop for a drink at the Denmark Tavern

Another heritage building reclaimed by Manish Chakroborti, the tavern now has a restaurant and bakery which dish out Danish goodies along with other cuisines. There are high-ceiling, spacious rooms you can rent for a night in this historical place.

Places to stay at:

You can book a room at the spruced up 230-year-old Denmark Tavern. A night here could cost you Rs 4,380 or more.

A more economical option is SPOT ON 49450 Silver Woods, which has rooms for around Rs 800. You could also opt for Kamala Inn Dankuni, which has rooms to rent for around Rs 1,800.

How to reach:

By road: Serampore is around 30-km away from Kolkata and is about an hour's drive by road from the city. There are buses that ply to Serampore as well.

By rail: There are several local trains that run from Howrah to Serampore. Alternatively, you could also get off at Barrackpore and then catch the local ferry to Serampore.

By air: You could fly down to Kolkata airport which is 34-km from Serampore.

Much is owed to revivalists whose efforts are ceaseless when it comes to preserving the rich heritage and history of Serampore. The town has come alive once again, with all its glorious architecture resurrected and its legacy preserved.

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