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Bhowanipore or Bhabanipur (Bengali: ভবানীপুর) is the oldest locality of South Kolkata.It is located just south of the Lower Circular Road (now A.J.C. Bose Road). It is the second largest locality in South Kolkata after Ballygunge. The locality has its boundary touching the AJC Bose Road, Maidan, Victoria Memorial and consists of well-known and posh localities like Elgin Road, Gokhale Road, Woodburn Park, Bakulbagan Road, Harish Mukherjee Road, Beltala Road, Townshend Road and parts of Chakraberia and Lansdowne. The locality has an illustrious past and abounds with stories of great men and women who lived here, although in the recent years it has lost much of its glory to Ballygunge, which has gone ahead in terms of good roads, posh locales, and modern day developments.
Bhowanipore is perhaps the first 'posh' south Kolkata neighbourhood. In the early 19th century, it was just a small village on the southern outskirts of the city of Calcutta. By the early 1850s it developed into a favourable home to many immigrants into the city from the countryside of East Bengal. These immigrants were very literate and prosperous and just wanted to settle outside the more famous localities of northern Kolkata.
The Lower Circular Road (present AJC Bose Road) had just been constructed and the area just south of the road became home to many Indians who wanted to live in proximity to the city and yet away from it.
Many Englishmen also took fancy to the area and they also began settling in the area, but were far outnumbered by the local populace.
Initially the locality was bounded by Lansdowne Road (presently Sarat Bose Road) to the east, Russa Road (presently A.T. Mukherjee Road and S.P. Mukherjee Road) to the west and the Hazra Road to the south. But it expanded much more to the west, far beyond Harish Mukherjee Road to the Tolly Nullah.
The Jadu Babu's Bazaar on Asutosh Mukherjee Road was the heart of south Kolkata before Gariahat even developed. It is still the major market for the locality.
Many young people from the locality became notable individuals like Subhas Chandra Bose ("Netaji"), Sir Ashutosh Mukherjee and his son Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, Deshbandhu Chittaranjan Das, Uttam Kumar and lately Satyajit Ray, who made the area his home, among others.
Bhowanipore was also known as the cinema hall area of the city. Number of cinema halls like Purna, Indira, Bijoli, etc. screened Bengali and Hindi movies. Many of the halls are now closed down due to lack of patronage.
Since the start of the 20th century, the area became home to a large number of immigrants from other parts of India. Sikhs, Gujaratis and Tamils now form a major population of the locality.
Bhowanipore has also has its share of 21st century commercialization sweeping Kolkata. It is home to Kolkata's first mall-cum-multiplex - The Forum mall on Elgin Road with its Inox multiplex.
Many big companies have their head office in Bhowanipore, like Exide Industries Limited, Tata Tea Limited and Phillips India Limited to name a few. The head office of Automobile Association Of Eastern India is also located in this area.
A club in the name of " Bhowanipore Club" founded by one Nani Mitra stands at the entrance of the Maidan near the Rani Rashmani Statue and presently managed by the " Sangbad Pratidin" group.
Bhowanipore sits on some of the most important roads of Kolkata and till date the most accessible residential area of South Kolkata from its city-centre,and is excellently served by all buses plying through the southern part of the city.
- Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute
- Chittaranjan Sishu sadan
- Ramkrishna Mission Seva Pratishtan
- Ramrick Hospital
- SSKM Hospital
- Sambhunath Pandit Hospital
- Guru Tegh Bahadur M.S.C Hospital
- Asutosh College, S. P. Mukherjee Road
- Bhawanipur Education Society College, Elgin Road
- Beltala Girl's School, Beltala Road
- Gokhale Memorial School, Harish Mukherjee Road
- Children's Hut, a Kindergarten school, Harish Mukherjee Road
- Balmandir, Raja Ram Mohan Roy Road
- J. J. Ajmera High School, Heysham Road
- South Suburban School (Main),Subarban School Rd.
- Julien Day School, Elgin Road and Ramesh Mitra Road.
- United Missionary Girls High School, Mukherjee Road.
- Mitra Institution, Harish Mukherjee Road
- St. John's Diocesan Girls' Higher Secondary School
- Hartley's High/Pvt. School, Sarat Bose Road
- Cathedral Mission High School, Elgin Road
- Chakraberia School
- South Calcutta Girl's School
- South Calcutta Girls' College
- Khalsa High School
- IPGME&R and SSKM Hospital, Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Road
- Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose College
- Adarsh Hindi High School Boy's & Girls, Rammoy Road. Bhowanipore
- Ramrick Institution
- Sir Ramesh Mitter Girls' High School
Places of interest
- Netaji Bhawan, Elgin Road
- Sir Ashutosh Mukherjee's house on Ashutosh Mukherjee Road
- South Club, Kolkata's premier Tennis club
- Satyajit Ray's rented house on Bishop Lefroy Road
- The Forum Mall, Elgin Road
- Puddapukur Swimming Centre, Lansdowne Road
- Uttam Kumar's house at Girish Mukherjee Road
- Ramkrishna Math- Gadhadhar Ashram on Harish Chatterjee Street
- Swami Narayan Mandir, Chakraberia Road South.
- Laxmi Narayan Mandir, Lansdown Road.
- Northern Park, a historic park where many Freedom Fighters addressed their meetings.
- Subhas Chandra Bose, one of the frontline Freedom Fighters of British India, founder of Forward Bloc and the Indian National Army
- Rai Bahadur Sarada Prasanna Das, Eminent Prof. of Mathematics Presidency College Calcutta.
- Satyajit Ray, world renowned film-maker, composer and author
- Deshbandhu Chittaranjan Das, renowned barrister and president of Swaraj Party
- Brajendranath De, commissioner of Burdwan
- Uttam Kumar, Matinee Idol, Immortal Hero of Bengali Movies
- Tarun Kumar, Versatile Actor, Brother of Uttam Kumar
- Ashutosh Mookerjee, vice-chancellor of the University of Calcutta
- Shyama Prasad Mookerjee, founder of Jan Sangh and first union industry minister of India
- Premendra Mitra, Author and Poet
- Siddhartha Shankar Ray, former Chief Minister of West Bengal, Barrister
- Mamata Banerjee, Politician and founder of Trinamool Congress, Member of Parliament, Union Railway Minister of India(two times), Chief Minister of West Bengal.
- Bijon Bhattacharya, eminent theater artist, director and famous Bengali play writer, also husband of eminent international award winning social worker and writer Smt.Mahasweta Devi.
- Ranjit Mallick, Bengali film actor.
- Hemant Kumar, famous singer, composer, and producer, attended Mitra Institution school of Bhowanipore area.
- Girish Bhawan, one among the oldest traditional families in Kolkata that dates back to 300 years which runs parallel with the history of Kolkata. Famous for its Durga Pujo. Also known as Mukherjee Bari in the area. Girish Mukherjee Road was named after the late Girish Mukherjee.
Kolkata/South travel guide from Wikivoyage