The Kalighat Redevelopment Project is a non-profit endeavor committed to the redevelopment, renewal and rediscovery of a diverse community in the heart of Kolkata (Calcutta), India. Through investments in core infrastructure, tourist facilities and community based enterprise, the project aims to improve the lives of local residents and create access for global citizens to a rich piece of Indian heritage.
The Kalighat neighborhood, in the heart of Kolkata, is home to one of India’s oldest and most sacred temples, Kalighat Kali Temple. Mother Teresa’s Nirmal Hriday mission (The Missionaries of Charity) which was established in a building of Islamic orgin, and a Sikh Gurudwara are also pillars of the neighborhood, all residing within a half-mile radius. This unique global heritage site is a symbol of multi-cultural harmony and community.
The Kalighat neighborhood, typifies India’s inherent openness and tolerance in the way that multiple faiths were welcomed and organically incorporated into what is also one of Hinduism’s most sacred sites.
The Kalighat Redevelopment Project aims to transform this neighborhood into a global heritage destination to celebrate its uniqueness and importance. This site is a gateway for Non-Resident Indians and global citizens seeking information about the history of the area, the project aims and progress and a general connection to the region.
In spite of its unique, global importance, the area through organic evolution appears on the surface to be a congested, degenerated neighborhood. The homeless, businesspeople, shopkeepers, pilgrims and tourists all blend into a haphazard, unstructured mass of humanity punctuated by cars and rickshaws slotted into the urban landscape.
Visitor facilities are woefully inadequate. Roads are a maze which can swallow up entire afternoons and there are no hotels or boarding houses for overnight stays by Hindu, Christian and Muslim pilgrims. Hindu pilgrims, for whom a cleansing bath in the waters of the Ganges is a critical component of worship, presently have to bathe in the small bathing ghats at the Adiganga, which is not clean. Lack of infrastructure and facilities expected by the typical tourist stem the tide of global visitors seeking to share in one of Calcutta’s most diverse and significant areas.
Looking below the chaotic surface of the Kalighat Neighborhood, however, something incredible is uncovered; from the mass of humanity, a vibrant, unique culture emerges. People from all walks of life are standing side-by-side, beggars and businessmen going about their lives in peace and in harmony, co-existing without complaint. Icons of the Hindu, Christian, Muslim faiths, and many others, are faiths peacefully represented in a spirit of mutual respect. This is the character that the Kalighat Redevelopment Project wants to preserve and highlight.
The redevelopment project will be operating on multiple levels and is a far-reaching ambitious endeavor that will transform the neighborhood while retaining the aspects of the community that make it such a special place In order to ensure a successful completion, the project is broken into a series of initiatives of more manageable scope.
The initiatives will be approached in the following sequence:
The IFSD conceived of the project, prepared project report submitted to Govt. of India, obtained funding (5 Crores) for Govt. of West Bengal to execute the project through Kolkata Municipal Corporation in association with Kalighat Temple Committee under the supervision of IFSD. The project is ongoing and is expected to bring about not only a facelift to the area but also changed the attitude and psyche of community based private public partnership.
IFSD introduced theme based Durga Pujo in Kolkata not only through Badamtala Ashar Sangha & 66 Palli but also with other 20 big puja organisors in and arround Kolkata, to name a few Hindustan Park Sarbajanin, Mudiali, Laboni in Saltlake and etc under the banner of “The Great Kolkata Autumn Heritage Festival” in association with Times of India, Anandabazar Patrika and MCPL who have repeatedly won prizes every year for innovative concept.