department of tourism

government of west bengal

Chinese in Kolkata

Chinese, The Traders, Buddhist Monks and imperial envoys from China used to come to the different kingdoms of the Indian subcontinent regularly since the fifth century AD. The first record of travel from China is provided in the travelogue of Faxian (Fa-Hien) who visited Tampralipta, in what is now Tamluk in the 5th century AD. Many words in Bengali can be attributed to Chinese influences. For example, chini, the Bengali word for "sugar" comes from the word for China, and words like Chinamati for porcelain china hint at Chinese influences.


Chinese Hungry Ghost Festival
The gates of Hell have opened and the ghosts are out to dine on the exotic feast laid out in makeshift tables in front of their horse – shoe shaped graves. Its the Chinese Hungry Ghost Festival, the Chinese version of the all souls’ day.

Tiretta Bazar, Old Chinatown, Calcutta
Its early Sunday morning and sun is yet to come out, but the stoves are already fired up and the morning silence is broken by the sound of the knife hitting the chopping plate. Night owls crawl out of their late night parties and call centre night shifts to rejuvenate themselves with bowls of hot fish ball soups from the road side vendors. Hungry soles huddle around makeshift stall, jostling with each other to grab the day’s first meal.

Ghost Month
According to ancient Chinese tradition the seventh month of the Chinese calendar is known as the Ghost Month. The gates of Hell are said to be open throughout the month. Ghosts and spirits are said to roam the earth looking out for food and entertainment.

Choong Ye Tong, Chinese Church (Temple)
Within a small courtyard, with walls lined with sepia tinted photographs bound in ornate frames. Flights of stairs led me to the second floor housing a small hermitage housing beautiful images of unknown Gods and Goddess. Yes this is the Choong Ye Tong, Chinese Church (Temple), one of the seven Chinese Temples of Central Calcutta.

Chinese Moon - Cake Festival
The Moon Festival is mainly celebrated among the family members Chinese Community of Calcutta. Some cultural events are held at the Sacred Heart School in Tiretta Bazar. The moon cakes are available at the ‘Tiretta Bazar Chinese Breakfast’ about a week before Chinese Moon Cake Festival. The cake comes in with only one filling of cashew nuts, resins, dried cherries and pumpkin candies.

Chinese New Year Celebrations
The Chinese settlement of Calcutta dates back to 1780s when a trader named Tong Achew set up his sugar factory near present day Budge-Budge. The place today is known as Achipur, after Tong Achew. The Chinese soon deserted Achipur and headed for Calcutta (Kolkata), where they are presently settled in Tangra Tiretta Bazar regions.
The Calcutta Chinese community celebrates the Chinese New Year in traditional way complete with dragon lion dances at Tangra Tiretta Bazar.

Tangra's Chinese Breakfast
In Tangra the Chinese breakfast is served in the courtyard of the famous and only Chinese Kali temple in this area.
Tangra is near E.M. Bypass and to reach this place you can take a bus or taxi through Park circus and move ahead towards Science City. Some 1km before Science City take a left turn and enter China Town. You can also take shared autorickshaw from the auto stand (near B.R. Singh hospital) of Sealdah Station and get down at China para.

Department of Tourism
Government of West Bengal

New Secretariat Building
1, K. S. Roy Road, 3rd Floor,
Kolkata - 700001,
Phone : 033-2225 4723/4724/4725/4565
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