You might wonder why I have written about this property three times but Raajkutir Kolkata is a property that deserves a multidimensional look.
This is a photostory and assuming that you, as a reader would have clicked to see the pictures, I won’t waste much of a time.
The artefacts of Raajkutir Kolkata
As one gets down from the lift on the second floor, one has to cross a bridge to enter the main arena. There is an interesting backstory to Raajkutir which I have explained in another post of mine. As one crosses the bridge, on the right hand side there is the family goddess, a stone sculpted goddess with shades of red straight out of Bankimchandra Chattopadhyay novel. Opposite to that is a huge bird cage hanging from the branch of an old tree. In future we might see a couple of macaws in there. Not many know that this 13 Acre property was erstwhile a wasteland.
As one takes the right turn towards the outhouse, where the gym and the swimming pool are – don’t miss out on the iron installation with intricate designs. Painted in a shade of red zinc oxide, a fine piece of art as a backdrop in front of a white iron bench and two cylindrical bell shaped hanging makes a complete story in itself. Later I came to know that it was cast iron filigree work, specifically designed for this property. That kind of filigree work is a dying art in India and a lot of effort was put in to find the right person and commission this job.
The reception at Raajkutir and the aretefacts
The simplicity and restrain in making this place impresses you. Just like you put up your best paintings and artefacts picked up from travelling in your drawing room, one could say the same here. Some yesteryear wooden chairs with arm rest, a shining sword, an old clock on the pastel yellow coloured wall makes a soothing welcome; everything is perfectly synchronising with the ethos of the place. Nothing out of proprotion or balance. That’s what minimalism does to you.
Stepping out of the reception to go to the main building, there are two wooden benches on either side with tiger prints and one of the arm rests converted into the head of a tiger and the legs of the bench are close resemblance of tiger legs. It’s almost like sitting on the back of a tiger. It’s painted in one of the traditional painting styles of Bengal.
The stairs leading to the main gate of entrance has brass made hexdagonal lanterns from the yore. These lanterns are the classy, elite ones and instead of clay lamps, they get iluminated with electric lights now. There is another installation here made of cast iron, which is a look alike of a candle stand. The white marble lions guarding the entrance along with a palanquin placed in between is a little precursor of the grandeur inside. The beautiful palanquin sitting just at the entrance is an initiator of the story of the property as one moves ahead and this is an ideal welcome to any guest to the property. I must not forget the cast iron eagles which sit on the top of the black large entrance gate. Look at them during sunset. They are visually stunning and stir up strong sense of emotions with the light falling over the eagles.
Small individual installations / artefacts at the Raajkutir Kokata.
Next morning, early morning to be precise, when I went out for the property round, a few more of these caught my eyes and I share them here. I was told last evening that it’s usage of empty space and the philosophy of ‘God lies in detail’ and Love for detail governed the interiors of the property. The photograph or the installation which prompted me to write was this one below. 3 locks and keys from the past, packed in a blue velvet box. The keys of happiness are always available in life, one has to just search them. Isn’t it what the box is speaking about?
As we moved around, I stumbled upon an old radio and with tuning knobs. A flurry of memory crossed my mind with even ceylon station written on it and spent sometime explaining this new (old) gadget to Tugga. There are many like these spread across the property and a huge number is inside the rooms but I am deliberately avoiding that as they deserve a separate blogpost.
The main purpose of this place was to showcase the rich legacy of past years of the ‘then Bengal’. What defines legcay? It can be many things like food, culture, lifestyle etc etc. but trying to do that through simple yet memory invoking artefacts and collectibles is definitely something special and celebrated.
I am being told that most of the artefacts are from the personal collection of Mr. Neotia. However, no one confirmed that to us. A place is done up aesthetically in sync with the styles and tastes of the Zamindars in Bengal of the golden years. The artefacts can only crystallize the ethos of the rich and royal Bengalis. So if you are in Raajkutir Kolkata next time, look forward to these small yet memorable artefacts and installations.
It has been sometime that I have written a post like this about a place. But when it’s artefacts, artworks and masterpieces can inspire you to take the pictures, try to interpret the meaning, leave some unsolved, it’s worth sharing with you all.
Did you know Raajkutir Kolkata has a great restaurant called East India Room ? Read my recommendations here
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