Alipore Museum In Kolkata That Was As soon as A Jail

Alipore Museum in Kolkata was earlier a central jail. I used to be apprehensive about visiting it as jails have a notion of being dreaded establishments. On prime of it, they’re recognized to be very soiled.

It turned out to be a memorable go to and I intend to go there once more. This museum appeared to exude a way of satisfaction. It’s truly a really well-maintained museum.  Folks additionally name it the Independence museum or Alipore Jail Museum. The images of this museum on its web site are previous and provides a dismal view.

Landscape view of the Alipore Museum entry

It’s positioned near the well-known Kali temple and is definitely accessible by highway.

The Alipore museum highlights its wealthy historical past due to its sturdy hyperlinks to the lengthy Indian Independence battle towards the British. There are cells named after freedom fighters like Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru and others who inhabited them. It tells the tales of revolutionaries and notably focuses on the function of the Bengal presidency within the Indian Independence motion.

My greatest studying at Alipore Museum was the truth that sanyasis and fakirs too fought for an Unbiased India. It’s onerous to grasp the energy of those that may have led a snug life however selected a life that entailed torture. They gave up their lives within the hope of making a world free from authoritarianism of their motherland.

Historical past of Alipore Museum

This facility got here up as a Central Jail beneath British rule in 1906. The museum web site tells us that it was thought-about a contemporary jail again then. The jail was operational until February 2019.

By the top of the tour, I used to be curious to understand how impartial India handled its prisoners in the identical facility. I puzzled why this museum couldn’t have devoted even one gallery to its longer post-independence historical past.

What to see at Alipore Museum in Kolkata

Include me for a digital tour of the museum:

INA Themed Espresso Home 

There may be an INA theme cafe, merely referred to as Espresso Home, on the primary flooring of the doorway constructing. Classic previous images of this jail adorn its one wall and the historical past of INA is documented on one other wall.

Displays at the Coffee House
Shows on the Espresso Home

The cafe affords a superb view of many purple jail buildings with inexperienced picket home windows. I fancied working from this cafe with good interiors. I have to admit all of the stereotypical tales about distasteful meals in jails performed in my head whereas I devoured a yummy pizza.

On reflection, I discover it superb what number of instances I managed to dramatically swap context in my head whereas I used to be there. It had been a jail in spite of everything that comes head to head with the worst face of mankind. I consider that’s true of many locations on the earth or circumstances in life. It simply struck me onerous right here.

Learn Extra – Tihar Jail’s Model TJ

Martyr’s Monument

As you begin strolling inside, you see Martyr’s monument in your proper. It commemorates the sacrifice of our freedom fighters who have been both executed or perished inside the premises as a result of torture, suicide, or after contracting an sickness. The names of the martyrs are inscribed on a plaque.

Martyr's monument at the Alipore Museum, Kolkata
Martyr’s monument on the premises

Cells Inhabited by Freedom fighters at Alipore Museum

A little bit forward, on our left, we entered a secluded zone that had just a few cells and a courtyard. That is the place Nehru was imprisoned for just a few months within the Thirties. It’s now named after him. His daughter Indira used to satisfy him on this courtyard fortnightly.

Nehru cell at Alipore Museum
The cell the place Jawaharlal Nehru was detained

In his e-book “The Discovery of India” Nehru wrote –  “jail is just not a pleasing place to stay in even for a brief interval, a lot much less for lengthy years”. I couldn’t assist however juxtapose that thought with the vibe of the identical spot at present. It’s clear, inexperienced, and with a superb really feel to it.

Subsequent to Nehru’s cell are the cells that have been as soon as inhabited by freedom fighters like Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, B.C Roy, C.R Das, and J.M Sengupta.

Learn Extra – Aga Khan Palace – Gandhi’s Jail in Pune

Tantkal or Weaving room 

We walked into the seminar corridor and got here to an enormous courtyard on the opposite facet. The room on the finish of the courtyard was the prisoners’ weaving room. The prisoners have been, supposedly, subjected to civilized labor on this jail versus the opposite jails.

Presently, the weaving room has handlooms and clay fashions of prisoners sitting with their charkhas.

A noteworthy trivia – the well-known conventional Bengali saree is named the Tant saree.

Learn Extra – Historical past, Heritage, Artwork of Indian Saris


We turned again and walked as much as the watchtower however didn’t go up as a result of an extended queue. As you stroll additional contained in the premises, you see a sequence of mass prisons and segregated prisons for Europeans. The prisoners’ privileges appeared to fluctuate sharply relying on their class. So the privileges outdoors the jail prolonged even to the prisoners.

Coin Themed Gallery

Additional forward, we got here throughout a coin-themed gallery. It has large-sized reveals of cash issued after independence.

Exhibits of Coin theme displaying coins issued after independence
Show of cash issued after independence

It has reveals with photographs of freedom fighters sculpted on human-sized cash and the goddess Durga’s statue within the type of cash too.

Durga statue exhibit that is designed like a coin
Durga statue exhibit which is designed like a coin

I later found that these reveals have been taken from one of many Durga puja pandals in-built Kolkata in 2022. Durga puja is the preferred annual pageant in Bengal.

In Kolkata, it’s celebrated with grandeur and the dimensions will get larger with each passing 12 months. The quantity of sources and inventive efforts that go into constructing these large momentary but lovely constructions is gigantic. You get a glimpse of it on the museum you probably have not visited Kolkata throughout Durga Puja.

UNESCO has included Kolkata’s Durga puja in its checklist of Intangible Cultural Heritage. The custom of preserving the articles from these momentary pandals in a museum like this one may be very forward-looking.

Learn Extra – Kali Temples of Kolkata

Alipore Central Jail Hospital

After crossing the gallery, we reached Alipore Jail hospital. The hospital rooms have been transformed into a number of galleries that convey forth tales of revolutionaries from the Bengal presidency. These galleries have loads of studying materials and you may spend as much as an hour or extra right here.

Hospital lobby view with a revolver exhibit
Hospital foyer view with a revolver exhibit

There may be one other cafe referred to as Ekante on this constructing which was earlier a jail kitchen. That is completely different from the INA espresso home. It was full on Sunday night after we have been there.

The large garden adjoining to the hospital is surrounded by excessive jail partitions. This garden has turn into a household picnic spot.  Sarcastically, these identical partitions, probably, reminded prisoners of their households on the opposite facet, whom they will need to have longed to satisfy.

Learn Extra – Reis Magos Jail of Goa


As we headed again in direction of the doorway, we entered the part which had 3 condemnation rooms meant for demise row inmates. It’s right here that the prisoners have been typically given entry to Gita and allowed to have a meal of their very own selection of their final hours.

Gallows at the Alipore Jail
Heritage Gallows on the Alipore Jail

The condemnation rooms open into the gallows part. Many prisoners have been saved within the constructing overlooking the gallows in order that they might witness the hanging of fellow prisoners. This was meant to instill concern in them in order that they reveal some secrets and techniques to the British empire.

There may be an post-mortem room proper subsequent to the gallows.

Map of the Alipore Museum campus
Map of the campus

Different locations of Curiosity

A light-weight and sound present takes place each night. There’s a devoted open area near the hospital for the sunshine and sound present. It has an enormous seating space.

There’s a jail press and a memento store.

Journey Ideas

  1. You’ll be able to spend 2-4 hours on this museum.
  2. There may be satisfactory parking area adjoining to this museum. It’s also possible to attain it by public transport.
  3. It was very crowded on Sunday, after 4 PM, so plan accordingly.
  4. The ticket worth is nominal, for the newest particulars on ticket costs and timings verify their website.

It is a visitor publish by Khusboo Lalani.

Author Khushboo LalaniKhusboo focuses on the long-term penalties of human pursuits and techniques to be taught from them. She has labored within the software program business for 13 years.