Serampore has always been a perfect and pleasant option for a day trip from Kolkata due to its rich heritage of Danish, English and Bengali culture and history. The recently renovated, 233-year old” The Denmark Tavern” is the newest addition to Serampore’s diverse offerings to travelers and history buffs.
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How to reach Denmark Tavern:
Serampore is just 25 kms away from Kolkata. Local trains leave every few minutes from Howrah to Serampore and it takes just 30 minutes. Another exciting option is to take a train to Barrackpore and then board the local ferry to Serampore
Where is the Tavern located:
The Denmark Tavern is located near the Serampore Police Lines and just opposite of the Hooghly riverside. It is a 15-minutes walk from the railway station of Serampore.
The past of The Denmark Tavern takes us back to a time when Serampore went by the name of Fredricksnagore. James Parr built the tavern in 1786 near the Nishan Ghat, where the Danes kept their flagstaffs and salutation cannons and which directly faced the British cantonment of Barrackpore. It was established as a riverside café and hotel. It catered the Europeans of that era with food, drinks and accommodation at reasonable rates. Fredricksnagore was a prosperous trading destination and a hub of 18th century Bengali Renaissance. As a result, soon the tavern was bustling with European citizens and travelers. The popularity of the tavern was partly due to its fitting setting at the Hooghly riverfront. However, as the Danish fortunes waned in India, the fate of the tavern also took a setback. Gradually its name went into oblivion.
The erstwhile tavern remained in oblivion under the rubble till 2015, when series of earnest and desperate research revealed its history. Afterwards, the National Museum of Denmark with active cooperation of Government of West Bengal started the arduous task of restoring the tavern to its former glory. The old edifice was renovated finally in 2018. It opened it’s door as a heritage café and tavern with bits of modern touch. Also, the West Bengal Heritage Commission declared it a heritage building. The inauguration of The Denmark Tavern has now distinguished Serampore as an offbeat dining destination. Just like the tavern of the yore, it is teeming with visitors in its present avatar.
The Park Group of Hotels maintain both the restaurant and hotel at present. The menu features Danish, Bengali, Italian, Chinese and North Indian cuisines. We went for the Danish delicacies such as Danish Style Chicken Sausage, Grilled Fish and Danish Pastry with Ice Cream. We had a lipsmacking Tutti Frutti Sundae too. The food was delicious and we loved the Danish Pastry. The service was prompt and staffs cordial. There is also a bakery by the Flurys.
The tavern provides accommodation in five spacious rooms, which blend the past with the present. Initially, the West Bengal Tourism Department managed the hotel. Recently, the Park group of hotels has taken over its management. Visit https://www.theparkhotels.com/ for booking rooms online. However, restoration work is still ongoing. We suggest making thorough inquiry before planning a stay here. Visit their Facebook page for further inquiry https://www.facebook.com/thedenmarktavernserampore/
All in all, if the hustle bustle of your daily life has brought you to your wit’s end, book a table in The Denmark Tavern, get engrossed in its rich heritage while munching on the Danish delicacies and later enjoy the panorama of the placid Hooghly river. Let yourself be taken back to the times when the tavern scurried with traders and travelers and their manifold tales.
Other places of interest in Serampore:
After enjoying a brunch at The Denmark Tavern, you can visit the following places in Serampore:
1. St. Olav’s Church, which is one of the most important landmarks of the town. Built between 1800 and 1826 and restored recently, the monogram of King Christian VII of Denmark is still visible on the façade.
2. The Old Danish Gate, the gateway to erstwhile Serampore.
3. Serampore College, the second oldest college of India and the first one to offer degree. The Carey Museum is located in the premises of the college, which houses rare manuscripts, books and artifacts belonging to William Carey.
4. Serampore Johnnagar Baptist Church, located just a stone’s throw away from Serampore College. Built in 1800, it was the first residence of William Carey.
5. Goswami Rajbari, also known as Serampore Rajbari. It exhibits a fine amalgamation of Indian and European style of architecture.
6. Unique Lodge, the 130-year old ancestral home of the Bhattacharya family of Serampore.
7. The Mission Cemetery, the burial ground of Carey and Marshman.
8. Mahesh, famous for its Jagannath Temple and Rathyatra.
Interested to know more about other heritage getaways of West Bengal? Check out our blog on Itcahuna Rajbari here: