Fort William in Kolkata stands majestically on the eastern bank of the Hooghly River. History reveals that there were two Fort Williams, the old and the new. The original Fort William was built in 1696. It earlier consisted of a two storied building and the guard room of this building.
During the Plassey war in 1757, Siraj Ud Daulah, the Nawab of Bengal attacked on the fort and defeated the Britishers. The prisoners were captured in a dungeon and the incident is known as black hole tragedy. Post attack, the British became aware of their weakness and strengthened the Fort. Sir Robert Clive commenced the building of the new fort completed in 1780.
Fort William owing to its octagonal shape faces the River Ganga from three sides. The other five sides are embraced in lush green gardens. The fort is enclosed by a moat that could be filled with water when required. The Fort also has a facility to accommodate ten thousand interns. The huge archway is popularly known as “Plassey Gate”. There are six entry points namely Chowringhee, Plassey Calcutta, Water Gate St Georges and the Treasury Gate. In 1928, St. Peter Church was constructed inside the fort.
Today the fort is the property of Indian Army and is currently the headquarters of eastern command is based inside. It is well equipped with swimming pool, boxing stadium, firing range and other necessities. It also has an intimidating Arsenal inside. To visit the Arsenal, prior permission of the Commanding Officer of the Fort is required.
Visit Fort William for an intriguing insight into the history of India when it was ruled by the British Empire.