Take the narrow lane just off Baghbazaar Street and, if you look closely, you'll see this huge mansion standing at the end of it behind thick foliage, shrubs and trees. This, ladies and gentlemen, is Basu Bati at 65/2 Baghbazaar Street, an intrinsic part of Bengal's history.
This sprawling mansion was home to one of the first families of the city - brothers Nandalal and Pashupati Basu, who, along with their older brother Mahendra Lal, were believed to be descendants of Dasrath Basu, the first person known to have had the surname 'Basu' that now happens to be a common Bengali last name. Both, we are told, belonged to the reputed Basu family of Shyambazar's Kantapukur in north Kolkata.
You'll feel like you've gone back in time as soon as you step inside the mansion. What caught our attention here is that the architecture isn't colonial despite being from that era. Rather, it's a blend of Bengali and Islamic influences often seen as a rebellious act against the British. The Basu family was known for its contribution to the fight against colonial rule. Tagore's rally against the Partition of Bengal in 1905 ended at Basu Bati, a mass rakhi-tying ceremony between Hindus and Muslims took place at this thakurdalan itself that has also been the venue for several meetings that took place the same year. A khadi exhibition challenging the produce of British goods was also held here in 1906.