Another totally underrated monumental masterpiece of Kolkata is Fort William, which has some really deep historical relevance associated with it. The monument that we all refer to as “Fort William” is not the first, but the second of its kind. Yes! That’s true. Here is what happened:
The first Fort William, named after King William III, was built by the British East India Company in 1696, near the bank of the River Hooghly and the construction was completed in 1706 with two stories, projecting wings, and an internal guard room which became the Black Hole of Kolkata (a small dungeon which was used by the troops of the Nawab of Bengal, Siraj Ud Daulah, as a prison cell to keep British prisoners during the Battle of Plassey after the Nawab conquered the fort).
In 1756, the Nawab of Bengal attacked the fort, temporarily conquered the city, and changed the name of the fort to Alinagar. This eventually led the British to construct another fort in the Maidan – the one that is now known as Fort William, which was completed in 1781.
The fort covers an area of 70.9 acres (approx.) and is made out of brick and mortar in a strange irregular octagonal shape. Out of eight, three of its sides face River Hooghly and the remaining five face landward. Nothing much has changed since the construction of the second fort in the yesteryears except that the St. Peter’s Church, which served the British, has now been transformed into a library for the army personnel of the Eastern Command Headquarters who reside in the premises within the walls of Fort William.
Apart from being the headquarters of Eastern Command, Indian Army, the residence of thousands of army personnel, the grounds also house a cinema, a shopping mall, a post office, restaurants, swimming pool, and a 9-hole golf course!
Fort William is located close to Kolkata's biggest landmark - Victoria Memorial. You can take the metro to Maidan and ask around for directions from there. It's only a few minutes walk away. Alternatively, you can also take a metered taxi or a bus since the area where the Fort is located is very popular.