City-based travel magazine Touriosity Travelmag recently joined hands with Calcutta Tram Corporation and West Bengal Tourism to gift the city a unique present - a tram painted in the colours of Kolkata. The idea was conceptualized by Rupanjana De, Editor of Touriosity Travelmag, who felt that the trams, which are waning from the city and losing out to its fast-paced counterparts, need an upheaval so that it withholds the heritage that Kolkata is identified with.
Renowned Spanish Illustrator and regular Touriosity Artist’s Impression columnist Joaquin Gonzalez Dorao was more than happy to lead this initiative, he himself being a lover of trams. An avid traveler and travel illustrator, Joaquin on hearing of this initiative, agreed to paint the tram in the myriad hues of the city. Joaquin was taken round the city of Kolkata to all the places that make it the City of Joy – from College Street to the Ghats, from China Town to Park Street; from all the buildings of the British Era to temples - for inspiration. Needless to say how delighted Joaquin was to visit all the nooks and corners and soak in the culture of the city.
A tram was provided by CTC to paint on, at its Nonapukur Depot. A lime green hue was chosen as its body colour (to stand out in the crowd!) over which the actual paintings would be done. On 11th and 12th August, Team Touriosity, along with Joaquin, sketched, painted and put effects to make the objects look real, and wrote down names of each and every thing painted, so that a non-Calcuttan would have no difficulty recognizing them. It is not only about upholding the beauty of Kolkata on an iconic medium like the tram, but it is also about the revival of the tram itself, something that has stood witness to the evolution of the city through the ages and is dying today, amidst the private cars and AC Volvos.
A surreal reflection of the city can be seen on the tram. Chai in Bhaanr, yellow taxi, the two Setus on the Ganges, Maa Durga, Maa Kali of Kalighat, almost all the famous monuments and personalities of the city and even quintessential Bengali cuisines like Rosogolla, Daab Chingri and egg rolls made their way to the body of the tram.
To commemorate World Tourism Day on 27th September, the West Bengal Tourism inaugurated the tram, and the Chief Guest, Mr Ghulam Rabbani, Minister of State for Tourism, flagged off the event with a joyride on the tram with underprivileged girls from a local shelter home. The event took place at the legendary Esplanade Tram Depot, in the presence of dignitaries from the West Bengal Tourism Department, on a beautiful autumn morning, perfect for the tram to be shown off to the world for the very first time! The tram coursed through Dharmatala to Shyambazar, touching major heritage spots of North Calcutta.
The tram is turning heads of locals and tourists alike. With projects like these, implemented with the impetus of heightening the city’s glory to attract tourists, Kolkata tourism is sure to get a hiatus like no other!