Alipore Museum In Kolkata That Was Once A Jail - Inditales (2023)

Alipore Museum in Kolkata was earlier a central jail. I was apprehensive about visiting it as jails have a perception of being dreaded institutions. On top of it, they are known to be very dirty.

It turned out to be a memorable visit and I intend to go there again. This museum seemed to exude a sense of pride. It is actually a very well-maintained museum. People also call it the Independence museum or Alipore Jail Museum. The pictures of this museum on its website are old and give a dismal view.

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It is located close to the famous Kali temple and is easily accessible by road.

The Alipore museum highlights its rich history because of its strong links to the long Indian Independence struggle against the British. There are cells named after freedom fighters like Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru and others who inhabited them. It tells the stories of revolutionaries and particularly focuses on the role of the Bengal presidency in the Indian Independence movement.

My biggest learning at Alipore Museum was the fact that sanyasis and fakirs too fought for an Independent India. It is hard to comprehend the strength of those who could have led a comfortable life but chose a life that entailed torture. They gave up their lives in the hope of creating a world free from authoritarianism in their motherland.

History of Alipore Museum

This facility came up as a Central Prison under British rule in 1906. The museum website tells us that it was considered a modern prison back then. The jail was operational till February 2019.

By the end of the tour, I was curious to know how independent India treated its prisoners in the same facility. I wondered why this museum could not have dedicated even one gallery to its longer post-independence history.

What to see at Alipore Museum in Kolkata

Come with me for a virtual tour of the museum:

INA Themed Coffee House

There is an INA theme cafe, simply called Coffee House, on the first floor of the entrance building. Vintage old photographs of this jail adorn its one wall and the history of INA is documented on another wall.

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The cafe offers a good view of many red prison buildings with green wooden windows. I fancied working from this cafe with good interiors. I must admit all the stereotypical stories about distasteful food in jails played in my head while I gobbled a yummy pizza.

In retrospect, I find it amazing how many times I managed to dramatically switch context in my head while I was there. It had been a prison after all that comes face to face with the worst face of mankind. I believe that is true of many places in the world or circumstances in life. It just struck me hard here.

Read More – Tihar Jail’s Brand TJ

Martyr’s Monument

As you start walking inside, you see Martyr’s monument on your right. It commemorates the sacrifice of our freedom fighters who were either executed or perished within the premises due to torture, suicide, or after contracting an illness. The names of the martyrs are inscribed on a plaque.

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Cells Inhabited by Freedom fighters at Alipore Museum

A little ahead, on our left, we entered a secluded zone that had a few cells and a courtyard. This is where Nehru was imprisoned for a few months in the 1930s. It is now named after him. His daughter Indira used to meet him in this courtyard fortnightly.

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In his book “The Discovery of India” Nehru wrote – “prison is not a pleasant place to live in even for a short period, much less for long years”. I couldn’t help but juxtapose that thought with the vibe of the same spot today. It is clean, green, and with a good feel to it.

Next to Nehru’s cell are the cells that were once inhabited by freedom fighters like Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, B.C Roy, C.R Das, and J.M Sengupta.

Read More – Aga Khan Palace – Gandhi’s Jail in Pune

Tantkal or Weaving room

We walked into the seminar hall and came to a big courtyard on the other side. The room at the end of the courtyard was the prisoners’ weaving room. The prisoners were, supposedly, subjected to civilized labor in this jail as opposed to the other jails.

Currently, the weaving room has handlooms and clay models of prisoners sitting with their charkhas.

A noteworthy trivia – the famous traditional Bengali saree is called the Tant saree.

Read More – History, Heritage, Art of Indian Saris


We turned back and walked up to the watchtower but did not go up due to a long queue. As you walk further inside the premises, you see a series of mass prisons and segregated prisons for Europeans. The prisoners’ privileges seemed to vary sharply depending on their class. So the privileges outside the prison extended even to the prisoners.

Coin Themed Gallery

Further ahead, we came across a coin-themed gallery. It has large-sized exhibits of coins issued after independence.

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It has exhibits with images of freedom fighters sculpted on human-sized coins and the goddess Durga’s statue in the form of coins too.

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I later discovered that these exhibits were taken from one of the Durga puja pandals built in Kolkata in 2022. Durga puja is the most popular annual festival in Bengal.

In Kolkata, it is celebrated with grandeur and the scale gets bigger with every passing year. The amount of resources and creative efforts that go into building these massive temporary yet beautiful structures is enormous. You get a glimpse of it at the museum if you have not visited Kolkata during Durga Puja.

UNESCO has included Kolkata’s Durga puja in its list of Intangible Cultural Heritage. The tradition of preserving the articles from these temporary pandals in a museum like this one is very forward-looking.

Read More – Kali Temples of Kolkata

Alipore Central Jail Hospital

After crossing the gallery, we reached Alipore Jail hospital. The hospital rooms have been converted into several galleries that bring forth stories of revolutionaries from the Bengal presidency. These galleries have a lot of reading material and you can spend up to an hour or more here.

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There is another cafe called Ekante in this building which was earlier a jail kitchen. This is different from the INA coffee house. It was full on Sunday evening when we were there.

The big lawn adjacent to the hospital is surrounded by high prison walls. This lawn has become a family picnic spot. Ironically, these same walls, possibly, reminded prisoners of their families on the other side, whom they must have longed to meet.

Read More – Reis Magos Jail of Goa


As we headed back towards the entrance, we entered the section which had 3 condemnation rooms meant for death row inmates. It is here that the prisoners were sometimes given access to Gita and allowed to have a meal of their own choice in their last hours.

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The condemnation rooms open into the gallows section. Many prisoners were kept in the building overlooking the gallows so that they could witness the hanging of fellow prisoners. This was meant to instill fear in them so that they reveal some secrets to the British empire.

There is an autopsy room right next to the gallows.

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Other places of Interest

A light and sound show takes place every evening. There is a dedicated open space close to the hospital for the light and sound show. It has a big seating area.

There is a jail press and a souvenir shop.

Travel Tips

  1. You can spend 2-4 hours in this museum.
  2. There is adequate parking space adjacent to this museum. You can also reach it by public transport.
  3. It was very crowded on Sunday, after 4 PM, so plan accordingly.
  4. The ticket price is nominal, for the latest details on ticket prices and timings check their website.

This is a guest post by Khusboo Lalani.

Alipore Museum In Kolkata That Was Once A Jail - Inditales (10)Khusboo focuses on the long-term consequences of human pursuits and systems to learn from them. She has worked in the software industry for 13 years.


Alipore Museum In Kolkata That Was Once A Jail - Inditales? ›

Map of Alipore Museum

Why Alipore jail is converted into museum? ›

Alipore Jail has now been converted into a museum to commemorate revolutionaries who led India to freedom.

Which jail is converted into museum? ›

The Dagshai Jail near Chandigarh,which once housed “hardened” freedom fighters,has been converted into a museum that preserves its 160-year history. From behind the stone walls of Dagshai Jail come the sounds of bolts being drawn,objects being dragged and the shuffling of boots.

Who were hanged in Alipore jail? ›

  • Kanailal Dutta was executed on 10th November, 1908.
  • Satyendra Nath Bosu was executed 21st November, 1908.
  • Charu Chandra Bose was executed 19th March, 1909.
  • Birendranath Datta Gupta was executed 21st February, 1910.
  • Gopinath Saha (Gopimohan) was executed 1st March, 1924.
Nov 26, 2022

Which is biggest jail in India? ›

Tihar Prisons, also called Tihar Jail and Tihar Ashram, is a prison complex in India and the largest complex of prisons in South Asia. Run by Department of Delhi Prisons, Government of Delhi, the prison contains nine central prisons, and is one of the three prison complexes in Delhi.

Where is the oldest jail in India? ›


Which is the famous jail in India? ›

Tihar Jail, Delhi

Located in the capital of the country, Tihar Jail is known for having the largest complex of any prison in South Asia. Established as the maximum security prison by the State of Punjab in 1957, it is one of the most famous prisons in India.

Who is the most famous inmate? ›

Notable Prisoners
  • Alphonse "Scarface" Capone. Chicago's most famous mob boss spent eight months at Eastern State in 1929-1930. ...
  • Victor "Babe" Andreoli. ...
  • Morris "The Rabbi" Bolber. ...
  • Leo Callahan. ...
  • Freda Frost. ...
  • William Francis "Slick Willie" Sutton.

What is Kid jail called in India? ›

In India, such a detention centre is known as a Borstal school. Borstals were run by HM Prison Service and were intended to reform young offenders. The word is sometimes used loosely to apply to other kinds of youth institutions and reformatories, such as approved schools and youth detention centres.

Who is the biggest gangster in Kolkata? ›

Sajal Barui in 1997.

Who is the youngest person to be hanged in India? ›

At the time of his hanging, Khudiram was 18 years, 8 months, and 11 days, 10 hours old making him the second youngest revolutionary in India.
Khudiram Bose
Died11 August 1908 (aged 18) Muzaffarpur, Bengal Presidency, British India (present-day Bihar, India)
Cause of deathHanging
OccupationFreedom fighter
6 more rows

Who was the last person executed in India? ›

Akshay Thakur, Mukesh Singh, Pawan Gupta and Vinay Sharma, who were hanged on 20 March 2020, were the last persons to be executed in India. Rattan Bai Jain, executed on 3 January 1955 at Tihar Jail, is presumed to be the first woman executed in independent India.

Which state in India has no jail? ›

Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu & Lakshadweep do not have any Central Jails.

What food is served in Indian jail? ›

Every prison inmate's diet should have cereals (including millet) 600 gm; pulses 100 gm; vegetables (green leafy, roots and tubers, other) 250 gm; fish or meat of 100 gm per head twice a week, or alternatively, milk of 500ml, ghee (15gm), or groundnut (100gm).

Which is the famous jail in the world? ›

Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary, United States

Perhaps one of the most famous prisons on the planet, Alcatraz has housed prisoners like Al Capone, Whitey Bulger and Rafael Miranda.

Who is the oldest prisoner in India? ›

At 92, Balaram Sira is the oldest prisoner in the state, perhaps the country. The nonagenarian, who was arrested for murder in March 2013, has been in the jail hospital, on the premises of the 115-year-old British-era jail, for the last few years.

Can a child go to jail in India? ›

A child can never be kept in a police lockup or regular jail. The police must bring you before the JJB within 24 hours (Section 10 of JJ Act 2015).

Where is the oldest jail in America? ›

The "Old Gaol [Jail]" in Barnstable, Massachusetts, built in 1690 and operated until 1820, is today the oldest wooden jail in the United States of America.

Where is the biggest jail in the world? ›

The Twin Towers Correctional Facility, also referred to in the media as Twin Towers Jail, is a complex erected in Los Angeles, California. It is the world's largest jail as well as the nation's largest mental health facility.

Can anyone visit jail in India? ›

a) The proposed visitor(s) must submit an application to the Jail Superintendent or the Home Department of the State/UT Government atleast 30 days before the date of visit. Foreigners must submit such application 60 days before. In the case of article by print media, the application may be submitted 7 days before.

How many Hindus are in jail in India? ›

NEW DELHI: The share of Muslims in India's total prison population – comprising convicts, undertrials, detenues and others -- declined to 18.7% in 2021 from 20.2% in 2020, even though the percentage of Hindus rose to 73.6% from 72.8% over the same period, according to latest all-India prison statistics released by the ...

Who is the most violent prisoner in America? ›

Thomas Edward Silverstein

Who is the oldest female inmate? ›

Today, we meet the oldest incarcerated woman, 91-year-old Lucille Mary Keppen. She committed her crime just three years ago. NPR's Laura Sullivan found her in Shakopee, Minnesota.

Who is the oldest inmate in the world? ›

(April 21, 1894 – May 1, 1987) was the longest-serving prison inmate in the United States whose sentence ended with his parole, a fact that earned him a place in Guinness World Records.
Paul Geidel Jr.
BornApril 21, 1894 Hartford, Connecticut, U.S.
DiedMay 1, 1987 (aged 93) Beacon, New York, U.S.
11 more rows

What happens to babies born in jail in India? ›

Post-delivery, the mother along with her family jointly decide if the baby will continue staying with her in the prison (allowed till the child turns 6 years) or be handed over to the family. If the child's mother or family are unable to provide care, the child is handed over to the Child Welfare Committee (CWC).

Can a 14 year old go to jail in India? ›

No delinquent juvenile can be tried in the same way as an adult under the court of criminal procedure. A delinquent juvenile can also not be charged and tried with an adult. 277. Under the Act a juvenile cannot be sentenced to death or imprisonment.

What is the youngest age to go to jail in India? ›

A Juvenile is defined as a person who has not reached the age of 18 at which one should be treated as an adult by the criminal justice system. [iv] The JJ Act has set the age of criminal responsibility at 18 years or in other words it can deal with offenders under the age of 18years.

Who is No 1 gangster in India? ›

Dawood Ibrahim (/ɪbrəˈhiːm/ ( listen) (born 26 December 1955) is an Indian mafia gangster, drug kingpin, and a wanted terrorist from Dongri, Mumbai. He reportedly heads the Indian organised crime syndicate D-Company, which he founded in Mumbai in the 1970s.

Is kissing in public a crime in Kolkata? ›

Section 294 of the IPC, often invoked by the police to deal with cases of public display of affection, says that any obscene act, in any public place “done to the annoyance of others” is an offence.

Who is the most wanted criminal in Kolkata? ›

Most Wanted
Md. SultanMLong
Mirajul HaqueMRound
Saha AlamM
Arpan DasMRound
4 more rows

Who was the first man hanged in America? ›

The first recorded execution in the new colonies was that of Captain George Kendall in the Jamestown colony of Virginia in 1608. Kendall was executed for being a spy for Spain.

Can a child be sentenced to death in India? ›

In India, the death penalty is prohibited for under 18s, although the legality of capital punishment for under 18s in Jammu and Kashmir is unclear. Corporal punishment may be imposed under traditional justice systems.

Who was the youngest inmate to be executed? ›

George Stinney

Has any woman been hanged in India? ›

Rattan Bai Jain, the first woman executed in independent India, was hanged on 3 January 1955 at Tihar Jail. Rattan Bai Jain was hanged in 1955 for poisoning three girls and killing them.

Who was the oldest person to be executed? ›

With his execution, Buntion became the oldest person Texas has put to death since the Supreme Court lifted its ban on capital punishment in 1976. The oldest inmate executed in the U.S. in modern times was Walter Moody Jr., who was 83 years old when he was put to death in Alabama in 2018.

Who was the first Indian to be hanged? ›

Maharaja Nandakumar (also known as Nuncomar) (1705 – died 5 August 1775), was an Indian tax collector for various regions in what is modern-day West Bengal. Nanda Kumar was born at Bhadrapur, which is now in Birbhum. He was the first Indian to be executed by hanging.

Which is the biggest central jail in Kerala? ›

Central Prison, Poojappura
LocationPoojappura, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India
Security classCentral Prison and Correctional Home
Population1400 (average daily lockup)
8 more rows

Which is the first state in India that decided to set up jail tourism? ›

The correct answer is Maharashtra. The Maharashtra government will start 'jail tourism' in the state from Pune's Yerawada prison on January 26, 2021. It will facilitate people to visit and see from close quarters the historical prisons. This is the first of its kind initiative in the country.

Which is the first museum in India which institution take initiative to established it? ›

Founded in 1814 at the cradle of the Asiatic Society of Bengal (at the present building of the Asiatic Society, 1 Park Street, Kolkata), Indian Museum is the earliest and the largest multipurpose Museum not only in the Indian subcontinent but also in the Asia-Pacific region of the world.

Who started jail tourism in India? ›

These yards do not house inmates. On Republic Day, the Prison Department of Maharashtra launched its jail tourism initiative starting with more than 150-year-old Yerawada Central Prison in Pune.

Do Indian jails have AC? ›

Access to mobile phones, air-conditioning and cleaners are available if the right palms are greased. Prison life is hard anywhere, but in Indian jails, where conditions span the range from dire to dreadful, it can be ruthlessly harsh.

Which state in India has open jail? ›

Subsequently, at present, more than 150 open jails are operational in the country, of which Rajasthan houses the maximum (31), followed by Maharashtra, according to PAAR's findings. The most significant case study of an open jail in India is that of the Sanganer jail in Jaipur.

How prisoners are treated in jail in India? ›

In prison, they are teased, harassed, abused, and even tortured as part of the process of breaking them in. For women who are detained by the police, a particular danger is a rape in custody.

What are the 3 National Museum of India? ›

  • National Museum, New Delhi.
  • Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya.
  • Indian Museum.
  • Government Museum, Mathura.
  • National Gallery of Modern Art.
  • Allahabad Museum.
  • Government Museum, Chennai.
  • Salar Jung Museum.

Where is India's oldest museum? ›

Founded in 1814 at the cradle of the Asiatic Society of Bengal (at the present building of the Asiatic Society, 1 Park Street, Kolkata), Indian Museum is the earliest and the largest multipurpose Museum not only in the Indian subcontinent but also in the Asia-Pacific region of the world.

Where is the No 1 museum of India located? ›

National Museum- Delhi

The National Museum of India located in Delhi is the biggest museum in India and was commissioned in 1946, and opened for visitors in 1949.

How many Muslims are in jail in India? ›

The population share of Muslims in India is pegged at 14.2% (204 million). The data showed that 19.5% of all under trials and 17.4% of all convicts in Indian jails were Muslims.


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