Kolkatas First Virtual Ghost Walk Tour Has Arrived

Explore the citys colonial past during the witching hour
When we fall asleep, where do we go
When we fall asleep, where do we go

Spooky heritage trails are what Anthony Khatchaturian does best. The philanthropist and historian is known for leading groups across areas like Dalhousie, Brabourne Road and New Market past midnight, as he narrates spine-tingling stories about buried pasts and haunted buildings. After the pandemic, though, the undead are no longer the worst thing you could encounter on a moonlit stroll. 

Walking tours came to a halt as social distancing rules came into force across India. Some operators are hoping to wait out their losses, while others, like Khatchaturian, choose to innovate. Setting up a new page called &lsquoAnthony&rsquos Virtual Tours&rsquo on Facebook, he launched his first ghost tour on March 21, this time on a Skype video call. Hoping to woo 11 viewers on a dry run, he would step out in the dead of night when roads are emptied of crowds and traffic. 

What kind of locations would he have in mind Perhaps colonial cemeteries, or the junction of Writers&rsquo Building on B.B.D. Bagh. According to him, it was the site of a makeshift mass grave for the prisoners who succumbed to the &lsquoBlack Hole of Calcutta&rsquo incident before the Battle of Plassey. Writer&rsquos is likely at the top of Kolkata&rsquos paranormal activity bucket list, but these tours aren&rsquot just meant to be flights of fancy to spot a lady in white or grab a few thrills&mdashthey allow viewers a glimpse into the actual events that could have led to their &lsquohaunted&rsquo legacies. 

It seems Khatchaturian is a stickler for facts&mdashhe hopes to get historians and academics on board to enrich the ghost tours with new insights. But what could be more interesting, is if Khatchaturian chooses to explore the background of the areas his own family helped build. He is a descendant of Armenian multimillionaire J.C. Galstaun, who financed over 300 (now famous) heritage spaces across town, including the Nizam&rsquos Palace, Freemasons&rsquo Hall, Queens Mansion, Rawdon Street, and much of Ballygunge. The Armenian community left a remarkable footprint on the city's industrial development, but the average Kolkatan knows little of their influence today. 

Unless travel restrictions budge, Khatchaturian plans to turn all of his ghost walks virtual. Registrations for his next tour are yet to be announced. For updates, you can follow his Facebook page or contact 91-9934994919.

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