COVID-19 test results, and vaccine, might become a requirement for entry into Schengen countries
Sign In/Sign Up to view the picturesque world, participate in contests and much more
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 ‘Anthony’s Virtual Tours’ 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’ 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 ‘Black Hole of Calcutta’ incident before the Battle of Plassey. Writer’s is likely at the top of Kolkata’s paranormal activity bucket list, but these tours aren’t just meant to be flights of fancy to spot a lady in white or grab a few thrills—they allow viewers a glimpse into the actual events that could have led to their ‘haunted’ legacies.
It seems Khatchaturian is a stickler for facts—he 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’s Palace, Freemasons’ 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.
Outlook’ is India’s most vibrant weekly news magazine with critically and globally acclaimed print and digital editions. Now in its 23rd year...Explore All