The Goswami Palace
Fortune in Danish Trade
Many Indians made their fortunes trading with the Danes and other Europeans. One of them was the merchant Raghuram Goswami. His father had worked as a tax collector for the Danish Asiatic Company where he created his own private trading adventure which laid the foundation of the family’s wealth. Raghuram was so rich that he offered to buy all of Serampore from Denmark. The Danes opted to sell the town to the English, but Raghuram’s offer is a testimony to the Goswami-family’s power and influence in Serampore.
Serampore’s Largest Palace
Raghuram built a palace for his family and their many servants. He hosted lavish parties with food, drink and dancers. The palace consisted of several buildings with inner courtyards and boasted more than 100 rooms. As new generations were married and formed their own families, additional buildings were added to accommodate the extended family. The Goswami-family also had several other palaces and mansions in Serampore, some of which still stand to this day.
Today, the Goswami Palace and most of the family’s other houses are in a state of disrepair. Maintaining the grand buildings is both costly and difficult, and it is tempting to sell them to entrepreneurs who would tear them down and build high-rise apartment blocks. Serampore is growing and you can make a lot of money selling land. The current owner of the palace is Raghuram Goswani’s great-great-great-grandchild. As a child he used to play in the palace. Now he is fighting to preserve it. To him, the palace is a monument to the family’s glory. But he fears that his children will one day be forced to give in and sell the once magnificent palace.