Guwahati’s Oldest Bungalow: Saraswati House

Thursday, 13 August 2020

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Guwahati’s Oldest Bungalow: Saraswati House

Barasha Das | July 26, 2020 13:14 hrs

Do you recall seeing this old house in Guwahati?

It was located right next to Panbazar Girls’ Higher Secondary School. You will not find this house anymore as it was demolished in 2018. 

But the still standing centuries-old Cannonball Tree (Couroupita guianensis) on the premises reminds one of the glorious histories of the family and the ancestral home that was once there.  

The property belongs to the renowned Saraswati family. The house was built by Dr. Radha Kishore Saraswati in 1898. 

Apart from being a physician, Dr. Saraswati was also a successful businessman. He was a Bengali trader who owned the Radha Kishore Saraswati & Company. The company was the first to popularize Assam's Muga, Endi and Pat silk outside the state, by displaying these in various exhibitions. Dr. Saraswati was awarded a gold medal in this regard.  

Dr. Radha Kishore was conferred the "Saraswati" title by the British Empire for his outstanding contribution to society.

The house was the oldest inhabited bungalow in Guwahati until it was pulled down in 2018 to make way for new construction. The structure of the house was strong enough to withstand the great earthquakes that hit Assam over the centuries. The ancestral house boasted of ceramic door knobs and handles, intricately designed cast-iron grill railings, and timber eaves detailing. The magnificent Cannonball Tree, a native of Central and South America, is reportedly the first in the entire northeast. 

The family also set up the first Allopathic Pharmacy of Assam, opposite to Shaikh Brothers in Panbazar, where the Union Bank of India is presently located.

The Saraswati family owned the Woodland Tea Estate that spread from the present Santipur Hill to Fatasil Hill area. The tea estate was closed down before World War I in the mid-1920s.

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