Kundu Special - Origins


It began its operations in 1933 when Sripati Charan Kundu, formerly from Bankura and at that time a resident of Kharagpur, reserved an entire train and undertook a 56-day all-India tour. He was the pioneer of tourism in India. The story goes that on that first tour the train made a stop at Sripati's native Bankura town, and many of the locals who could not afford to purchase a reservation on that tour, nevertheless wanted to be included in exchange for some of their material possessions like silverware!

Among Sripati's many business interests most of which were related to the railways, this was the one where he concentrated his efforts and introduced many of his seven sons to the business. His fourth son, Phakir Chandra Kundu, and the youngest son Debdas Kundu later took charge of Kundu Special and established it in the hearts of Bengalis as the premier tour organisation with help from many of his other brothers. Many of the tours were on "special" trains, that were entire trains reserved by the company specially for its clients. These trains were not only staffed with chefs and bearers, but also had paid medical staff on board to help the two to three hundred passengers that would be part of such a tour. The quality of the food on Kundu Special tours have been standard and since Kundu Special provided quality Bengali food no matter where in India they were, it attracted the traditional food-loving Bengali in droves. The reputation of Kundu Special was built on the personal attention provided to every traveller. The brothers themselves accompanied many of the tours 'in the early days' and ensured the quality of the service. Currently, Kundu Special is under the able leadership of Sankar kundu, sixth son of Lt. Sripati ch. Kundu and Soumitra Kundu, a grandson of Sripati Charan and a nephew of Phakir Chandra Kundu. Main supervising staff is Netai Sengupta an able office superintendent.

The first office of Kundu Special was located at 40/1 Strand Road, an office amazingly still existing. In 1972, Phakir Kundu opened a new office at 1 Chittaranjan Avenue (now the main office) in a prime location in central Calcutta giving access to a much broader section of Calcutta society. That was also the year, Kundu Special organised tours to Europe for the first time. Phakir and one of his brothers, Sankar, themselves accompanied these tours to Europe and to the U.S.A. These 3-week all-inclusive tours, although not a part of the Kundu Special catalogue today, were a resouding success and introduced the Bengali to traveling in the West.

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