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East and North-East India

A journey from Odisha to Kolkata to the Buddhist communities of West Bengal and the diverse people of the north-eastern states.

From home movie footage of Puri in 1927 we head via Ranchi and Patna to Kolkata and an extraordinary selection of films shot in the former colonial capital. Heading north on the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway we stop off in Sikkim to witness spectacular Buddhist processions filmed in colour. Heading east, the collection highlights the ethnographic films shot by explorers across the north-easten states.

The collection includes films from Odisha, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar, Sikkim, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram.

triangle triangle
East and North-East India

RECOMMENDED

View Boat Repairs - Sunderbans
Boat Repairs - Sunderbans
Watch for free 8 mins

Boat Repairs - Sunderbans 1935

Stunning colour footage showing colonial life in the hills of Assam and bustling activity on the lakes below

8 mins United Kingdom

View Devil Dancers of Sikkim
Devil Dancers of Sikkim
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Devil Dancers of Sikkim 1934

Hear the Lama band, see the sacred dances: welcome to Sikkim, in the shadow of the Himalayas.

10 mins United Kingdom

View Darjeeling: A Foothill Town
Darjeeling: A Foothill Town
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Darjeeling: A Foothill Town 1934

Evocative travelogue exploring life at the foot of the Himalayas, including tea gardens and a Buddhist shrine

10 mins United Kingdom

BROWSE THE COLLECTION

View Picturesque India or, In and About Calcutta
Picturesque India  or, In and About Calcutta
Watch for free 4 mins

Picturesque India or, In and About Calcutta 1913

Botanical gardens in Bombay (now Mumbai) plus the highly decorative Jain Temple in Calcutta (now Kolkata) as they were in 1913.

4 mins USA

View Ranchi and Patna
Ranchi and Patna
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Ranchi and Patna 1929

Amateur footage around Bihar and what is now Jharkhand in east India

United Kingdom

View Imphal Bazaar
Imphal Bazaar
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Imphal Bazaar 1934

Richly detailed home movie shot in Manipur by G.P. Stewart, member of the Indian Civil Service

18 mins United Kingdom

View Men Seeking God
Men Seeking God
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Men Seeking God 1930

An inside view of Methodism taking root in India – and dealing with leprosy.

10 mins United Kingdom

View Old Barak
Old Barak
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Old Barak 1947

Glorious colour film of a fishing trip and geese-hunting expedition in north-eastern India

9 mins United Kingdom

View From England to India by Air
From England to India by Air
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From England to India by Air 1917

A state welcome for a Handley Page aircraft arriving in Kolkata

8 mins India

View Gurkhas and Shillong Scenery
Gurkhas and Shillong Scenery
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Gurkhas and Shillong Scenery 1930

The festival of Dashian is celebrated in rural India - including scenes of animal sacrifice

11 mins United Kingdom

View Puri
Puri
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Puri 1927

Unguarded images of Europeans and Indians at Puri on the Bay of Bengal

10 mins United Kingdom

View Refugee Camp at Nampong
Refugee Camp at Nampong
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Refugee Camp at Nampong 1942

Film document of a true act of heroism in the wake of a Namphuk River flood

11 mins United Kingdom

View A Foot-hill Town
A Foot-hill Town
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A Foot-hill Town 1937

Darjeeling - a portrait of the Raj hill station made for schools

10 mins United Kingdom

View Bhutan
Bhutan
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Bhutan 1928

This amateur film captures the Maharajah of Bhutan watching the marking of the Assam/Bhutan boundary.

14 mins United Kingdom Director. F.M. Bailey

View Duke of Connaught's Indian Tour
Duke of Connaught's Indian Tour
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Duke of Connaught's Indian Tour 1921

In this newsreel report the Duke rides an elephant as he ventures on safari in Bengal.

3 mins United Kingdom

View Cuttack Leper Asylum
Cuttack Leper Asylum
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Cuttack Leper Asylum 1930

Amateur film featuring scenes at an Indian leper colony

3 mins United Kingdom

View Governor's Durbar, Bihar and Orissa
Governor's Durbar, Bihar and Orissa
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Governor's Durbar, Bihar and Orissa 1929

Official duties and big game hunting in 1920s India, filmed by Lord Stephenson’s private secretary

14 mins United Kingdom

View Car Assembly, Calcutta
Car Assembly, Calcutta
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Car Assembly, Calcutta 1926

Motorcars take shape - outdoors in a Kolkata yard

2 mins United Kingdom Director. J.A. Thomson

View Magnus Family in India
Magnus Family in India
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Magnus Family in India 1927

A colonial family record their travels as they holiday around north and eastern India

9 mins United Kingdom

View Viceroy's Cup Race
Viceroy's Cup Race
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Viceroy's Cup Race 1917

Lords and ladies gather in Calcutta (Kolkata) for the Viceroy’s Cup, an exclusive horseracing event, in this actuality film.

6 mins India

View Trip to Manipur
Trip to Manipur
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Trip to Manipur 1935

Amateur film of a road trip through northeastern India, showing traditional dances and a gigantic flower float

15 mins United Kingdom

View Shillong Scenes
Shillong Scenes
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Shillong Scenes 1932

Golf - and other pursuits - in the 'abode of clouds'

19 mins United Kingdom

View Procession at Gangtok
Procession at Gangtok
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Procession at Gangtok 1940

Traditional games, dancing and music among the people of Sikkim - in vivid colour

13 mins United Kingdom

View S.E. Tibet and E. Bhutan
S.E. Tibet and E. Bhutan
Watch for free 17 mins

S.E. Tibet and E. Bhutan 1938

Amateur footage of a trip to Tibet and Bhutan, including shots of the flora and fauna.

17 mins United Kingdom

View Lady Stephenson's Fete: Tiger Shoot
Lady Stephenson's Fete: Tiger Shoot
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Lady Stephenson's Fete: Tiger Shoot 1928

Eccentric home movie scenes of the high life in British India, shot by Lord Stephenson’s private secretary

17 mins United Kingdom

View Polo at Patna: Leopard Shoot
Polo at Patna: Leopard Shoot
Watch for free 8 mins

Polo at Patna: Leopard Shoot 1928

Amateur film of a polo match at Patna, Bihar, followed by scenes of elephants and a leopard hunt.

8 mins United Kingdom

View Indian Scenes
Indian Scenes
Watch for free 9 mins

Indian Scenes 1906

Remarkable early documentary turning the camera on life in Kolkata and Mumbai

9 mins France

View Ukhrul Medical Tour
Ukhrul Medical Tour
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Ukhrul Medical Tour 1934

A doctor and party visit the villages of eastern Manipur in India's far north east

7 mins United Kingdom

View Government House Garden Party 1923
Government House Garden Party 1923
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Government House Garden Party 1923 1923

Scenes at a garden party given by Earl Lytton, Governor of Bengal, at Government House, Calcutta (now Kolkata).

2 mins India

View Calcutta Pageant
Calcutta Pageant
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Calcutta Pageant 1912

A lavish pageant held during the royal visit to India, celebrating King George V’s coronation

4 mins United Kingdom

View Procession of Elephants at Jaipur; Galta; Raj Mahal
Procession of Elephants at Jaipur; Galta; Raj Mahal
Watch for free 9 mins

Procession of Elephants at Jaipur; Galta; Raj Mahal 1933

Armoured elephants, sacred monkeys and a camel carriage feature in Col. George Craster’s home movie despatch from Rajasthan

9 mins United Kingdom

View Calcutta Topical
Calcutta Topical
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Calcutta Topical 1926

Extravagant military ceremonies and the start of the Calcutta (Kolkata) 'season'

8 mins India

View Viceroy's Cup at Calcutta
Viceroy's Cup at Calcutta
Watch for free 14 mins

Viceroy's Cup at Calcutta 1929

Film of the 1929 Viceroy’s Cup horse race held in Calcutta (Kolkata).

14 mins United Kingdom

View Royal Visit to India and Nepal
Royal Visit to India and Nepal
Watch for free 6 mins

Royal Visit to India and Nepal 1922

Edward, Prince of Wales, visits India and Nepal and goes on a tiger hunt.

6 mins United Kingdom

View Darjeeling - Sir Stanley Jackson
Darjeeling - Sir Stanley Jackson
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Darjeeling - Sir Stanley Jackson 1937

Home movie hinting at the opulence of life for some British officials in India

10 mins United Kingdom

View Rathjatra, Bone Ceremony
Rathjatra, Bone Ceremony
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Rathjatra, Bone Ceremony 1936

Home movie footage of a sword dance and ceremonies in Manipur, shot by a member of the Indian Civil Service

3 mins United Kingdom

View Tours in Southern Bengal - In the Sunderbans
Tours in Southern Bengal - In the Sunderbans
Watch for free 9 mins

Tours in Southern Bengal - In the Sunderbans 1935

Everyday life and places of interest around the areas of Midnapore and Chittagong, including steamers and Indian boats along the Damodar river.

9 mins United Kingdom

View Race for the Viceroy's Cup
Race for the Viceroy's Cup
Watch for free 9 mins

Race for the Viceroy's Cup 1931

The annual horse race at Calcutta (Kolkata) - an important fixture in the social calendar

9 mins India

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