Places to visit in Kolkata
The ‘City of Joy’ Kolkata is one of the most popular places to visit in India. The capital of the East Indian state of West Bengal is seen as the land of the intellectuals. The cultural legacy of the city is matchless and one of the best experiences in the country. Here, India is mixed with a little bit of the British colonial days and there are interesting specimens of architecture, artistic and cultural scene. The city is famously known as the Land of Mother Teresa and Rabindra Nath Tagore, but in the heart of the 300-year old city is the real feel of India. Kolkata tours offers an insight into the historic and cultural legacy of India. Beyond its tourist attractions, it serves as the gateway to the East and the North East India.
The third largest metropolitan in the country, Kolkata was the capital of British India before Delhi assumed this position. Kolkata developed from a fishermens' village to become one of the largest cities in the world. The city symbolises creativity and vibrance with all the modern amenities available. Kolkata has adapted to the modern trends and techniques of the world but has not shed the leisurely life style and the calm of its heydays. Kolkata has the country's first Metro railway and some of its buildings are more than a hundred years old. While Kolkata is a city of enduring charm.
Places to visit in Kolkata include the Victoria Memorial, the Eden Gardens, the Howrah Bridge and the Raj Bhawan. It is also possible, to take river cruises down the Hooghly River. The monuments reminisce of the past. The sprawling Victoria Memorial is an iconic landmark. The city museum is one of the must-visit sites. For some charming experiences, a visit to the Kumaratuli is a must. The idol makers bring to life figurines from Indian mythology. Watch the artisans in action. To come in touch with your spiritual side, Belur Math is the place where you must go.
Besides sightseeing, the food is definitely worth trying. The delightful sweets, scrumptious seafood and others are a treat for your taste buds. Shopping is also an interesting past-time, the markets are full of amazing fabrics and handlooms. Shop for books is also a must as the cultural capital is book- lovers haven. Nightlife in the city has options of cultural performances of dance, music, drama, poetry and more. To witness the actual colourful spirit of Kolkata, the annual festival of Durga Puja is an unforgettable pleasure.
Victoria Memorial: One of the famous landmarks of Kolkata, the white-marble monument is an excellent architectural gem in Indo-Saracenic revivalist style.
Indian Museum: A treasure of history and heritage, the Indian Museum has much to keep you occupied. It is the earliest and the largest multipurpose Museum not only in the Indian subcontinent but also in the Asia-Pacific region of the world. Displays range from Indian history, socio-cultural, geographical, scientific achievements, etc.
The mighty edifice of Fort William is situated in the city of Kolkata, on the eastern bank of the Hooghly River. Built in the year 1696, the fort is named after King William III and was the first stronghold of the British in the country. The magnificent structure is spread over 70.9 acres and is embellished with hundreds of arched windows that overlook lush green gardens. Meticulous stonework adorns the surface of the building and it took as long as took ten years to reach completion. However, it was soon realized that the building had a few loopholes, and a new octagonal building was constructed whose foundation was laid by Sir Robert Clive.
Over the course of its existence, Fort William has served a number of purposes, each of which was in stark contrast to the other. Initially, it comprised of wings and an inner bastion where prisoners were hauled which is why it was known as 'the black hole of Calcutta'. Today, Fort William is the property of the Indian Army and has a capacity of accommodating up to 10,000 army personnel. It also serves as the headquarters of the Eastern Command. Due to its importance with respect to Indian intelligence, access to the interiors of the fort is limited to army personnel and their relatives. However, you can visit the palace for its stunning architecture.
Belur Math in Kolkata is the headquarters of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission. Sprawling over forty acres of land on the west bank of the Hooghly River, it is visited by people from all over the world, irrespective of their religious beliefs.
The temple is known for its distinctive architecture, which fuses Hindu, Christian and Islamic motifs as a symbol of unity of all religions. Founded by Swami Vivekananda, the chief disciple of Ramakrishna Paramahansa, the temple is at the heart of the Ramakrishna Movement. The temple complex also houses a museum and several other affiliated educational institutions. The evening Aarti takes place 5:30 PM, at which an evening bell is rung to indicate that visitors are not allowed to loiter on the Math grounds and are also not allowed to visit any temple other than Sri Ramakrishna temple. The Aarti songs sung are hymns of praise to Sri Ramakrishna and Sri Sarada Devi. The Aarti here is different from those at other places of worship since one is expected just to sit and meditate. There is no religious offering made. Flowers and sweets are not offered.
An iconic landmark of Kolkata, Howrah Bridge is a massive steel bridge constructed over the Hooghly River. It is considered to be among the longest cantilever bridges in the world. Also known as Rabindra Setu, it connects Howrah and Kolkata. It carries daily traffic of over 100,000 vehicles and countless pedestrians and is as historic as it is grand. The opulence of the bridge, however, comes alive in the night time as it is all lit up. You can also take a ferry ride as it runs between Kolkata and Howrah, from the launch ghat. The view of the city from the ferry, especially in the night, is priceless, to say the least.
Howrah Bridge was the third-longest cantilever bridge at the time of its construction, but now it is the sixth-longest one of its types. It was renamed as Rabindra Setu on June 14, 1965, after the name of Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore. It spreads about 1500 ft over the Hooghly River and is 71 ft wide. There is a total of 8 lanes of strand road, bicycles, and pedestrians. What makes this bridge unique is the fact that it was built without a single nut or bolt and is held together by rivets.
Mother House or Missionaries of Charity is a religious congregation that was established by Mother Teresa in 1950. It is a Latin Church or a Roman Catholic religious congregation known as Saint Teresa of Kolkata. The members of the Mother House provide free services to the ones stricken by poverty. The house has about 4,500 members of the congregation, commonly known as Sisters who have selflessly devoted their lives to serve the poor and the needy ones. They adhere to the vows of obedience, poverty, chastity and to selflessly and wholeheartedly help to the ones who have been affected by poverty. Their service and kindness have won many a hearts, and today several branches are running all over the world serving the ones who are in need.
The missionaries provide free services to people in need regardless of their religion. They help the sick, the poor, the disabled, the mentally challenged, the ones who are dying, former prostitutes, the addicts, the homeless, the victims of natural disasters and epidemics, orphans and street children. They also run soup kitchens and schools to educate poor street children.
An area of the house is reserved for followers to pay their respect to Mother Teresa. Here, one can find Mother Teresa's Tomb and an exhibition that displays her work through photographs, awards and articles. Some of her belongings like her sarees, her sandals and her bag are also displayed. This is where Mother Teresa began her service to mankind, and this is where it ended. In her lifetime, she created a community that continues to serve the needy ones selflessly. One visit here to pay respects to Mother Teresa is a must.
Park Street is a major access route in Kolkata, also officially known as Mother Teresa Sarani. The street begins at Chowringhee Road or JL Nehru road and stretches till Park Circus crossing. It is said that Park Street never sleeps and is always bustling with activities. Being a major hangout spot in the city, it has many pubs and restaurants. Several important routes intersect or originate from Park Street. The street has been a crowd puller since the reign of the British Kingdom and undergone modifications that make it a fashionable hangout spot.
Park Street is one area in the city where one will find 5-Star restaurant and hotels, nightclubs/pubs, malls and several eateries. The street draws locals in large numbers on the occasions of Diwali, Christmas and New Year's Eve. The entire street is decorated with bright and colourful lights celebrating the festivals with great enthusiasm. A number of prominent landmarks are also located in or near Park Street. Some of them are Asiatic Society, St. Xavier's College, South Park Street Cemetery and The Park Hotel. It is one of the prime entertainment and recreational zone in Kolkata.
Barrackpore was the first place where Britishers set up their cantonment and later spread their rules in India. This place is of great historical significance as it was also the first place where the spark to attain I from Britishers was lit. Not to stop at that, this place is also home to some of the most mesmerizing and green parks which are perfect to spend some time lazing around? and relaxing. Pristine temples are also situated in Barrackpore that will purge you soul and invite positive vibes. A visit to Barrackpore will let you enjoy some calm away from the hustle bustle of the city and also give knowledge about one of the most important chapters in the history of India.