- The ‘Paris of the East’ is a medley moods style, cultures, politics, industry and commerce.
- The East India Company first set up a trading post at Sutanati and builds the Old Fort William in 1996.
- The city went on to become the showpiece capital of the British Raj.
- Greatest colonial city of the Orient.
- Remained the capital of British India till 1912.
- Continued to be major industrial and cultural center.
- The city of love, hope and joy, is ever fascinating, effervescent and teeming with life and traditions.
- White marble marvel is Kolkata’s most distinguished landmark of Kolkata.
- In 1905, Lord Curzon conceived the idea of its construction and the foundation stone was laid by Prince of Wales (King George V).
- Majestic 61 meters high white edifice with its formal gardens and water courses sprawls across an area of 26 hectares.
- Located at the southern end of ‘The Maidan.
- Memorial house rare memorabilia from the colonial days and over 3,500 exhibits are displayed in its galleries.
- This huge expanse of green is known as the ‘lungs of the city’.
- The finest gift of the British to India.
- This 14 storeyed building to the north of BBD Bagh was built in 1880.
- Clerks or ‘writers’ of British East India Company, who work and lived here.
- Today, it houses the secretariat of West Bengal Government.
- This irregular octagon shaped fort on the banks of river Hooghly was built in 1781, after the destruction of the old fort in 1756.
- There is a museum displaying arms and armours, photographs of the Burma campaign and the Bangladesh Liberation.
- Now it’s a military area.
- Arsenal inside it’s worth watching, but for that prior permission of the commanding officer is required.
Shahid Minar (Ochterlony Monument):
- The 52 meters tall tower, dominating the Chowringhee skyline, was built in 1828.
- Commemorate the British East India Company’s victory in the Nepal Campaign of 1814 – 1816.
- In 1968, the minaret was named Shahid Minar in memory of the Indian freedom fighters.
- It was established on 29th Sep. 1962.
- One of the largest in the world.
- Stars and constellations are projected on the domed ceiling of the planetarium in different languages.
Academy of Fine Arts:
- This eminent center for arts was set up in 1933, at the initiative of Lady Ranu Mukherjee.
- Eight galleries on its ground floor.
- The largest gallery space in India
- Display exhibitions by artists and groups from all parts of India and abroad.
- A theatre cum concert hall and Nandan over here.
- A film center is located nearby.
- This is the home of Tagores, since 18th century was a major center for Bengali arts and 19th century for culture.
- It has now been converted into the Rabindra Bharati University.
- A 45 minute light and sound program, based on the life and times of the Tagore family is held here in the evening.
- This museum is popularly known as Jadu Ghar (Magic House) at J. Nehru Road.
- The oldest institution of its kind not only in India but also in the entire Asia- Pacific region.
- The museum has over 60 galleries dealing in six departments Art, Archaeology, Anthropology, Geology, Zoology and Botany.
- This Gothic style mansion was built in 1835, by Raja Rajendra Mullick, a wealthy Bengali merchant.
- It has ornate objects d’art and paintings, studiously collected from auctions and dispossessed households across the globe.
- It’s housed in an elegant building which was originally the summer house of prince Azim-us-Shan, the viceroy of Bengal and Bihar.
- Lord Curzon officially inaugurated the Imperial Library on 30th January, 1903.
- The Metcalfe Hall was renamed as National Library in 1948.
- The library has over 2 million books and ½ million documents.
- The library has separate Indian language division for Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Malayalam, Marathi, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu Languages.
- The Rajbari construction was started after the win in the Battle of Plassey, at the heart of Gobindapur.
- Maharaja Nabakrishna Deb built his Rajbari.
- First Durga Puja was held here.
- Roman-Doric style hall was built by the architect Col. John Garstin in 1813.
- Now public to use the hall under such terms and conditions as were fixed by the Government.
- The museum, archives and library of Netaji Research Bureau are located, is the ancestral house of Netaji Subhas Chandra.
- Display in the museum includes large collection of photographs, personal belonging and letter of Netaji's.
The Mother House:
- Headquarters of the international religious congregation of the Missionaries of Charity.
- Mother lived, prayed, worked, and guided from hare for her religious family of sisters spread across the world.
- Mother Teresa was buried on the ground floor of the Mother House.
- Nirmal Hriday (the home for dying) was established by Mother Teresa at Kalighat, for the destitutes.
- Run by the Missionaries of Charity a new order formed by the Mother in 1950.
Howrah Bridge or Rabindra Setu:
- Major landmark and gateway to the city of Kolkata.
- 97 meters high and 705 meters long bridge built over river Hooghly is the world’s busiest bridge.
- It lies to south of Howrah Bridge on the river Hooghly.
- Construction work took 22 years and casted Rs. 3.88 billion.
- 457 meter long and 115 meter wide bridge is supported by 121 wire x cables and stands on four pylons, on a foundation that is 100 meter deep.
- Located at the intersection of the Eastern Metropolitan Bypass and the Park Circus Connector.
- Only venture of its kind in entire Asia.
- Popular sections are, space theatre, space flight simulator, recreated Jurassic forest aviary etc.
Kalighat Kali Temple:
- One of the most important shrines of goddess Kali.
- A major site of Shakti worship in the country.
- Temple was originally built in 1809 at Kalighat on the banks of river Hooghly.
- Enshrines an awe-inspiring black stone idol of goddess Kali decorated with gold and silver.
- International headquarters of the Ramkrishna Mission.
- Swami Vivekananda established the shrine in 1899, by placing the ashes of Sri Ramkrishna at this spot.
- Unique architecture of the shrine reflects the message of religious fraternity, as it represent as church, a temple and a mosque, when viewed from different angle.
- Houses articles associated with Sri Ramkrishna, Ma Sarada and Swami Vivekananda.
Dakshineswar Kali Temple:
- Famous temple built in 1847, by Rani Rashmoni on the other side of Hooghly River.
- Associated with Sri Ramkrishna, who attained enlightenment over here.
- Main shrine known as the Navaratna Temple enshrines a silver lotus with thousand petals, on which is placed the idol of Goddess Kali, standing on the prostrate body of Lord Shiva.
- Complex also has twelve temples dedicated to Lord Shiva.
Sitambara Jain Temple:
- Magnificent temple is dedicated to Sheetalnathji, the 10th Jain tirthankar.
- Built in 1867 and is a collection of four pagodas like shrine set in geometrical gardens and ponds.
- Beautiful temple near Gariahat market.
- Built in 26 years at a cost of about 180 million rupees and inaugurated in 1996.
- Excellent architecture blends traditional artistry with modern technology.
- Built in 1724, by Cavond, an Armenian.
- One of the oldest churches in Kolkata.
St. Paul’s Cathedral:
- Built between 1839 and 1847 in Indo-Gothic style.
- One of India’s most important churches.
- It's east of the Victoria Memorial at the South end of the Maidan.
St. Andrew’s Church:
- Foundation stone for St. Andrew's Church, Calcutta (Kolkata), built on the site of the Old Court House demolished in 1792.
- Handsome Grecian building of the Church of Scotland was opened for public worship on March 8, 1818.
St. John’s Church:
- Third oldest church in Calcutta (Kolkata) only next to the Armenian.
- Old Mission Church and built in 1787 by architect James Agg.
- It’s built with a combination of brick and stone.
- Commonly known as the “Pathure Girja” (Stone Church).
- Located to the north of BBD Bagh.
- Largest mosque in Kolkata.
- Present structure was built by Abdur Osman in 1942.
GARDENS, PARKS & THEME PARKS:
- Famous garden at Shibpur, 10 kms from Howrah Railway Station.
- Established in 1786, by Colonel Kyd.
- Oldest botanical garden in the country.
- It sprawls across an area of 273 acres.
- 35,000 varieties of fruits and flowers, besides 15,000 other plant specimens.
- Star attraction is the 240 years old Banyan tree, which reaches up to a height of 24.5 meters and is spread over a circumference of 420 meters, making it the world’s largest banyan tree.
- It sprawls over an area of 50 acres.
- Named after Emily and Fanny Eden, sisters of Lord Auckland.
- Beautiful garden to the North West corner of the Maidan has a tiny Burmese Pagoda set amidst a small lake.
- It has several species of local trees.
- Famous Eden Gardens Stadium also lies within the garden.
- Garden in the midst of Alipore was established in 1820, by William Carey.
- Annual flower show is held here in February.
- Extremely popular Zoo is about 3 kms south of Park Street in Alipore.
- Founded in 1876 and has a large collection of birds and animals.
- Pleasant picnic sport is located south Chowringhee.
- An artificial lake where water sports are held.
- Located at Salt Lake 9 kms from city center.
- Provides mind boggling fun and entertainment to children’s well as adults.
- Located on the banks of River Hooghly at Strand Road.
- An amusement park for people of all ages.
- Main attraction is its nearness to the river Ganga.
- A Water Theme Park (all the rides & slides are related to water) in the whole eastern India named “Aquatica”.
- Spread across in area of 17 acres of land.
- Beautiful lake one can enjoy an exclusive boating tour on one of the many boats available such as paddle boats, hovercraft or deluxe shikara.
- Main attraction of this place is the four hundred acre picturesque lake which one can explore.
POPULAR SITES IN KOLKATA:
BBD Bagh (Dalhousie Square):
- When Kolkata was the capital of the British Raj, Dalhousie Square held a coveted position and was the center of power.
- Still is the Kolkata’s commercial hub.
- Renamed as BBD or Benoy-Badal-Dinesh Bagh after the three martyrs of Bengal.
- Momentous square has a large Lal Dighi tank in the center, surrounded by several historical buildings.
- Holds the key of largest and world-class Universities in Kolkata.
- Book Stalls are gradually placed in front of those Schools in College Street and in front of the Universities in College Street.
- Book Stalls are there in both side of the Footpath of College Street in Kolkata to fulfill the demand of all types of Books.
- Once a meeting place of freedom fighters, bohemians and revolutionaries.
- Today its crusty high ceilings and grimy walls ring with deafening student conversation but despite the dishwater coffee, it’s perversely fascinating.
- Located in the heart of the city from Rani Rashmoni Avenue to the South Chowringee to the east.
- One of the busiest portions.
- One of the oldest and most beautiful spots in the city of Kolkata.
- Built in 1841 as a memorial to James Princep.
- The Ghat was opened to public in the year 1843.
- Even though the place is old yet it’s still a fantastic spot to experience silent and peace.
- Kumortuli is a traditionally potters quarter in northern Kolkata.
- It is home to several talented potters who toil tirelessly to create idols out of clay.
- These clay images are very popular and much sought after during the Hindu festive season.
- Expanded from a yarn and textile market into the commercial nucleus of Kolkata.
- One of the largest wholesale markets in India.
Hand Pulled Rickshaw Ride:
- Hand pulled rickshaw has been a part of Calcutta (Kolkata).
- A mode of human power transport by which a runner draws a two wheeled cart, where can seats one or two persons.
- Tram is the Kolkata's old tradition at effect.
- Kolkata is the only Indian city which maintains such rich heritage.
- A horse drawn tram system opened in 1881.
- Electric trams began playing in 1902.
- Tramway provides a leisurely way of observing the historic parts of Kolkata and Sutanuti.
Metro Rail Ride:
- The pride of Kolkata is the first sub-way railway system in the country.
- Ranked among the best underground railway system in the world.
NIGHTLIFE IN KOLKATA:
- Luxury bar and night club in Kolkata.
- Two bars, a pulsating dance floor, a hangout area and ample of space to move and groove.
- Innovative novel theme nights, with celebrities, fashion shows and special Sunday jam sessions make it the city's busiest address at night.
- Now underground is the island bar and the happening crowd.
- DJ and theme nights also add to the clubbing crowds.
- Despite the appearance of new air-conditioned, American-style, shopping malls all over New Market.
- Survived two devastating fires and regular flooding, remains at the core of the shopping experience in the city.
- Over 2,000 stalls under its roof sell everything from clothing to wheeled luggage to electronics to a special cheese found nowhere else.
- It can be crowded and chaotic, but if you are after a bargain, or even just an incredible experience, this market cannot be missed.
- East end of Howrah Bridge, Mullik Ghat flower market is a sensory overload of sights and smells that's very photogenic.
- Around 2,000 flower growers from the surrounding areas come to sell their flowers and garlands and during the wedding and festive season.
FAIRS AND FESTIVALS:
- Most important Bengali festival is held in the month of Aswin (October / November).
- Image of the ten armed goddess are worshiped in houses and pandals, erected specially for the Puja.
- After four days ceremony, these images are immersed in the river.
- Deepavali is festivals of lights.
- Worship of goddess Kali is marked by display of fireworks and crackers.
- Rathjatra of Lord Jagannath, organized by ISKCON
- Milan Mela literally becomes a fair-ground.
- After month of November Textile Fair, Art & Handicraft Fair, Leather Exhibition.
- Famous Kolkata Book Fair.
- 130 kms far from Kolkata.
- Second most important beach of West Bengal after Digha.
- The walk over the beach from Bakkhali to Frasergunj is a pleasant experience.
- 24 kms from Kolkata.
- It was once the cantonment of the British.
- Named after the ‘barracks’, where troops have been stationed since 1772.
- The town is associated with the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857.
- Mangal Pandey, the famous martyr was hanged at Barrackpur’s Latbagan.
- A memorial to him was erected at Dhubighat.
- Other attractions are Mangal Pandey Park, Gandhi Ghat and Rani Rashmoni’s Kali Mandir.
- 95 kms far from Kolkata.
- Historic site on the river Damodar is named after Mahavir Barddhaman.
- Visiting site Bishnukumari, Vihjay Toran or Curzon Gate, Rose Garden, Meghnad Saha Planetarium and the Science Centre of the University.
- 48 kms from Kolkata.
- Lies on the banks of river Hooghly.
- First European settlement in Bengal.
- Portuguese Church and the Monastery were built here in 1599 and destroyed by Shah Jahan 1640.
- The church rebuilt in 1660 and in the oldest in the State.
- 39 kms from Kolkata.
- French colony on the banks of the river Hooghly is dotted with churches, convents and other relics of colonial past.
- A picturesque promenade here is ideal for strolls.
- Town is also known for the Jagaddhatri Puja.
- 45 kms from Kolkata.
- It was under Dutch occupation between 1656 and 1825.
- Fort Gustavus was built in 1628.
- The national song of India at the Bandemataram House on Joraght.
- 48 kms from Kolkata.
- Popular picnic sport near the confluence of Hooghly River and Bay of Bengal.
- It was once the main port of East India Company.
- Cruising over the river waters is quite interesting.
- 47 kms from Kolkata.
- Historical Hooghly was a flourishing trade centre of Bengal, even before kolkata.
- British East India Company established a factory here.
- Colonial era can be seen in numerous old buildings, churches and graveyards.
- Famous Imambara was built here in 1836, by Hazi Mohammad Mohsin.
- 75 kms from Kolkata.
- Sabujdwip or the ‘Green Island’ set on the confluence of the Behula and Hooghly Rivers.
- Ideal picnic spot.
- 24 kms from Kolkata.
- Danish Settlement from 1616 to 1845 later became a centre of English Missionaries.
- Played an important role in the Bengal Renaissance.
- Old Danish building, including the Danish Governor’s Palace, Roman Catholic Church and St. Olaf Church stand testimony to the bygone era.
- Museum at Srirampur College, houses exhibits of missionaries.
- 114 kms from Kolkata.
- Varanasi of Bengal is set on the confluence of the Bhagirathi and Jalangi Rivers.
- Birth place of Sri Chaitanya (1486-1533).
- Sri Chaitanya founder of Vaishnava sect and is the seat of Vaishnava culture in Bengal.
- Raash festival held in Bengali Month Kartik-Agrahayan (November / December) is a major attraction for the pilgrims.
- 120 kms from Kolkata.
- The headquarters of ISKCON.
- Contemporary face of Vaishnavism lies across the river from Nabadwip.
- Here is a Stupa like white temple, Bengals to ISKCON.
- The sacred site 128 kms from Kolkata.
- One of the holiest sites of Hindu pilgrimage.
- Three day annual Ganga Sagar Mela, held here in mid of January on Makar Sankranti.
- Attracts millions of devotees who take a holy dip at the confluence.
- Kapil Muni ashram over here about 5,000 years ago.
- Scenic Sagardwip is also an excellent site to view sunset and sunrise.