Kolkata - A tete a tete with the city :
Originally known as : Kalikata
Location : Eastern part of India, West Bengal
Best time to visit : September to March
Local Transport : Metro Rail, Mini buses, Private buses, State Buses, rickshaws
Places to see : Birla Planetarium, Victoria Memorial, Belur Math, and Botanical Gardens
Souvenirs : Handloom sarees and terracotta materials
Kolkata - The Tale of the city :
Dating centuries back this city is believed to have been founded by found Kolkata in 1690 yet it got challenged in the High Court, so today it is held that the city has no founder. A combination of the villages of Gobindapur, Sutanati and Kalikata Kolkata was held by the Sabarna Roy Chowdhry family who then gave it to the East India Company in 1698. Fort William was constructed in 1702 by the British to consolidate their power over the French, the Portuguese and the Dutch. Calcutta as it was known then became a Presidency and then became the British capital in 1772. Governor General Wellesley was the main person behind the growth of this city and in 1850 the city got divided into Chowringhee and North Calcutta. In 1942, the city saw a lot of bombing by the Japanese during World War II. In 1943, there was a famine. Then the city started growing after independence. In 1971, Bangladesh was formed.
Kolkata - Down the Ages :
Kolkata got its name from the name Kalikata which is believed to be the Land of Goddess Kali. It began to be known as Calcutta because of the British, and then was changed to Kolkata recently. Located in the eastern part of India, it lies along the River Hooghly it comes under the Kolkata Municipal Corporation and has the North 24 Parganas and South 24 Parganas district, Howrah, Nadia and Hooghly. Today it has the Salt Lake City and the Rajarhat as new cities.
Kolkata - A Rendezvous :
Today the most populous city Kolkata is the eight largest urban agglomeration in the world. It was the capital of the British rule till the city of Delhi became the capital. Kolkata is a hub of cultural activity and has a terrific historic background too. Today the city with its magnificent monuments and stupendous constructions is a place to visit for the history lover and the curious tourist. With a lot of traffic congestion and urban problems in the fore, yet the city continues to retain its beauty and grace.
Kolkata - Travel kitty :
Kolkata is a land of Goddess Kali and Durga. This city exudes the attitude of a princess in waiting with all the ingredients of pride, self respect and responsibility. The travel kitty here includes understanding this innate ability of the city. Though it has been labeled a dying city, yet the basic travel kitty of handloom materials, terracotta articles, works of shola, and beautiful handicrafts of jute are not unnoticed. This makes the best travel kitty for a shopaholic. It is a nature lover’s paradise and a shopper’s delight.
Kolkata - Joie de vivre in the city :
The joie de vivre in this city is to be able to enjoy the culinary delights like the Puchka, jhal mudi, aloo dom, rosogolla, sondesh, radhavallabhi. The areas of shopping along the road and the lovely designed red and white sarees completes the joy here. One could find the following here:
Fort William :
A great tourist attraction in Kolkata and located on the banks of the Hooghly river it was built in 1696 and named after King William II of England. The Black Hole tragedy took place here. In 1757 the Battle of Plassey took place and the Nawab of Bengal attacked the fort and the British were defeated. Then a new fort was built by Robert Clive to prevent Muslim invaders. Today it is a military area with a wonderful arsenal.
Victoria Memorial :
This is a great museum built in the year 1921. Sir William Emerson built this monument and it is a place with a great collection of personalities and their photos as also statues. It is around 184 ft tall and has been constructed on an area spanning 64 acres. The museum here has stupendously made figures.
Eden Gardens :
This is a major tourist spot for a person coming to Kolkata, the beautiful city. This is a stadium and has been a venue for many tears and laughter. It is the oldest in India and one of the finest. It started in the year 1864 with the Eden Gardens Cricket Club. Today it is a modern club and the capacity of the stadium is around 1, 20,000. People say that if it is cricket then it should be Eden Gardens.
Birla Planetarium :
This is amongst the largest museums in the continent of Asia. It was built in the year 1962 and is a center of science, environment and communication. There are presentations on astronomical values here and the center also has information on galaxies, space, solar system, space, planets and so many other related matters. There are audio visual aids which are shown as shows for the tourists. This edifice has a single storey and tourists normally come here and enjoy the dark atmosphere within during the shows. One feels like he has visited space and back.
Howrah Bridge :
Situated over the River Hooghly, this is the busiest bridge in the whole world. It connects Kolkata, the city of joy to Howrah. Today it is known as the Rabindra Setu and was made in the year 1874. It has two high pillars reaching upto 270feet. The main specialty is that it does not have nuts and bolts. Howrah Bridge also has the Vidyasagar Setu and the Vivekananda Setu as its sister bridges. It is a landmark for Kolkata, the cultural Indian hub.
Marble Palace :
Rajendra Mallick built this in the year 1835. It has the best of sculptures, oil paintings, pictures and objects of art. Here one finds masterpieces of Rebens. Besides originals of Van Goyen, Reynolds, Rembrandt are found here. Here there is a zoo too where one finds a rare collection of birds.
Writers Building :
Built in 1690, this is a Gothic structure and is situated in Dalhousie Square. It is the Secretariat of West Bengal Government today. It is known as the “MahaKaran”. Documents of great importance are stored here.
Nicco Park :
Recently constructed this is an amusement park and a must see spot for tourists. Started in the year 1991, this is enjoyed by adults and children with their innumerable rides and lots of entertainment it is a popular spot of tourism.
Shaheed Minar :
This Is located at Esplanade and was known as the Octerloney Monument. It was found in the year 1848 to mark a victory in the Nepal war. IT has an Egyptian foundation and a Syrian type dome, with Turkish designs all over. It is called Shahid Minar in memory of our freedom fighters and all those who lay down their lives for this. The top gives a superb view of the city and today it is a venue for political meetings.
National Library :
This is amongst the largest of its kind in India and is supervised by the Department of Culture and the Ministry of Tourism and Culture. It is on the Belvedere Estate in the city and today has the best reference books and an amassing collection of books of all Indian languages.
Belur Math :
A great religious monuments it was built in memory of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa. This place is a monastery and brings about tranquility and peace within. One likes to visit this place and feel the serenity around and visit the temples here.
Botanical Gardens :
The biggest banyan tree in the world aged 250 years and more is located here in this vast expanse of flora. Situated in Shibpur and started in 1876, it attracts tourists from all over the world who come to see the huge canopy which has created the garden.
Kolkata - Entertainment factor :
Durga Puja is the main festival besides other festivals like Jagadhatri Puja, Kali Puja, Saraswati Puja and Vishwakarma Puja. All the festivals like Poila Boishak, Eid, and Diwali are celebrated with full gaiety and splendor. The Kolkata Book Fair is very popular and famous.
As one leaves this city one feels “The city of joy gives us joy and happiness.”