Victoria Memorial Hall
The Marble Memorial is a popular attraction in the whole world and people who come to Kolkata make sure they visit this place. The beautiful marble marble monument is built in Indo- Saracenic style with a blend of Mughal style opf architecture. This is also a symbol of British victory in India. The foundation was laid down in 1906 by the Prince of Wales and the building was built in the memory of Queen Victoria and also named after her. The memorial houses a beautiful museum which is also one of the most prominent if you want to know about the British Era. The whole complex covers a huge area and is surrounded by beautiful gardens which is also a popular picnic destination. Inside the museum you find photographs of people who had contributed in some way or the other towards the development of the state as well as the country. There are also a number of ancient artworks and weapons inside the museum. The light and sound show in the evenings is nerve wrecking as the sound of the British armies walking past behind you thrills you and the light work is done inside the memorial. It is like a time travel and is a place where people of all ages can enjoy.
Howrah Railway Station
This is the oldest as well as largest railway station of India and is the second busiest of the country as well. It has 23 platforms andalso one of the largest traffic per day. It is one of the intercity railway stations of India, the others being the Sealdah Station, Shalimar Station and the Kolkata Station. The railway station looks awesome from outside with a typical Church style of design with a huge clock on top. This is on the West Bank of the Hooghly River and is connected by the famous air suspended bridge known as the Second Hooghly Setu or simply the Hooghly or Howrah Bridge. The station was started in the year 1824. All the railway authorities have their trains linked from here to other parts of the country and the local authority is no doubt the Eastern Railway.
Howrah Bridge made from 705m long steel cantilevers, is something that catches the attention of old and young alike. It is one place that defines Kolkata in real terms. Though, the place is always polluted and is really crowded, the view of the place is worth the pain taken to reach there. It is one of the top notch architectural icons of Kolkata from World War II till date. For those who want to click this wonderful bridge, needs to do it from a ferry on River Ganga that passes from below it. The Howrah Bridge is also the connection between the city and the 1906 formed Howrah station.
As you walk a little from Shovabazar Ghat of River Hooghly or from the west gate of the Shovabazar metro Station towards the Rabindra Sarani Lane, you will come across the Kumartuli. This is a place where a number of Kumars or potters are always busy with their work of designing and sculpting huge statues of Gods and Goddesses which are later used for the festivals of the city. The most common are the statues of Goddess Durga here. Initially clay and straw are used to form the figures and then they are spray painted. The original material used are the marrows of the banana trees but now many other materials are being used in making these idols. Later, the idols are dressed in fine attires and are ready to be sent to the pandals for being worshipped.
New Market happens to be an important shopping center in Bhopal that lies in Madhya Pradesh. The market is close to TT Nagar and one can get some good deals on raw silk and fabrics, Chanderi silk and tussar. The Chanderi silk sarees are quite famous and one can get some very good varieties here at New Market. For everything else like cosmetics, footwear, clothing, perfumes, jewelry and accessories, bags and wallets and other such stuff, there are numerous stalls and shops here to browse through all day long.
College Street (Boi Para)
Also known as boi Para, this is a long stretch from the Ganesh Chandra Avenue to the Mahatma Gandhi Road and is known for the many colleges out here. Apart from colleges there are other building for the city's intellectual group to spend time in. The Coffee House has served as the hangout for budding poets and politicians discussing on serious agendas over hot cups of coffee and kobiraji cutlet for years now. Above all what makes this place even more famous are the presence of many small and big book stalls and thus the name, 'boi para'. If you want to buy old or new books there can be nothing better than a couple of hours in College Street.
Prinsep Ghat with a good spectacular view is names after the famous James Princep. The place was built when the city and the whole country was under the Raj of the British. It is among the serene and quaint places in Kolkata where locals and tourists go for a getaway from city's hustle-bustle. This place is also considered by the locals for morning and evening walks by the banks of the river Ganga with not really a great view but also clean and oxygen free of pollution, amidst the lush greenery all around. For those who want to pay some quality time by the Hoogly without spending much, this is actually the spot to head to. An extra activity here's boat rides that are slow and serene in the waters of the Ganga.
Also known as the Mother Teresa Street, this was originally a burial ground and presently one of the most important places of Kolkata. This is also known as the 'Food street' or the 'Street which never sleeps'. This is the place where most of the oubs and restaurants of Kolkata are situated and has been an entertainment square of Kolkata for many years now. There are also a number of important buildings here such as the St. Xaviers' Church and College, the Asiatic Society Building, The South Park Cemetery and the 7th Century Aventist Church. The region stretches from Chowringee Road to Park Circus and is also a place which was a favourite during the British Era of Calcultta. You will still be able to see a lot of buildings of the British Era standing strong here. This place is such that you get the real essence of charming Kolkata here.
Dakshineswar Kali Temple
This is one of the great temples in Kolkata which has a lot of religious importance for the locals as well as aesthetic value for the tourists. It was made in the 19th century with a dedication to the goddess Bhavatarini, a reincarnation of Kali. Rani Rasmani, a wealthy woman got this temple constructed because of her devotion for the goddess. The temple is located on the banks of river Ganga and has quite a breath-taking view all around. One can either take a ferry or a train to reach this place. Do not forget to take proper footwear and an umbrella to safeguard from the heat.
So we started at 11 in morning, took an uber and landed up in Belur Math, a place well known after Swami Vivekanand(I'm a big fan of his and this place was on the top in my list). Beautiful, peaceful place, everyone meditating, hardly thought of seeing such calm place right in the middle of the fast moving crowded city. It took us about 30 mins to reach there. Just by the side of Belur Math was river hugly flowing. It was indeed a magnificent site. I have shared the picture.
This is a palatial residence of North Calcutta which was built in the 19th Century and named by Lord Pinto. The beautiful residence was built by Raja Rajmohan Mullick who was the adopted son of Nilmoni Mullick. As the name suggests this building was made up of 126 varieties of Italian Marble imported overseas. This is a lavishly built structure where the descendents of Raja Mullick still reside. The whole mansion is surrounded by luxurious gardens with eccentric seating arrangements in the form of marble table tops and chairs. There are fountains and statues of mermens and mermains that are now not in very good conditions. The palace zoo does not function anymore though the aviary is still a place where birds migrate down especially during winter. As you enter the mansion you will find yourself awestruck with the beauty, grandeur and classic taste of everything. There is also a small statue of Raja Mullick near the entrance. The wooden staircases with beautiful chandeliers and huge rooms are a symbol of the lavishness of rich men during the 19th century. There is also a statue of Queen Victoria beautifully carved inside a room that was dedicated to her. All around the house you will find statues of lions spread around in different positions and also other statues including one of Christopher Columbus. There are rooms also on the first floor with billiards tables and musical instruments. Parts of the palace are inaccessible as people stay in these parts. To visit the palace you need a permission from the tourism Department one day in advance.
Tiretta Bazar Ln
Sea Voi Yune Leong Futh TempleSea Voi Yune Leong Futh Temple is little hard to locate because it is accommodated of a single room of a building and from outside it is indeed hard to locate. It is located just opposite of Sea IP Church and beginning of Blackburn Lane. This is a very small Church established in 1908 by Chinese carpenters from............................................Read More
Belur Math Shrine
This is the headquarters of the Ramkrishna Mission and Math and is also the center of the Ramkrishna Movement. This was built by Swami Vivekananda who was a disciple and an ardent follower of Ramakrishna Paramhandsa. When Swami Vivekananda went to Colombo in 1897, he ordered the building of two missionaries, one at Belur and the other near Almora. Thhese were places meant for the young boys who would become future sanyasis and to train them for their activities. The Belur Math is on the western banks of the hooghly River and also encompasses the Ramakrishna Mission University. This is one of the most important institutions as well as an architectural marvel of the country. The design and architecture of the building is a mixture of Hindu, Islam, Christian as well as Buddhist styles of architecture. The reason behind this was the motto of Swami Vivekananda that all human beings are equal and that humanity is their only religion. The building looks different from different angles and the three chattris are inspired from thew thatched huts of Kamarhati, a village which was also the birthplace of Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa. There is a temple where the statue of Paramhansa is seated on a 100 petalled lotus. There is also a shrine of Swami Vivekananda built on the same place where parts of him were cremated in 1924.
Esplanade Bus Terminus
This is the biggest shopping arena in the city where you literary get everything. This place is very interesting because sweaty, haggling hawkers are juxtaposed against the majesty of the Grand Hotel. Dalhousie or Dharamtalla is a place which is infested with buildings from Calcutta's colonial past.
After trotting non stop, my stomach made funny noises, and so I took myself out to Bara Bazaar, one of the biggest wholesale markets in India, and also the place with cheap priced lip smacking food. On Jagmohan Mullick Lane, the footpaths are covered with stalls of chaat vendors, and their pav-bhaaji is worth dying for! Sizzling hot butter right on top of mouth watering bhaaji made me lose all my table etiquettes, and eat like a crazed up person, who hasn't had meals for days! Right on the crossing of the road sits an old aged man, who sells Pani Puri and Jhalmuri - the things-you-should-eat-in-Kolkata, since 30 years. And he still hasn't lost the charm for sure!
Vidyasagar Setu (wiki)With a total length of 823 meters (2,700 ft), Vidyasagar Setu is the longest cable–stayed bridge in India. Construction began on 3 July 1979, and the bridge was commissioned on 10 October 1992 by the Hooghly River Bridge Commission. It was the second bridge to be built across the Hooghly River; the first, the Howrah Bridge (also known as Rabindra Setu) 3.7 kilometers (2.3 mi) to the north, was completed in 1943. Named after the educationist reformer Pandit Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, it cost ₹3.88 billion to build.
The Fourth day in Kolkata was slightly better in terms of my health but I decided to take it slow and just wandered in the nearby streets of Kolkata. I had a very light breakfast at a small sweets shop, had tea at 'Balwant Singh ka Dhaba' nearby and went back to PG. In the evening, I went to the much talked about confectionery ' Flurys' to soothe my chocolate cravings and had a long chat with friends over tea-tasting at ' Au Bon Pain'. We strolled in the Park Street, had dinner at Subway and returned to the PG.
Kalighat Kali Temple
Next stop was Kalighat Temple, 500 years old Goddess Kali temple is equally good to visit as Dakshineshwar Temple. And we have seen the shots from there in a famous movie of Vidya Balan's KAHANI. White uniform wearing Policemen in Calcutta can be found everywhere near the temple and you're aren't allowed to photograph here. From Kalighat, we headed to Howrah Bridge and VidyaSagar Setu. My personal favorite is Vidya Sagar Setu because it exactly looks like Brookyn Bridge in NYC. You don't believe me? Leave a ping and I'll share the pictures i have clicked and then you'll probably trust me. You can do boating there in a happening boat with some old songs playing and romantic lighting just for 150 bucks. Rights by the side is millenium park where you can see love birds hanging around and some seriously tasty bengali Puchka. Other places I saw on the fly like Tipu Sultan Mosque, Shaheed Minar and how could i forget, world famous Eden Gardens. And ending the day with it being my Birthday, I landed up in Park street for some good food in One Step Up And hopped to a 100 years old Jewish Bakery Nahoum and sons in New Market(worth going if you love bakery stuff) to get fruit cake on my birthday and some sweet cheese.So this was what i had from my birthday trip which was cheaper then what i had to spend if i was partying in Hauz Khas or Cyber Hub.
Indian Museum (Jadu Ghar)
Built in the Italian style in the year 1875, this is one of the oldest museums of the world and also the largest of the country. This was built by the asiatic Society and was opened to the public in the present location in the year 1878. There are three floors of the museum with over 60 galleries and also a library and a publication unit. This is a round building with a fountain seating arrnagement in the middle. The museum halls are divided under six main sectors- Art, Anthropology, Archaeology, Geology, Industry and Zoology.
South Park Street Cemetery
The church was an entirely unique gothic church in Kolkata! After the church, we went to South Park Street Cemetery. The cemetery sent chills down my spine as it was absolutely one of its kind and incited numerous mixed emotions of awe and sadness. We then went to ' Govinda's' (ISKCON Temple's restaurant) for lunch. The sattvik food there was very delicious (although I could not each much due to my poor health). We went for a quick stroll post lunch to Victoria's Square Park opposite ISKCON temple. To our surprise, we saw monkeys, ducks, and rabbits! We sat down for a while and looked back at the entire trip and summarized our experiences briefly. After that, we went inside the ISKCON temple and after the evening 'Aarti' I went back to my PG, packed my bag, and left for the station. As I left the city with mixed emotions and experiences, I just had one word to bid adieu to the city of contrast, 'Aashchi' (I'll be back).This post was originally published on Nivedita's Blog.
17A Tiretti bazaar
Some of the weekend mornings usually began at 5, when I headed towards Territi Bazaar along with a couple of crazy neighborhood friends who never failed to accompany me. Territi Bazaar offers the best Chinese breakfast in town, and although many people may say it's overrated, I believe it's not the food but the entire ambiance that makes everything perfect. I still remember that morning, when it was raining heavily as we were eating our bowl-full of meatballs and soup. It was just us, and a few lamas who also ordered their momos.
From there we went to Birla Temple, Kalighat Temple, and Esplanade. I tried Grape Pulp Juice, Fire Paan, and freshly made Ice cream as well! On the first day, I couldn't help but compare my previous encounters with the city and I was surprised to see how everything appears different when your perspective grows with age. I was able to appreciate the architecture, culture, lifestyle and authenticity of the place more!
This is a famous bar and restaurant in the Park Street area of Kolkata. They probably serve the cheapest beer in the whole city. The ambience is cozy and comfortable and their meat steaks are superb. If you are shopping around Park Street, this is a very good place to grab a quick bite and wash it down with a mug of chilled beer.
Sun Yat Sen Street
If you are in Kolkata and still haven't taste the sea food you get in the Tiretti Bazaar, then you should rush today only. The Sun Yat Sen Street in the Tiretti Market Area is where you get the best and most authentic seafood. This street was made famous by the Chinese who came and settled here mainly for business purpose. You will enjoy this place at its best during an early morning walk when the street is lined with vendors selling authentic Chinese dim sums and steaming soups which are so light to the palette yet so flavorful. These piping delicacies during foggy winter mornings give the perfect start of a lazy day.
Aimless RamblingsMaidan, meaning literally open field is a large park in Kolkata. It is Calcutta's equivalent of New York's Central Park, a vast stretch of greenery right in the middle of the urban jungle. Home to numerous play grounds, including the famous cricketing venue Eden Gardens, several football stadia, and Kolkata Race Course, Maidan is often dubbed as the Lungs of Calcutta.It a place for aimless ramblings, a place to unwind, to dream and to relax. The vast greens welcome all; vendors, lovers, poets, dreamers and aspiring players. Boys and girls from surrounding neighbourhoods come here to play. The Maidan is surrounded with places of tourist interest - the Victoria Memorial, the Birla Planetarium, the National Library, Octerlony Monument (Sahid Minar), Academy of Fine Arts and the St Paul's Cathedral.Things to Do: It is place where one would want to go to be with the company of the loved ones or simply to be with oneself. One can visit any of the tourist hotspots around Maidan, or mingle with the folks playing, they will be more than happy to include you in their game. Tickle the taste buds at the various stalls of "jhal-muri", "phuchka" (that's what we call pani-puris) or refresh oneself at the ice candy or lemonade stalls or ride the tongas in front of Victoria Memorial.Anecdote: One would not realize while in Maidan is that under the feet is Indian Army's headquarters of the Eastern Command. That is why Maidan is also called "The Brigade Parade Ground".
Kolkata Zoo & Zoological Garden
The meter starts running. Standard yellow cab. And off we go. Destination Mumbai. Reason aplenty.Its raining.Howrah station is it's usual self, passengers scattered all over and waiting for their trains to arrive and take them outstation, somewhere possibly nice. I'm waiting, as well... Our train's called Duranto, which in Bengali means fast and the train is actually 68 km an hour fast, taking you to Mumbai in little over a day's time span. The staff is friendly and our coupe is chilled out, making the atmosphere travel friendly. We just had lunch rounded off with vanilla ice cream. Snooze time, it is!!