Located at the Eastern banks of the Hoogly, Kolkata is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal. The city is home to the oldest functioning port in India and is the 3rd most populated metropolitan in India after Mumbai and Delhi. The region came under the Suzerainty of the Nawabs of Bengal under the Mughals and eventually the British who took full control of the city in 1772. The city is also the center of the industrial revolution in India and the birthplace of modern Indian cultural, poetic, artistic and literary movement in between the 19th and the early 20th centuries. The city was also the capital of India under the British and was the nucleus of the Indian Independence Movement. The various blends of cultures have garnered Kolkata as one of the major tourist destinations in India.
Places to visit in Kolkata
Howrah Bridge of Kolkata is also known as Rabindra Setu. The Howrah Bridge of Kolkata is the busiest bridge in the world. The bridge caters to about 1,00,000 vehicles and uncountable pedestrians. The bridge is 450 meter long and it stands over Hooghly River without any pylon. The bridge is the best example of the 20th century engineering techniques. today it is one of the most visited tourist attraction in Kolkata.
Birla Mandir across the world are known for their fabulous architecture and clean surroundings. The Birla Mandir of Kolkata stands at and elevation 160 ft above the ground. The construction started way back in 1970 and it took 26 long years to complete it. The gates were opened for general public after the completion of the temple in the year 1996. The estimated total cost of construction is Rs.180 Million. The whole temple is built in white Marble and is spread over 44-katha of land. The Birla Temple is popularly known as Lakshmi Narayan Mandir.
The Fort is named after King William III of England. Fort William was constructed in 1781 to mark the victory of Robert Clive over Sir David Ochterlony at Plassey. The large patch of garden that surrounds the fort is called the maidan. The Maidan is 3 kilometer long and 1 kilometer wide. It is the largest urban park in Kolkata. Within the Fort’s premise there lies a church, cinema, boxing stadium, market, football ground, post and telegraph office, swimming pool and firing range.
The Indian Museum at Kolkata is the oldest museum in India built back in 1814 by Dr. Nathaniel Wallich, who used to be a botanist from Denmark. The Indian Museum is the largest museum of the country and ninth oldest regular museum of the world. The museum exhibits collection of antiques, mummies, Mughal paintings, skeletons, fossils, ornaments and armor. It was shifted to the new building in 1875. The building was designed in Italian architectural by Walter B Grawille. The museum was open to general public in the year 1878. The museum is divided into six main sections as Zoology, Industry, Geology, Archeology, Anthropology and Art, the museum has over 60 galleries.
Indian Botanical Garden
The Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Indian Botanic Garden (previously known as Indian Botanic Garden) is situated in Shibpur, Howrah near Kolkata. They are commonly known as the Calcutta Botanical Garden, and previously as the Royal Botanic Garden, Calcutta. The gardens exhibit a wide variety of rare plants and a total collection of over 12,000 specimens spread over 109 hectares. It is under Botanical Survey of India (BSI) of Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India.
The best-known landmark of the garden is The Great Banyan, an enormous banyan tree (Ficus benghalensis) that is reckoned to be the largest tree in the world, at more than 330metres in circumference. They are also famous for their enormous collections of orchids, bamboos, palms, and plants of the screw pine genus (Pandanus).
Animals seen inside the Botanic Garden include the Jackal (Canis aureus), Indian mongoose and the Indian Fox (Vulpes bengalensis). A large numbers of varieties snakes also found in the garden.
Kalighat Kali Temple
Kalighat Kali Temple is a Hindu temple in West Bengal, India dedicated to the Hindu goddess Kali. Kalighat is regarded as one of the 52 Shakti Peethas of India, where the various parts of Sati's body are said to have fallen, in the course of Shiva's Rudra Tandava. Kalighat represents the site where the toes of the right foot of Dakshayani or Sati fell. Legend has it that a devotee discovered a luminant ray of light coming from the Bhāgirathi river bed, and upon investigating its source came upon a piece of stone carved in the form of a human toe. He also found a Svayambhu Lingam of Nakuleshwar Bhairav nearby, and started worshiping Kaali in the midst of a thick jungle.
Belur Mutt is the headquarters of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission, founded by Swami Vivekananda, a chief disciple of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. It is located on the west bank of Hooghly River, Belur, West Bengal, India and is one of the significant institutions in Calcutta. This temple is the heart of the Ramakrishna Movement. The temple is notable for its architecture that fuses Hindu, Christian and Islamic motifs as a symbol of unity of all religions.The 40-acre (160,000 m2) campus of the Belur Math on the banks of the Ganges includes temples dedicated to Ramakrishna, Sarada Devi and Swami Vivekananda, in which their relics are enshrined, and the main monastery of the Ramakrishna Order. The campus also houses a Museum containing articles connected with the history of Ramakrishna Math and Mission. Several educational institutions affiliated with the Ramakrishna Mission are situated in the vast campus adjacent to Belur Math. The Belur Math is considered as one of the prime tourist spots near Kolkata and place of pilgrimage by devotees. The ex-president Abdul Kalam regarded Belur Math as a "place of heritage and national importance."
The Sunderbans are a part of the world's largest delta, formed by the mighty rivers Ganga, Brahmaputra and Meghna. Situated on the lower end of Gangetic West Bengal, the Sunderbans is criss-crossed by hundreds of creeks and tributaries. It is one of the most attractive and alluring places remaining on earth, a truly undiscovered paradise. The Sunderbans is the largest single block of tidal, halophytic mangrove forests in the world. The name can be literally translated as beautiful jungle. The name may have been derived from the Sundari trees that are found in the Sunderbans. The Sunderbans is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is spans a vast area covering 4.264 sq. km in India alone. It is the largest Tiger Reserve and National Park in India.
Santiniketan was previously called Bhubandanga (named after Bhuban Dakat, a local dacoit), and owned by the Tagore family. Rabindranath's father, Maharshi Debendranath Tagore, found it very peaceful and renamed it Santiniketan, which means abode (niketan) of peace (shanti). It was here that Rabindranath Tagore started Patha Bhavan the school of his ideals, whose central premise was that learning in a natural environment would be more enjoyable and fruitful. After he received the Noble Prize (1913), the school was expanded into a university. Many world famous teachers have become associated with it, and Indira Gandhi was one of its more illustrious students.
Kala Bhavana, the art college of Santiniketan, is still considered one of the best art colleges in the world. Other institutions here include Vidya Bhavana; the Institute of Humanities, Shiksha Bhavana; the Institute of Science, Sangit Bhavana; Institute of Dance, Drama and Music, Vinaya Bhavana; Institute of Education, Rabindra Bhavana, Institute of Tagore Studies and Research, Palli-Samgathana Vibhaga; Institute of Rural Reconstruction, and Palli Shiksha Bhavana; Institute of Agricultural Sciences.
There are also other centres, affiliated to major institutions such as Nippon Bhavana, the Indira Gandhi Centre for National Integration, Rural Extension Centre, Silpa Sadana; Centre for Rural Craft, Technology and Design, Palli-Charcha Kendra; Centre for Social Studies and Rural Development, Centre for Biotechnology, Centre for Mathematics Education, Centre for Environmental Studies, Computer Centre and Indira Gandhi Centre for National Integration. As well as Patha-Bhavana, there are two schools for kindergarten level education; Mrinalini Ananda Pathsala, Santosh Pathsala; a school for primary and secondary education known as Shiksha Satra, and a school of higher secondary education known as Uttar-Shiksha Sadana.