Kolkata India Kolkata India is the second largest city of India. It is a cosmopolitan city. It is situated on the banks of the river Hooghly. The city is an excellent portrait of architectural monuments and palaces of historic importance, hence known as  “City of Palaces” also. A 17th century village, Kolkata is not an ancient city but it is the expansionist ambitions of the British when they have chosen it for their trade settlements. It was selected because its strategic location that is protected by the Hooghly River to the west, by creek to the north and by salt lakes to the east. It is one of the four metropolitan cities of India along with Delhi, Mumbai, and Chennai. Kolkata has some the finest British Raj edifices built in a variety of styles. A city of Joy and Love, Grandeur and Glory, Kolkata is full of life and bustle verging on the traditional occupations with modern outlook. Kolkota has the imprints of the British architecture as the city was one of the main administrative blocks under the British rule. At present it is a major commercial city consisting of industrial and corporate houses. The city becomes a lively place during Durga Puja. Film Festival and music conferences are organized at regular intervals to encourage cultural genius of India.

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Kolkata is the birthplace of British Empire and the home of late Mother Teresa and Rabindra Nath Tagore therefore it is regarded as the cultural and intellectual capital of India. The city has some of India’s prime sites such as Howrah Bridge, Victoria Memorial, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Eden Gardens, Kalighat temple and bustling narrow streets. Kolkata was once the capital city of British India and the Gateway to India till 1912. Hence this city consists of imperial monuments, cultural bonds and religious flavors. Drama, theatre, music, song and dance are integral parts of the culture. The city offers a variety of dishes, cuisines and wide range of sweets. It is recommended to taste Kolkata Rassagolla (famous sweet of India) while visiting the city.

Kolkata is a bed of roses for the rich and paradise for the destitute. It is an amalgamation of millions of people of diverse ethnic, social and cultural backgrounds. Kolkata might shock or seduce you but it will leave an indelible impression on you. To understand India, a trip to Kolkata is vital.

Kolkata Tourist Attractions

Fort William: This famous edifice was erected during British rule in 1696. It was named after King William III of England. This fort was attacked by Siraj Ud Daulah, the Nawab of Bengal during the war of Plassey in 1757 and British army was defeated. Then Robert Clive constructed a new fort in 1780. Fort William was built to prevent attacks from Muslim invaders. The foundation of the old fort is still intact. At present it is a military area with arsenal. It can be visited with prior permission from authorities. It is a must visit tourist attraction of Kolkata.

Victoria Memorial: Victoria memorial is an excellent museum that was established in 1921. Sir William Emerson, President of the British Institute of Architects, designed and planned this monument. It is a 184 ft high building constructed on 64 acres of land. In this museum you can see photos and effigies of prominent personalities. Victoria memorial is one of the finest art museums of Kolkata.

Eden Gardens: Eden garden is a historical cricket stadium of India. It is one of the important tourist attractions of the city. It is the oldest and finest cricket playground of India. It was constructed in 1864. The first test match was played in 1934 and first ODI match was played in 1987. At present it has a capacity of around 120,000 persons.

Birla Planetarium: It is one of the largest museums in Asia. Birla Education Trust founded this center of science, communication & environment in 1962. It is situated at the Eastern metropolitan bypass of Kolkata. It provides useful information about our solar system, galaxies, life span of stars, space, planets and other heavenly bodies in the most interactive manner via audio video aids. Birla planetarium is a single storied circular building of Indian style. The astronomy gallery has a sizable collection of paintings and celestial models of renowned astronomers.

Howrah Bridge: Howrah Bridge that stands on two 270 feet high pillars is located across Hoogli River in Kolkata. It was constructed in 1874. It is the busiest bridge of the world. This bridge connects the city of Howrah to Kolkata. It is known as ‘Rabindra Setu’ also. It serves as a Road Bridge at present. It has two sister bridges named as Vidyasagar Setu and Vivekananda Setu, situated over the Hoogly River at different points. This bridge is a symbol of Kolkata.

Marble Palace: The Marble Palace was constructed in 1835. It is an exquisite art gallery that houses the exquisite pieces of art, sculptures, pictures & oil paintings. The highlight of this palace is the Reuben’s masterpieces. You can also find the original paintings renowned painters such as Rembrandt, Reynolds and Van Goyen etc. It has a zoo too where you can find rare birds.

Writers Building: This Gothic structure was built under the aegis of Lt. Governor Ashley Eden in 1877. The Kolkata writers’ Building is situated close to Dalhousie Square. At present it serves as the secretariat of government of west Bengal. It is also known as ‘Mahakaran’. It is named owing to the fact that the junior writers of the East India Company utilized it. The new building is more significant and different from the original writers building. Both of these are erected on the same site.

Nicco Park: This is an amusement park situated at salt lake. It can be termed as the Disneyland of India. It is a spacious park covering about 40-acre land. It is one of the biggest amusement parks in India inaugurated in 1991. Nicco Park is popularly called Jheel Meel. It is the fun and entertainment destination for kids and adults. It is crowded on weekends. It has beautiful rose garden and Food Park. Nicco Park has obtained ISO 9002 and it has certification from a renowned European certifying authority.

Saheed Minar: This magnificent monument was established in 1848 to mark the Sir David Ochterlony’s victory in the Nepal war in 1816. It is known as Octerloney Monument initially after the name of its founder. Its foundation is based on the Egyptian style and its dome follows Syrian and Turkish designs. The Octerloney monument renamed ‘Sahid Minar’ in 1969 in the honor of freedom fighters of the country. At present it is the venue of political meetings and convocations initiated by Rabindranath Tagore in 1931. You may behold the spectacular view of Kolkata City from the top of the Shaheed Minar.

National Library: National Library in Kolkata is the largest library of India supported by the Dept of Culture, Ministry of Tourism & Culture, Government of India. It is constructed on 30 acres of land. National library has a huge collection of books and periodicals received from different parts of the country. It was basically set up to collect, distribute and preserve indigenous materials. You can find books in almost all Indian languages. There is a separate division for children in this library.

Belur Math: It is on the western bank of the Hooghly, spread over 48 acres of land and located in Howrah district, an hour’s drive from Kolkata. It is a place of pilgrimage for people from all over the world. Swami Vivekananda founded Belur Math in 1898 in loving memory of his mentor Ramakrishna Paramhansa who preached unity of all religions. The Belur Math is well known for its architecture elegance, clean environs, sacred associations and spiritual atmosphere besides being the headquarters of Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission. It is a haven of peace draws scores of people every day from all over the world. It is the international head quarters of Ramakrishna Mission.

Botanical Garden: It is situated 8 Kms from the city, at Shibpur area of Howrah district on the west bank of the Ganga, covering an area of about 273 acres. Colonel Kyd founded it in 1786, containing about 12,000 living plants and over two and half million dried plant specimens in the herbarium collected from all over the world. It is one of the oldest and largest botanical gardens of India. There are rare plants and trees collected from Nepal, Brazil, Java and Sumatra. It remains open from sunrise to sunset. There is a lake where boating can be enjoyed. The prime attraction of this garden is the 200 years old Banyan Tree.

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