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The melting pot of culture known as the cultural capital of India, often nicknamed as the city of joy – Kolkata welcomes you with its unique ethnicity. Serving as the capital of India during the British Raj the city is also notably recognized for contributing noble prize winners including Rabindranath Tagore and Mother Teresa. Home to the only tram system in India and the oldest tram system in Asia, the city is also hub to the cultural institutes such as Asiatic Society, Academy of Fine Arts, Victoria Memorial, Indian Museum and National Library of India.
Sandesh, Roshogullas and typical Bengali seafood. Hungry enough? Let us make you even hungrier so you crave for the cultural – modern attractions in the city! We have broken it down for you as the below top 10 things the city has to offer!
1. Victoria Memorial Hall
The iconic landmark of the city – Victoria Memorial Hall – we all know it! Built near the banks of Hooghly river, this majestic monument was constructed between 1906 to 1921 in the memory of Queen Victoria of England. The memorial includes the galleries dedicated to the artworks done by a few art nouveaus. Built in the mixed architectural style of Indo-Saracenic, Islamic, British and Egyptian, the premises of the memorial includes a sparsely spreaded green lawn. The memorial also hosts a light and sound show in the evening. Visited over a thousands of tourists every year, this place is a must when in Kolkata!
2. Howrah Bridge
Symbol of West Bengal? Undoubtedly, the remarkable Howrah Bridge. Also known as Rabindra Setu (named after Rabindranath Tagore), the bridge is the busiest cantilever bridge in the world. There are ghats lined up at the banks of the river where one can observe the worshipers bathing in the river or simply savoring the picturesque river at the backdrop of the iconic bridge. Another unforgettable option to encounter the bridge even further – hiring a ferry or a boat ride! This experience will be just addition to your glee especially if you decide to for this option during the sunset. We promise, it’ll be a cherry on the top!
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3. Kalighat Kali Temple
The considered source from where the city’s name must have derived, the Kalighat Kali Temple welcomes you at the riverbanks. Dedicated to the Hindu Goddess of Kali, what’s intriguing is its unique Indo – Victorian styled temple-tops. A huge number of devotees visit the temple during the auspicious days such as Kali Pooja, Bengali new year, etc. The temple is notably known for being one of the 52 shaktipeethas.
4. Dakshineswar Kali Temple
Located on the eastern bank of the river, Dakshineswar Kali Temple was built by Rani Roshmani – a philanthropist and a devotee of the Goddess Kali. Built in 1855, the architectural style of the temple is the nine spires style of Bengal architecture. The temple is known due to having associated with the memory of Ramakrishna – a mystic of Bengal in the 19th century, where he started his spiritual journey.
5. Indian Museum
Another stop at the stunning cultural landmark? What else than Indian Museum! Founded by the Asiatic Society of Bengal, the Indian Museum is not only oldest but the largest museum having the rare collections of antiques, ornaments, skeleton, mummies, fossils and Mughal paintings. Consisting more than thirty galleries and divided into six sections namely – Art, Archaeology, Anthropology, Geology, Zoology and Economic Botany. A visit during the weekdays might be helpful to avoid the hustle.
6. Marble Palace
An elegant structure well preserved? This way! The Marble Palace is nineteenth century mansion built by a wealthy Bengali merchant named Raja Rajendra Mullick due to his interest in the collection of artwork. The collection majorly includes European furniture, artifacts and decorative objects. Built in the neo-classical style of architecture, the mansion encompasses a garden lawn, a rock garden, a lake and a zoo.
7. New Town Eco Park
Who says that a cultural hub cannot have recreational attractions?! Take New Town Eco Park for example – the biggest park in India so far, surrounded by a waterbody and an island. Initiated in 2011 by the Chief Minister of West Bengal – Mamata Bannerjee, the park has been divided into three large sections : Ecological Zones, Theme Gardens and Open Spaces and Urban Recreational Spaces. The park is also subject to develop an eco-resort and will also have a display of handicrafts from West Bengal.
8. Jorasanko Thakur Bari
Literally translated as “The House of the Thakurs”, the house is birthplace of the poet and writer Rabindranath Tagore. It is now been converted into Rabindra Bharati University. The place is known for being built by Tagore’s grandfather in eighteenth century where Tagore spent most of his childhood. The house is been restored as a museum keeping its reflections of how it looked like while the family resided there. The special occasions such as the birthday and death anniversary of Tagore and a few auspicious Bengali festivals have been celebrated at the place.
9. Eden Gardens
Not to mention to the cricket lovers that this marvelously huge cricket ground is not only regarded as India’s home of cricket but also widely recognized as the most iconic cricket stadiums in the world. The largest cricket stadium in Asia, is also a venue for T20I, Test and ODI of the India National Cricket Team. The stadium also hosted internationally important sports events such as World Cup, World Twenty20 and Asia Cup. The stadium is often used for football matches and through the year of 2017, it hosted the highest number of international competitions in India.
10. Tiretta Bazaar
An experience one simply can’t miss when in Kolkata! Apart from the the other attractions and things to do in the city, this one is a MUST on your list. A pure melange of culture and food, the Tiretta Bazar is a neighborhood having Chinese-Indian community residing. The bazar majorly comprises of Chinese restaurants, shops and stalls serving traditional Chinese food. The most popular activity in this bazar is to have a Chinese breakfast. The food stalls usually serve authentic Chinese food items such as – various types of dumplings, stuffed buns, types of noodles and soups, sausages, rice pudding, and a few pork and beef options. Strolling through the bazar, having sumptuous authentic Chinese breakfast and buying a memorable object from an old Chinese shop – there you go, now your trip to Kolkata is completed!