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Best Local History & Culture in Kolkata

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Indian Museum

Located on the Jawaharlal Nehru Road, Indian Museum holds the distinction of being one of the first museums of its kind in the world. Founded by Dr. Nathaniel Wallich in 1814, the museum was first located within the Asiatic Society. However, the ever-growing repertoire of artifacts made its shift to the current location necessary. The pristine white edifice that houses the Indian Museum today was built by architect W.L. Granvil, which is also the name behind important landmarks like Calcutta High Court and the G.P.O. Inside, the museum has three floors with sixty different galleries that explore areas like Anthropology, Archaeology, Art, Geology, Zoology, Botany and Technology. The museum's collection has over 1 million exhibits today, and you can find anything from Egyptian mummies to meteorites during your visit. The Painting Gallery is of particular importance, as it holds some rare insights into ancient Indian art. Students and researchers of different faculties find the museum extremely resourceful: apart from the vast display of artifacts, the space also includes a library and a bookshop. Indian Museum organizes a number of interesting events throughout the year and also occasionally conducts short courses and seminars on various subjects. With over 10000 square feet of area to explore, it is best to spend an entire day at this museum.

Kolkata, India
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Victoria Memorial

An angelic-white canopy crafted purely from Makrana marble, the iconic Victoria Memorial buildings lies nestled amid rolling lawns and groves of swaying palms. Built as a tribute to Queen Victoria of England, this magnificent edifice is one of the best landmarks that grace the city of Kolkata. This majestic building is steeped in a long-standing history - Lord Curzon, the Viceroy of India, decided to set up a memorial as grand and royal as the Queen herself. Nestled along the banks of the Hooghly River, the memorial comprises beautiful gardens, emerald pools, a museum, statues and busts of Britishers and Indians as well. An important fact to be noted is that Indian princes and citizens contributed generously to the Victoria Memorial funds and the total construction cost was approximately INR 1,05,00,000. Huge, carved pillars, intricately-patterned marble domes and tall towers speak volumes about the craftsmanship of the Indian artisans who played an integral role in executing the building to reality. The galleries and museum house British memorabilia including paintings, sculptures and artifacts that chronicle important events of the Queen's life; right from her coronation ceremony to her residence. Apart from that, it has the sword of the brave prince and warrior Tipu Sultan and cannons reminiscent of the Battle of Plassey. Words or a camera frame do not do justice to the sheer opulence and grandeur of Victoria Memorial, a site which has captured the hearts, souls and imaginations of many.

Kolkata, India
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Netaji Bhavan

Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, known popularly as Netaji (meaning leader in Hindi), was one of the most prominent reformists in the Indian Independence Movement. The building that is known as Netaji Bhavan today was once the residence of the reformist. Managed by the Netaji Research Bureau, the old bungalow-style structure houses a museum and the bureau's archives and library. The museum is divided into various rooms, each detailing certain phases in the leader's life. The top-most floor has photographs and documents from the life and works of Subhash Chandra Bose, arranged in chronological order. The library and archives include comprehensive collections detailing the Indian Independence Movement. Netaji Bhavan also has an auditorium called the Sarat Bose Hall which is used for events like lectures and seminars. Located on Elgin Road, opposite Forum Mall, this is the place is a must-visit if you're interested in learning about India's Freedom Struggle.

Kolkata, India
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Gurusaday Museum

Gurusday Museum has been established in the memory of Shri Gurusday Dutt for his untiring work of keeping alive the folk art of Bengal. It is an art and craft museum that has products from remote parts of the state. The collection includes more than 300 artifacts of deities, masks, musical instruments, textiles, woodwork, archaeological objects and paintings. This museum was opened because of the recommendation of his son, Birendrasaday Dutt. The then stalwarts such as Mahatma Gandhi, Dr Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan, Dr Rabindranath Tagore and many more were of the opinion that without the energy and enthusiasm of Shri Gurusday Dutt, our ancient culture could not have been preserved. It was he who gave momentum to the Neo-Bengal School of Art.

Kolkata, India
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