Belur Math is an architectural beauty situated on the western banks of the Hooghly River. Marked by several domes placed in aesthetic harmony, Belur Math is the headquarters of Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission. The two institutions are dedicated to 'Vedanta', a Hindu philosophical sect, and strongly promote harmony across religions and boundaries. Ramakrishna Math, a monastic organization and Ramakrishna Mission, a society dedicated to philanthropic activities, together have 171 branches spread across India and other parts of the world. Inside Belur Math, temples honouring Ramakrishna Paramahansa, Sarada Devi and Swami Vivekananda can be found, all melodiously reflecting different architectural styles and religious details. Swami Vivekananda, who oversaw the construction of the temple complex, used symbols from Christianity, Islam as well as Hinduism as reminders of Ramakrishna’s message. The 40-acre complex also houses the Ramakrishna Museum and a book store. Built-in 1938, Belur Math is the most important pilgrimage destinations in Kolkata and is usually visited along with Dakshineshwar Kali Temple, Path Bari and Kancher Mandir. You can visit all of these by using the Jetty service available outside Belur Math.
54 Bose Road is one of the most famous addresses in Kolkata and an important stopover for every tourist visiting the city. The building aptly called Mother House is the headquarters of the Missionaries of Charity, Mother Teresa's vision to spread hope and love to the despair. Even today, Mother Teresa’s sisters of charity, clad in their trademark blue-bordered saris, continue to carry forward her legacy. Visitors can pay their respects at the Mother's tomb and visit the museum displaying objects from her routine life – sandals and a worn-out bowl that stand as true reflections of her simplicity. Invoking peace and a range of different emotions, this place allows you to catch a glimpse into the life of one of the finest human beings to have ever lived.
Eden Gardens is not only an integral part of Kolkata city, but is also an important landmark in the International cricket map. The stadium is named after the adjoining Eden Gardens. Right from 1864, it has seen cricket records being made and broken by iconic players. What makes this stadium exclusive from its counterparts is the passion of the crowds towards the game. The player's concentration is almost put to test amidst the loud cheer and noise. Though the unruly behavior of the fans has resulted in match disruptions, this stadium still remains a favorite among all cricketers. Notable performances at Eden Gardens include bowler Harbhajan Singh's hat-trick against the Australians in 2000-01 and the 281 runs scored by VVS Laxman, in the same season, which is the highest individual score recorded at this ground. Try and visit Eden Gardens during a match to feel the excitement in the air.
Established in 1959, Birla Industrial & Technological Museum is a parent body to all Science Centers and Museums under the National Council of Science Museums and holds the distinction of being the first Science and Industrial museum in the country. BITM started as a hardcore museum documenting the history of scientific growth with galleries of Communication, Iron & Steel, Popular Science, Transport, Electronics and TV. However, to keep up with the rapid progress of science and technology, it is now a full-fledged Science Center with an aim to inculcate in visitors the basic principles of science. While it retains the original galleries, BITM has introduced a myriad interactive exhibits and educational shows like Fun Science Show, Science Magic Show, Fascinating Physics show, etc. Although the vast contents of this museum would help any visitor, children and students are the main target audience here. The science center also organizes a number of events throughout the year including lectures, seminars and exhibitions that cover important and relevant topics. Check website for details on daily shows, student tours etc.
When you stand in front of the building, you are bound to wonder why the academy needs such a high-storied structure to operate from. But once you step inside, any such questions are rightfully and aesthetically, laid to rest. Established in 1967, the Birla Academy of Art & Culture has been a staunch proponent of the arts in Kolkata. The museum within the academy has a number of collections including Indian, international and contemporary paintings as well as sculptures. However, most of its eleven floors are usually occupied by interesting temporary exhibitions and fairs. The library is well-equipped with a number of resources on various forms of art and culture. Apart from this, the academy also frequently organizes cultural events as well as educational lectures, seminars and summer classes on art. An annually held event called Kala Mela is aimed at showcasing upcoming local artists. Located right next to Lake Kalibari, you will always find something that piques your interest at this art hub!
The Indian goddess Kali is a quintessential part of Kolkata and its people. One of the most religious sites in West Bengal, the Dakshineswar temple complex is marked by a traditional Bengali Navaratna, or a nine-spire style devoted to Kali and her many manifestations, specifically Bhavatarini. Skirting the resplendent shrine is a troupe of several other, smaller temples, including the nine Shiva Temples and the Radha Krishna Temple. Shades of red and yellow define the Dakshineswar Kali Temple and the colorfully-clad pilgrims make it quite an intense and interesting palette. Also known to have been a spiritual leader and mystic Rama Krishna Paramahansa's abode for a certain period of time, the temple also shelters a white shrine, comprising the statue of Rani Rashmonin Devi (who was responsible for building the temple), in its courtyard. The temple, at once, strikes as an elegant, palatial structure, and is home to a large parking lot that accommodates the regular flow of devotees. The waters of the Hooghly River and the Vivekananda Setu form the backdrop of the temple which is well-renowned for its deeply-entrenched fondness for the revered yogi and mystic Ramakrishna. Standing proudly on a pedestal which is led by a flight of stairs, the temple is visited by a number of pilgrims everyday and remains crowded most of the time.
Built-in the 18th Century, Jorasanko Thakur Bari was where the famous writer Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore was born. The building is located on the Rabindra Bharti University campus premises, therefore the college organizes cultural programs and events on the birthday of the poet, as well as the light and sound shows that depict the life of the Tagore family in the house. The beautiful red color house has been restored to its original form and converted into a museum where visitors can learn about the lifestyle of the Tagore family in the 19th and 20th Century.
During the colonial rule, the Britishers erected magnificent structures and palatial residences, that often replicated buildings and government offices back in England. Raj Bhavan is one of such splendid heritage landmarks in the city of Kolkata. Spread across 27 acres, the wrought iron gates and imposing lions atop, create a majestic allure to the whole place and draw a clear line of distinction between the powerful rulers and the powerless common man. It continued to be the official residence of Governor-Generals and Viceroy until Kolkata ceased to be the capital of India and Delhi came into prominence. It has many suites, the important ones being the 'Prince of Wales' suite, named in the honor of Prince Edward of Wales and 'Wellesly Suite', named after the Governor General, who commissioned the construction of Raj Bhavan. It also houses a library, that includes a wide range of books and official journals, simply left behind by the previous governors, right from pre-independence era. Apart from that, it also has a collection of rare manuscripts and photographs, which gets enriched with each passing year. Currently, the Governor of West Bengal resides here and it plays host to important foreign delegates, dignitaries and official meetings. Though due to security reasons, you will be unable to see the building from within, the beautiful exteriors are worth a visit.
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.
Park Street is a very famous and one of the most important streets in Kolkata. It has a number of notable buildings, colleges, showrooms and even the cemetery. Some important buildings include the Asiatic Society, St Xavier’s College and an Adventist Church. This is where party lovers can find the vibrant nightlife of the city. It has a number of restaurants and pubs and is also known as the ‘Food Street’ or ‘The Street that Never Sleeps’. Park Street is illuminated with lights on Diwali, Christmas and New Year’s Eve. A visit to Park Street is a must when you plan a visit to Kolkata.
Situated Near Hati Bagan Crossing, Star Theatre has rich history behind it. Along with the Minerva Theatre, Star Theatre is a pioneer in commercial Bengali Theatre. It is also one the first theaters, where the first Bengali motion picture was screened. Now over a hundred years old, Start Theatre is synonymous with culture in the city. Besides hosting plays, concerts and a variety of cultural events, this 514-seat theater also screens the latest Bengali films and other exponents of world cinema. Treat your taste-buds at 'Sandhya Tara', the delightful rooftop restaurant at Star. When in Kolkata this is place is a must visit! Call ahead for reservations.