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.
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.
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.
Capital of the state of West Bengal, Kolkata rises from the banks of the River Hooghly and has historically been an important trade hub. The British East India Company chose the city precisely for this reason, and it served as the capital of India during the British Raj until 1911, after which the capital shifted to Delhi. The city’s wide boulevards and imposing public buildings stand as rarefied remnants of British colonialism. As the seat of 'Bengal Renaissance' during the British Raj, Kolkata produced many gurus such as Rabindranath Tagore. Master filmmaker Satyajit Ray is another notable figure who catapulted the city into the spotlight. This artistic legacy continues at venues like Nandan and Rabindra Sadan, which organize various events spanning music, art, literature, dance and film. Kolkata is also widely known for the amazing range of food, both fine dining and street food, on offer. Notable landmarks of the city include attractions like Victoria Memorial, Indian Museum, Dakshineswar Kali Temple and Belur Math, along with the busy New Market and Kumartuli, and the symbolic Vidyasagar Setu and Howrah Bridge.
Asutosh Museum of Indian Art is the only museum which is located within the main campus of University of Calcutta. It was established in the year 1937. Some of the noteworthy things in the museum are YAKSHINI with PANCHACHUDA Terracotta Chandraketugarh, YAKSHINI Terracotta Bangarh, SURYA Black Basalt Kasipur and Portrait Head Black Basalt Agradigun. In the year 1959, the University of Calcutta started a Postgraduate Diploma Course in Museology. The museum itself functions as a laboratory for this course. The objective of the museum is to collect and preserve various specimens of different phases of Indian art. It gives special emphasis on the art of Bengal.
The city of Kolkata has many prestigious educational institutes, Hindu School being one of them. The school's reputation has been built over the years with precious contributions and efforts of renowned educationalists like Maharaja Radhakanta Deb, David Hare, Diwan Baidya Nath Mukherjee. The school has always maintained an unconventional and futuristic approach towards education; back in 1817, when all schools stressed on textbook approach to studies, Hindu School adopted a practical approach to learning. Modern teaching practices were blended with traditional methods, thus exposing the students to a broader spectrum. What distinguished Hindu school from its counterparts is the fact that, it was an English Medium school. With such a great history, Hindu school is surely one of the premier schools in India. Currently, it is a boys school that offers education from classes I – XII. While in Kolkata, do visit this school, that changed and modernized the Indian education system.
With the honor of being the 'first modern university' in India, University of Calcutta is one of the leading government aided institutions in the country. Established in 1857, during the British rule, each passing era adds to the glory and success story of this organization. Spread over 6 campuses, it enriches and educates thousands of students each academic year. A wide range of courses in diverse fields like Agriculture, Arts, Engineering and Law are offered here. The alumni roster includes Nobel prize winners Ronald Ross, Rabindra Nath Tagore, C.V.Raman and Amartya Sen, freedom fighter Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, prime ministers, vice presidents and the likes. The on-campus library boasts of a vast collection of books, research archives and other printed materials that are used by students, professors and researchers. The university furthers the all round development by actively involving students in performing arts, literature and extra-curricular activities. To visit or enroll in this reputed university, check the website or call ahead.
One of the biggest mosques in India, the Nakhoda Masjid, originally a lot smaller, is exemplary of the beautiful Indo-Saracenic school of architecture. The majestic red sandstone structure was constructed on the lines of Akbar's tomb in Agra, while its gateway is a replica of the famous Buland Darwaza at Fatehpur Sikri. The mosque holds weekly prayers in its spacious hall, welcoming a large numbers of devotees. During festivals, the mosque wonderfully dons neon lights and flowers and the whole area seems to take life. Governed by a board of trustees, the Nakhoda Masjid is a major tourist attractions in the city.
A pristine canopy sheathed in liberal swathes of white, the opulent Marble Palace is an embodiment of elegance and a beauty that transcends the very existence of space and time. A stunning relic of the 19th Century, the palace was built by Raja Rajendra Mullick, and is characterized by a tapestry of walls, flooring and sculptures which are brilliantly-clad in marble. Awash in spectacular semblances of Neoclassical architecture, the palace harbors several collections of western sculpture, artifacts and antique treasures such as clocks, urns and chandeliers, along with paintings by well-known artists such as John Opie, Titian and Murillo. Cloaked in unabashed grandeur, the magnificent interior of the palace spills into rolling, open courtyards which are much reminiscent of the Bengal which once was. Having been responsible for largely shaping the historic and cultural landscape of Kolkata, this timeless palace is adorned with jubilant fountains, glorious sculptures, a string of picturesque Corinthian columns, a serene lake, a rock garden and the Marble Palace Zoo, which shelters a troupe of delightful birds and animals like monkeys and diverse species of deer.