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.
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.
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.
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.
Built to replace the old Floating Pontoon Bridge, the New Howrah Bridge was renamed as Rabindra Setu in 1965, honouring the illustrious Bengali poet and painter Rabindranath Tagore. However, it is still most popularly known as Howrah Bridge. Placed between the Vivekananda Setu and the Vidyasagar Setu, this cantilever bridge was the first of the three Kolkata bridges, and was completed in 1943. Easily one of Kolkata's busiest bridges carrying thousands of vehicles every day, Howrah Bridge plays a major role in epitomizing the increasingly-urbane, forward-looking vigour that envelops the city. Seamlessly spanning the mighty course of Hooghly River, this bridge is characterized by brilliantly-done latticework, and is a product of outstanding engineering prowess. The concentration of vehicles increases along the teeming Howrah Station, while scores pedestrians, hawkers, merchants and locals make it an essential part of the everyday life of Kolkata. An iconic structure steeped in an indelible history and heritage, Howrah Bridge, with all its people and stories, will always remain an emblematic jewel of the city.
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. Few places are the remnants of British colonialism more evident than in Kolkata's wide boulevards and imposing public buildings. 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, that organize various events spanning music, art, literature, dance, and film. Kolkata is also widely known for the amazing range of food offered, both fine dining and street food. Landmarks include attractions like Victoria Memorial, Indian Museum, Dakshineswar Kali Temple and Belur Math, markets like New Market and detail Kumartuli and landmarks like Vidyasagar Setu and Howrah Bridge.
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.
As Kolkata took its place as the capital of British India, infrastructural changes and reforms saw the need for a new body that could be held solely responsible for the development of Kolkata. The Calcutta Municipal Corporation (now Kolkata Municipal Corporation or KMC) was thus formed in 1976. The building with the brilliant red facade that you see today is testimony to Kolkata’s development over the years. It stands on a road called Surendranath Banerjee Road, which was so named in the honor of Surendranath Bannerjee who was responsible for introducing a number of important changes as the first minister for local self-government in Bengal. And to think Kolkata has come this far from being just a collection of villages marked by mud huts and open drains, is quite impressive! Corporation Building (KMC Building) is a landmark that is best viewed from the outside at any time of the day. It houses the office of KMC, call for office timings.