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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.
One of the prime cultural and entertainment hubs in the city, Rabindranath Tagore Centre - ICCR is the venue for a number of fascinating events and exhibitions. Founded in 1950, the complex comprises an art gallery, an auditorium, a library and a conference center. From modern dramas, cultural plays and classical concerts, to awe-inspiring works of art, there is more than one way to seek entertainment at this remarkable cultural center.
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.
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!
Honoring Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru's love towards children and his passionate involvement in improving education for the youth, the Nehru Children's Museum was opened to the public on the leader's birthday, 14th November, in 1972. The unique museum strives to impart knowledge to children in an unconventional environment: the idea is to inspire the imagination by creating displays that pique a young one's curiosity. The four-storied space houses dolls, figurines and porcelain idols that belong to different nations and eras. It also has galleries that have recreated scenes from mythological epics like the Mahabharata and Ramayana. Apart from this, the museum fulfills its goal by conducting various events like competitions, workshops, and seminars that encourage the all-round development of children. It also helps needy children by organizing free courses and offering scholarships. Check website for details.
In a developing nation like India, where blind traditions and wrong beliefs still take precedence, it is very important to educate the citizens and create an awareness about science and advancements in technology. With this thought in mind, the Science City was established in Kolkata. The interactive displays, models and shows held here explain the wonders of science, the logical reasoning behind calamities like Tsunami and famines, laws of physics and other concepts in simple and easy to understand language. Affiliated to National Council of Science Museums, it has two divisions namely the Science Centre and the Convention Centre. The Science Centre complex, houses the Space Odyssey, Dynamotion, Evolution Theme Park, Maritime Centre and a Science Park and the Convention Centre has a Grand Theatre , Mini Auditorium, a Seminar hall and a vast open-air ground. It screens educational and informative shows like 'Living Sea ' and 'Vision Beyond Light Years'. One of the biggest attractions is the 'Time Machine' a motion simulator ride backed with audio-visual effects that takes you through black hole, planets, asteroids and the entire Solar system. You can also take a Cable car ride, that gives you a cool aerial view of the entire facility. So do take your kids, to this fun city that effectively presents important topics in fun format. Please note that admission does not include cable ride, time machine, theater and other attractions; you need to pay a separate entry fee. For a complete list of rates, check the website.
Rabindra Tirtha was built by the West Bengal Housing Infrastructure Development Corporation (WBHIDCO) and opened its doors in 2012. This cultural complex and research institute is an ode to Rabindranath Tagore, one of India's famous sons who inspired many across the world with his literature and Santiniketan. Reminiscent of his ashram, this center has a rustic appeal to it and is spread across 1.98 hectares (4.89 acres) of land. It comprises of art galleries, a mini movie theater, music room, an auditorium, a library, a cafe, souvenir shop and two exhibition halls, one with portraits of the Nobel laureate and the other has his paintings and archives. It also has dorms and cottages for researchers. You can catch all the movies inspired by this eminent author or documentaries on him at the cinema hall. Tagore fans will also enjoy the vast selection of his songs in the music room.
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.
Situated next to the Nalban Boating Complex in Salt Lake City or Bidhannagar, Nicco Park happens to be one of the biggest amusement parks in India and the first of its kind in Eastern India. Colloquially known as Jheel Meel, Nicco Park opened in 1991 and has a number of superlatives to its credit: Asia's largest wooden roller coaster, India's first 4D cinema experience and the first in the world to acquire the ISO 9002 certification. Apart from adventure rides like Flying Saucer, Cave Ride and Moonraker, the 40 acre establishment also includes a beautiful rose garden and an open Food Court serving a variety of cuisines. 'Wet-O-Wild Beach Tropicana', the water park within Nicco Park, comes with a huge artifical beach, waterfall, wave runners, play pool and a number of interesting rides. With all this action to partake in, there is no room for a dull moment at this dedicated fun zone. To keep the energy flowing, visit one of the strategically scattered food kiosks. The Nicco Super Bowl is right next door, but maybe you should plan that for another day!
The Indian Mime Theatre is a training center as well as a theater for the Indian version of Pantomime. The theater started in 1976 and has focused on the promotion and development of Mukabhinaya (Silent Acting) which is now recognized by the Government of India as a separate art form. The Indian Mime Theatre holds workshops and training courses for those who want to learn the art form. The theater also holds women's empowerment and awareness camps, seminars on social issues, training for unemployed youth and women, development programs for children and health camps, among other programs. Do contact them for information about their courses, shows and artists.
The roots of Alipore Zoological Gardens lie in a private menagerie once owned by Governor General Lord Wellesley in the 1800s. However, it was only many years after he returned to England, that a formal 'Zoological Gardens' was established in Alipore. Inaugurated in 1876 by Sir Edward VII, the Alipore Zoological Gardens was the first of its kind in the country; African Buffalo, Zanzibar Ram, Four-horned sheep, Hybrid Kashmiri Goat, Indian Antelope, Indian Gazelle and Sambar Deer were among the first breeds held here. The zoo was famous for housing the Aldabra Giant Tortoise 'Adwaita' which died in 2006, after 250 years! In the 1900s, the zoo was reputed as a pioneer in captive breeding processes; the Sumatran Rhinoceros was one of the successful breeding projects. However, over the years, it received a lot of criticism for its poor maintenance of animals and the 'Panthera Hybrid Program' (lion and tiger hybrids). Today, Alipore Zoo or Zoological Gardens remains a major attraction of the city, and houses species like Royal Bengal Tiger, African Lion, Great Indian One-horned Rhinoceros, Reticulated Giraffe, Dromedary Camel and Indian Elephant. Spread across 45 acres of land, the zoo also features a Reptile House, Primate House, Panther House and Elephant House. It may take you anywhere between an hour to a day to tour the zoo in its entirety; National Library, Agri Horticultural Gardens and Alipore Jail are in close vicinity. Photography is allowed after a charge of INR 250.
Aquatica, the water park in Salt Lake City is quite a hit with locals and tourists alike. Featuring great slides for kids and adults, it offers visitors a good breather from the perennially hot and humid Kolkata climate. If you're game for some adventure, then the white water rafting and spinning is sure to keep your adrenaline pumping. The artificial river flowing through the entire park is a excellent place to laze around on a sunny afternoon. An enchanting wave pool with its constantly changing wave patterns is a great crowd drawer, in addition to the Aqua Dance - a one-of-a-kind pool discotheque. The annual fashion shows and dandiya celebrations organized here are a rage, and the park also boasts of a great vegetarian cafe. Aquatica guarantees something for everyone, and you are sure to leave here asking for more.