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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.
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.
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.
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.
While other Indian metro cities in India like Mumbai are craving for green spaces, Kolkata is blessed with abundant parks, grounds and fair-grounds; Maidan being one among them. One of the largest open spaces across the State of West Bengal, it has a special place in the heart of Bengalis. It is home to famous structures and landmarks like Royal Golf Club, Victoria Memorial, Eden Gardens, Kolkata Race Course; the list is endless. Maidan also comprises statues of Britishers like Lord Curzon and Canning and notable Indians like Subhash Chandra Bose, Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Chittaranjan Das, Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru. The park has hosted political rallies, speeches, cultural events and expositions like Kolkata Book Fair. Maidan is an inherent and integral part of Kolkata and its inhabitants.
St. Paul's Cathedral is one of the 'first Episcopal Church of the Orient' in Kolkata. Bishop Daniel Wilson initiated the construction of the cathedral in 1839 and it was completed in 1847. Designed by Major William Nairn Forbes, it is similar to the Bell Harry Tower in Canterbury Cathedral in Kent. The pristine white walls, the stained glass windows, carved wooden pieces and frescoes remind you of the Renaissance period. Though the church was completely destroyed twice, it was eventually restored and regained it's original grandeur. While you are visiting St.Paul's Cathedral, you can also check-out the nearby attractions like Victoria Memorial, Nandan, Mahanagar Peace Park and the Birla Planetarium.
What started as a small room loaned from the Indian Museum in 1933 has proceeded to become a foundation for exploring art in the center of the city. Located next to the Birla Planetarium and near Victoria Memorial, the Academy of Fine Arts shares its creative passion in the form of exhibitions spanning a multitude of expressions of art. The permanent galleries within the Academy include the Contemporary Art Gallery, Old Textile Gallery, Old Carpet Gallery, Miniature Gallery and the Rabindra Gallery which has Rabindranath Tagore's original writings, manuscripts and paintings. A big auditorium housed inside is known to host a variety of cultural programs, theater etc. Training programs and art classes are also held regularly. Around the main building, a number of interesting sculptures are sure to pique your interest. Do check the local paper or inquire with the office for current event schedules.
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.
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.
Since being founded in 1993, CIMA has gone on to become of the most recognized centers of art and culture. A state-of-the-art gallery CIMA features a fascinating collection of contemporary art by renowned artists from across the country. Awe-inspiring canvas painting line the walls, depicting various aspects of philosophical and conceptual art. CIMA also organizes a number of exhibitions wherein budding artists are provided a platform to showcase their talent and interact with established 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.