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.
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.
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.
The Calcutta High court is one of the most strikingly beautiful constructions you will see in Kolkata. Modeled after the Belgian Stadt Haus, the building is situated in an enclave of sorts, with buildings on both sides. The main building is a striking red with a number of arches and columns which is a pattern that is continued in the hallways inside as well. Designed by Walter Granville, it looks rightfully regal as the country’s oldest High Court. Established on 1st July 1862 after the High Court’s Act 1861, it also has a circuit Bench in Port Blair, Andaman & Nicobar Islands. Although Calcutta is now officially known as Kolkata, Calcutta High Court retains its old name.
Once you enter the Esplanade area, you're sure to notice this towering monument. The tallest in this part of Kolkata, Shaheed Minar peeps out through the criss-cross of tram cables that are all over the skyline. Built by the East India Company to celebrate its victory at the Gurkha War in 1816, it was earlier known as the Ochterlony Monument, honoring the Company's commander in chief David Ochterlony. It was later renamed as Shaheed Minar to commemorate those who lost their lives during India's freedom struggle. Around the minar, you will find a number of street hawkers that sell everything from puchkas (a local specialty) to nariyal pani (coconut water). The monument stands at a height of 158 feet and the top can be reached if you feel fit to climb the steep staircase. At night, the beautifully lit up tower vies for attention as you walk along some of the central roads.
After the Nawab of Bengal Siraj Ud Daulah conquered the first Fort William in 1756, the British East India Company planned to build a second invulnerable fort. Spearheaded by Robert Clive, the Company reconquered the Fort. Later in 1780, the New Fort was constructed on its current site and the surrounding green space came to be known as Maidan. Named after King William III, the Fort stretches across a total area of 532 bighas and has six different gates. Today, the massive construction remains largely unchanged and is used as the military headquarters for the Eastern Command. Situated close to the banks of the Hooghly, the main structure has an irregular octagonal shape and is surrounded by a 9 meter deep and 15 meter wide moat. Inside, the fort is equipped with its own golf course, post office, auditorium, stadium, swimming pool and gym. It also houses the Command Museum and Library. Civilians are only allowed inside the premises on presenting an official approval from the Commanding Officer. On the eastern end of the Fort William are monuments like Victoria Memorial and St. Paul's Cathedral Church.
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.
St Andrew's Church is a renowned landmark, and one of the oldest churches in the city. Noted for its tall spire and Greek columns, this vintage structure stands out amonsgt the more modern buildings of the city. Originally a Church of Scotland, it follows the Presbyterian form of worship and is is the custodian of the Scottish Cemetery. This beautiful church has been listed as a Grade I Heritage Building by the Kolkata Municipal Corporation.
One of the most opulent imprints of the East India Company, Writers' Building has become an intrinsic part of Kolkata's vast history. It is so named because it was originally conceived in order to house the Company's writers. After the first structure collapsed, a second one was built on the site now occupied by the Kolkata G.P.O. What you see today in BBD Bagh or Dalhousie Square is the third and final construction that stands on the same grounds as the original Writers' Building. Designed by Thomas Lyon, this majestic red facade is best classified as a Neo-Renaissance structure. Just like the Britannia statue at the top of the building signifies the past, the Indian emblem projects its current standing as the house of the Secretariat of West Bengal. Owing to its political importance, the building is also known as Mahakaran in Bengali. Visit Writers' Building before the city wakes up, so you can take in its history and architectural beauty in solemn silence. And retain it, since photographing the landmark is strictly prohibited. Further details can be obtained from the West Bengal Tourism website.
Circular Road Baptist Chapel is a Christian congregation in the Beniapukur area of Kolkata. With a rich heritage behind, the Chapel provides spiritual fellowship to those who seek it. They have weekly services and prayer meetings to which all are cordially welcome.