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.
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.
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.
Kalighat Kali Temple's legend is rooted in Indian mythology; it is said to be the site where Sati or Shakti's toes fell during Shiva's Rudra Tandava (an allegorical depiction of violent nature). The temple you see standing today at the end of Kalighat is about 200 years old, built with the help of the Sabarna Roy Chowdhary family. The historical temple stays crowded throughout the week, especially on Tuesdays and Saturdays; a tour of this temple is always hectic, but Wednesdays and Thursdays are probably the best days to visit if you want a somewhat peaceful experience. There is a large corridor filled with Puja shops outside the temple. Around the temple are also other spots like Sosthi Tala, Harkath Tala (a site used for holy animal sacrifice), Radha-Krishna Temple and Kundurpukur (a large sacred tank situated behind the main Kali Temple). Photography is strictly prohibited inside the temple. Touts standing outside may not be affiliated with the temple, but manage to ensure a quick darshan (viewing) of Goddess Kali and the other sites around it.
Built on the site of the old Fort William, the GPO is the office of the Kolkata Postal Service. The building itself is defined by tall white columns, a towering dome and a clock on its facade. The pronounced structure has become an important landmark in the city center. Located close to Writers' Building in BBD Square, it also houses a postal museum and a philatelic library that are worth visiting. An interesting fact about the building is that it is said to be the site of the Black Hole of Calcutta, where British prisoners were held after the Fort was captured by Siraj-ud-Daulah. In spite of being around for years, the building is a pure, flawless white structure that stands out among its surroundings.
Aimed at providing a platform for young artists in the city, Gallery Kolkata features a fascinating collection of contemporary art. Situated in the famous Duckback House in Kolkata, this is where you will find a bunch of intriguing yet beautiful works of art by local artists.From canvas paintings and sculptures, to photography and other installations, the works exhibited here depict concepts and philosophies, that words can't express.
One of the most popular contemporary art galleries in the city, Galerie 88 is where you will find a number of intriguing works of art by local artists. Featuring a fabulous array of paintings by renowned and upcoming artists, this gallery offers a visual and aesthetic treat for art enthusiasts and curious minds alike. Apart from its permanent exhibits, a number of workshops and temporary exhibitions are also hosted here, which usually feature works by young, talented artists from across the country.
While in Kolkata, do not miss out on the beautiful and splendid Calcutta Jain Temple, also famous as Parasnath Temple. One of the most important landmarks of the city, it was built in 1867 by Seth Ray Badridas Bahadur who was also responsible for the design and concept of the holy establishment. Well-maintained gardens, Belgian glass, the throne of the Diety Shree Sheetalnath (the tenth Tirthankara) embedded with precious stones and pure silver speaks volumes about the founder's penchant for exclusivity. There are four different temples in this religious complex and the intricate structure will surely leave you in awe!