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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Asutosh Museum of Indian Art is the only museum which is located within the main campus of University of Calcutta. It was established in the year 1937. Some of the noteworthy things in the museum are YAKSHINI with PANCHACHUDA Terracotta Chandraketugarh, YAKSHINI Terracotta Bangarh, SURYA Black Basalt Kasipur and Portrait Head Black Basalt Agradigun. In the year 1959, the University of Calcutta started a Postgraduate Diploma Course in Museology. The museum itself functions as a laboratory for this course. The objective of the museum is to collect and preserve various specimens of different phases of Indian art. It gives special emphasis on the art of Bengal.
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.
The leading entertainment corporation, INOX forayed into the world of cinema theaters and introduced the concept of 'movie-watching' as an experience complete with luxury and comfort in India. The long booking lines were soon replaced with online booking and phone booking services and some outlets even offer home delivery of tickets. Simple chairs made way for plush reclining comfy and cozy chairs. You no longer have to queue up for samosas and soft-drinks, all you need to do is place an order and the staff will serve it to you. The Bollywood crazy Indians, that await every Friday for the new movies to release and eagerly book the tickets in advance, liked this new concept and it became an instant hit amongst the youngsters. It has nearly 29 multiplexes and 105 screens in 20 cities all over the nation. In West Bengal and Assam, it took over the famous brand '89 Cinemas'. Though taken over, locals still refer it as 89 Cinemas. This particular multiplex, located in Salt Lake city, is modern and suave as the other Inox cinemas. After watching a show, if you still want to continue having fun, there is direct entry from within to Swabhmui Shopping Complex. Apart from the regular dose of Hindi movies, it also screens regional movies and Hollywood flicks. So do catch the latest hit at 89 Cinema.
Situated on the corner where Jawaharlal Nehru Road and Dharmatala Street (now Lenin Sarani) meet, Tipu Sultan mosque is so central that you are bound to cross it a few times while you're in Kolkata. The green domed structure is a landmark hard to forget, and often helps a stranger navigate the the center of the city. The mosque was built by Prince Ghulam Mohammed in 1832 who named it after his father, Emperor Tipu Sultan. Inside, beautiful architecture struggles against poor maintenance, yet the old walls and archways along with the shelves of Quran render a serene sense of peace to this beautiful monument. Although the mosque is on the main road, its entry is from a narrow lane behind. Don't forget to cover your head before you enter this holy abode.