Kolkata (formerly known as Calcutta) is often labeled as the cultural capital of India. The slogan “The city of joy” is often associated with this city. Kolkata(Kolkata trip travel) has a cultural character and remnants of British Raj visible in its Victorian style architecture, trams etc.
This city is famous for its people, culture, music, literature, art, and food. The city is densely populated as it shares its borders with the bank of river Ganga. Kolkata is well known for its literature (Rabindranath Tagore) and for its colonial architecture. Today Kolkata is a metropolitan city, it houses the oldest museum of India- the Indian museum containing the only “Mummy” in India amongst other valuable artifacts. The famous festival of Durga Puja in October draws many people to the city, representing the cultural heritage of the city.
• For food lovers:
Kolkata is well known for its vivid cuisine. With various variety, Kolkata offers more choices than one could ask for. However, the city is best known for local Bengali cuisine. While most of the Bengali cuisine centers around rice and fish, one can find Chinese, Mughlai cuisine as well. China town in Kolkata is famous for street food. Kolkata is the place where Indian-Chinese dishes cuisine started. Indian Chinese cuisine is basically Indian style preparation of Chinese dishes, usually having a lot of spices and imparted with very strong flavor. For street food, we cannot exclude the mouthwatering Phuchka (Golgappa). Street food is incomplete without the blend of spice in Phuchka. And to neutralize the spice you have tons of sweets, you can find the sweets in a most authentic form unlike replicas made by famous vendors (haldirams). Do try Rahsogulla, Chamcham, Rasmalai, Shondesh, Cream chup and other Bengali sweets.
Places to visit in Kolkata
Though Kolkata is full of tourist attractions. The city has British architecture, mosques, temples, churches, museums, and parks. Let’s mention a few important ones.
• Victoria memorial:
it is considered to be the pride of Kolkata, Built between 1906 and 1921. It’s entirely made up of marble. It is dedicated to the memory of Queen Victoria (England). In present, it is used as a museum and a popular tourist spot under the Ministry of Culture. It is considered one of the best museum. The museum inside the palace contains various precious artifacts ranging from British Raj paintings, guns, sculptures, clothing, musical instruments, coins, gadgets etc. The palace looks absolutely astonishing at night when it is illuminated. In the evening, there is lighting show which enhances the beauty of the palace. On the front entrance, the memorial is marked with a Sixteen-foot tall bronze statue of Queen Victoria which symbolizes victory. To cover up the entire museum you would need about 2-3 hours minimum. William Emerson was the chief architect of the memorial, he was the president of the Royal Institute of British Architects. The memorial uses an Indo-Saracenic style of architecture and it uses various elements of the British and Mughal designs as well. The structure of the palace is constructed with Makrana Marble of white color. There are huge gardens outside the memorial.
• Fort William:
Named after King William III it is situated in Kolkata on Hooghly River, on its eastern bank. Built in the year 1696 by the British East India Company. It covers a distance over 70.9 acres. It got the name “the black hole of Calcutta” due to the inner Bastille where prisoners were hauled. There are two forms of the same name, the new one and the old one. The old one was constructed by East India Company in 1696 and the new fort was built by Sir Robert Clive which got completed in the year 1780. Presently the fort is under the authority of the Indian Army, the fort has many modern-day facilities. Offering swimming pools, boxing stadium, firing range to the residents. It has a capacity large enough to house nearly 10,000 interns. Winter is the best time to visit this palace. Hiring a travel guide would be a good option to learn about the fort in detail.
• Howrah Bridge:
It is located over the river Hooghly. It is also known as Rabindra Setu. It is the main connection between the two sides of the river Hooghly. It is considered as one of the busiest bridge. It has a span of over 1500ft over the river and it is 71ft wide. The Bridge has been shown in various movies and Tv shows, it is considered as the iconic landmark of Kolkata. If want to explore the architecture and grandeur of the bridge, you can take a nice ride in the ferry services between Kolkata and Howrah. The view from the ferry is priceless during the evening when the sun goes down and illuminates the bride with its last light. Almost 26,500 tons of steel were used in the construction of the bridge. Tata Steel was the manufacturer of the steel used for the construction. The structure of the Howrah Bridge uses no nuts and bolts in its construction.
• Belur Math:
It is the headquarters of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission. It was founded by Swami Vivekananda. It is situated on the west bank of Hooghly river. The temple is prominent for its architecture because it embraces Hindu, Christian and Islamic styles making it an icon of the unity of all religions. The temple complex also houses a museum and has several educational institutions related to theology.
• Birla Planetarium:
Also known as the Taramandal was set up Jawaharlal Nehru in 1963. This one in Kolkata is one of the three planetariums present in India. The planetarium organizes numerous shows with innovations and creativity, Giving out knowledge to its fellow visitors. It is the largest Planetarium in Asia and second largest in the world. It’s a candy to eye for astronomy lovers. The shows are interesting showing the solar system with a vivid depiction of stars and planets. The shows are available in English as well as regional languages. The structure is a dome which has a diameter of 23m and it can accommodate as many as 688 people at once. One can find it similar to a mini Colosseum.
• Science City:
It was inaugurated in the year 1997. It is believed to be the one of its kind in India, as it is one of the finest and largest science museums in the world and provides and fun way of learning science. It has become a place of a memorable experience for both the children and the adults. It combines education with entertainment and provides a very interactive way of learning science. It has special attractions like the Space theater showing various aspects of the space. Earth exploration Hall in science city provides you with a better overview of our planet. Showing the evolution process of mankind also with prehistoric robotic animals. You can also get to know about the extinct species. For kids, you got a science park in the outdoor of the science center.
If you are a literature lover then this is a must place to visit for you. Though it is around 165km away from Kolkata you can reach it by bus or train. It is a complete retreat from the busy city life. It has become a perfect destination for literature and art lovers. It is home to the Vishwa Bharti University and it was where Rabindranath Tagore composed most of his masterpieces. Best time to visit would be the month of December. Every year, the poush Mela is held with great enthusiasm. It serves as a center for promoting folk music, dance, drama. It attracts a lot of tourist from various parts of the world. This festival also promotes handicraft. For sightseeing in Santiniketan, there is Sangeet Bhawan which serves as a center for promoting folk music, dance, and drama. The Bhawan was built by Rabindranath’s father. Tagore Ashram is also popular as a guest house which attracts a lot of tourists. You can find guesthouses, lodges, resorts, and hotels to match every budget.