This time we will start our journey from a place where idols of Maa Durga are coming. I am talking about Kumratuli. The part of the old city where the potters from all over Bengal have established a settlement. Sculptors can seen here throughout the year from Mati to the idol, but this place becomes very lively a few months before Durga Puja. Some small or big idols are making in the streets here. An entire street adorned with the shops of Mother’s Shringar.
From here, all the people take beautiful idols of Durga Maa for their respective pandals. You can spend a whole day in this area. In this locality of the potters, people prepare beautiful idols of Goddess Durga one by one day and night to make beautiful idols of Durga where idols are made from clay. The base of the statue made by tying jute and sawdust on a wooden structure, on which the idol prepared by mixing paddy peel with clay. The decoration of the statue done with great effort in which various types of garments used.
Durga Puja pandals are popular all over Kolkata. The city is decorated like a bride for the entire nine days of worship. Nowadays a large craze of theme pandals is going on. In which people perform their arts with full enthusiasm. Some pandals are very famous in Kolkata, prominent among them. Santosh Mitra Square, who has been making pandals for the last 80 years. College Square, Bagbazar of North Kolkata, Hindustan Park, Samaj Sebi Sangh of South Kolkata, Ballaygunge Cultural Association, Desparia Park, Kumartuli Park, Dum Dum Park, Tarun Sangha, Sikandar Bagan Ordinary Durga Puja, Mohammad Ali Park Durga Puja, Singhai Park Sarbojanin Durgautasava etc.
Seeing these pandals will make you believe that Kolkata not considered as the cultural capital of the country. The decoration of the pandals is in itself a living proof of the shared culture of Bengal. All the pandals look as if we have reached another city. Then what is the delay? To be a part of this folk festival, you should also roam from one pandal to another.
Kolkata has two faces. One Kolkata is the bearer of the ancient traditions of Bengal and the other is Kolkata with the impression of the British. In which memories of colonial times seen. On one side there are monasteries with ancient temples and on the other side there are structures like Victoria Memorial, Howrah Bridge. But the best part is that even in the midst of so many contradictions, this city is truly the City of Joy. Because happiness here not obeyed by a lot of money. You can also enjoy Kolkata in a few coins.
Kalighat Kali Temple
Kalighat Kali Temple is one of the 51 Shakti Peethas in the country. This temple dedicated to Maa Kali. Temple is famous all over Bengal. This temple built on the banks of river Hooghly is famous all over the world. The ghat attached to this temple known as Kali Ghat. Once upon a time, the Ganges Ghat was completely adjacent to the temple, but now it is a bit far away. Although this temple considered to be of the seventeenth century, but the present temple has been running for the last 200 years under the patronage of the Sabarna Roy Chaudhary family.
Dakshineswar Kali Temple
Dakshineswar Kali Temple is a grand temple of Kali Maa built on the eastern bank of the Ganges. To see this temple, you have to cross the entire Kolkata. If you have time, then do this journey in the same way as the local Kolkata people do. Go some distance by bus then proceed with a big steamer running on the Hooghly River and finally some distance from the tram. You will enjoy the whole of Kolkata in this journey.
Rani Rashmoni built this temple in 1855. There is also a ghat adjacent to the temple where people come for a holy bath. This temple is widely recognized throughout Bengal. There are also 12 pagoda in the temple premises. A large lake is also built adjacent to the temple. There is also a Radha Krishna temple here.
The Vellur Math is also present near the Dakshineswar Kali Temple. The best medium to reach this monastery is that you reached Vellur Math here in a boat from the ghat of Dakshineswar Kali temple. You can enjoy boating by paying just 10 rupees on the wide flow of Hooghly river. Vellur Math also known as Ramakrishna Math. Which is related to the worldwide Ramakrishna Mission. The Vellur monastery is built on 40 acres of land on the Western Ghats of the Hooghly River.
This monastery was established in 1899. The monastery now has two parts, an ancient and a new building. Swami Vivekananda’s room is present in the ancient monastery. At this place, Swami Vivekananda took Mahasamadhi on 4 July 1902. The Samadhi of Swami Vivekananda is also built in this monastery. The monastery opens for a few hours in the morning and a few hours in the evening. The vote is closed in the afternoon. This monastery was founded by Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. The monastery is also the headquarters of the Ramakrishna Mission.
Taking the name of Kolkata, the white marble building that emerges in the mind is the Victoria Memorial. Construction of this building, built in the Indo-Serensic Revival Architecture Style, started in 1910.
The Viceroy of British India, Lord Curzon, envisaged the construction of this memorial on Queen’s Way in memory of the late Queen Victoria. At that time one crore, five lakh rupees spent on the construction of this great monument. This building of national importance has a collection of 28,394 art objects and 3,900 color paintings.
The architect who built this great structure was William Emerson. The architect William built many great structures in the country. Which includes such well-known buildings as Crawford Market in Bombay and All Saints Cathedral in Allahabad. The structure dedicated to Queen Victoria of Britain. Today it is the main philosophical site of Kolkata and also houses a museum. This building maintained by the Ministry of Culture. You can also book tickets online before coming here. This place is open from 10 am to 6 pm everyday except Mondays and national holidays. In order to put four moons in this structure, beautiful gardens spread over 57 acres have built around it.
There is a bronze statue of Queen Victoria near the main building in the Victoria Memorial. Here the queen shown seated on the throne in a Star of India dress. There are also memorials of many other great personalities in this court such as the memorial of Emperor Eduard-VII, the marble statue of Lord Curzon, Lord Bentinck, the Governor-General of India, Lord Ripon, and the statue of Sir Rajendranath Mukherjee, the leading industrialist of Bengal, etc. It estimated that about 2 million visitors visit this place every year.
There are several galleries in which the Western Picture Gallery has a unique collection of Western-style paintings made by many great painters. From the major rulers of colonial times to the portraits of the kings and rulers of India, as well as the western style paintings present here, various themes and mediums have been used. Tilli Kettle, Johan Joffani’s color painting, and landscape portraits of William Hodges and Daniels are particularly important in the Victoria Memorial Hall’s priceless color painting collection.
A gallery here entirely dedicated to rare oil paintings made by Indian painters. The memorial has a very good collection of Rajput and Mughal style miniature paintings ranging from modern Indian painters such as Nandalal Bose, Avanindranath Tagore, Gaganendranath Tagore.
Kolkata Identity Howrah Bridge built on the Hooghly River 75 years ago to connect the two cities Kolkata and Howrah. In 1965, it renamed Rabindra Setu after the famous poet Rabindranath Tagore, but even today people prefer to call it Howrah Bridge. You will be surprised to know that this bridge in which nut bolts are not installed anywhere. This bridge is one of the longest 6 suspension bridges in the world. Construction of this bridge completed in 1942 and opened for public in February 1943. This bridge is 705 meters long and 30 meters wide. It is estimated that 80 thousand vehicles and one million pedestrians pass through this huge bridge every day.
Malik Ghat Flower Market
Another philosophical site under the Howrah Bridge is the Malik Ghat Flower Market. If you go in the morning, then you will get to walk around this market. Flowers of various kinds are sold here. Its view from Howrah Bridge looks very beautiful.
How can it be the case of Kolkata and not of Rabindranath Tagore. So go to Jarasanko Thakur Bari to see the house of ancestors of Mr. Rabindranath Tagore. This red colored building was built in 1784. Today it is a museum which is also known as Rabindra Bharti Museum. It has 3 museums. Rabindranath Tagore breathed his last in his life here. It is a beautiful mansion. Coming here, you will remember the past times of the rich landlords of Bengal. It costs 10 rupees to come here. It is supposed to be photographed inside.
There is another philosophical site on the Muktram Babu Street near Thakur Bari, called Marble Palace. This 19th century grand mansion in North Kolkata is a reminder of the bygone era of Kolkata. Visit here before 4 pm. The palace has a collection of beautiful paintings by Western sculptures, Victorian furniture, Indian and European painters. Try to go from Thakur Bari to Marble Palace in hand rickshaw. It is a short distance and on this excuse you will get a chance to visit another heritage of Kolkata.
St. Paul’s Cathedral
St. Paul’s Cathedral is famous for its magnificent white Gothic architecture. This church comes under the North Indian Church. St. Paul’s Cathedral, on the Cathedral Road, is adjacent to the Birla Planetarium. This church completed in 1847. It said that this church is the largest Episcopal church in Asia. The nearest metro station to reach here is the Maidan metro station.
Children like to visit Birla Planetarium to see the magical world of constellations. Its building inspired by Shanti Stupa of Sanchi. Come here to get familiar with some untouched aspects of the universe. Shows shown here in both Hindi and English languages. You will experience being in space while watching this show. You can enjoy this experience for just 60 rupees. Also book tickets online. If you want to become an astronomer, then many workshops also organized for you here.
Another beautiful structure adorned with white pillars is Prinsep Ghat, a short distance from the Victoria Memorial. It built on the banks of the Hooghly River in 1843 in memory of Anglo-Indian scholar James Prinsep. Today there is a beautiful garden and ghat is present here. If you want to do traditional boating then definitely come here in the evening. From here the Vivekanandan Setu glowing at night looks very beautiful.
The Rashtriya Museum established in 1814 on the Park Street by the Aesthetic Society of Bengal. It is the largest museum in the country. It takes at least half a day to visit this museum comfortably. The museum has many galleries like Gandhara Gallery, Bronze Gallery, Coins Gallery, Textile, Painting, Masks, Birds, Decorative Art, Egypt, Fossils, Scalitons, Mummies, Paintings etc. The 4,000-year-old Egyptian mummy is the main attraction of Egyptian Gallery here. Which people come from far and wide to see.
Millennium Park on the banks of the Hooghly River is the main attraction for children. From here in the evening, the shimmering Howrah Bridge looks very beautiful. The entry of this park is only five rupees. Ferry rides can enjoyed from here.
Kolkata tram also known as Asia’s oldest transport. It started in March 27, 1902. The first tram ran between Syalda and Arminian Ghat Street. This was the time when horses were drawn to the tram. Horse-drawn trams imported exclusively from London. It was inaugurated by Lord Rippon.
Along with the time, the Kolkata tram got the loco motive engine and since then it is running continuously on the roads even today. Today, even though the city has gained momentum with taxis and metros, the Old World skin of Kolkata is still intact in the medium of these trams. You may go on a short ride in your journey to Kolkata, but do ride on a tram once. You can also visit the tram museum to know the history of the tram.
Park Street is the pride of Kolkata. Big hotels, restaurants, markets etc. considered as the identity of Park Street. This place is famous for shopping. People like to come here in the evening. This place also known for night life. Famous Molin Rush is located here.