DESTINATION
HISTORY OF KOLKATA

A city of love and warmth, sorrow and despair, dreams and hopes, poverty and squalor, grandeur and glory. Calcutta is compelling, effervescent, teeming with life and traditions - a medley of moods, styles, cultures, politics, industry and commerce. More than 300 years ago, Job Charlock, an English tradesman set up a trading post on the banks of the Ganga along the three-village nucleus.

 

Gradually Europeans started setting up business and trade establishments, the moneyed class taking interest in banking and usury. The East India Company steadily encroached into matters of state. The fate of the Nawabi rule was sealed in the Battle of Plessey and the English went ahead to seize power, a grip which loosened only 250 years later when power was transferred from the British Empire to the Indians.

 

Independent India has crossed 50 years and these five decades have seen many miracles. Calcutta has grown, remains a city of contrasts, a mix-up of light and shade, a strange medley of ancient and modern, skyscrapers and Victorian edifices, haven of the rich and the poor as seldom found anywhere in the world. There is so much to see in this incredible city. A million people from every corner of India stream across the massive Howrah Bridge, swarm around the Hooghly River, flock along the busy avenues, through its narrow lanes.

 

Then you arrive at the great expanse of the Maidan, the heart of Calcutta. Fort William, Victoria Memorial, Raj Bhavan, Palladian villas and the Botanical Gardens, the busy streets of Shyambazar, College Street and Kalighat, bookshops, art galleries, coffee houses - all are part of Calcutta's varied and vibrant shades, the birthplace of Rabindranath Tagore and cradle of the Indian Renaissance. Calcutta’s fascination defies analysis. It is an addiction, an affair of the mind and heart. Anyone who has lived here can never be happy anywhere else in the world...

Academy of Fine Arts
Art galleries exhibit works of contemporary artists throughout the year. Local theatre and dance programs are performed in the auditorium. The Rabindra Gallery exhibits paintings, manuscripts and personal belongings of Rabindranath Tagore. Open 3-8 p.m. All trams and buses going to Rabindra Sadan will get you here and the nearest Metro station "Rabindra Station" is 3/4 minutes walk away.
Armenian Church
Armenian Church Designed in the early 18th century, the Armenian Church is today the oldest extant church in Kolkata. The interior of the church are decorated with marble and the overhead gallery contains mural tablets.
Botanical Garden
Botanical Gardens 20 km from the heart of town is the oldest botanical garden in India and a haven for nature lovers. Spread over 273 acres, it contains over 30,000 varieties of trees and plants. The garden's main attraction is the world's largest banyan tree, 200 years old with over 600 aerial roots.
Dalhousie Square
Dalhousie Square Renamed Binoy Badal Dinesh Bagh (also BBD Bagh), is the hub of West Bengal/’s administration and commerce. This is the site of all the important government institutions of the state and the place that houses the now famous Writer’s Building (clerks were known as writers in the British India) and the old Fort William.
Dakshineswar Temple
Dakshineswar Temple On the banks of the Ganges near Bally Bridge you can find one temple of goddess Kali & 12 temples of God Shiva worth a photo.
Eden Gardens
Eden Gardens are laid out with ornamental trees, shrubs, winding foliage, sparkling fountains and a beautiful Burmese pagoda. Well equipped with all the latest facilities, (the cricket stadium is located here) it is a popular place for relaxation as well as cricket.
Fort William
Fort William Named after King William III of England, construction of the present Fort William was completed at the end of the eighteenth century at the cost of two million pounds. A garrison of ten thousand can be accommodated here and six hundred guns can be mounted within its walls. Inside the fort premises there is a church, a market, a post and telegraph office, a cinema, swimming pool, boxing stadium, parade grounds, football grounds and a firing range.
Howrah Bridge
Howrah Bridge is a spectacular construction, the third largest cantilever bridge in the world and was opened in 1943. The 71 ft wide bridge can accommodate eight lanes of traffic and is flanked by two wide footpaths.
Hastings House
Hastings House Situated along the Judges' Court Road and shrouded in an aura of legend and mystery was built in 1774 by Warren Hastings as his residence.
High Court
High Court A panoramic view of the city can be obtained from the corner turrets of the building of Judicature with a tower 54 meter high and was built in 1872 in Gothic Style.
Jain Temple
Jain Temple Built in the Burmese Pagoda style by a jeweler in 1867, the Pareshnath Jain Temple is a masterpiece of Indian art with intricate hand painted panels depicting scenes from Jain mythology.
Tagore House
Tagore House, The dulcet whispers of history echo through the old mansions of Hindu aristocrats in North Calcutta. One such old house, at Jorasanko, is the birth place of Rabindranath Tagore, India’s greatest modern poet. Converted to Rabindra Bharati University, it is now a centre for Indian Classical Fine Arts.
The Spiritual Sojourn
Kaligha
Kalighat: According to the legend, when Lord Shiva’s wife Parfait’s body was cut up, one of her fingers fell here. Rebuilt in 1809, this is an important shrine of Hindu Shakti worship. The temple is in the southern part of the city.
Dakshineswar Kali Temple
Dakshineswar Kali Temple and Belur Math: Built in 1847, on the banks of the Hooghly, north of Calcutta, the temple is associated with Shri Ramakrishna, the eclectic 19th century saint who revived Hinduism during the British Raj. Across the river stands Belur Math, headquarters of Ramakrishna Mission. The monastery is a haven of peace and religious harmony.
Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture
Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture: Commemorates the birth centenary of Shri Ramakrishna Paramahansa. Religious discourses and cultural exchanges are held here among international scholars. The institute is located at Golpark.
Nakhoda Mosque
Nakhoda Mosque: Modelled on Akbar’s tomb in Sikandra, the red sandstone mosque has two minarets 46 mts high, a brightly painted onion shaped dome and can accommodate 10,000 people. Built in 1926 and located on Chitpur Road.
St John’s Church
St John’s Church: Built in 1787 with Grecian columns. The burial ground has the mausoleum of Job Charlock, founder of Calcutta. On the north-west side of Raj Bhavan.
St Paul’s Cathedral
St Paul’s Cathedral: Constructed between 1839 and 1847 in Gothic style with stained glass windows and two Florentine frescoes, the cathedral is the largest in the city and next to the Birla Planetarium. St Paul’s was consecrated in 1874.
Japanese Buddhist Temple
Japanese Buddhist Temple: Located on the banks of Rabindra Sarovar.
Pareshnath Jain Temple
Pareshnath Jain Temple: The temple is an ornate mass of mirrors, coloured stones and glass mosaic, and overlooks a beautiful garden. It is in Shyambazar.

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