The Victoria Memorial is a large marble building in Kolkata (Calcutta), West Bengal, India which was built between 1906 and 1921. It is dedicated to the memory of Queen Victoria (1819–1901) and is now a museum and tourist destination under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture. The Memorial lies on the Maidan (grounds) by the bank of the Hooghly River, near Jawaharlal Nehru road.
In January 1901, on the death of Queen Victoria George Curzon, 1st Marquess Curzon of Kedleston and Viceroy of India, suggested the creation of a fitting memorial. He proposed the construction of a grand building with a museum and gardens.The Victoria Memorial was funded by many Indian states, individuals of the British Raj and the British government in London.
The Victoria Memorial's architect was William Emerson (1843–1924), president of the Royal Institute of British Architects. The design is in the Indo-Saracenic revivalist style. This style uses a mixture of British and Mughal elements as well as Venetian, Egyptian, Deccani and Islamic architectural influences. The building is 338 feet (103 m) by 228 feet (69 m) and rises to a height of 184 feet (56 m). It is constructed of white Makrana marble. The gardens of the Victoria Memorial were designed by Lord Redesdale and David Prain.Atop the central dome of the Victoria Memorial is the 16 ft (4.9 m) figure of the Angel of Victory. Surrounding the dome are allegorical sculptures including Art, Architecture, Justice, and Charity and above the North Porch are Motherhood, Prudence and Learning.The Victoria Memorial has a number of galleries, 25 in all. These include the royal gallery, the national leaders gallery, the portrait gallery, central hall, the sculpture gallery, the arms and armoury gallery and the newer, Calcutta gallery.
The Victoria Memorial has the largest single collection of the works of Thomas Daniell (1749–1840) and his nephew, William Daniell (1769–1837). The Victoria Memorial also has a collection of rare and antiquarian books such as the illustrated works of William Shakespeare, the Arabian Nights and the Rubaiyat by Omar Khayyam as well as books about kathak dance and thumri music by Wazid Ali Shah. The Royal Gallery displays a number of portraits of Victoria and Prince Albert and, paintings illustrating their lives, by Jansen and Winterhalter. The oil paintings are copies of those in London. They include Victoria receiving the sacrament at her coronation in Westminster Abbey (June 1838); Victoria's marriage to Albert in the Chapel Royal at St. James' Palace (1840); the christening of the Prince of Wales in St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle (1842); the marriage of the Prince of Wales (Edward VII) to Princess Alexandra (1863); Victoria at the First Jubilee service at Westminster Abbey (1887) and the Second Jubilee service at St. Paul's Cathedral (June 1897). The gardens cover an area of 64 acres (260,000 m2). They are maintained by a team of 21 gardeners. They were designed by Redesdale and David Prain. On Esch's bridge, between narrative panels by Gascombe John, there is a bronze statue of Victoria, by George Frampton. Victoria is seated on her throne. She is wearing the robes of the Star of India.
The Indian Museum is the largest and oldest museum in India and has rare collections of antiques, armour and ornaments, fossils, skeletons, mummies, and Mughal paintings. It was founded by the Asiatic Society of Bengal in Kolkata (Calcutta), India, in 1814. The founder curator was Dr Nathaniel Wallich, a Danish botanist.It has six sections comprising thirty five galleries of cultural and scientific artifacts namely Art, Archaeology, Anthropology, Geology, Zoology and Economic Botany. At present, it includes six cultural and scientific sections, viz. Art, Archaeology, Anthropology, geology, zoology and economic botany, with a number of galleries under each section.
The Indian Museum originated from the Asiatic Society of Bengal which was created by Sir William Jones in 1784. The concept of having a museum arose in 1796 from members of the Asiatic Society as a place where man-made and natural objects could be collected, cared for and displayed. The objective began to look achievable in 1808 when the Society was offered suitable accommodation by the Government of India in the Chowringhee-Park Street area.
In February 2, 1814, Dr Nathaniel Wallich, a Danish botanist, who had been captured in the siege of Serampore but later released, wrote a letter supporting the formation of a museum in Calcutta which he said should have two sections - an archaeological, ethnological and technical section and a geological and zoological one. The Museum was created, with Wallich named the Honorary Curator and then Superintendent of the Oriental Museum of the Asiatic Society. Wallich also donated a number of botanical specimens to the museum from his personal collection. After the resignation of Dr Wallich, curators were paid salaries ranging from Rs 50 to Rs 200 a month. Until 1836 this salary was paid by the Asiatic Society but in that year its bankers, Palmer and Company became insolvent and the Government began to pay from its public funds. A temporary grant of Rs 200 per month was sanctioned for maintenance of the museum and library, and Dr J. T. Pearson of the Bengal Medical Service was appointed curator followed shortly by Dr John McClelland and after his resignation by Edward Blyth. In 1840, the Government took a keen interest in the geology and mineral resources and this led to an additional grant of Rs 250 per month for the geological section alone. A new building became a need and this was designed by Walter R Granville and completed in 1875 for the cost of Rs 1,40,000. In 1879 it received a portion of the collection from the India Museum (South Kensington) when that collection was dispersed.
The Zoological and Anthropological sections of the museum gave rise to the Zoological Survey of India in 1916, which in turn gave rise to the Anthropological Survey of India in 1945.
It currently (2009) occupies a resplendent mansion, and exhibits among others: an Egyptian mummy, The organs are taken out of the mummy's body through nostrils,except heart. The heart is placed in special chambers. The body was then massaged with salt and oil. The covering was done by thin cotton cloth the Buddhist stupa from Bharhut, the Buddha's ashes, the Ashoka pillar, whose four-lion symbol became the official emblem of the Republic of India, fossil skeletons of prehistoric animals, an art collection, rare antiques, and a collection of meteorites.
Kalighat Kali Temple
The Kalighat temple in its present form is only about 200 years old, although it has been referred to in Mansar Bhasan composed in the 15th century, and in Kavi Kankan Chandi of the 17th century. Only two types of coins of Chandragupta II, who incorporated Vanga in the Gupta Empire, are known from Bengal. His Archer type coins, which became the most popular type of coinage with the Gupta rulers after Kumaragupta I, have been found in Kalighat. This is evidence of the antiquity of the place.
The original temple was a small hut. A small temple was constructed by King Manasingha in the early 16th century. The present temple was erected under the patronage of the Kaliprasad Dutta of Hatkhola Dutta Bari with the help of Santosh Roy Chaudhury of Sabarna Roy Chowdhury family of Barisha. It was completed in 1809 by Santosh Roy Chowdhury and his grand son.Kaliparasad Dutta had given Rs.25,000/- to Santosh Roy Chaudhury to build the Mandir.Sabarna Roy Chowdhury family is the original owner of this temple.Halder family of kalighat is called the 'sebadas' of this temple In the 1960s a committee was formed for the administrative management of the temple with representation from the Government. Shoshti Tala is a rectangular altar about three feet high bearing a small cactus plant. Beneath the tree, on an altar three stones are placed side by side - left to right representing the goddesses Shashthi (Sosthi), Sitala and Mangal Chandi. This sacred spot is known as Sosthi Tala or Monosha Tala.
Natmondir a large rectangular covered platform called Natmondir has been erected adjacent to the main temple, from where the face of the image can be seen. This was originally built by Zamindar Kasinath Roy in 1835. It has been subsequently renovated often.
Jor-bangla the spacious varandah of the main temple Facing the image is known as Jor Bangla. Rituals occurring inside the sanctum sanctorum are visible from the Natmondir through the Jor-bangla.
Harkath Tala this is the spot adjacent to the Natmondir, southwards meant for Bali (sacrifice). There are two Sacrificial altars for animal sacrifices side by side. These are known as Hari- Kath.
Radha-Krishna Temple this temple is known as Shamo-ray temple and is situated inside the temple at the west side of the main temple. In 1723, a settlement officer of Mushirabad district first erected a separate temple for Radha-Krishna. In 1843 a Zamindar called Udoy Narayan Mondal erected the present temple in the same spot. The Dolmancho was founded in 1858 by Madan Koley of Saha Nagar. There is a separate kitchen for preparation of vegetarian Bhog (food offering) for Radha-Krishna.
Kundupukur this is the sacred tank situated in the south-east of the temple outside the boundary walls. Present area of the tank is approximately 10 cottahs. In the past it was bigger and called 'Kaku-Kunda'. In 16th century 'Sati-Ango' ( the right toe of Sati) was discovered from this tank. This tank is well known for its power to bestow the boon of a child. The water from this tank is regarded as sacred as that of the Ganges. Efforts at draining the water from the tank for cleaning has failed in the past showing the possibility of a subterranean with Adi Ganga.
Science City, Kolkata is the largest science centre in the Indian subcontinent under National Council of Science Museums (NCSM), Ministry of Culture, Government of India, is at the crossing of Eastern Metropolitan Bypass and J B S Haldane avenue, Kolkata. It is considered by some people as the most distinguished landmark in post-independence Kolkata.
Dynamotion Hall hands-on and interactive exhibits on various topics of science encouraging visitors to experience with props and enjoy the underlying scientific principles.
Fresh Water Aquarium variety of fresh water fishes in 26 tanks; provide the bio-diversity of the fish species.
Live Butterfly Enclave a colony of live butterflies hatched here and screening of a film Rang Bahari Prajapati on life cycle of butterfly.
Earth Exploration Hall inaugurated on 6 December 2008 by Ambika Soni, the then Union Minister for Culture, India. A permanent exhibition on earth is housed in a two storied hemispherical building that displays the details of the southern hemisphere in the ground floor and northern hemisphere in the first floor. Slicing a huge earth globe at the centre of the hall into 12 segments vertically in each hemisphere, important features of each segment such as physical geography, lands and people, flora and fauna and other dynamic natural phenomenon on earth have been highlighted around the central globe with the modern display technologies such as attractive visuals, interactive multimedia, video walls, panoramic videos, tilting tables, computer kiosks and 3-D effects theatre wearing a special Polaroid spectacle.
Evolution Park a theme tour of 1300 square meter covering 7 large walk through dioramas with 71 robotic pre-historic animals, 26 dinosaurs and 140 early plant model set to their periods. It portrays the story of evolution of animal life, specially the extinct species.
Space Odyssey comprising Space Theatre equipped with Helios Star Ball planetarium supported by 150 special effect projectors and Astrovision 10/70 Large format Film Projection system housed in a 23-meter diameter tilted dome having unidirectional seating arrangements for 360 person immersive shows on sciences.
3-D Vision Theater a show based on stereo back projection system where visitors experience 3D effect by Polaroid spectacles.
Mirror Magic there are 35 exhibits based on reflection of light.
Time Machine 30-seater motion simulator provides virtual experience of space flight or journey into unknown world sitting in a casual maneuvered by hydraulic motion control system.
Maritime Centre depicts maritime history of India, artifacts, dioramas and interactive exhibits on shipping and navigation systems. There is an unmanned quiz corner also.
Eden Gardens is a cricket ground in Kolkata, India. It is the home of the Bengal cricket team and the IPL's Kolkata Knight Riders, as well as being a venue for Test, ODI and T20I matches. With a seating capacity of 66,000, it is the largest cricket stadium in India, and the second-largest cricket stadium in the world behind the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Notable events in 1946, an in-form Mushtaq Ali was dropped from the Indian team selected to play an unofficial test against Australian Services XI. Following crowd protests (with slogans like "No Mushtaq, No Test"), the selectors brought him back to play. Rioting occurred at the ground during the 1966/67 West Indies and 1969/70 Australian tours. 16 football fans died in a stampede after a derby league game between East Bengal and Mohun Bagan on 16 August 1980. Hosted the memorable World Cup final of 1987 which ended with Australia defeating England by 7 runs. The 1996 World Cup semi-final was called off and Sri Lanka awarded the match after crowd disturbances following an Indian batting collapse. During the 2nd final of the 1997 Pepsi Independence Cup, the Test and ODI captains of the Indian cricket team of all time (with a few notable exceptions) were given a lap of honour around the stadium. Kapil Dev took an ODI hat-trick against the Sri Lankans in 1991 at the ground. On its 150th anniversary, on 13 November 2014, Eden Gardens witnessed the highest ever score by a batsman in One Day Internationals, a 264 off 173 balls scored by Rohit Sharma during the 4th One Day International of Sri Lanka vs India at the venue.
The top four Test cricket batting scores in this stadium were registered by India: 657–7 in 2001, 643–6 in 2010, 633–5 in 1998, and 631–7 in 2011. The most runs in Test Matches Played here was scored by V.V.S. Laxman (1217 runs), followed by Rahul Dravid(962 runs) and Mohammed Azharuddin (860 runs). The most wickets taken here was by Harbhajan Singh (46 wickets) followed by Anil Kumble (40 wickets) and Bishen Singh Bedi (29 wickets). The highest score in ODIs here was made by India, who scored 404–5 in 2014 The second highest score in ODIs here was made by India, who scored 317–3 in 2009. The third highest score was made by Sri Lanka, who scored 315–6 in 2009, the fourth highest score was again made by Sri Lanka who were all-out for 309 in 1997. VVS Laxman and Mohammed Azharuddin have scored 5 centuries each at this venue,the last being the unbeaten 176 by Laxman. The highest ODI individual score is made by Rohit Sharma on this historical ground; Rohit Sharma 264(173) vs Sri Lanka.[13,Nov,2014]
Eden Gardens underwent renovation for the 2011 Cricket World Cup. Renovation had been undertaken to meet the standards set by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for the 2011 World Cup. The Cricket Association of Bengal retained the team of Burt Hill and VMS to renovate the Eden Garden Cricket Stadium. The plans for the renovated stadium included a new clubhouse and players' facilities, upgrades of the exterior walls to give the stadium a new look, cladding the existing roof structure with a new metal skin, new/upgraded patron amenities & signage and general infrastructure improvements. The upgrade also meant reduction of the seating capacity to about 66,000 from around 100,000 before the upgrade.
Dakshineswar Kali Temple
Dakshineswar Kali Temple is a Hindu temple located in Dakshineswar near Kolkata. Situated on the eastern bank of the Hooghly River, the presiding deity of the temple is Bhavatarini, an aspect of Kali, meaning, 'She who liberates Her devotees from the ocean of existence i.e. Saṃsāra'. The temple was built by Rani Rashmoni, a philanthropist and a devotee of Kali in 1855. The temple is famous for its association with Ramakrishna, a mystic of 19th Century Bengal.The temple compound, apart from the nine-spired main temple, contains a large courtyard surrounding the temple, with rooms along the boundary walls. There are twelve shrines dedicated to Shiva—Kali's companion—along the riverfront, a temple to Radha-Krishna, a bathing ghat on the river, a shrine dedicated to Rani Rashmoni.
The Dakshineswar Kali Temple was founded around the middle of the 19th Century by Rani Rashmoni. Rani Rashmoni was a Mahishya by caste and was well known for her philanthropic activities. In the year 1847, Rashmoni, prepared to go upon a long pilgrimage to the sacred Hindu city of Kashi to express her devotions to the Divine Mother. Rani was to travel in twenty four boats, carrying relatives, servants and supplies. According to traditional accounts, the night before the pilgrimage began, Rashmoni had a vision of the Divine Mother, in the form of the goddess Kali in a dream and reportedly said,There is no need to go to Banaras. Install my statue in a beautiful temple on the banks of the Ganges river and arrange for my worship there. Then I shall manifest myself in the image and accept worship at that place.
Profoundly affected by the dream, Rani immediately looked for and purchased a 20-acred plot in the village of Dakshineswar. The large temple complex was built between 1847 and 1855. The 20-acre (81,000 m2) plot was bought from an Englishman, John Hastie and was then popularly known as Saheban Bagicha, partly old Muslim burial ground shaped like a tortoise, considered befitting for the worship of Shakti according to Tantra traditions, it took eight years and nine hundred thousand rupees to complete the construction, and finally the idol of Goddess Kali was installed on the Snana Yatra day on 31 May 1855, amid festivities at the temple formally known as Sri Sri Jagadishwari Mahakali, with Ramkumar Chhattopadhyay as the head priest; soon his younger brother Gadai or Gadadhar (later known as Ramakrishna) moved in and so did nephew Hriday to assist him.On 31 May 1855 more than 1 lakh Brahmins were invited from different parts of the country to grace the auspicious occasion. The next year, Ramkumar Chhattopadhyay died, the position was given to Ramakrishna, along with his wife Sarada Devi, who stayed in the south side of the Nahabat (music room), in a small room on the ground floor, which now a shrine dedicated to her.From then until his death 30 years later in 1886, Ramakrishna was responsible for bringing much in the way of both fame and pilgrims to the temple.
Rani Rashmoni lived only for five years and nine months after the inauguration of the temple. She seriously fell ill in 1861. Realizing that her death was near she decided to handover the property she purchased in Dinajput (now in Bangladesh) as a legacy for the maintenance of the temple to the temple trust. She accomplished her task on 18 February 1861 and died on the next day.
Built in the traditional 'Nava-ratna' or nine spires style of Bengal architecture, the three-storeyed south-facing temple has nine spires distributed in upper two storeys, and stands on a high platform with a flight of stairs, overall it measures 46 feet (14 m) square and rises over 100 feet (30 m) high.The garbha griha (sanctum sanctorum) houses an idol of goddess Kali, known as Bhavataraini, standing on the chest of a lying Shiva, and the two idols are placed on a thousand-petaled lotus made of silver.
Close to the main temple are the row of twelve identical Shiva temples built facing the east in the typical aat-chala Bengal architecture, they are built on either side of the ghat on the Hoogly river. To the North east of the Temple Complex is the Vishnu Temple or the Radha Kanta's Temple. A flight of steps lead to the columned verandah and into the temple where a silver throne rests with a 21 1⁄2-inch (550 mm) idol of Lord Krishna and a 16-inch (410 mm) idol of Radha.
Howrah Bridge is a cantilever bridge with a suspended span over the Hooghly River in West Bengal, India. Commissioned in 1943, the bridge was originally named the New Howrah Bridge, because it replaced a pontoon bridge at the same location linking the two cities of Howrah and Kolkata (Calcutta). On 14 June 1965 it was renamed Rabindra Setu after the great Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore, who was the first Indian and Asian Nobel laureate. It is still popularly known as the Howrah Bridge.
The bridge is one of two on the Hooghly River and is a famous symbol of Kolkata and West Bengal. The third-longest cantilever bridge at the time of its construction, the Howrah Bridge is currently the sixth-longest bridge of its type in the world.
In 1862, the Government of Bengal asked George Turnbull, Chief Engineer of the East India Railway Company to study the feasibility of bridging the Hooghly River — he had recently established the company's rail terminus in Howrah. He reported on 29 March with large-scale drawings and estimates that:
The foundations for a bridge at Calcutta would be at a considerable depth and cost because of the depth of the mud there.
The impediment to shipping would be considerable.
A good place for the bridge was at Pulta Ghat "about a dozen miles north of Calcutta" where a "bed of stiff clay existed at no great depth under the river bed".
A suspended-girder bridge of five spans of 400 feet and two spans of 200 feet would be ideal. The bridge was not built.
Pontoon bridge in view of the increasing traffic across the Hooghly river, a committee was appointed in 1855-56 to review alternatives for constructing a bridge across it. The plan was shelved in 1859-60, to be revived in 1868, when it was decided that a bridge should be constructed and a newly appointed trust vested to manage it. The Calcutta Port Trust was founded in 1870, and the Legislative department of the then Government of Bengal passed the Howrah Bridge Act in the year 1871 under the Bengal Act IX of 1871, empowering the Lieutenant-Governor to have the bridge constructed with Government capital under the aegis of the Port Commissioners.
Eventually a contract was signed with Sir Bradford Leslie to construct a pontoon bridge. Different parts were constructed in England and shipped to Calcutta, where they were assembled. The assembling period was fraught with problems. The bridge was considerably damaged by the great cyclone on 20 March 1874. A steamer named Egeria broke from her moorings and collided head-on with the bridge, sinking three pontoons and damaging nearly 200 feet of the bridge. The bridge was completed in 1874, at a total cost of 2.2 million, and opened to traffic on 17 October of that year. The bridge was then 1528 ft. long and 62 ft. wide, with 7-foot wide pavements on either side. Initially the bridge was periodically unfastened to allow steamers and other marine vehicles to pass through. Before 1906, the bridge used to be undone for the passage of vessels during daytime only. Since June of that year it started opening at night for all vessels except ocean steamers, which were required to pass through during daytime. From 19 August 1879, the bridge was illuminated by electric lamp-posts, powered by the dynamo at the Mullick Ghat Pumping Station. As the bridge could not handle the rapidly increasing load, the Port Commissioners started planning in 1905 for a new improved bridge.
Plans for a new bridge In 1906 the Port Commission appointed a committee headed by R.S. Highet, Chief Engineer, East Indian Railway and W.B. MacCabe, Chief Engineer, Calcutta Corporation. They submitted a report stating that.
Bullock carts formed the eight - thirteenths of the vehicular traffic (as observed on 27 August 1906, the heaviest day's traffic observed in the port of Commissioners 16 days' Census of the vehicular traffic across the existing bridge). The roadway on the existing bridge is 48 feet wide except at the shore spans where it is only 43 feet in roadways, each 21 feet 6 inches wide. The roadway on the new bridge would be wide enough to take at least two lines of vehicular traffic and one line of trams in each direction and two roadways each 30 feet wide, giving a total width of 60 feet of road way which are quite sufficient for this purpose... The traffic across the existing floating bridge Calcutta & Howrah is very heavy and it is obvious if the new bridge is to be on the same site as the existing bridge, then unless a temporary bridge is provided, there will be serious interruptions to the traffic while existing bridge is being moved to one side to allow the new bridge to be erected on the same site as the present bridge.
Marble Palace is a palatial nineteenth-century mansion in North Kolkata. It is located at 46, Muktaram Babu Street, Kolkata 700007. It is one of the best-preserved and most elegant houses of nineteenth-century Calcutta. The mansion is famous for its marble walls and floors, from which its name derives.
The house was built in 1835 by Raja Rajendra Mullick, a wealthy Bengali merchant with a passion for collecting works of art. The house continues to be a residence for his descendants, and the current occupants are the family of Raja Rajendra Mullick Bahadur. Raja Rajendra Mullick was the adopted son of Nilmoni Mullick, who built a Jagannath temple which predates Marble Palace, and still stands within the premises, but is only accessible to members of the family.
The house is basically Neoclassical in style, while the plan with its open courtyards is largely traditional Bengali. Adjacent to the courtyard, there is a thakur-dalan, or place of worship for members of the family. The three-storey building has tall fluted Corinthian pillars and ornamented verandas with fretwork and sloping roofs, built in the style of a Chinese pavilion.The premises also include a garden with lawns, a rock garden, a lake and a small zoo.
Located next to the palace is the Marble Palace Zoo, the first zoo opened in India, also by Raja Rajendra Mullick. It now primarily serves as an aviary, including peacocks, hornbills, pelicans, storks, and cranes. The menagerie also contains monkeys and several species of deers.
The Maidan (literally open field) also referred as Brigade Parade Ground is the largest urban park in Kolkata in the Indian state of West Bengal. It is a vast stretch of field and home to numerous play grounds, including the famous cricketing venue Eden Gardens, several football stadia, and Kolkata Race Course. The Maidan is dotted with statues and pieces of architecture, most notable being the Victoria Memorial. Due to the freshness and greenery it provides to the metropolis, it has been referred to as the "lungs of Kolkata". The Maidan is a property of the Indian Army and hosts the Eastern zone high command of the Indian Army in Fort William. The Maidan stretches from as far north as the Raj Bhavan building in Esplanade and as far south as the National Library on Belvedere Rd. in Alipore. The wide field stretches from the Hoogly River on the west to the Victoria Memorial on the east. It is a historical and cultural center of Kolkata as well as a center of leisure and entertainment for Calcuttans.
In 1758, one year after their decisive win in Battle of Plassey, the British East India Company commenced construction of the new Fort William in the center of the village Gobindapur. The inhabitants of the village were compensated and provided with land in Taltala, Kumartuli and Shovabazar. The fort was completed in 1773. "The tiger-haunted jungle which cut off the village of Chowringhee from the river was cleared, and gave way to the wide grassy stretch of the Maidan of which Calcutta is so proud. The formation of this airy expanse and the filling up of the creek which had cut off the settlement in the south, led the European inhabitants to gradually forsake the narrow limits of the old palisades. The movement towards Chowringhee had already been noticeable as early as 1746."
In 1909, H.E.A. Cotton wrote, "The great Maidan presents a most refreshing appearance to the eye, the heavy night dew, even in the hot season, keeping the grass green. Many of the fine trees with which it was once studded were blown down in the cyclone of 1864. But they have not been allowed to remain without successors, and the handsome avenues across the Maidan still constitute the chief glory of Calcutta. Dotting the wide expanse are a number of fine tanks, from which the inhabitants were content in former days to obtain their water-supply.
The roads on the Maidan are dotted with tiny greenish bungalows (club houses) belonging to sports clubs. There are patches for playing. Some of the larger clubs occupy the fields with wooden galleries. The big three of Kolkata football — Mohun Bagan, East Bengal and Mohammedan Sporting — have a noticeable presence. There also are names with faded glory such as Rangers. Somewhere in between fit organisations such as Kennel Club and Press Club. There are lower order clubs, who do not have much of a following but have a noticeable contribution and sometimes spring a surprise — Wari, Aryans, Rajasthan and so on — and a host of office clubs.
Indian cricket began its long journey with a two-day match on the Maidan in January 1804 between old Etonians employed by the East India Company. The world's oldest hockey tournament, Beighton Cup, was instituted in 1895 and is usually held on the Mohun Bagan ground in the Maidan. For the Indian Football Association, the Maidan has been the nerve centre.
The Maidan is not just cricket, football and hockey, apart of course from army parades. It is so many things to so many people. There are washermen who wash clothes and themselves in its ponds, shepherds tend their flocks, the health conscious citizens take their morning walks, the last vestiges of the horse-drawn hackney carriages ply on its fringes entertaining merry makers and businessmen make money. When Jamshedji Framji Madan entered the 'bioscope' scene in 1902, he began to screen films in tents one of which was set up on the Maidan. In Satyajit Ray's film Jana Arayanya there is a shot showing two unemployed young men, observing the sprawling urban comedy around them on the Maidan, identify the typical office clerk in the crowd. He is presented in a long shot, puny against the towering, squalid cityscape, trudging home after a nine-to-five day. Life on the Maidan is the quintessence of life in Kolkata.
Fort William is a fort built in Calcutta (presently Kolkata) on the eastern banks of the River Hooghly, the major distributary of the River Ganges, during the early years of the Bengal Presidency of British India. It was named after King William III of England and Ireland and II of Scotland. In front of the Fort is the Maidan, which used to be a part of the Fort and is the largest urban park in Calcutta.
There are actually two Fort Williams, the old and the new. The original was built in 1696 by the British East India Company under the supervision of John Goldsborough. Sir Charles Eyre started construction near the bank of the River Hooghly with the South-East Bastion and the adjacent walls. It was named after King William III in 1700. John Beard, his successor, added the North-East Bastion in 1701, and in 1702 started the construction of the Government House (Factory) at the centre of the fort. Construction ended in 1706. The original building had two stories and projecting wings. An internal guard room became the Black Hole of Calcutta. In 1756, the Nawab of Bengal, Siraj Ud Daulah, attacked the Fort, temporarily conquered the city, and changed its name to Alinagar. This led the British to build a new fort in the Maidan.
The Fort is built of brick and mortar in the shape of an irregular octagon with an area 5 km². Five of its sides face landward, and three towards the Hooghly River. The design is that of a star fort, suited to defence against cannon, but from before the advent of explosive shells. It is surrounded by a dry moat 9 m deep and 15 m broad, which can be flooded but is designed as an area in which to use enfilade (or "flanking") fire against any attackers reaching the walls. There are six gates: Chowringhee, Plassey, Calcutta, Water Gate, St Georges and the Treasury Gate. There are similar forts at places like Thalassery in Kerala. It has a 9-hole golf course currently.
Nicco Park is an amusement park in India, located in Salt Lake City, Kolkata. The park was created to attract tourists to the state by providing family-friendly recreation as well as educative entertainment. Nicco Park opened on October 13, 1991, and has since been referred to as the Disneyland of West Bengal. Presently, the 40 acre park is home to over 35 different attractions and has served over 24 million customers. Nicco Park also provides a "green" environment.
The concept of an amusement park in Kolkata began with the 300th year anniversary of the recorded founding of Kolkata (then Calcutta). While planning was under way for the tricentennial celebrations by the ruling State Government, Rajive Kaul, the current Chairman of Nicco Group, was in the US on a family holiday to Disneyland. As per the story, when Kaul returned, there was an inquiry as to why he left for America when he was very much required back home for the planning process. Supposedly, Rajive replied, "I'd gone to see if I could create a Disneyland here." What at first seemed to be just an excuse to justify his absence actually materialized to a joint venture with the West Bengal government.
Rajive Kaul sought financial help from Geoffrey Thompson, the then-owner and managing director of the Pleasure Beach, Blackpool. Thompson, however, only offered the assistance of Blackpool Leisure & Amusement Consultancy Ltd provide technical expertise, including surveying the land and suggesting design and safety matters. The idea of the River Caves at Nicco Park was taken by Kaul from Thompson's Blackpool, and a few years later Kaul offered to renovate the ones there recognizing the superiority of the ones at Nicco Park, Kolkata. Thompson accepted the offer. Two years after the conception of NPRL, and at a total cost of about rupees 8 crores, Nicco Park opened with 13 rides. It also took over the toy train from the previous Jheelmeel park and improved greatly upon it, providing for a tour of the whole park for passengers.
Nicco Park has approximately thirty-five rides that include the Toy Train, Tilt-a-Whirl, Magic Carpet, Paddle Boat, Water Chute, Water Coaster, Flying Saucer, Pirate Ship, River Caves, Cyclone and Moonraker. The Giant Cyclone, added in 2003, is among Asia's largest. The ride 750 meters in length, has seven drops and goes as high as 55 feet.
Attractions such as the park's cable cars and Eiffel Tower provide panoramic views of the park from above. Natural attractions include a rose garden and a forty feet high waterfall.
A decommissioned MIG-21 fighter aircraft from the Bagdogra Airbase is on display at Nicco Park, serving as an attraction with educational value. It was a gift from the Eastern Air Command in 2008.
There is a large food park selling North Indian, Bengali, South Indian and Chinese fast food, and kiosks run by various restaurants of Kolkata. Sheroo Bazar and Souvenir Shop Wet-O-Wild are places where one can buy accessories such as T-shirts, coffee mugs and keychains.
Nicco Park has undergone expansions throughout its existence.The park has also constructed a water park, Wet-O-Wild, inside the amusement park. There are also a rain dance performances. The park also has a 4-D movie theater.
A bowling alley with restaurant and bar also exist within the park. Venues such as Octagon host corporate and non-corporate events.
The Shaheed Minar formerly known as the Ochterlony Monument is a monument in Kolkata that was erected in 1828 in memory of Major-general Sir David Ochterlony, commander of the British East India Company, to commemorate both his successful defense of Delhi against the Marathas in 1804 and the victory of the East India Company's armed forces over the Gurkhas in the Anglo-Nepalese War. The monument was constructed in his memory. It was designed by J.P. Parker and paid for from public funds.
In August 1969, it was rededicated to the memory of the martyrs of the Indian freedom movement and hence renamed the "Shahid Minar," which means "martyrs monument" in both Bengali and Hindi, by the then United Front Government in memory of the martyrs of the Indian independence movement. The present government has decided to illuminate the tower during evenings and allow visitors to the top. The last persons who went up there were former governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi and his family.
Commonly referred to as the Monument, the Shahid Minar is located at Esplanade in central Kolkata in the north east facet of the Maidan the tower is 48 m (157 ft) high. It has a foundation based on the Egyptian style. The column is a combination of styles with a classical fluted column, a Syrian upper portion and a Turkish dome. It has two balconies at the top. The top floor of the minar is accessible by a serpentine staircase, a total of 223 steps. It has a total of 218 steps until the top of the tower.
The vast field to the south of Shaheed Minar, is known as the Shaheed Minar Maidan or the Brigade Ground. It has a history of holding political rallies and fairs. The first political meeting on the ground, was presided over by Rabindranath Tagore to condemn the killing of a youth in Hijli by the British in 1931. The central bus terminus of the city is around the monument.
New Town Eco Park
New Town Eco Park is an urban park in Rajarhat, Kolkata. The park is situated on a 480 acres (190 ha) plot and is surrounded by a 104 acres (42 ha) waterbody with an island in the middle. The park was conceptualised by Chief Minister of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee in July 2011. West Bengal Housing Infrastructure Development Corporation (HIDCO) is the overarching body coordinating the construction of the park, along with different other government bodies responsible for implementation of different works inside the park.
The park has been divided into three broad parts; 1) ecological zones like wetlands, grasslands, and urban forest, 2)theme gardens and open spaces, 3)and urban recreational spaces. The Eco Park is further divided into different sub-parts according to the different types of fauna planted. According to the plan, the park will have different areas like wild flower meadows, a bamboo garden, grasslands, tropical tree garden, bonsai garden*, tea garden, Cactus Walk*, a heliconia garden*, a butterfly garden, a play area and an amphitheatre.
The Eco park is located along the Major Arterial Road in Action Area - II of New Town, Kolkata at 22°35′55″N 88°28′03″E. The park is surrounded by the Kolkata International Convention Center and the Kolkata Museum of Modern Art on the North, the upcoming Central Business District and International Financial Hub on the east, and existing human settlement of Jatragachi/Hatiara on the South and West.
According to the masterplan made by Bengal Urban Infrastructure Development Limited, the park has been divided into the following areas:
Active Zone - Consisting of Visitor center, Restaurants, Food courts, Urban Museum, Crafts Haat.
Theme Area (North) - Consisting of Maidan (open field), Amphitheatre, children's play area, Chinese garden, formal garden, Bonsai garden, Cactus walk, Butterfly garden, heliconia garden and mist house and bamboo garden.
Theme Area (South) - Play area, tea plantation, Water garden and utility area.
Lake Zone - A bridge connecting the island, Bengali restaurant, Sculpture court, Lakefront Promenade, Wildflower meadows.3 different Eco-zones consisting of wetlands, grasslands, tropicaland mixed-moist deciduous forests.
Birla Industrial & Technological Museum
Birla Industrial & Technological Museum (BITM), a unit under National Council of Science Museums (NCSM), Ministry of Culture, Government of India, is at Gurusaday Road, Kolkata.
The first science museum in India was set up by the industrialist Ghanshyam Das Birla at BITS, in Pilani in a hall (185 sq.mt area) of the Tower Building. The museum depicted mainly the industries and business enterprises of the Birlas. The museum was opened to the public in 1954. Ten years later the museum was shifted to the present building.
The second science museum was mooted by KS Krishnan, physicist and the then Director of National Physical Laboratory (NPL), he was inspired and encouraged by the then prime minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru. R Subramanian was appointed to develop science museum and planetarium project by NPL in 1956. The science museum of 555 sq.mr floor space in Delhi was opened for public in 1956, but it was close down by the authority after few years, although it was appreciated by general visitors.
Bidhan Chandra Roy, the then Chief Minister of West Bengal and physician was impressed to see Deutsches Museum of Munich. He thought to set up a science museum and a planetarium in Calcutta. Roy requested to GD Birla for a help. Birla donated his residential house to the then prime minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru. The three storied Victorian style architectural building along with five bighas land of 'Birla Park', where they had lived for thirty five years.
The Children's Gallery. (April 2013.), The Mathematics Gallery. (March 2011.), Biotechnology, Children's Gallery. Inaugurated on 14 November 2012, Electricity, Fascinating Physics, Life Science, Mathematics, Metals, Mock-up Coal Mine, Motive Power, Popular Science, Television, Transport.
Alipore Zoological Gardens
The Alipore Zoological Gardens (also informally called the Alipore Zoo or Calcutta Zoo) is India's oldest formally stated zoological park (as opposed to royal and British menageries) and a big tourist attraction in Kolkata, West Bengal. It has been open as a zoo since 1876, and covers 18.81 ha (46.5 acres). It is probably best known as the home of the now expired Aldabra giant tortoise Adwaita, which was reputed to have been over 250 years old when it died in 2006. It is also home to one of the few captive breeding projects involving the Manipur brow-antlered deer.
As of 2015, the latest births at the zoo are that of Grant's zebra, and Indian muntjac.
In 2014, an animal smuggler's den was discovered in Baguihati, a North Kolkata suburb, where three chimpanzees, eight marmosets and around 250 birds including three endemic species were kept hidden. The Kolkata Police handed over all the animals to the Alipore Zoo Authority, and now these animals are on display for the public. In November 2014, the zoo moved out the three elephants which had been staying at the zoo for around 20 years, on terms laid by the Central Zoo Authority, which stated that adult elephants could not be kept in enclosures in any zoo. These elephants were sent to the Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary. In turn, two baby elephants and an orphaned rhinoceros calf was brought to the zoo. The zoo presumably set a record when around 75,000 people visited the zoo on January 1, 2015.
The zoo had its roots in a private menagerie established by Governor General of India, Richard Wellesley, established around 1800 in his summer home at Barrackpore near Kolkata, as part of the Indian Natural History Project. The first superintendent of the menagerie was the famous Scottish physician zoologist Francis Buchanan-Hamilton. Buchanan-Hamilton returned to England with Wellesley in 1805 following the Governor-General's recall by the Court of Directors in London. The collection from this era are documented by watercolours by Charles D'Oyly, and a visit by the famous French botanist Victor Jacquemont. Sir Stamford Raffles visited the menagerie in 1810, encountering his first tapir there, and doubtless used some aspects of the menagerie as an inspiration for the London Zoo.
The foundation of zoos in major cities around the world caused a growing thought among the British community in Kolkata that the menagerie should be upgraded to a formal zoological garden. Credence to such arguments was lent by an article in the now-defunct Calcutta Journal of Natural History's July 1841 issue. In 1873, the Lieutenant-Governor Sir Richard Temple formally proposed the formation of a zoo in Kolkata, and the Government finally allotted land for the zoo based on to the joint petition of the Asiatic Society and Agri-Horticultural Society.
The zoo remains one of the most popular winter tourist attractions in Kolkata. The ticket prices at the gate increased from Rs 10 to Rs 20 in the winter of 2012. The footfall figures in 2012 showed an annual visitation of almost 3 million — more than any other tourist attraction in Kolkata, and a peak of over 25,000 on Christmas Day and New Year's Day.
The zoo displays a large number of crowd-pulling megafauna, including the royal Bengal tiger, African lion, jaguar, hippopotamus, great Indian one-horned rhinoceros, reticulated giraffe, Grant's zebra, emu, dromedary camel and Indian elephant. Previously, other megafauna like the Panthera hybrids and the giant eland were present.
The zoo sports a large collection of attractive birds, including some threatened species - large parrots including a number of macaw species, conures, lories and lorikeets; other large birds like touracos and hornbills; colourful game birds like the golden pheasant, Lady Amherst's pheasant and Swinhoe's pheasant and some large flightless birds like the emu, cassowary and ostrich.
Laid out on 45 acres (18 ha) of land, the Calcutta zoo has been unable to expand or modify its layout for over 50 years, and thus has a rather backdated plan. It contains a Reptile House (a new one has been built), a Primate House, an Elephant House, and a Panther House which opens out onto the open air enclosures for the lions and tigers. It also boasts of a glass-walled enclosure for tigers, the first of its kind in India. A separate Children's zoo is present, and the central water bodies inside the zoo grounds attracts migratory birds.
Birla Mandir in Kolkata, India, is a Hindu temple on Asutosh Chowdhury Avenue, Ballygunge, built by the industrialist Birla family. This temple is open in the morning from 5.30 A.M. to 11 A.M. and in the evening from 4 .30 P.M. to 9 P.M. On Janmashtami, the birthday of Krishna, devotees come from far away places to pay their respect to the deities.
The construction of the temple began in 1970. It took 26 years to complete the entire structure. The construction was supervised by the Sompuras.On Wednesday, the 21st of February, 1996, the Pran Prathistha was done by Swami Chidanandaji Maharaj in the morning. Dr. Karan Singh inaugurated the temple the same day.
The main temple houses statues of deities Krishna and Radha.
The left side temple shikhar (dome) houses goddess Durga, the Hindu goddess of Shakti, the power. The right side dome of the temple houses Shiva in meditation mode.
Spread on 44 kathas of land, this temple built of white marble bears resemblance to the renowned Lingaraj Temple of Bhubaneswar. Birla Mandir also showcases pictorial depiction of scriptures of Bhagavad Gita in its stone engravings and some intricate Rajasthani temple architecture. Designed by the architect Nomi Bose.
The Birla Planetarium in Kolkata, West Bengal, India, is a single-storeyed circular structure designed in the typical Indian style, whose architecture is loosely styled on the Buddhist Stupa at Sanchi. Situated at Chowringhee Road adjacent to the Victoria Memorial, St. Paul's Cathedral, and the Maidan in South Kolkata, it is the largest planetarium in Asia and the second largest planetarium in the world. There are two other Birla Planetariums in India: B.M. Birla Planetarium in Chennai and the Birla Planetarium in Hyderabad.
Popularly known as taramandal, the planetarium was inaugurated on 2 July 1963 by the then Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru. It has an electronics laboratory for design and fabrication of science equipment. It has an astronomy gallery that maintains a huge collection of fine paintings and celestial models of renowned astronomers. The Planetarium also has an astronomical observatory equipped with a Celestron C-14 Telescope with accessories such as ST6 CCD camera and solar filter. It offers to the public and students more than 100 astronomical projects dealing with various facts of astronomy, astro-physics, Space Science as well as myths concerning stars and planets. It has a capacity of 680.
Daily programs are conducted in English, Bengali and Hindi from 12:00 to 19:00 hrs. Programs are occasionally conducted in Oriya, Tamil and Gujarati, as well. Extra shows are arranged on holidays. The Planetarium was constructed by ML Dalmiya & Co. which is owned by Board of Control for Cricket in India former President late Jagmohan Dalmiya.
Currently going through renovations. the renovations will be completed by March, 2016.
Aquatica is an 75,000sq ft (17 acre) water theme park in Kolkata, India. The theme park was started in 1999. It is one of the largest water amusement parks in Kolkata as well as eastern India. Recently another water theme park, Wet 'O' Wild, has come up near Nicco Park in the Salt Lake City area.It is quite a popular destination on the day of holi.
The water theme park Aquatica is located in Kochpukur, Rajarhat, just beside the Rajarhat New Town area. The area is well connected by public transpbus from Howrah station goes all the way to Aquatica. The bus route passes through Ultadanga along VIP road until Baguiati Jora Mandir, takes a U turn and then passes through Kestopur Bazar and reaches New Town below Box Bridge (the bridge near to Technopolis that connects Sector 5 and New Town). Box bridge is very well connected by public transport from VIP Road side and EM Bypass side.
Aquatica has a number of rides including tremendously exciting ones like the Black Hole, the Wave Pool, Niagara Falls,surf racer,Tornado and the Aqua Dance Floor. There is a GoKarting track adjacent to Aquatica for the die-hard karting lovers. Regular parties and Fashion shows are hosted here, especially in the winter.There is also Deluxe AC. Rooms suits, Conference Hall, Party Hall, Board Room, Food Courts available.
The Nakhoda Masjid is the principal mosque of Kolkata, India, in the Chitpur area of the Burrabazar business district in Central Kolkata, at the intersection of Zakariya Street and Rabindra Sarani.
The mosque was built as an imitation of the mausoleum of Mughal Emperor Akbar at Sikandra, Agra by Kutchi Memon Jamat, a small community of Sunni Muslim community from Kutch. Abdur Rahim Osman, a leader of the Kutchi Memon Jama'at, who funded the building was a shipping prince: The mosque was named Nakhoda meaning Mariner. The foundation stone was laid on 11 September 1926. The total cost incurred for the construction was 1,500,000 Indian rupees in 1926.
The mosque's prayer hall has a capacity of 10,000. The masjid has three domes and two minarets which are 151 feet high. There are an additional 25 smaller minarets which range from 100 feet to 117 feet high. The gateway is an ersatz of the Buland Darwaza at Fatehpur Sikri. For this purpose granite stones were brought from Tolepur. Inside is a superb exhibition of exquisite ornamentation and artistic extravaganza.
Rabindra Sarobar (previously known as Dhakuria Lake) is an artificial lake in south Kolkata in the Indian state of West Bengal.
The name also refers to the area surrounding the lake. It is flanked by Southern Avenue to the North, Rashbehari Avenue(Russa Road) to the West, Dhakuria to the East and the Kolkata Suburban Railway tracks to the south.
Rabindra Sarovar is 30 km away from Dum Dum airport and 12 km from the Howrah railway station. The area is served by the Rabindra Sarobar station of the Kolkata Metro and Lake Gardens and the Tollygunge station of the Kolkata suburban railway (Budge Budge section). It is one of the two points where the two railway systems interface (the other being Dum Dum).
In the early 1920s, the Calcutta Improvement Trust (CIT), a body responsible for developmental work in the Kolkata metropolitan area, acquired about 192 acres (0.78 km2) of marshy jungles. Their intention was to develop the area for residential use – improving the roads, raising and levelling some of the adjacent land and building lakes and parks. Excavation work was undertaken with the plan of creating a huge lake. Originally known as Dhakuria Lake, in May 1958, CIT renamed the lake as Rabindra Sarovar, as a tribute to the great Bengali writer and Nobel Laureate, Rabindranath Tagore.
The area around this excavated lake was later developed to build recreational complexes, which included children's parks, gardens and auditoria.
Today the lake and its surrounding areas are one of the most popular recreational areas in Kolkata. 73 acres (300,000 m2) are covered by water, while shrubs and trees, some of which are more than 100 years old, occupy the rest of the area. In the winter, one can spot some migratory birds around the lake. The lake itself is home to many varieties of fish. Fishing is strictly prohibited.A number of people come for a walk around the lake in the mornings to enjoy the fresh air. Many visit the sunrise point to offer their prayers to the sun. During the day, it is visited by families on a picnic, tourists, young lovers and joggers.
Royal Calcutta Golf Club
Royal Calcutta Golf Club (RCGC) in Kolkata, India was established in 1829 and is the oldest golf club in India and the first outside Great Britain.
RCGC has an 18-hole golf course with the following detail:
Mostly flat terrain, small greens and natural water hazards.
The Royal Calcutta Golf Club is the oldest golf club outside the United Kingdom and is the second-oldest outside Scotland. The oldest club outside Scotland is The Royal Blackheath in London, established in 1766.
King George V and Queen Mary conferred the title "Royal" to the Club to commemorate their visit to Calcutta in 1911. Apart from golf, it offers tennis courts and a fine swimming pool. The Club also maintains a Lawn Bowls Pavilion in the Kolkata Maidan.
The most suitable time for play is October through March.
The club is currently undergoing a series of makeovers to bring it up to contemporary world standards and to make the course one of the best and most sought after in Asia. It is trying to restore its image of being the St Andrews of Asia.
S S P Chowrasia is a member, his father was a greenkeeper and he started out as a caddie, but he currently plays on the European Tour.
Calcutta High Court
Calcutta High Court is the oldest High Court in India. It was established as the High Court of Judicature at Fort William on 1 July 1862 under the High Courts Act, 1861. It has jurisdiction over the state of West Bengal and the Union Territory of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. It was preceded by the Supreme Court of Judicature at Fort William. The High Court building's design is based on the Cloth Hall, Ypres, in Belgium.
The court has a sanctioned judge strength of 63. Despite the name of the city having officially changed from Calcutta to Kolkata in 2001, the old name is retained by the court as it is an institution.
The seat of the Calcutta High Court is at Kolkata, capital of West Bengal. As per the Calcutta High Court (Extension of Jurisdiction) Act, 1953, the Calcutta High Court's jurisdiction was extended to cover Chandernagore (now called Chandannagar) and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands as of 2 May 1950. The Calcutta High Court extended its Circuit Bench in Port Blair, the capital of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and in Jalpaiguri, the headquarters of the Jalpaiguri division of West Bengal.
The current Chief Justice is Manjula Chellur.
Barnes Peacock was the first Chief Justice of the High Court. He assumed the charge when the court was founded on 1 July 1862. Romesh Chandra Mitter was the first Indian officiating Chief Justice and Phani Bhushan Chakravartti was the first Indian permanent Chief Justice of the court. The longest serving Chief Justice was Sankar Prasad Mitra.
On 20 September 1871 the acting Chief Justice, John Paxton Norman, was murdered on the steps of the courthouse by Wahabi Muslims.
The neo-Gothic High Court building was constructed in 1872, ten years after the establishment of the court itself. The design, by then government architect Walter Granville, was loosely modelled on the 13th-century Cloth Hall at Ypres, Belgium.
Vidyasagar Setu (Bidyasagôr Setu), also known as the Second Hooghly Bridge (Dbitiyô Hugli Setu), is a toll bridge over the Hooghly River in West Bengal, India, linking the cities of Kolkata (previously known as Calcutta).
With a total length of 823 metres (2,700 ft), Vidyasagar Setu is the longest cable–stayed bridge in India. It was the second bridge to be built across the Hooghly River; the first, the Howrah Bridge (also known as Rabindra Setu) 3.7 kilometres (2.3 mi) to the north, was completed in 1943. Named after the educationist reformer Pandit Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, it cost ₹3.88 billion to build. The project was a joint effort between the public and private sectors, under the control of the Hooghly River Bridge Commissioners (HRBC).
Initially, under the toll collection regime of the HRBC, daily traffic was recorded to be a minimum of 28,000 vehicles and a maximum of 39,000 vehicles in 2000, but fell to a maximum of around 30,000 vehicles by December 2002, when the management of the toll plaza was handed over to a private firm. Subsequently, the daily traffic reached a minimum of 45,000 vehicles and a maximum of 61,000 vehicles by early 2008, against a maximum capacity of 85,000 vehicles per day. The original management of the toll revenue collection by HRBC was consequently criticized for corruption and significant loss of revenue.
Population and commercial activity grew rapidly after India gained independence in August 1947. The only link across the Hooghly River, the Howrah Bridge, between Howrah and Kolkata, was subject to much traffic congestion, with over 85,000 vehicles every day. This necessitated planning for a new bridge across the river so that it could connect to the major cities of Mumbai (Bombay), Delhi and Chennai (Madras) through the national highways located close to the bridge.
The foundation stone for the bridge was laid by Indira Gandhi on 20 May 1972. The bridge took more than 22 years to complete and cost Indian Rupees 3.88 billion, but in seven of those years there was no construction activity. The bridge is named after the 19th-century Bengali educationist reformer Pandit Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar. Work on the cable-stayed bridge started with the construction of the well curb on the Calcutta bank end on 3 July 1979.
There are three other bridges on the Hooghly River connecting Kolkata with Howrah district: Vivekananda Setu built in 1932, (road-cum-rail bridge) – the first to be commissioned, and which had become old and needed repairs; Howrah Bridge, a cantilever bridge commissioned in 1943, now renamed as Rabindra Setu (since 1965 in honour of the Noble Laurette Rabindranath Tagore); and Nivedita Setu (named after Sister Nivedita), also known as the Second Vivekananda Setu, which is 50 metres (160 ft) downstream of the old Vivekananda Setu and was commissioned on 4 June 2007.
The bridge was designed by Schlaich Bergermann & Partner, and checked by Freeman Fox & Partners and Bharat Bhari Udyog Nigam Limited. Construction was carried out by the consortium of "The Braithwaite Burn and Jessop Construction Company Limited" (BBJ). The Hooghly River Bridge Commission (HRBC) was responsible for the commissioning operations of the bridge.
Construction began on 3 July 1979, and the bridge was commissioned on 10 October 1992 by the Hooghly River Bridge Commission.
Raj Bhavan is the official residence of the Governor of West Bengal, located in the state' capital city Kolkata. Built in 1803, it was known as the Government House in the pre-independence days.
Later after the transfer of power from the East India Company to the British Crown in 1858 it became the official residence of the Viceroy of India, shifting here from the Belvedere Estate. With the shifting of capital to Delhi in 1911 it became the official residence of Lieutenant Governor of Bengal. Since independence in 1947 it serves as the official residence of the Governor of West Bengal and came to be known as the Raj Bhavan, a name it shares with the official residences of other states' governors.
In the early nineteenth century Calcutta (Kolkata) was at the height of its golden age. Known as the City of Palaces or St. Petersburg of the East, Calcutta was the richest, largest and the most elegant colonial cities of India. It was during this time one of Calcutta's finest colonial structure the Government House (later Raj Bhavan) was constructed.
Before 1799, the Governor General resided in a rented house, called Bukimham House, located in the same location. The land belonged to Mohammad Reza Khan, a Nawab of Chitpur. It was in 1799 the then Governor General of India, Lord Wellesley, took the initiative of building a palace, because he believed that India should be ruled form a palace and not from a country house. Wellesley wanted to make a statement to the imperial authority and power and so the building was done on a grand scale.
After 4 years construction was complete at a colossal cost of 63,291 pounds (about 3.8 million pounds in today's estimate). Wellesley was charged for misusing of East India Company's fund and was finally recalled back to England in 1805. Although Wellesley lost his job, he does have the credit of giving Kolkata one of its finest colonial mansions.
The plan comprises a central core with four radiating wings. The state rooms located in the central core are accessed from the outside by a flight of grand steps on the north. On the south is another portico surmounted by a colonnaded verandah with a dome above. The four wings accommodate the various offices and residential quarters along with four sets of staircases. The plan of the wings allows for a great deal of natural ventilation in the spaces while also permitting views across the gardens. The entire compound is surrounded by a balustraded wall with a grand arched gateway at each of the four cardinal points.
The plan of the building is very typical, a little like a man standing on his feet and holding two boxes in his two hands. The front of the palace faces north-east.
The three storied Raj Bhavan building with a huge central area consisting of large halls has curved corridors on all four sides radiating to detached wings, each constituting a house in itself. There are about 60 rooms in Raj Bhavan, beside public halls, verandahs, porticos, banquets & halls and the sumptuous Throne room.
Drawing and dining rooms:
Yellow Drawing Room located on the first floor of the Raj Bhavan, the beautiful drawing room has some wonderful paintings.
Blue Drawing Room an elegantly furnished room used by the governor to meet guest.
Brown Dining Room adjacent to the Blue Dining room, it is used for small conferences and meetings.
Halls and banquet rooms:
Throne Room the Throne Room, as the name suggests, contains the throne of Wellesley. Next to it is the throne of Tipu Sultan. The room contains oil paintings of Mahatma Gandhi, Subhas Chandra Bose, Jawaharlal Nehru, Dr B C Roy. it also contains an Urn used to carry the Mahatma Gandhi's ashes.
Council Chamber the Governor General used the Council Chamber to preside over the executive and later the Legislative Council. Now it is used by the governor to hold large meetings. A small dining room known as the Bharat Ratna Room and a billiard room is located just outside the Council Chamber.
The Marble Hall located on the ground floor of the Raj Bhavan, this is used for state and private meetings.
The Banquet Hall the Banquet Hall with rows of Doric pillars on each side, flowering chandeliers and black Mahogany tables has entertained eminent guests like Queen Elizabeth.
General Post Office
The General Post Office, Kolkata, is the central post office of the city of Kolkata, India, and the chief post office of West Bengal. The post-office handles most of the city's inbound and outbound mail and parcels. Situated in the B.B.D. Bagh area, the imposing structure of the GPO is one of the landmarks in the city.
The site where the GPO is located was actually the site of the first Fort William. An alley beside the post office was the site of the guardhouse that housed the infamous 1756 Black Hole of Calcutta (1756). The General Post Office was designed in 1864 by Walter B. Grenville (1819-1874), who acted as consulting architect to the government of India from 1863 to 1868.
The GPO is notable for its imposing high domed roof (rising over 220 feet) and tall Ionic-Corinthian pillars. A Postal Museum that was built in 1884 displays a collection of artefacts and stamps. The Philatelic Bureau is located on the southwestern end of the building.
Rabindra Sadan is a cultural centre and theatre in Kolkata, located near the Nandan cinema and cultural complex and the Academy of Fine Arts on AJC Bose Road in South Kolkata.
The foundation stone of Rabindra Sadan was laid by the then Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru on 5 August 1961. The construction work of the auditorium ended in October 1967. It is noted for its large stage which is a prime venue for Bengali theatre and Kolkata Film Festival.
The Rabindra Sadan complex now houses the Rabindra Sadan stage, Nandan, Paschimbanga Bangla Akademi, Gaganendra Prodorshonshala among other centers of cultural activities. It is service by Rabindra Sadan station of Kolkata Metro on North South Corridor.
Metropolitan Building is the number 46.26 building on Jawaharlal Nehru Road in Kolkata near Esplanade. Formerly known as the Whiteway Laidlaw department store, it was a famous department store in Calcutta during the British Rule in India. This neo-baroque emporium—with domes, a clock tower, and arched recessed windows—exemplifies fashionable shopping during the British Raj in British India. The building was built in 1905. Post Independence Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. assumed ownership, so people know it more commonly as Metropolitan Building.
It is located near the Shaheed Minar and the Grand Hotel.
It is a large building recognisable by its corner tower with the dome raised high on a pavilion. Rustication in the ground floor and a semicircular arched arcade in the first floor. The facade is punctuated by a series of projected and pedimented bays with plain columns and Corinthian capitals. Repaired recently, the Metropolitan Building still stands as an important landmark overlooking the crowded Chowringhee.
In 1991, a fire ravaged the top floor of the majestic Metropolitan Building and hundreds of original negatives of Bourne and Shepherd, reputed to be the world's oldest operational photography studio, established in the late 19th century, perished in the fire. The building was restored by the Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC). But it still houses a commercial complex.
The Tollygunge Club popularly called Tolly, is one of the premier country clubs of India, located in Tollygunge in south Kolkata.
Sir William Cruikshank established the club as an equestrian sports facility in the year 1895 to "promote all manner of sports". It is spread over a 100 acres (400,000 m2), with a clubhouse that is over 200 years old.
The extensive grounds of the club were originally an indigo plantation laid out in 1781 by the Johnson family, who were amongst the pioneers of the plantation industry in India.
Later the grounds were to become a royal park at the heart of the princely estate established by the exiled family of Tipu Sultan, the deposed ruler of Mysore and the house which the Johnsons had built as their home became the garden house of the new Mysore Estate.
In 1895, the entire property was acquired from the Mysore family by the Tollygunge Club Limited and the old Johnson home is today the club's clubhouse.
The club grounds boast an enviable collection of flowering trees and tropical plants, many of which have been brought from far afield as Australia and South America. These provide a natural sanctuary for a variety of exotic birds. Birds & Trees of Tolly, written by Kushal Mookherjee, explores these in greater detail.
Golf - 18 holes, par 70, 6,304 yards (5,764 m).
Squash - 4 glass backed indoor courts.
Tennis - 4 clay courts; 2 hard courts (all outdoor).
Swimming - 1 Covered pool; 1 outdoor pool; 1 outdoor Jacuzzi
Riding - Horses and children's ponies available. Riding classes are conducted twice a day.
Billiards - 2 tables. Also, 1 pool table.
Health Club - Health and fitness centre with sauna and steam bath etc.
Nandan is a government-sponsored film and cultural centre in Kolkata, India.The primary aim of the cultural hub is to encourage and facilitate cinematic awareness in society. It includes a few comparatively large screens housed in an impressively architectured building.
The foundation stone of Nandan was laid by former Chief Minister of West Bengal Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and was officially inaugurated on 2 September 1985 by film-maker Satyajit Ray. The complex, besides being a modern cinema and cultural complex, is a popular destination for the young and the aged alike.
The foundation stone of Nandan was laid by former Chief Minister of West Bengal Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee in 1980 and it was inaugurated by Satyajit Ray in 1985. He designed the now-famous logo for the complex as well. Initially, Nandan had two auditoriums, a third auditorium was made soon after.
In April 2011, the false ceiling of a Nandan auditorium crashed down. Right after the incident, the West Bengal government decided to refurbish Nandan, starting the renovation work with the construction of a new false ceiling for Nandan I. For the first phase of the renovation project, West Government gave 2.5 million (US$37,000) to the Nandan authorities. The restoration works completed weeks before the 2011 Kolkata International Film Festival.
As of February 2013 The Nandan committee is headed by Bengali film director Sandip Ray. Few other members of the managing committee are Aparna Sen, Prabhat Roy, Ranjit Mullick etc.
Nandan has been a cultural hub of Kolkata for a long time. Memorial lectures and special programs are organised here on regular basis. Nandan also organises a Social Communication Film Festival in collaboration with Roopkala Kendra.
Tipu Sultan Mosque
The tipu Sultan Shahi Mosque (also known as Tipu Sultan Masjid) is a famous mosque in Kolkata, India. Located at 185 Dhartamtalla Street, the mosque is a relic of architectural and cultural heritage.
This building was built in 1832 by Prince Ghulam Mohammed, the youngest son of Tipu Sultan. An identical mosque built later by the waqf committee is at Tollygunge.
The Tipu Sultan Shahi Masjid Protection & Welfare Committee was founded in the late 1980s by Seraj Mubarki, Mohammad Sharfuddin, Izhar Khan and Syed Zafar to motivate and educate people about the damage caused to the masjid by the Metro railway. This committee is headed by Mohammad Sharfuddin as its chairman.
The committee was established to negotiate with the Kolkata Metro authorities to repair the damage caused by the construction underneath the building. The authorities agreed to demolish the damaged part of the mosque and rebuild it.
The Tipu Sultan Shahi Masjid Protection & Welfare Committee, under the guidance of Janab Sami Mubaraki, the incumbent chairman, continues to play an active role in the daily affairs of the mosque. Committee members raised INR 21,501 for the 2004 Tsunami victims as part of the Prime Minister's Tsunami fund.
The committee went on a five-day hunger strike to seek the intervention of the central government when a Muslim dargah and a Hindu temple were ruined in Vadodara. The fast was later broken with an initiative by H.E. Honorable Governor Shri. Gopal Krishna Gandhi who offered glass of juice to the fasters and later condemned attacks on Hindu temples in Pakistan and the attacks on Christian missionaries in Orissa and other parts of India.
Academy of Fine Arts
The Academy of Fine Arts, in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) is one of the oldest fine arts societies in India.
The academy was formally established in 1933 by Lady Ranu Mukherjee. It was initially located in a room loaned by the Indian Museum, and the annual exhibitions used to take place in the adjoining verandah.
In the 1950s, thanks to the efforts of Lady Ranu Mookerjee and patronage by B.C. Roy, Chief Minister of West Bengal, as well as Jawaharlal Nehru, the Prime Minister of India, the academy was shifted to a much larger space in the Cathedral Road, beside St. Paul's Cathedral, the present location. Dignitaries artist Swapnesh Chowdhury became President,and Eminent artist Shri Sudip banerjee is secretary.
There are some famous paintings here like Saat bhai champa by Gaganendranath Tagore, Shiva with Ganesh by Jamini Roy.
There is a theatre auditorium in Academy of Fine Arts which is one of the most popular spot for performers and viewers of the city. Since 1984, an annual theatre festival is organized here.
Salt Lake Stadium
Salt Lake Stadium or Yuva Bharati Krirangan is a multipurpose stadium in Bidhannagar, Kolkata, West Bengal, with a current capacity of 68,000. It is the largest stadium in India by capacity. Before its renovation in 2011, it was the second largest football stadium in the world, having a seating capacity of 120,000. Reportedly, a total of 85,000 bucket seats will be installed in the stadium before the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup to be held in India.
The record attendance of 131,000 was set in 1997 in a Kolkata Derby match between Mohun Bagan A.C. and East Bengal FC.
The stadium is situated approximately 10 km to the east of the Kolkata downtown. The roof is made of metal tubes and aluminum sheets and concrete. The stadium covers an area of 76.40 acres (309,200 m2) and it was inaugurated in January, 1984.
After its inauguration in January, 1984 with the Jawaharlal Nehru International Gold Cup Soccer Tournament, the Salt Lake Stadium has hosted several important international tournaments or matches such as The Pre-World Cup Tournament in 1985, Super-Soccers in 1986, 1989, 1991 and 1994, 3rd SAF Games in 1987, USSR Festival Cup in 1988, Charminar Challenger Trophy in 1992, Jawaharlal Nehru International Gold Cup in 1995.
The Salt Lake Stadium hosts the home games of local clubs Mohun Bagan AC, East Bengal FC, Mohammedan SC and United SC, four of the clubs in Indian football. Many of the home games of the India national football team are also played in Salt Lake.Since 2014 a new tenant team 'Atlético de Kolkata' (playing in ISL) had made the stadium their home ground.
On 12 October 2014, the stadium hosted the first match in the Indian Super League, preceded by an opening ceremony including Priyanka Chopra. In the opening match, Atlético de Kolkata defeated Mumbai City FC 3–0.
St. Paul's Cathedral
St. Paul's Cathedral is a Anglican cathedral in Kolkata, West Bengal, India, noted for its Gothic architecture. It is the seat of the Diocese of Calcutta. The cornerstone was laid in 1839; the building was completed in 1847. It is said to be the largest cathedral in Kolkata and the first Episcopal Church in Asia. It was also the first cathedral built in the overseas territory of the British Empire. The edifice stands on Cathedral Road on the "island of attractions" to provide for more space for the growing population of the European community in Calcutta in the 1800s.
Following the 1897 earthquake and the subsequent massive earthquake of 1934, when Calcutta suffered substantial damage, the cathedral was reconstructed to a revised design. The architectural design of the cathedral is "Indo-Gothic", a Gothic architectural style designed to meet the climatic conditions of India. The cathedral complex has a library, situated over the western porch, and a display of Plastic art forms and memorabilia.
Apart from that of Bishop Daniel Wilson, the founder of the cathedral, the other notable burial in the church is that of John Paxton Norman, an acting Chief Justice who was assassinated in 1871.
The cathedral is across from the Bishop's Palace on Chowringhee Road, in a direct line of sight from the Victoria Memorial. The cathedral is located to the east of the Victoria Memorial and at the southern edge of the maidan, a park.
The building stands on Cathedral Road, on the "island of attractions" in Kolkata, along with the Victoria Memorial, Nandan, Rabindra Sadan theatre complex, and the Birla Planetarium.
The cathedral was built to replace St. John's Church, which had become too small for Calcutta's growing European community; by 1810 there were 4,000 British men and 300 British women in Bengal.
In 1819, at the request of Marquess of Hastings, then Governor-General of Bengal, architect William Nairn Forbes produced a design for the proposed cathedral; however, it was not accepted as it was deemed too expensive to build. Bishop Middleton suggested as a site for the new cathedral the part of the city now known as "Fives Court", where the cathedral now stands. In 1762 the area had been described as a forest so wild that it harbored tigers, and, at first, it was regarded as "too far south" to serve as a location for the cathedral. Middleton died in 1822 before building plans took shape. The next three bishops, Heber, James and Turner, all died after brief tenures, and it was not until 1832, under Bishop Daniel Wilson, that the project to build the cathedral was revived.
Following acquisition of 7 acres (3 ha) of land to build the cathedral, a Cathedral Committee was set up to build it. The military engineer, Major William Nairn Forbes (1796–1855) (who later became a Major General of the Bengal Engineers), at the request of Bishop Wilson, designed the cathedral with the assistance of architect C. K. Robinson, modelling the tower and spire upon the Norwich Cathedral. On 8 October 1839, construction was initiated by laying the cornerstone. The cathedral was completed after eight years and consecrated on 8 October 1847. The consecration ceremony, to mark which Queen Victoria had sent "ten pieces of silver-gilt plate" for the cathedral, was largely attended by Europeans and local people. The cathedral was built in Gothic revival style, but with modern construction elements, including an iron framework. It was built with a chancel, a sanctuary, chapels and a 201 feet (61 m) tall spire; the cost of construction of the edifice was then Rs. 4,35,669. The cathedral can accommodate 800 to 1,000 people.
In the 1897 earthquake the cathedral suffered damage and was refurbished. In the subsequent massive earthquake of 1934, when Calcutta was devastated, the cathedral's steeple tower collapsed. It was reconstructed to a revised design. Following the 1934 Calcutta earthquake, the tower was rebuilt along the lines of the central Bell Harry tower of Canterbury Cathedral. On its completion, St. Paul's replaced St. John's Church as the cathedral. The cathedral also has a statue of Bishop Heber (1783–1826), who was the Second Bishop of Calcutta; the statue was sculpted by Francis Leggatt Chantrey. The Bishop's House across the street is also architecturally notable.
The cathedral is well maintained in a serene and peaceful atmosphere. People of all religious denominations can visit the church. Service is held regularly. Christmas is a special occasion when a large number of people assemble to participate in the festivities.
The cathedral's interior has a display of many plastic art forms and memorabilia. There is an "episcopal throne" on the southern flank of the altar and a decorative reredo or wall on its back side dated to 1879; it has carvings of episodes related to the life of St. Paul, the Annunciation, the Adoration of the Magi, and the Flight into Egypt, all the work of Sir Arthur Blomfield. The parish hall within the premises of the cathedral is the venue for holding social functions. The eastern wall in the cathedral has paintings of the life of St. Paul, painted by Blomfield in 1886. Also notable is the font, with its sculpture of Bishop Heber in a kneeling posture. The cathedral's organ, with 41 stops, made by Joseph Willis and Sons of London, is still in use.
The cathedral complex also has a library, situated over the western porch, to dimensions of 61 by 22 feet (19 m × 7 m) with a height of 35 feet (11 m). It was built at the initiative of Bishop Wilson, who donated 8,000 of his books and manuscripts. Further donations of books to the library were from W. Gordon and Rev. J. Nath of the University of Oxford and the Calcutta Bible Society. The library also has a sculpture of Bishop Wilson made in marble.
Emami Chisel Art
Emami Chisel Art is an art gallery in Kolkata under Emami. Founded in 2008, the organization hosts a variety of exhibitions which includes art exhibition, painting exhibition and craft fairs. Richa Agarwal, wife of Aditya Agarwal and daughter-in-law of Radhe Shyam Agarwal, is the Director of Emami Chisel Art and continues to highlight contemporary art in India with the help of events and exhibitions. Each year, Emami Chisel Art hosts its annual exhibition known by the name of ECA Calling. Situated in E.M. Bypass, Kolkata, it is a common place to visit for the tourist and the locals.
Sabarna Sangrahashala in Kolkata is a museum about the Sabarna Roy Choudhury family. It has been developed by The Sabarna Roy Choudhury Paribar Parishad. It was established in 2005 to cater the need of students and research scholars and also to create an awareness about the preservation of historical source materials.
The Museum exhibits rare articles and historical documents of history. It is located at Barisha in Kolkata. The Institution caters to the needs of researchers doing studies on Kolkata and the Sabarna Roy Choudhury family. This family museum possesses rare documents and articles, including Kabilatipatras dating from the 18th and 19th centuries: an important holding being one which has signature of Kavi Ramprasad Sen dated 1794. Other articles include a huge earthen rice pot dating 1840 with a capacity for 240 kg of grain, a metal hookah dated c. 1878, a metal candle stand dated c. 1795, and grinding wheels dated 1845. The philatelic and numismatic divisions possess rare stamps, First Day Covers and coins.
Also on display is the historic judgement of the Kolkata High Court regarding the Kolkata Birthday Case and the Expert Committee Report on the matter. The Judgement states that Job Charnock was not the founder of Calcutta (Kolkata), nor is 24 August is the city's birthday Kolkata was an important trade and religious centre before the arrival of Charnock.
The Museum has its own reference library with some rare collection of books and journals. A new and exclusive Digital Library cum Resource Archive, a first such initiative in Kolkata, has been included and may be used by public free of cost. This Digital Library cum Resource Archive has a vast collection of rarest books, travelogues, journals and seminar papers covering topics of history from across the world with a special focus on the history of Kolkata, Mughal Era and the Sabarna Roy Choudhury family.
Nivedita Setu (also called Second Vivekananda Setu) is a cable-stayed bridge over Hooghly River in Kolkata, West Bengal. It runs parallel to and around 50 m downstream of the old Vivekananda Setu opened in 1932. The bridge is named after Sister Nivedita, the social worker-disciple of Swami Vivekananda. Belghoria Expressway that connects the meeting point of NH 2 with NH 6 at Dankuni to NH 34, NH 35, Dum Dum Airport and northern parts of Kolkata passes over the bridge. The bridge is designed to carry 48,000 vehicles per day.
Vivekananda Setu had become weak as a result of ageing and with heavy traffic even repairs became difficult. There was need for a second bridge.
The main challenge was to design and construct a new bridge that did not mar the view of the old Vivekananda Setu, did not dwarf the historically important Dakshineswar Kali Temple which is located well within visible distance, and carry substantially higher levels of fast traffic for around half a century.
The bridge rests on deep-well foundations going down to the river bed level. It carries six lanes for high speed traffic. The carriageway is supported by 254 pre-stressed concrete girders. Cables from 14m high pylons extend additional support.
Nivedita Setu is the first bridge in the country that is a single profile cable-stayed bridge. By design, the height of the columns are lower than the tip of the Dakshineswar temple. This "wonder of an architecture" bridge is estimated to cost approximately Rs. 6,50 crore. The construction of the bridge started in April 2004, by the construction giant Larsen and Toubro and was opened to traffic in a record time in July 2007.
The bridge is the India's first multi-span, single-plane cable supported extra-dosed bridge; with short pylons and seven continuous spans of 110 m, totaling a length of 880 m (2,887 feet). It is 29 m wide and will be able to support 6 lanes of traffic.