Tourist places in City of Joy — Kolkata

Kolkata is one of the most prominent tourist destinations in India that attracts an enormous crowd of travelers worldwide. Sobriquet as “City of Joy”, it is a city filled with inspirations. Known for the rich culture and heritage, it was one of the first British colonies in India. Today, it is one of the biggest metropolises of the country, which also serves as the capital of West Bengal. Located on the eastern banks of the River Hooghly, it is the commercial as well as cultural hub of Eastern India. The influence of British rule still lingers in the city with the presence of historical building and monuments that displays Victorian architecture. It is one of the liveliest cities that remains crowed with people and active all throughout, which makes the travelers to the place feel enigmatic. It is also the birthplace of some of the prominent poets, artists, authors and great personalities, who brought fame to the nation. The city has plethora of sightseeing options and exploring the historic places will take its visitors to a different era. Here are some of the must-visit tourist places in the invigorating city of Joy — Kolkata

Victoria Memorial 

One of the major attractions of Kolkata, Victoria Memorial is a huge building built by the British Government between 1906 and 1921. It is a prominent landmark in the city, which was built to commemorate the 25 years of reign by Queen Victoria in India. It has now been transformed into a museum, administered by the Ministry of Culture. Made of white marble, this monument stands over 64 acres of land by the littoral of River Hooghly. Conceived by Lord Curzon, this historical building was designed by the famous architect William Emerson, who was the president of the Royal Institute of British Architects. It was built in the Indo-Saracenic revivalist style, which is an amalgamation of Mughal as well as British architecture with some elements of Egyptian, Islamic, Venetian and Deccani architecture. The beautifully landscaped garden adds to the beauty of this magnificent architectural splendor and the huge collection of European oil and watercolor paintings of celebrated painters like Johann Zoffany, Charles D'oyly, William Simpson, Thomas Hickey, Emily Eden, etc. magnetizes visitors across the globe. Besides this, it also houses a galore of paintings by renowned Indian artists, lithographs, rare books, manuscripts, stamps of different places, sculptures, and arms and armors used during the pre-independence era in India.

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Dakshineshwar Kali Temple

Dakshineshwar Kali Temple, located on the banks of the holy River Ganga, is a major Hindu pilgrimage destination in the city of Kolkata. The temple was built between 1847 and 1855 by Rani Rasmani, the queen of Janbazar after the Divine Mother appeared in her dreams and asked her to construct a temple on the banks of River Ganga. The temple is dedicated to Goddess Kali, an incarnation of Aadi Shakti. The temple is associated with Ramakrishna, a spiritual person of 19th Century Bengal and owing to this; the temple became famous across the globe. Within the temple complex, there are 12 temples dedicated to Lord Shiva as well as a temple dedicated to Radha-Krishna. The temple complex displays the Bengal architecture having three-storeyed south-facing temple with 9 spires distributed in upper two storeys. The temple attracts a major crowd of tourists as well as devotees from all over the world and it is believed that the Divine Goddess wipes off all the problems and sorrows from life of her devotees.

Image Courtesy : Wikimedia

Howrah Bridge 

Howrah Bridge is one of the most popular attractions of the city, which is also known as Rabindra Setu. It is famous for being fourth busiest plank bridge of the World, situated on the River Hooghly and connects the western bank of Kolkata to the eastern bank of Howrah. It is one of the busiest bridges that handles a regular traffic of roughly 60,000 vehicles and countless pedestrians and serves as the lifeline of the city. It offers captivating view of the magnificent river Hooghly. It is an epitome of 20th century engineering techniques magnetizing a massive crowd of tourists across the globe. It is a must-visit tourist spot in the city.

Image Courtesy : Wikimedia

Fort William

A historical monument in the city of Kolkata, which is worth visiting, is Fort William. The citadel is located on the banks of river Hooghly, which has been named after King William III of England. It is an epitome of architectural splendor, which attracts a large number of tourists worldwide. It was built by the British between 1696 and 1702 with the permission of the then ruler of Bengal. This fort was constructed after the war between The British and the Mughals and the chief Bengal trading station of British East India Company was shifted to Kolkata from Hooghly in the year 1960. In the year 1756 the fort was taken over by Sirāj al-Dawlah, the nawab of Bengal. After the resurgence of Calcutta in the year 1757, it was demolished and a new one was constructed, which was completed in the year 1773, which still stands in the city.

Belur Math 

Belur Math is another major attraction in the City of Joy. It was built in honor of Ramakrishna Paramhansa and is the International head quarters of Ramakrishna Mission. The Math was conceptualized and designed by Swami Vivekananda, which features the Ramkrishna Sarada Mandir. This is the place where Swami Vivekananda resided and took his last breath on 4th July, 1902. A monument has been built to venerate the great Saint within the Math premises on the bank of River Hooghly. The rooms where he resided have now been converted into a museum that puts on display the clothes and articles used by Swamiji. Prayers and spiritual teachings through religious songs on a regular basis and recitation are conducted in the shrines of the Math, which is open for all.

Image Courtesy : Belur Math

Marble Palace

A must-visit place in the city is the Marble Palace, which is an extravagant mansion built by a French architect for Raja Rajendra Mullick, who was a rich Bengali merchant and art aficionado in the year 1835. The palace was built to preserve the exquisite art works from various parts of the World. It displays different art forms from different European countries, such as Netherlands, Italy and England. It is known as Marble Palace as it was built using marble, displaying its lavishness and extravagance. The place also houses idols of different Hindu Gods and Goddesses, Mother Mary, Buddha, Jesus Christ along with Christopher Columbus. It is the most beautiful historical palace that has been conserved by the Government of West Bengal.

Eden Gardens

A not to miss attraction of the city is the Eden Gardens. It is the oldest cricket stadium of India, which has been a spectator some of the brilliant matches and performances by the cricketers of the World is one of the most popular tourist attraction of the city. This stadium is regarded as one of the premium stadiums in the world and is also known as the “Lords of Asia”. Eden Gardens is the second largest stadium in the world that has a seating capacity of 120,000 spectators. The 1st, first–class match that was played at this stadium was in 1917 to 1918.

Writer’s Building

A prime attraction of the city, Writer’s Building is the first three storied building in the city, which was constructed during the reign of the British Government. The construction of the building started in the beginning of the year 1690 and served as residence of the junior writers of the East India Company. Owing to it, the building got its name. The building was again renovated during the tenure of Sir Ashley Eden as Lieutenant Governor of West Bengal. Today, the building has been transformed into Secretariat of West Bengal Government. It is a huge red colored building, which is located in the heart of the city and attracts a huge crowd of visitors. However, it is also listed among the most haunted places in the city.

Indian Museum

A must-visit place in the city of Kolkata is the Indian Museum, which is the oldest museum in the country. Built in the year 1814 by Dr. Nathaniel Wallich, a botanist from Denmark, it is also the largest museum in the country and the 9th oldest museum in the World. It exhibits a huge collection of Mughal paintings, skeletons, antiques, ornaments, mummies, fossils and armor. The building is divided into 6 sections, namely Geology, Archeology, Art, Zoology, Industry and Anthropology with more than 60 galleries. The building displays Italian architecture and was shifted to the new building in the year 1875. The museum was opened for the public in the year 1878. The museum remains thronged by visitors throughout the year and it serves as a haven for Archeology enthusiasts.

Birla Planetarium

One of the largest planetariums is Asia, the Birla Planetarium was built in the year 1962 is located in the city of Kolkata. It is a major attraction of the city, which was founded by Birla Education Trust as a center of science, communication and environment. It is a single storied circular edifice designed in the typical Indian style. Providing an astronomical presentations in vernacular language, it is a must visit place in the city. It offers valuable information about the solar system, galaxies as well as life span of stars, planets, space, and other extraterrestrial bodies in an interactive way using audio video support. It is a single storied circular building that offers view of the Indian style architecture. The gallery showcases a huge collection of exquisite paintings as well as models of celestial bodies by famous astronomers.

Nicco Park

An amusement park located in Salt Lake City, Kolkata, Nicco Park attracts a huge crowd of tourists across the globe. It is often referred to as he Disneyland of West Bengal as it offers numerous rides and games for the visitors. It is one of the largest amusement parks in the country, which was established in the year 1991 for the entertainment of the local people as well as tourists. Sprawling across 40 acres land, it is also known as Jheel Meel and serves as a major destination for entertainment in the city. It houses a beautiful and a well-maintained rose garden as well as a food court that serves mouth-watering dishes. It has got the accreditation of being the first amusement park of the world.

National Library

Established in the year 1836, the National Library is one the prime attractions in the city. It is the largest library in India, which is maintained by Department of Culture, Ministry of Tourism & Culture, Government of India. Sprawling over 30 acres of land, the library has a huge collection of books as well as periodicals of different languages and was founded to collect, distribute and conserve books that is published in the country. It has the largest collection of books, which are more than 2.2 million books. The building served as the official residence of Lt. Governor of Bengal before Independence, which has been transformed into public library. It history dates back to 1836 with the formation of Calcutta Public Library, which was started by donation of 4,675 volumes from the library of the College of Fort William by Governor General, Lord Metcalf. The library is visited by a huge crowd of tourists, avid readers and locals every day.

Kolkata is a city that has attracted a lot of tourists from all over the world since a long time and has developed into a major tourist destination of the country. The list of tourist places in the City of Joy — Kolkata is quite long as there are numerous places; however, these are some of the places in the city that are must-visit while on a trip to the cultural city of India.
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