: 12 million
Main Languages :
Telephone area code :
Best time to visit :
October to March
TO GET THERE
flights from Delhi,
Mumbai & Calcutta.
connected by trains from all over India.
is concentrated India – an intense, vital and
overcrowded city. It is country’s largest city
and one of the most populous in the world. Here
are gathered India’s finest artists, musicians,
scholars and poets. The contrasts here between
rich and poor, educated and ignorant, old and
new, are here more stark and discordant than any
other Indian metropolis.
The first settlement here was in 1690, when the
East India Company abandoning their earlies trading
post at upriver Hooghly sent their agent Job Charnock
south to occupy three fishing villages of Sutanati,
Govindpur and Kalikata. The name of the latter
was leter corrupted to Calcutta. In 1696, the
construction of a small fort here – Fort St. William,
near present Dalhousie square – the British empire
in India was born. In 1772, the fort was strengthened
and the town became the capital of British India,
and received its first Governor, Warren Hastings.
During the later 19th century it advanced
rapidly as a commercial and political center becoming
the Second city of the British empire, then became
a focus of agitation for Indian independence.
This sparked off the move of the British
Raj to move to Delhi
in 1911 and Calcutta lost its political throne.
After the second world war, it lost its trade
supremacy also – to the industrial new Bombay
and began to crumble an decay.
Today, all remains of its glorious past is a series
of yellowing classical palaces and more British
clubs than any other Indian city. But Calcutta
remains a major center of art, letters and industry.
the High Court Building, built in 1872 and the oldest Catholic Church
in Calcutta, St.
Marys. The Howrah
Bridge, built in 1943 – the bridge is crossed
by approximately two million people everyday,
Botanical Gaderns, the oldest and largest of their kinds in India,
they were laid out in 1787. Spread over 270 acres,
and containing over 30,000 varieties of trees
and plants, it is also Kolkatta’s principal lung.
The main attraction here is the 200 yrs old Banyan
tree, with a circumference of 417m (1367 ft).
Belur math, headquarters
of the Ramakrishna mission. This was established
by Swami Vivekananda in 1898 in the memory of
popular Indian sage Ramakrishna, who preached
essential unity of all religions.
Parasnath Jain temple,
built in 1867, it is arguably the most interesting
temple in Kolkatta. The temple is dedicated to
Sitalnathji, 10th of the 24 Jain tirthankars
(prophets) it has an elaborate, colorful blend
of glass mosaics, mirror inlay pillars and stained
glass windows, and features a gilden dome
ceiling, floral design marble flooring from
Japan and ornate chandeliers from Brussels and
Built in 1875 in the Italian style of architecture,
this is the largest museum in India and houses
one of the finest collections in Asia. There are
presently six departments : Archeology, Anthropology,
Zoology, Geology, Botany and arranged in halls
around the central garden courtyard.
The archeological section features the
Stupa, depicting the 500 reincarnations of
Buddha prior to his enlightenment. It also has
a collection of South Indian coins, dating back
to 5th century BC, and some beautiful
has giant prehistoric skeletons and a preserved
goat with 8 legs and 4 ears, also the rare coconut
tree, which blossoms only once every century,
and takes a further 10 years to produce a fruit.
The geology section has metorites, also rock and
museum is open from 10 am to 5 pm daily, except
It has a fine collection of dolls, and a model
exhibition of India’s longest epic poem the Ramayana,
in 1500 miniature models.
Open from 12 noon to 7 pm daily, except
The majestic Victorial memorial, symbol
of Calcutta was built between 1906 and 1921 at
a cost of Rs. 7.5 million and is a reminder of
the might of British India. It has been compared
to Taj Mahal, with its four rudimentary minarets,
gleaming white dome and exterior of solid Marcrana
marble. It was conceived by Lord Curzon as both
tribute to Queen Victoria and a triumphant depiction
of her reign in India.
is the finest collection of memorabilia relating
to British India contained under one roof. The
royal gallery on the first floor has paintings
of the notable evens in Victoria’s life : her
coronation, marriage to Albert, the christening
of Son Edward VII, celebrations of golden and
diamond jubilees. The largest painting in the
gallery is the paegentry of the Prince of Wales’
visit to Jaipur in 1876.
It also has an arms and armour collection
dating back to the times of medieval Indian combat.
The sculpture gallery, where you will find Memorial’s focal point, the
Hall, with its graceful figure of the newly
crowned girl queen. This is overlooked by 12 large
frescoes depicting the main highlights of her
life. The museum also has a very good collection
of 18th and 19th century
prints of India and portraits by Indian and British
Open from 10 am-5 pm, except on Mondays.