Nakhoda Masjid Kolkata :- Nakhoda Masjid is one of the major landmarks of Kolkata. It is a unique structure in the Kolkata city. It is an obvious location for religious Islamic tourists. It was a mosque built in 1926. It has a combination of Mughal and Islamic architectural styles. I clicked many pictures of this magnificent structure.
Howrah Bridge is a bridge over the River Hoogly, connecting Howrah to Kolkata. Anyone visiting Kolkata by train has to go over the bridge. It was built in 1943 and the official name of the bridge is Rabindra Setu. However, is popularly known as Howrah Bridge. It is one of the marvelous engineering skills of the British in India. After reaching Howrah station I crossed the bridge on my way to Kolkata. It is one of the busiest cantilever bridges in the world, carrying more than 100,000 vehicles and 150,000 pedestrians daily. It is also the sixth longest in the world.
As I crossed over the bridge, I saw many heavy vehicles, cars, buses etc move on it. There were also people walking over the path for pedestrians. It looked so busy and vibrant and I was easily absorbed in the din. All vehicles looked in a hurry to reach their destinations and were speeding off fast. Once or twice a slight traffic jam occurred, but it soon cleared off.
The bridge took 7 years for the completion and once it was completed, it started off as one of the busiest bridges in India. You find no nuts or bolts in Howrah Bridge. It is 705 meters long and 97 meters wide. 26,500 tons of high tensile steel was used to construct the bridge and the two piers on which the bridge is supported are 90 meters above the ground. Other than the Howrah Bridge, there are three other bridges here, which are Vivekananda Setu, Vidyasagar Setu and the newly built Nivedita Setu. Vidyasagar Setu is popularly called the second Howrah Bridge. At night the bridge is illuminated with lights and it is a beautiful sight with the reflection of the illuminated bridge on the waters of the River Hoogly.
The Howrah Bridge is a landmark of Kolkata and has been shown in many Bengali, Hindi and regional films. Whenever Kolkata is mentioned, Howrah Bridge is bound to be mentioned. Pictures of the bridge are seen on postal stamps and the bridge has a prestigious position in the heart of the Bengali people.
Belur Math Kolkata :- I enjoyed the visit to Belur Math, Kolkata. The Ramakrishna Math has a unique sanctity that makes the place really unique. The temple like structure reveals architectural magnificence. It intends to make people realise their inner power or the spiritual self. I loved the place and spent an entire day there.
Indian museum was another place that I went to visit in Kolkata, of which I had heard a lot. It is one of the oldest museums in India and also the largest, with a rare collection of many antique pieces, fossils, skeletons, mummies, textiles, masks, gems, Mughal paintings and many other such pieces. The museum is located at Chowringhee Road and I reached the museum at 11.00 am in the morning. It was a large building and after paying the entry fee, got inside. The place was busy with tourists and students and I was completely lost in the huge crowd.
The museum is open to the public from 10.00 am to 5.00 pm on all days of the week, except for Mondays. The large hall entered had stairs leading to the upper floor. It is mainly divided into six sections, which are anthropology, archaeology, art, geology, zoology and industry. There are 35 galleries in the museum, each of which teaches you a lot about the past and the present. In the Archaeology section was the Egyptian Gallery, where I saw the mummy and many antique pieces from Egypt. All looked very interesting and I spent some time here watching all the items. The mummy here is said to be 4000 years old.
In the Zoology section there was six sections and I saw many skeletons and models of animals. The lower jaw of Blue Whale is exibited in the museum is so huge that it was impossible to imagine how big the whale would be. There was also the skeleton of an elephant. In the Geology section I saw a wide collection of fossils and what attracted me most was the fossil of dinosaurs and their eggs. Plant fossils were also there. There was also a Mask Gallery with masks from different parts of India, which looked colorful and bright. Some were very terrifying while others looked calm and composed.
The Art Section included Mughal Painting Gallery, Bengal Painting Gallery, Decorative Art and Textile Gallery and South East Asian Gallery. In the Botany section I saw many plants and plant products and many things made from different parts of the plant.
Description :- I have always been amused by planetariums and science centres. I visited the planetarium in Kolkata. It truly lived upto my expectation. It is built in a typical traditional style of architecture. I clicked a few pictures of the planetarium building and the fountain outside the building. It was truly an amazing place.
Before going to Kolkata I searched for some good hotels in Kolkata that offered all services at reasonable prices. After searching for a while, I came upon Hotel Pushpak International Kolkata which looked fine enough for me. So I had my room booked in advance so that I have no tension in looking for an accommodation after reaching the city. When I reached Howrah station, there was the cab from the hotel waiting for me. I got in to it and reached the hotel within 30 minutes.
The hotel was located in the heart of the city, on KYD Street. It was close to some of the commercial and business centers in the city. Some of the important tourist places like Birla Planetarium, Victoria Memorial, Alipore Zoo and Kalighat are close to the hotel. I was given a warm welcome at the reception and was shown to my room.
I had booked a Standard single room for my stay and it looked quite spacious and well furnished. It had all the facilities like a comfortable bed, LCD TV with cable connection, internet connection, air conditioners, ISD/FAX facility, telephone with direct dial facility and an attached bathroom with toiletries and hot/cold running water. There was no in-house restaurant but room service was available and you get whatever you order. There were also many good restaurants near the hotel that served local specialties as well as dishes from other parts of India, Chinese food and Continental cuisines.
The daily room service kept the rooms neat and tidy and the front desk provided you with all information you need. I got all my doubts cleared at the front desk. They provided me with a list places that I could visit in Kolkata and also arranges cabs for my travel. Doctor on call, 24 hour security, laundry facility, generator etc are other facilities that are available in the hotel. the markets, shopping malls and the major banks are all within walking distance from the hotel.
I had a pleasant stay at Hotel Pushpak International Kolkata and the staff was very courteous and well-experienced, always ready to help you.
Rabindra Sarobar Lake Kolkata :- Nature manifests its true beauty at the Rabindra Sarobar Lake. It is an amazing lake with beautiful play of natural blue and green. I stayed there for more than 2 hours and truly had fun. I saw the sunset sitting at the banks of the Rabindra Sarovar. It was a fun evening.
National Library Kolkata was another place that I went to visit during my stay at Kolkata. It is the largest library in India and the second largest in Asia. Presently it is under the Department of Culture, Ministry of Tourism & Culture, Government of India. The library is located at Belvedere Estate in Alipore, near the Alipore Zoo. Before the independence, it was the residence of Lieutenant Governor of Bengal. The library is open for the public on all days of the week from 9.00 am to 8.00 pm. No entry fee is needed to enter the library.
I reached the library at 11 am after visiting Dakshuneswara temple, and was amazed at the large campus of the library, about 30 acres in area. The lawns and well maintained gardens surrounding it made it even more spectacular. The building was built in 1836 and is a fine example of British architecture with large spacious rooms and halls with high ceiling. Although there was a lot of noise outside with vehicles going in all directions, once you enter the library, it is calm and peaceful with no loud noise. The people moved about silently or talking in low voice and all were so immersed in examining the books and journals.
I found out from the staff in the library that it contained as many as 20, 00,000 books and 5,00,000 manuscripts. More than 18,000 readers visit the library. I also saw a collection of Indian news papers dating back to 19th and 20th centuries. You may find any book you need in the library. Admission to the reading room is free to any person above the age of 18 years. The reading room can accommodate 550 people at a time. Once you become a member in the library, you can borrow books for a period of 14 days. There are books of various Indian languages and you can visit a particular section to choose a book of your language. Here is also a wide collection of foreign books.
The staff in the library is very helpful and provides you with any information you need regarding the books and where they are placed.
Park Street Cemetery Kolkata :- I really like the eerie feeling of the place when I visited the Park Street Cemetery Kolkata. I wonder why horror films are never shot in places like this. I clicked many pictures with my camera. The place is fabulous for people who enjoy history and nature. I loved the place.
On the next day after I reached Kolkata, I decided to visit Dakshineswar Kali Temple, which is famous all over India and is visited by thousands of devotees every year. The temple is about 12.5 km from Kolkata city and it takes about 21 minutes to reach the temple by car. I had a cab arranged at the travel desk to take me to the temple. I got up early in the morning and got ready by 7.00 am. The cab arrived and I reached the temple by 7.30 am. It was already vibrant with the chanting of the pundits and the devotees.
The temple is dedicated to Goddess Bhavatarini, an incarnation of Goddess Kali. It was built in 1855 by Rani Rashmoni, who was an ardent devotee of Goddess Kali. The temple is also closely associated with the spiritual leader Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa, who along with his wife Sharda Devi, worshipped here until his death. He was a great devotee of Goddess Kali and was respected by all sects of people. He was also the spiritual Guru of Swami Vivekananda.
The temple was located on the banks of the River Hoogly and looked very impressive, spreading over an area of 25 acres. It remained open from 6.00 am to 12.30 pm and then from 3.30 to 9.00 pm. for the devotees to offer their prayers. The main temple is surrounded by 12 shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva and there is a Shivalinga placed in each shrine. The courtyard also has a temple dedicated to Radha and Krishna.
Inside the sanctum sanctorum there was the idol of Goddess Kali, standing with one foot on the chest the Lord Shiva lying on the ground. The two idols are placed on a silver lotus with thousand petals. I offered the flowers and sweets I bought from the shop near temple and stood there praying for a few minutes. The priest gave me prasad and put a tilak on my forehead. The prayer made me peaceful and relaxed, and then I got out, visiting the other shrines. On Tuesdays and Saturdays, which are regarded as the auspicious days, there is a huge crowd of devotees.