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10 Best places to visit in Kolkata

Kolkata is one of the busiest cities in West Bengal. It is located at the Eastern banks of Hoogly river. The city is home to the oldest functioning port in India and is the 3rd most populated metropolitan in India after Mumbai and Delhi. The region came under the Suzerainty of the Nawabs of Bengal under the Mughals and eventually the British who took full control of the city in 1772. The city is also the

center of the industrial revolution in India and the birthplace of modern Indian cultural, poetic, artistic and literary movement in between the 19th and the early 20th centuries. The city was also the capital of India under the British and was the nucleus of the Indian Independence Movement. The various blends of cultures have garnered Kolkata as one of the major tourist destinations in India. Some of the most famous places in Kolkata are:
1. Victoria Memorial - The Victoria Memorial is a large marble building in Central Kolkata, which was built between 1906 and 1921. It is dedicated to the memory of Queen Victoria, Empress of India from 1876 to 1901. Following the death of Queen Victoria in January 1901, it was suggested by Lord Curzon, then-Viceroy of India, that a fitting memorial to the late Queen-Empress be created. Lord Curzon proposed the construction of a grand building with a garden. It is now a museum under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture, and is the largest monument in the world which is dedicated to a royal. The museum contains 25 galleries that house various antiquities and artifacts. The memorial lies on the Maidan and is one of the famous monuments of Kolkata.

2. Howrah Bridge - The Howrah Bridge is a balanced cantilever bridge 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 cities of Howrah and Kolkata. 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 Howrah Bridge stretches across 705 meters and has a width of 71 feet, not including the 14 feet footpaths on both sides. At the time of its construction this made it the 3rd longest bridge of its kind. Today, it is regarded as the 6th longest cantilever bridge in the world.

3. Indian Museum - The Indian Museum in Kolkata is the largest and the oldest museums in India and was established in 1814. The museum contains 6 sections which are further split in 35 galleries and contain a plethora of various antiquities, artifacts, paintings and mummies etc. The museum was established by a Dutch botanist under the British, Dr. Nathaniel Wallich and is one of the oldest museums in the world.

4. Eden Garden - The arrival of the British in India, gave the country its most favourite sport Cricket. Eden Gardens are a massive capacity cricket ground and is often called a Cricket Colosseum. The Eden Gardens are the largest capacity cricket ground in the country and the 3rd largest in the world. The Stadium is one of the most iconic cricket grounds in India and is home to the Kolkata Knight Riders cricket club in the Indian Premier League.

5. Princep Ghat - Prinsep Ghat, located on the banks of River Hooghly, is a majestic structure famous for its Greek/ Gothic inlays. The beauty of Princep Ghat draws architecture and history buffs in large numbers, but even locals visit to absorb the regal vibe of the attraction. With the magnificent Howrah Bridge in the background, watching the sunrise or sunset and taking a long walk in the cool air are some of the preferred activities. Prinsep Ghat is one of the few locations that have been restored to maintain the pre-independence aura. It is, therefore, a favourite amongst photographers especially for pre-wedding shoots. In between exploring the attraction, if one feels like grabbing a bite, there are several food kiosks to choose from that serve scrumptious local snacks.

6. Science City - Science City is one of the most preferred science centers in the city. The science park is under the management of the National Council of Science Museums with it’s headquarter located in Kolkata itself. The place holds different types of exhibitions based on multiple science topics. Some of the science topics include Freshwater aquarium - It consists of different types of fishes for one to observe. and Power of ten that explains the micro and macro phenomenon of the universe. Also, Illusions - one of the most interesting activities that teaches the importance of visual perception in terms of placement and motion. In a huge garden area called Live butterfly, lies this butterfly enclave. People can observe the movement of butterflies from one place to another.

7. Nicco Park  - Nicco Park was established in 1991 and is called the ‘Disneyland of West Bengal’. Nicco Park serves as a home to more than 30 rides and attractions. Among these, the Water Coaster, Water Merry-go-Round, Caterpillar, Twist-&-Turn, are a few that you must try if you are going there for the first time. However, if you want to have some utterly adrenaline-rushing moments, then do not forget to try out the ‘Cyclone - The Roller Coaster’ ride. Known as the largest roller coaster of India, the roller coaster bogey of the ride runs on a 750-meter-long track. Most amusement rides of the Nicco Park are quite fun as well as recreational. Due to this reason, it is loved and adored by almost everyone who comes here to spend their holidays in an entertaining and exciting way.

8. Alipore Zoological Garden – Alipore Zoological Garden occupy a total of over 46 acres and houses close to 1266 animals. This zoological garden is among the oldest zoological parks in India today. The garden serves as a habitat for different species of mammals, reptiles, birds as well as primates. Also known as Calcutta Zoo, It is one of the oldest zoological parks established in India. The Alipore Zoo attracts a flock of tourists from various locations, especially during winters. The Zoo is home to the expired Aldabra giant tortoise 'Adwaita', a tortoise which is almost extinct (from the year 2006). Nature enthusiasts would love this place due to its abundant and plentiful wildlife.

9. Rabindra Sarobar Lake - Rabindra Sarobar is a popular man-made lake, and was previously known as Dhakuria Lake. Today the lake occupies a total area of 300,000 square meters. The lake is surrounded by several trees of different varieties which makes the air around the lake very fresh. It is one of the most attractive and peaceful places in the city making it a common place for people to take walks or meditate. Additionally, it is also a good canvas for people interested in naturalistic photography.

10. Birla Planetarium - Birla Planetarium is India’s biggest planetarium that features the largest projection of the night sky in the dome theatre. The structure has one floor and has a design that agrees with the Buddhist Stupa. It was constructed in 1963 and now serves as a museum. Inauguration of the planetarium was done by the then Prime Minister of India, Sri Jawaharlal Nehru. Birla Planetarium is among the largest planetariums in the continent of Asia.

By-
Aritri Ghosh
Amity University, Kolkata

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