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Tourist spot in West Bengal

Discussion in 'West Bengal' started by Neeva, Sep 4, 2016.

  1. Neeva

    Neeva New Member

    I have the same day flight from Bangalore to West Bengal and then back again. I am not sure how much spare time I would have left after I have done the work which I am going there for. But if I do, I would love to go and see a place in West Bengal.

    I would like to know which is one tourist spot in West Bengal which you wouls suggest I go and see?
     
  2. ranjitb

    ranjitb New Member

    You haven't mention the flight timing. However, if you are ready to spare at least 6-7 hours then you may visit in Kol are Howrah Bridge, Jorasanko Thakurbari, Indian Museum, Victoria Memorial, Calcutta Racecourse, Eden Gardens, Marble Palace Mansion, Dakshineswar & Kalighat Temple etc.
     
  3. briannagodess

    briannagodess Well-Known Member

    Hello, @Neeva, welcome to the forum!

    The Only Place You Need to Visit

    If you only have time to visit one place in West Bengal, then it has to be Kolkata. While most tourists opt to visit metro cities like Delhi or Mumbai when in India, Kolkata remains in the shadow of these two destinations. But the truth is, Kolkata is every bit as interesting as these metro cities. It's a city of contrasts, from its colonial structures and to its modern structures.

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    Kolkata (Image Courtesy of Trek Earth)

    It is also a city of only's, like the only riverine port can be found here, as well as the only cantilever bridge in the country. It is the state's cultural hub and visiting Kolkata means that you would get a glimpse of the entire state in just one place. Kolkata is a melting pot of different cultures, and you would understand here that art, music, theatre and dance are regarded as important aspects of one's life.

    Did you know that Kolkata has one of the most affordable rates when it comes to metro cities? Yes, everything here is cheaper, from the transportation, food and even to room rentals. Thus, if you have budget restraints but still want to enjoy the city life, Kolkata might be a good option for you. Rich in experiences but never too expensive for anyone's pocket.

    The people of Kolkata are also the most passionate ones you'd ever find. It's not rare to find friendly debates happening in public places. They are intellectual yet warm and even a stranger can get invited to chats and debates. As such, tourists are regarded as guests here and over time, even family by people whom they have spend so much time with.

    In your short time in Kolkata, you can fit in plenty of places to visit. Most of the attractions in Kolkata are located quite close to each other, you can easily hire a rickshaw to take you from one place to another.

    Best Places to Visit in Kolkata

    Religious
    • Dakshineswar Kali Temple - Standing tall on the banks of the Hooghly River is the Dakshineswar Kali Temple. Its high spires, along with its creamy facade with accents of red, is very much distinct. It's also not unusual to see throngs of pilgrims and tourists in the temple. The temple was built around the 18th century by Rani Rashmoni. The main sanctum houses a black statue of Goddess Kali standing over the chest of her consort, Lord Shiva. In the temple's courtyard, you can find several shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva too. There are also rooms with shrines dedicated to Rani Rashmoni and Ramakrishna, who managed the temple premises for many years.
    • Birla Temple - Although comparatively smaller than the Dakshineswar Kali Temple, the Birla Temple in Ballygunge is one of the most serene religious sites in the city. It is owned by the Birla Industries, which has several more temples around the country. Unlike the former temple, it has a simple white facade with some intricate carvings of animals and geometric shapes. Inside the temple, there are also carvings taken from the Bhagavat Gita. The main sanctum houses an idol of Lord Krishna and Radha. There are also smaller shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva and Durga.
    • Pareshnath Jain Temple - This is perhaps the most beautiful temple in Kolkata. As soon as you enter its garden, you would notice the well-maintained lawns along with the fountains and water reservoir that add some charm to the place. Numerous statues also line the garden which are quite exquisite as they are made from white marble. The temple also looks regal, with its high spire and gleaming white facade. There are four different temples here, but the sanctum of the main temple is dedicated to Sri Sital Nath Ji. Inside the temple, the interiors are very bit as beautiful, with mirror inlays and stained glass works. Chandeliers and wall murals give the temple its unique look too.
    • Kalighat Kali Temple - Being one of the Shakti Peethas in India, the Kalighat Kali Temple is revered sacred by many locals and pilgrims. It is located in a busy area in Kolkata yet it still exudes some spirituality and serenity. The main sanctum houses an idol of the wrathful but liberating Goddess Kali. The idol is made of black stone but there's a long protruding tongue made of gold, which is what makes the statue quite different. Her four hands are also made of gold and she has three eyes. There are also other shrines dedicated to her consort, Lord Shiva, and Radha Krishna.
    • Saint John's Church - A stone and brick structure, the Saint John's Church is regarded as one of the oldest churches in Kolkata. It is a very simple church even on the inside, but the chandelier and stained glass works do stand out. There are plenty of memorials within the church premises because it stands on an old burial ground. The tomb of Job Charnock, the founder of Kolkata, can be found within the church premises as well, along with the graves of his other relatives. There are also memorials for Lady Canning, Robert Hedges and even the soldiers who died in the Black Hole tragedy.
    Historical
    • Jorasanko Thakur Bari - Rabindranath Tagore is the first ever Asian Nobel laureate and he is a proud Bengali. In fact, his ancestral home is located in Kolkata and is now a tourist attraction in the city, known as the Jorasanko Thakur Bari. A stroll outside the house would mesmerise you, imagine this red structure in the olden times and understand its grandeur. Inside, mementos and personal photographs would greet you, giving you a glimpse of the very fruitful life of the poet/musician/humanitarian that is of Tagore.
    • Swami Vivekananda's Ancestral House - Yet another influential person born in Kolkata is Swami Vivekananda. His ancestral home is located in the city too but it has changed over the years. Once there was a full garden that lined the front yard and with modernity, this garden was gone. Fortunately, much of the inner structures and artefacts of the house remained the same, due to the efforts of the Ramakrishna Mission. You can find the room where Swami stayed during his childhood as well as his brothers' rooms. Personal items like musical instruments, boxing gloves and clothes of Swami can also be viewed here. There are also family items like hookahs, kitchenwares and an ancient clock that you can view here. You can also watch some short films about Swami's life here.
    • Fort William - Unfortunately, Fort William isn't accessible for tourists as it is occupied by the Eastern Command Head Quarters of the Indian Army. Back then though, the original Fort William was built in the last quarter of the 16th century by Sir Charles Eyre. It a few years to complete but then in the middle of the 17th century, it was conquered by Siraj Ud Daulah. The present fort structure is a newer one, built around the end of the 17th century. If you do have connections, you can visit the fort although it's very rare to be allowed entry inside it. There are several structures inside the fort including a swimming pool, golf course and auditorium. Army equipments like a fighter plane and a tanker can also be seen inside.
    • Howrah Bridge - The Howrah Bridge is one of the most important landmarks in Kolkata. It was built before the middle of the 19th century and has since then became one of the busiest bridges in the country. It is also the 6th largest cantilever bridge in the world, made without any nuts or bolts too. To join parts and ends, the steel was riveted instead which makes it quite unique. When the bridge is illuminated during night time, it sparkles in the darkness of Kolkata and is definitely sight to behold. A trip to Kolkata won't be complete without even having a glimpse of this bridge over the Hooghly River that connects the city to its twin, Howrah.
    • Kolkata Trams - The oldest running trams in Asia can be found in Kolkata. As such, these trams are part of the history and legacy of the city. They are slow, yes, but they're also the cheapest mode of transport available. Do visit the Kolkata Smaranika Tram Museum in Esplanade, which is actually a part of the tram route. Here, the first tram in Asia has been converted into a museum/cafe. Enjoy a cup of espresso while learning more about the fascinating history of trams in Kolkata. Mementos like tram tickets, driver's apparels and badges, plus many more can be viewed here.
    Museums
    • Victoria Memorial Hall - With a fusion of both British and Mughal architecture, the Victoria Memorial Hall stands as one of the best attractions of Kolkata. The memorial hall is dedicated to Queen Victoria and it was built under the patronage of Lord Curzon. Its imposing white facade set against the green lawns is quite stunning and regal. Did you know though that the place where the memorial hall stands was once the location for a prison? Yes, the New Presidency Prison was once setup here before it was moved to Alipore. Now though, evidences of that prison is long gone. The Victoria Memorial Hall now holds galleries, showcasing portraits of the royals of Britain along with other galleries like weaponries, sculptures and many more.
    • Indian Museum - Built around the 18th century, the Indian Museum in Kolkata is the oldest of its kind in India. The museum has about 60 galleries, showcasing the rich culture and heritage of India. Noteworthy of which is the Archeological Section of the museum, which has over 150 reliefs and statues of different deities of different religions, most especially Buddhism. The Art Section also has paintings, not only from India, but also from other countries like China, Japan and Nepal. The Geological Section and Zoological Section house minerals and fossils respectively.
    • Science City - Although mainly catering to children, even adults would enjoy this attraction as it is full of informational exhibits. Did you know that this is the largest science exhibit centre in the whole country? It is divided into two parts: an exhibition centre and a convention centre. The exhibition centre has various sections, like the Space Odyssey, transporting you to outer space or the Mirror Magic, where you can get lost in a series of mazes. On the other hand, the convention centre has different halls for events that occur in the premises like shows or conferences.
    Parks
    • Maidan - There's no better place to relax in Kolkata than in Maidan. This is the lungs of the city, where there's lush greenery and fresh air all around. Enjoy watching locals playing cricket or the throngs of children running around the park. Something a bit touristy that you must do here is to ride a horse-drawn carriage. There are also street food stalls here so eat to your heart's content while enjoying the views around you. Or you can also bring your own book and relish in the serenity of the place, especially during late afternoons.
    • Eco Tourism Park - A newer attraction in the city yet has captured the attention of many locals and tourists already is the Eco Tourism Park. Set amidst 194 hectares of lush greenery, it is a lively place yet quite serene. There's an artificial lake here too with boating facilities that you can take advantage of. Or you can just take a stroll along the numerous gardens inside the park, like the butterfly garden, rose garden and rock garden. There are a few food joints within the park too in case you get hungry.
    Wildlife
    • Kolkata Zoological Garden - Built around the 18th century, the Kolkata Zoological Garden in Alipore is the oldest zoo in India. Animals like Bengal tigers, leopards, sloth bears, barking deers, one-horned rhinos and many more can be seen here. Reptiles such as crocodiles, snakes and iguanas can also be seen in the park. Ticket price is very minimal too at just Rs. 20 which helps to maintain the zoo premises as well as care for the animals. There's also a small lake here that attracts plenty of birds especially during summer season. Just opposite the main zoo is the aquarium where marine animals can be viewed.
    Enjoy your trip to West Bengal!:)
     

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