Sightseeing in Kolkata.
Wandering about in Kolkata - looking at colonial buildings, churches, mosques and the Victoria Memorial. There are quite a few old colonial buildings to saunter round and admire (i.e. walking around the streets looking at them from the outside) in Calcutta.
Also several extensive open areas for some fresh air and then the sheer beauty of the Victoria Memorial building and it's excellent ponds and grounds.
When Clive of India built the new fort the surrounding are was left open giving line of sight for the military. The fort was built alongside the Hooghly River and the large open grass area around it is called Maiden (field). This remains a vast open access area where various sports are played. People walk ad picnic and there even sheep grazing. The racecourse and polo ground are in one
corner and Eden Gardens (cricket ground) are all within the park. Almost certainly the most outstanding feature here is the beautiful Victoria Memorial which is a magnificent white marble building within gardens.
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Victoria Memorial gardens
Victoria Memorial Bridge
Victoria Memorial Calcutta
Victoria Memorial Edward vII
The Victoria Memorial Museum entry gate is along Queens Way - the museum itself has an entrance fee of 150 rupees for non-Indians - the opening times for the museum are
10:00 to 17:00 but closed Mondays and official holidays. However the gardens are open every day including holidays - opening times 05:30 to 19:-00 and there is an entrance fee of 4 rupees.
The Memorial to Queen Victoria - who died in 1901 - was the brainchild of Lord Curzon who was Viceroy of India at the time. The cost for this was funded by donations from people throughout India. The classical domed building was
completed in 1921 and features Mughal Domes, colonnades and Italianate statues. Beautifully situated in gardens and fronted by water the bronze statue of Queen Victoria is in pride of place in the centre of the multi-arched bridge. Throughout the gardens there are many water features, beautiful trees and shrubs and places to sit - on one side there is also a small cafe and toilets. This
all makes a welcome relief from Calcutta's heat and dust - which is probably why many local people make their way there during the late afternoon.
Victoria Memorial Kolkata
Victoria Memorial park
Victoria Memorial pond
Victoria Memorial side view
Victoria Park Tram
Outside of the Victoria Memorial enclosure if you turn right along Queens Way road and then turn right onto Cathedral road which borders the Maiden. Going either left or right there are enclosed garden areas with water features, bridges, places to sit and so on - this is gated but is free
access however it does appear to close around dusk. Also right the way along in the early evening there are many stalls selling all sorts of food, drinks and welcome ice-creams too. There is also a tramline operating along the route and also not too far away (along Cathedral Road) you can take a look at the excellent and imposing St. Paul's Cathedral with it's very English looking
tower. Although you are free to look inside the Cathedral for some reason taking any photographs was not allowed.
St Paul's Cathedral
St Pauls Cathedral
Mahatma Ghandi Road
Visiting the beautiful and welcoming Nakhoda Mosque at Jacquaria Street and Rabindra Sarani, Kolutolla in Calcutta. Along Chitpur Road (now Rabindra Sarani) is the cities largest mosque - the Nakhoda Mosque. This famous Mosque is beautifully built in red sandstone and graced by one large and two smaller green domes - plus it has two large minarets which are
150 feet high and several small minarets. Built in 1926 to resemble Akbar's Tomb, the mosque covers four levels which are accessed by a wide staircase. The main courtyard contains two tanks and the Prayer Hall entrance - the latter is finely carved and arched and can accommodate up to 10,000 people at prayer times. Note that non Muslims are very welcome to look around the Mosque except
for going into the bottom courtyard and Prayer Hall. As is usually the custom, shoes have to be removed and it is courteous to leave a donation once finished looking round the Mosque.
Nakhoda Mosque dome
Nakhoda Mosque inner yard
Nakhoda Mosque ablution area
Nakhoda Mosque screen
Looking at some of the beautiful old buildings in Calcutta including the Writers Building, General Post Office, St. John's Church and St. Andrew's Curc. Just south of the above mosque is the area known as BBD which was originally called Dalhousie Square - where the clerks of the East India Company worked and lived. These young men became known as writers
hence the name Writers Building. In the area many of the British Colonial buildings remain in very good condition. On the opposite side of the Writers Building also take a look at a large tank called Lal Dighi which is set in pleasant gardens - although you cannot go inside them The tank is fed by springs and was once the sole source of water for the local community.
St. Andrew's Curc with it's impressive spire and
colonnades was consecrated in 1818 - of it's particular features is the beautifully carved pulpit which was made in Sri Lanka
and also it's old church pipe organ.
Job Charnock established the headquarters of the East India Company at Sutanuti Village on the east bank of the Hooghly in the 1690s and with Armenian support land was purchased and the first mud fort was constructed in 1699 i.e. Fort William. The General Post Office now stands on the site of this fort. The Post Office was built in the 1860s and designed
by Walter Granville - the pure white building is extremely impressive with it's huge dome and colonnaded lower area.
St Andrews Curc
Lal Dighi Tank
BBD Bagh Building
General Post Office
Standard Life Building
St Johns Church
St John's Church was the first parish church in Calcutta and founded in 1787 - the church is set in very pleasant grounds however for some reason at the gate you may be pressed to give an entrance fee - up to you but a church is a church and therefore open to all. There are several important monuments and memorials in the grounds - the tomb of Job Charnock, a memorial
to Lady Canning and a memorial to the massacre which occurred at the old Fort William in 1756.
The massacre - which came to be known as The Black Hole of Calcutta - involved the imprisonment inside one of the old Fort William's tiny dungeons of 146 British and Indian prisoners of war. The conditions within the dungeon were so cramped and hot that just 23 survived this overnight
imprisonment which occurred on the 20th June 1756.
St Johns Church memorials
Black Hole Calcutta memorial
Job Charnocks Tomb
Francis Johnsons Grave
Lady Cannings Memorial
Acre Road Mosque
Acre Road Mosque
The last three photos above are of just two of the many mosques which can be found in Calcutta - these mosques are within the Park Street Area of the City - about 1.5km or so to the east of St. Paul's Cathedral.
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