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Kolkata is known for a number of famous people who have impacted the Indian Society very deeply. Mother Theresa is one of those stalwarts who impacted Kolkata and India by her simple, yet profound, acts of service to people.
While one feels compelled to pay homage to such a person who walked among us, it is also humbling to see her living quarters. Visiting her tomb, reading about her life story and the works she has done, seeing the things she used and the room in which she lived does good for one's soul: it is a lesson in simple living, and in putting others ahead of oneself.
The visit would take about half an hour to forty-five minutes. One could choose to stay longer and soak in the peace and quiet of the monastery.
Visiting hours: 9 am - 12 noon; 3 pm to 5 pm
Closed on Thursdays
Nearest Metro: Park Street
Updated Mar 3, 2012
You can head to Kalighat for an hour of walk around the Kali Mandir, Nirmal Hriday, and the shops in the neighbourhood.
Kalighat derives its name from the Kali Mandir situated on the river bank of Ganges (river bank - 'ghat'); now the course of the river has changed over the years. Dedicated to godess Kali, this is one of the 51 Shakti Peethas in the Indian Subcontinent. Devotees from all over the country visit the temple. This is an especially important temple for the Hindus in Kolkata: and Kali is perceived as the protector of Kolkata
Nirmal Hriday, Missionaries of Charity's home for the destitute and dying, is located right next to the Kali Mandir. History has it that Mother Theresa tripped over a person in a hospital that she was visiting: this person was not attended to and was left to die as there was nothing that the hospital staff could do for her. Mother Theresa was deeply impacted to see a person treated worse than an animal and took the person and cared for her. This further motivated her to find more such people in order to help them find dignity when they were dying. Further to this, in 1952, the government officials of Calcutta provided the old and unused property belonging to the Kali Mandir to run the hospice. Following an uproar from the Hindu community, and then acceptance, Missionaries of Charity continue to run the hospice in Kalighat.
There are numerous shops selling temple related things, and then there are also shops further along the road that sell clothes, trinkets, jewels, bags, and many other things. It is interesting to walk through the bazaar here, like in the other parts of Kolkata.
Nearest Metro: Kalighat
Updated Feb 23, 2012
Address: Kalighat Road
This is a dream street for any book-lover! These bookshops selling used and new books, text books, and all other types of books, lined the pavements of the street for as far as eye could see.
Whether you intend to buy, or if you just like to walk amidst books, or if you, like me, like to window shop books, this is the perfect heaven.
If you are planning to buy make sure you have an empty knapsack and a full wallet. Also, you have to master the art of bargaining. If you like a book, then pretend that you are not interested. If they know you want it, then the drive the price up.
If you plan to window shop, well, trust me, you wouldn't stop with just window shopping; so carry an empty bag anyway.
After you are done shopping head to the Coffee House for refreshments, and hit the shops again.
If at any point you feel that your bag has gotten too heavy to carry, or that your wallet has gotten too light, then just hop in a tram and get away as fast as you can.
Nearest Metro: Central
Updated Feb 23, 2012
Every evening at around 7 pm there is a musical fountain show at the South-East corner of Victoria Memorial Gardens. For about 15 to 20 minutes, with light effects, these fountains are made to dance to music playing.
It is a pretty show, though, the sound system could be better. Children will enjoy the show.
What was more interesting was to watch the people that were coming for the show. We reached the place a bit early and were waiting for the show to start, and we ended up people watching. There were a lot of local people coming out to enjoy the show; young couples, old couples, friends, and so on. All of them were beautifully dressed. It gave a glimpse into what Esplanade could have meant to people some decades back.
Nearest Metro: Rabindra Sadan
Updated Feb 22, 2012
Address: Victoria Memorial Garden
During the British Raj in India, Kolkata was the capital for the longest time. Where the exertion of power is strongest, there resistance also tends to strongest. Thus, Bengal was at the centre of India's freedom struggle, rennaissance, and literary movements. Each of these elements were intertwined with one another and fed one another. As the resistance gathered momentum and became an increasingly painful thorn in the Raj's flesh they shifted capital to Delhi.
History of Bengal in a nutshell aside, Victoria Memorial was built to commemorate Queen Victoria, Queen of United Kingdom and Empress of India, who died in 1901. Building funds were donated by very many Indian people and Indian princes. Sir William Emerson, an architect, designed the building.
Currently, the building houses a museum. Various memorablia of the British Raj, paintings, photographs, and letters written by famous Indian freedom fighters are on display. There's a hall dedicated entirely to explaining the history of Kolkata, the arrival of the British as traders, their turning into rulers, emergence of freedom struggle, the Bengal Rennaissance, and so on.
One can spend a good 3 hours in the museum if interested in such things.
There is also a large garden surrounding the memorial hall where you can linger around for some time.
In the evenings, there's a musical fountain show in the gardens. More about it in that tip.
Entry Fee: Indian - Rs. 10; Foreigners - Rs. 150.
Photography not allowed inside the museum; however, it is allowed in the gardens.
Museum is closed on Mondays, January 26, August 15, October 2, December 25, for Id-ul-Fitr, and for Dusserah.
Closest Metro Station: Rabindra Sadan (or) Maidan
Updated Feb 21, 2012
Address: Circus Avenue, Kolkata
My fascination with Rabindranath Tagore began in school when we had to study his biography; and we also read some of his short stories in our English lessons. I have read about how he was one of 17 children, the cousins and brothers he grew up with, the plays that they put up at their house, his involvement in education and education reform, and other aspects of his life. For me, one of the highlights (for there were many) of visiting Kolkata was visiting Tagore's hometown.
Located in Rabindra Bharathi University campus, Takurbari (Tagore House) has been converted into a museum showcasing Rabindranath's living space, his and other Bengali artists' paintings, paintings and artefacts he collected during his various travels, photographs of Tagore family members and other people Rabindranath met during his travels, and history of Bengal Renaissance and Bhramo Samaj.
I spent about an hour in the museum. It was an interesting visit. While I have been exposed to his writing, this is the first time I have seen his paintings.
Entry fee: Rs. 10
Photography and bags not allowed inside the museum. Locker provision available.
Nearest Metro: MG Road
Other tourist attractions in the neighbourhood: Marble Palace
Note: There are two Rabindra Bharati University campuses: B.T. Road campus and Rabindra Sarani/Madan Chatterjee Lane campus. You should go to the campus on Rabindra Sarani/Madan Chatterjee Lane. This is especially useful if you are taking a taxi instead of the Metro. Girish Park would be another landmark you can use to direct the taxi driver.
Updated Feb 21, 2012
Address: Madan Chatterjee Lane, Jorasanko, Kolkata
I have always known about the history of this Kolkata Institution. I was thrilled to actually sit here, have a coffee, and absorb the atmosphere.
Famous sons of Kolkata, notably Rabindranath Tagore,Satyajit Ray and Subhas Chandra Bose frequented the Coffee House. The place became a meeting place for the poets, artistes, literati and people from the world of art and culture. In 1958, the management decided to shut down the Coffee House, but it was re-opened the same year, after professors of Presidency College and Calcutta University sent a special petition to the government, to save the heritage building. It has a very high ceiling, Punkah Fans, and a balcony upstairs.
The exterior of the Coffee House does not look inviting- but do go in and feel the atmosphere. Its a must-see in Kolkata.
Scholars, Poets, artists and writers like Tagore and Satyajit Ray would sit here and discuss & read their latest works. Several literary magazines owe their origin to the inspiration from the adda sessions at this coffee house.
It was also the breeding place of several political and cultural personalities and movements.
The fly-stained and faded walls have not changed or been upgraded. It must be exactly the way it always was. University students and scholars still frequent it. And the coffee is not as bad as some people might suggest. We met a delightful University Professor, and had interesting discussions with him for a few hours. Old photograph of Rabindranath Tagore looks down on the patrons approvingly.
Basic snacks are available
Updated Nov 30, 2011
Address: College Street Kolkata
I could not stop myself to write this tip as the forest and greenery always attract me. The library is situated on the scenic 30 acre (120,000 m²) Belvedere Estate, in Kolkata. Like the building, it has maintained well it's beautiful garden and centuries old vegetation. It has a vast forest area which has rare and well preserved trees like Mahogany, The great Bunyan tree, Fig,Peepal, Rosewood, Teak, Sal, Cork , Kikar and so many other trees , I don;t know the names.
It's worth visiting and spending sometime under the trees.
Updated Nov 7, 2011
Address: 18, Belvedere Road, Alipore, Kolkata
We visited National Library after a long time on last Sunday as there was an exhibition going on on Ancient China! Please note photography is not allowed inside the building but you can take as many pictures you want for this marvelous building.
The National Library, India is the largest library in the country. Housed in the former residence of the Lieutenant Governor of Bengal, the library contains almost 2 million books and nearly half a million documents. It is an institution of National importance under the 'Department of Culture, Ministry of Tourism & Culture, Government of India'. The library is designated to collect, disseminate and preserve the printed material produced in the country, attracts almost a thousand readers every day.
According to popular belief, this building was not built by the British. Azim - Us-Shaan is believed to have constructed it in 1700 A.D. After the Battle of Plassey, Vanceytart got charge of this Bhawan. He was an Italian who named this mammoth building 'Belvedierre'. The word connotes 'the queen of beauty'. Lady Hastings was also the owner of this house for a short while. He sold it to Major Tulley in 1780, The modern day 'Tollygunge' in Calcutta bears memoirs of Major Tulley. However, this building was put to auction after the demise of Major Tulley in 1802. In 1850, the Govt. took charge of this palatial house. Some believe that Nawab Meer Zaffar had once stayed in Belvedierre Bhawan.
Established in 1836, the Calcutta Public Library is not a Government institution. Pyarichand Mitra had tenaciously worked behind it. This can easily be regarded as the foundation of the National Library. It became the official residence of the Lieutenant Governor of Bengal..
Lord Curzon officially inaugurated the Imperial Library on 30th January 1903, at the Metcalfe Hall i.e. at the junction of Hare Street and Strand Road.
In 1923, the Library was shifted to 6, Esplanade East from Metcalfe Hall. The erstwhile department for 'old papers' still lies in this building. Again in 1953, the Library was reshifted to Belvedierre Bhawan. It was then named as The National Library or Jatiya Granthagar.
C. Raja Gopalachari, the then Governor General of India, rendered this proposal of shifting the library to Belvedierre Bhawan. Maulana Abul Kalam Azad was the Education Minister of India at that time. He corroborated this proposal. Finally On 1st February, 1953, its doors were opened for public use.
The library has separate Indian language division for Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Malayalam, Marathi, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu Languages. Sanskrit language division also collects and process Pali and Prakrit books. English books published in India are also collected under D.B. Act.
Around 18 thousand readers daily gather to accumulate knowledge on various subjects. The collection comprises about 20,00,000 books and 5,00,000 manuscripts. Its gigantic campus encompasses 130 acres of land. At present, the National Library is the 2nd largest public library in Asia for which several notable persons have donated their invaluable collections at different times. Sadar-Ud-ddin, the Zaminder of Buhor, Sir Ashutosh Mukherjee, Surendra Nath Sen etc. are some famous donors. These have added to the value and content of books in this prestigious institution.
» Timing - 9 A.M. to 8 P.M
» Phone No. -
Written Nov 7, 2011
Address: Belvedere, Kolkata-700027, West Bengal,
Phone: +91-33-2479-1381 to 1384
Science City Kolkata is a superb centre for all ages to experience fun and education with science. It has different sections which include the Space odyssey, Life Science Corners, Dynamotion, Science Park, the Dinosaurs Complex, Toy Train & Ropeway and many more. The chief attraction of Science City, Kolkata is the Space Theatre which is a circular auditorium beneath the dime shaped roof. Other attractions of the Science city are the musical fountain, a huge convention centre which accommodates up to 2300 persons. There are two other auditoriums too which can hold up to 450 people.
Science City is open from 9:00 a.m to 9:00 p.m. It remains open on Sundays and Public holidays except Holi (Indian Festival of colors).
Entry: Rs. 25.00 Per Person
Space Theatre: Rs. 50.00 Per Person
Evolution Park: Rs. 10.00 Per Person
3D Theater: Rs. 20.00 Per Person
Time Machine: Rs. 10.00 Per Person
Road Train: Rs. 10.00 Per Person
Cable Car: Rs. 25.00 Per Person
FOR ORGANISED GROUP
Entry: Rs. 20.00 Per Person
Space Theatre: Rs. 40.00 Per Person
Cable Car: Rs. 20.00 Per Person
FOR ORGANISED SCHOOL GROUPS
Entry: Rs. 10.00 Per Person
Space Theatre: Rs. 20.00 Per Person
3D Theater: Rs. 10.00 Per Person
Cable Car: Rs. 15.00 Per Person
FOR UNDER PRIVILAGED GROUPS
(Supported by documentary evidence)
Entry and Evolution Park: Rs. 2.00 Per Person
FOR BELOW POVERTY LINE (BPL) FAMILIES
(Submit photo copy of BPL card and photo identity)
All Ticket Fee Mentioned above are in Indian Currency.
Updated Sep 3, 2011
Address: Eastern Metropolitan Bypass, Kolkata
Phone: 2285 4343/2569/2607
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