Sunderbans Tiger Reserve
Sunderbans, the world’s largest delta and mangrove swamp, is formed by the merging of three rivers- the Ganga, the Brahmaputra and the Meghna- and has a 2,585 sq km wildlife sanctuary that extends into Bangladesh. The Wildlife Sanctuary, which is the world’s largest estuarine sanctuary, has some of India’s most interesting wildlife, and is worth a visit. Spreading over a series of densely forested islands and saline water channels, Sunderbans is home to spotted deer, wild pigs, monkeys, herons, kingfishers, white bellied eagles and over 200 Royal Bengal tigers.
Botanical Gardens of Kolkata were established by the British officer Col. Kyd in the year 1786, who wished to create an institute for research, and facilitate cultivation of a variety of crops from across the world. Situated at a convenient distance of 8 km away from the city, the gardens cover an area of around 273 acres. The Kolkata Botanical garden is credited with being one of the oldest and largest botanical gardens of India, containing an astonishing 12,000 living perennial plants and millions of dried out plants gathered from across the globe.
Howrah Bridge, located over the Hooghly River in Kolkata, West Bengal, is said to be the busiest bridge in the world. Also known by the name 'Rabindra Setu', Howrah Bridge was set up in 1874 and was opened to traffic in 1943. It derived its name owing to the fact that it connects the city of Howrah to Kolkata. Howrah Bridge, also termed as the gateway of Kolkata, is one such structure which due to its magnificence and stately appeal has been the face of Kolkata for over a century.
One of the renowned monuments in Kolkata, Victoria Memorial was built in the loving memory of Queen Victoria in 1921. Built and designed by Sir William Emerson, the Victoria Memorial Hall is an impressive edifice, which is made in white marble and is a perfect blend of Mughal and European architectural styles. The Victoria Memorial is also a museum that houses some rare pictures, and statues of men and women who played a prominent part in the history of India and develop a pride in their past especially in relation to the history of Calcutta. In addition the museum also houses dresses, along with several artillery weapons from the Battle of Plassey, the Whispering Gallery in the dome and the famed Rosewood piano.
Japanese Buddhist temples
The only Japanese Buddhist temple in Kolkata is located on the southern fringe of the Rabindra Sarovar. It was established in 1935 by Nichidatsu Fujii, founder of the worldwide Buddhist association, the Nipponzan Myohoji. Monks offer prayers in Japanese, to the sound of beating drums, in the early morning hours and at dusk. There are no restrictions on entry to the main temple even when prayers are in progress. Outside the main temple building there is a pillar, with a message of peace engraved in Japanese, and a pair of lions that symbolise the guardians of the faith.
Hsuan Tsang Chinese Buddhist Temple (Monastery)
The Hsuan Tsang Monastery has remarkable resemblance with his Himalayan counterparts like Rumtek, Hemis and Tawang, each of which built over a large area containing several temples and other religious structures.Located in Paschim Chowbaga of the Tiljala region the Monastery is best approached from the Ruby Hospital on the Eastern Metropolitan Bypass. Regular auto services are available from Ruby to just sort of the Hsuan Tsang Monastery.
Myanmar (Burma) Buddhist Temple, Kolkata
The Maynmar (Burma) Buddhist Temple is located on 10 A Eden Hospital Road, next to the horse mounted statue of Rana Pratap, just off the Central Avenue. The two boards on the no descriptive three storied building are the only evidence of the Myanmar (Burma) Buddhist Temple in Kolkata (Calcutta).The Myanmar (Burma) Buddhist Temple of Kolkata (Calcutta) was established in 1928 by U San Min and the building was purchased for Rs 47,000. It was called the Burma Buddhist Dharmmasala which later came to be known as the Myanmar Buddhist Temple.
It is completely accessible by air. There are a number of domestic airlines that connect Kolkata with other major cities of India like Ahmedabad, Bagdogra, Bangalore, Bhubaneswar, Chennai, Delhi, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Lucknow, Mumbai, and Port Blair.
Kolkata is well linked to other parts of the country by railways. There are super fast trains like Rajdhani Express and Shatabdi Express that join Calcutta from Delhi and other nearby places. Calcutta consists of two major railway stations; one is located in Howrah and the other at Sealdah.
The city of joy is well linked with almost all the cities of India by road. The Esplanade Terminus is the main bus terminus that lies in the heart of the city. The latest development is the starting of Dhaka-Calcutta buses, which are fully air-conditioned and also very comfortable.
Best Time to Visit Kolkata
The best time to visit Kolkata is between October and March when you will conveniently miss the sweaty, humid and suffocating Bengal summer. You will also be in time for the frenzied celebrations of Durga Puja the worship of the goddess of strength, symbolising good over evil. It is a ten-day ritual held in the month of October.
Tourist places iin Kolkata
Academy of Fine Arts
Established in 1933, the Academy of Fine Arts holds impressive collection of Indian art. Majority of the pieces have been donated by Lady Ranu Mukherjee from her personal collection. The collection includes rare paintings of Rabindranath Tagore, Jamini Roy, contemporary Indian art, mediaeval Bengal and Indian textiles, sculptures, miniature paintings, manuscripts. There is a room dedicated to Rabindranath Tagore which displays some of his personal belongings. The auditorium hosts group theatres, dance programs and various cultural shows through out the year.
Art Galleries: Daily open 3-8 pm except national holidays.
Agri-Horticultural Garden is situated in Alipore and was founded by William Carey in 1820. This garden has a significant collection of botanical varieties with facilities for gardeners and plant/flower lovers. The pleasant and quiet garden is ideal for a walk. There is state-of-the-art greenhouse in the garden which was donated by the royal family of Darbhanga. Picnic is not allowed.
Designed by Armenian architects (Aga Nazar and Katchik Arfiel) in the early 18th century, this is the oldest extant church in Kolkata today. The Armenians settled in the city in 17th century and used to be a vibrant community. The church was originally designed as a wood structure, which was later replaced by a brick and mortar building. The interior is decorated with marble and the overhead gallery contains mural tablets. Three oil paintings by artist A.E. Harris can be found in the altar.
Location: 1, Armenian Street (off Brabourne Road).
Located in the intersection of Park Street and Chowranghee, Asiatic Society was formed in 1784 by Sir William Jones and a group of Europeans with Warren Hastings as it's first patron. The library inside has approximately 149,000 volumes including 8,000 rare Sanskrit, Arabic, Persian and Hindi manuscripts. It is also rich with archaeological relics, geological and ethnological specimens. The rooms of the society contain valuable work of art, including original paintings by Reubens, Guiles, Reynolds and others. The library also has an interesting collection of manuscripts, coins, inscriptions and engravings. The Ashokan rock edict is a unique item here.
Asutosh Museum of Modern Art
Located at Centenary building of University of Calcutta. In 1937 the Asutosh Museum of Indian Art was opened in the Western Hall of the then Senate House. This museum has rare and valuable collections including Bengal patachitra paintings, katha shilpo art, folk art, terra cotta, ivory art etc.
This magnificent temple located on the bank of river Ganges is the head quarter of the Ramakrishna Mission. It was conceptualized by Swami Vivekananda, the illustrious disciple of Ramakrishna Paramhansa. The construction took four years and was completed on 1899. The temple building is one of the finest specimen of temple architecture in India. The display includes Swami Vivekananda's room, meditation bed, belongings etc. From the temple, one can have a panoramic view of the holy river Ganges.
Inaugurated in 1963, Birla Planetarium was the first of it's kind in India. The Planetarium owns an astronomical observatory equipped with a Celestron C-14 Telescope.
The central dome has a diameter of 27 meter. The building is modeled after the Buddhist Stupa at Sanchi. The central hall can accommodate 500 people which hosts daily shows in English, Hindi and Bengali.
Located on the bank of the river Ganga near Bally Bridge, Dakshineswar Temple remains as one of the most important Hindu temple in Kolkata. The main temple houses an idol of Goddess Kali on a silver lotus with thousand petals. There are twelve spires known as Navratna Temple and a courtyard surrounded by 12 other temples dedicated to Lord Siva. Shri Shri Ramakrishna, the great 19th century religious personality attained enlightenment in this temple. There is a congregation of 5 ancient trees known as Panchavati, a spot for meditation. The temple is full of memoirs of Ramakrishna and his wife Sarada Devi. On an average, over 40,000 people visit this temple every day.
The GPO (General Post Office) building is located in BBD Bag area with it's 220 feet high dome, Ionic-Corinthian pillars and Edwardian architecture. Designed by Walter B. Granville and built in 1868, the building is of immense archaeological interest.
The adjoining area is postal museum exhibiting stamps and artifacts commemorating history of Indian postal services. At the southwestern end of the building is the Philatelic Bureau, which is a collector's delight. GPO serves as the chief post office of the state of West Bengal.
The oldest High Court of India opened in 1872. The red and yellow Gothic style architecture is replica of the Stadt-Haus (town hall) at Ypres in Belgium and was architected by Walter Granville. The tower is about 195 feet tall.
The building hosts an impressive Bar library and a Judge's library.
The largest museum in the country was constructed in 1878. Prior to that the museum was located at the Asiatic Society building. The museum has now over sixty galleries of art, archaeology, anthropology, geology, zoology and botany sections, spreading over ten thousand square feet area
Timings: Tue-Sun 10am - 5pm (Monday closed)
Entrance fee Rs.10 (Rs.150 for foreigner)
The temple is believed to be 350 years old. The earliest mention of Kalighat is found in 'Ain-i-Akbari' (a historical document written during the time of Mughal Emperor Akbar) in the 16th century. Kalighat is the temple of Goddess 'Kali', the deity of power.
The temple was rebuilt in 1809 and renovated in 1971. A black stone idol of Goddess Kali decorated with gold and silver ornaments is ensconced here.
Local landlord Rajendra Mullick built this palace in 1855 using Italian marble.The palace has an interior courtyard, complete with a throne room. The building has paintings of Rubens, Reynolds.
Location: 46 Muktaram Basu Street (off Chittaranjan Avenue)
Entrance Fee: FREE but you must obtain a permit from West Bengal Tourism Office.
Timings: 10am-04pm (except Monday and Thursday)
This is the largest mosque in Kolkata. The mosque was built in 1926 by a merchant from Kutch named Abdur Rahim. The red sandstone building with two 46 meter high minarets and a brightly painted magnificent dome displays Indo-Saracenic architectural style. The structure was modeled on Akbar's tomb in Sikandara near Agra.
The mosque is located in Chitpore area and can accommodate 10,000 people.
Nehru Children's Museum
Among other things, this children's museum has displays of scenes from epics - Ramayana and Mahabharata, made with clay models. Museum also hosts a doll house with a collection of dolls from 88 countries.
St. Paul's Cathedral
When first built in 1847 by Bishop Wilson, this was the first Episcopal Cathedral Church in the eastern world. The Indo-Gothic style structure was severely damaged in earthquakes and was redesigned and rebuilt in 1938 replicating Bell Harry Tower of Canterbury Cathedral. The cathedral has many rare paintings and antique books. The interior is decorated with mosaic panels, stained glass windows, beautifully carved wooden pews, intricate artwork on walls and two marvelous Florentine frescoes. The church is 201 feet high.
Victoria Memorial was built between 1906 and 1921 in the memory of Queen Victoria. It's foundation stone was laid by Prince of Wales(George V) on January 4th, 1906, and was inaugurated by Prince of Wales(King Edward VIII) on 28 December 1921. This majestic while marble palace is located in southern part of the Maidan. The area comprises of 64 acres of land with gardens, pool and walk trails. The building covers 338 feet by 228 feet of land and the highest point is about 184 feet above the ground with a black bronze angel holding a bugle in her hand. The statue is about five meters tall, weighs 3,500 kg and rotates when the wind speed is high enough. Currently the memorial building serves as a museum. The building has galleries with paintings, portraits of eminent personalities, documents witnessing the city's history during the British period.
Also known as 'Mahakaran' in Bengali, this building houses the State Secretariat and is the official address of the Chief Minister of West Bengal. The Writers Building got it's name for being the dwelling place of the junior servants (who were also called as writers) of the East India Company during the early British era; since late 19th century the building started hosting the office of the Bengal Secretariat. The original building was constructed in 1779; the current red brick style structure was completed during the time of Lt. Governor Ashley Eden in 1882. The total area consists of 10 acres of land and thirteen four storied buildings. The building epitomizes the political revolution of Bengal.
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(3 Nights / 4 Days)
HOLLY SHRINE TOUR (Kolkata - 3N with Gangasagar)
Day 01: Kolkata Airport / Rly. Station – City Hotel
Meet & Greet on arrival at Airport / Railway Station & transfer to hotel. Check-in to hotel & rest of the day at leisure. Overnight stay at Kolkata.
Day 02: Gangasagar Excursion (110 kms / 4 hrs)
After early breakfast start for full day excursion to Gangasagar – An island in the confluence of River Ganga & Bay of Bengal & famous for Kapil Muni Ashram which is considered to be a great religious significance. Evening return back to Kolkata. Overnight stay at hotel.
Note: We will provide Ac vehicle for Kolkata to Ferry Ghat i.e. Lot No. 8 / Harwood Point (90 Km.) & back to Kolkata. After reaching Lot No. 8 you have to take the ferry to cross the Muriganga river for Kachuberia. And take private car for Sagar island from Kachuberia. Ferry cost & local vehicle cost from Kachuberia to Sagar Island & back on your own.
Day 03: Kolkata City Tour
After breakfast start for full day Kolkata city tour covering Howrah Bridge*, Belur Math, Vivekananda Setu*, Dakshineswar Temple, GPO*, Writers Building*, Eden Garden Stadium*, St. Pauls Cathedral Church, Victoria Memorial Hall, Mother House & Birla Temple. Overnight stay at Kolkata. (*Drive Pass)
Day 04: Kolkata Hotel – Kolkata Airport / Rly. Station
After breakfast check out from hotel and transfer to the Airport / Railway Station for onwards journey.