Kolkata is a unique city in many ways. The city is one of the few places in the country where you are likely to come across the unlikely marriage between historic heritage and dynamic development. On the one hand, are the modern convention centres and seminar halls in Kolkata which invite business and trade and on the other are the grand old monuments that are reminiscent of the colonial era. Let us take a look at 7 such historical places in the city that take us back through time.
- Victoria Memorial – The Victoria Memorial, built between 1906 and 1921 in memory of Queen Victoria, is one of the most iconic monuments of India. This large, imposing white marble structure and the sprawling manicured lawns surrounding it is a stunning sample of the Indo-Saracenic revivalist style architecture that was the signature of architect William Emerson. Now a museum, the memorial is a place of historic interest.
- Paul’s Cathedral – One of the largest cathedrals in the country and the very first built by the British Empire in a (then) overseas territory, the St. Paul’s Cathedral is at the very heart of the city and its colonial heritage. The cathedral was initially built in 1847 but was rebuilt in 1897 and again in 1934. The Indo-Gothic architecture and its stain glass interiors make it worth a visit.
- Indian Museum – When it was founded in 1814, the Indian Museum of Kolkata was the only museum of the entire Asia Pacific region. The colonial style architecture of the building is as interesting as the large collections of history, natural sciences, and ancient cultures that are on display here. Apart from some impressive displays this museum also has a 4000-year-old Egyptian mummy on display.
- PrincepGhat Palladian porch – If you are done with a busy day’s work at the business district in and around Park Street and have some time before visiting one of the famous multi cuisine restaurants in Kolkata head over to PrincepGhat, one of the beautiful ghats on the banks of the river Hoogly. A brisk stroll will bring you to the Palladian porch built in the year 1843, in memory of the eminent Anglo-Indian scholar James Prinsep.The massive pillars on this colonial porch and the Greek and Gothic inlays impart this structure a significance that you are bound to admire.
- JorasankoThakurbari – The home of Nobel laureate and poet-philosopher Rabindranath Tagore, the Jorasanko Thakur Bari, is the perfect picture of traditional Bengali architecture. It is home to the rich treasure of Tagore’s relics and his rich legacy. The house where Rabindranath Tagore spent most of his childhood days is now a museum.
- Howrah Bridge – The towering Howrah Bridge (RabindraSetu) that forms the primary bridge connecting Kolkata and Howrah districts, is one of the most iconic representations of West Bengal’s capital city. Built around the time our country gained independence, it remains one of the busiest bridges in the country. The best way to view it is from a boat ride across the Hoogly.
- Marble Palace – The imposing Marble Palace is a palatial mansion built 1835 Raja RajendraMullick who was a wealthy man and a connoisseur of art. The sprawling palace is made up entirely of marble and is full of sculptures, fountains, and art pieces. The Neoclassical style architecture and the palace itself is still a private residence and can only be viewed from outside.