The city of Kolkata has a rich historical legacy.
The numerous beautiful monuments, buildings, and architectural wonders situated in various parts of the city reflect its glorious past.
In this article, you will get to know about the following historical locations in Kolkata,
- Prinsep Ghat
- Victoria Memorial
- Indian Museum
- Jorasanko Thakur Bari
- Tipu Sultan Mosque
- Howrah Bridge
- Belur Math
- Marble palace
- St. Paul Cathedral
- Writers Building
- Shaheed Minar
- Dakshineshwar Kali Temple
Let us see each of these places in detail…
1. Prinsep Ghat
Prinsep Ghat is a popular historical landmark in Kolkata that you can visit.
In 1841, this elegant white building was built in memory of an Anglo-Indian historian James Princep and the adjacent ghat of Ganga was named Princep Ghat.
A closer look at the history reveals that Princep Ghat was one of the oldest historical sites in Kolkata built on the banks of the Hooghly River.
It is a magnificent building known for its Greek and Gothic design.
The memorial is situated at the centre of a square, with Ionian columns supporting its 40-foot-long white roof.
You can visit here with your family and friends, relax amidst nature, stroll along the gardens, lawns and, the ghats of Ganga.
2. Victoria Memorial
The Victoria Memorial, located in the heart of Kolkata, is an iconic historical landmark.
This place is must visit for anyone visiting Kolkata.
It is a white marbled palatial structure that was built by Lord Curzon in memory of Queen Victoria of England.
The memorial is surrounded by a lush green and well-maintained garden that spans 64 acres and contains numerous statues and sculptures.
At the top of the memorial, a sixteen-foot-tall bronze statue of victory is mounted on ball bearings which adds to the overall charm and beauty of the complex.
The Victoria Memorial looks stunning especially at night when it is illuminated and many visitors come here to enjoy the light and sound shows. (Click to see timings and other details)
It has antique collections of manuscripts, photographs, paintings, etc.
3. Indian Museum
The Indian Museum is one of the oldest museums in the world and the largest in India.
It is among Kolkata’s most popular museums.
Dr. Nathaniel Wallich, a famous Danish botanist, founded the Indian Museum in the Asiatic Society Building.
Since then, it has been a prime center of multidisciplinary activities.
It is popularly known as ‘Jadughar,’ and it houses the best collection of contemporary paintings, sacred Buddha relics, Egyptian mummies, and ancient sculptures.
The Indian Museum also houses some of the most exquisite collections of souvenirs, ornaments, fossils, skeletons, antique collections, armors, and exquisite Mughal paintings.
4. Jorasanko Thakur Bari
Jorasanko Thakur Bari is one of Kolkata’s most exquisite heritage structures.
This beautiful house is the birthplace of the Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore and the place where he spent his early and later years.
The Thakur bari has been converted into a museum and has many kinds of literature and artworks of Rabindranath Tagore that have been displayed in the galleries.
The founders of the Bengal School of Art, Gaganendranath and Abanindranath Tagore, also lived at Thakur Bari.
The Jorasanko Thakur Bari has been transformed into Rabindra Bharati University, a hub for quality education and Indian Classical Fine Arts.
5. Tipu Sultan Mosque
The Tipu Sultan Mosque, which is 180 years old, is well-known for its religious significance.
It has a remarkable history that connects it to Tipu Sultan, the ruler of Mysore. This mosque in Kolkata was constructed in Tipu Sultan’s memory by his youngest son, Prince Ghulam Mohammed.
The architecture of the Tipu Sultan Shahi Mosque looks stunning. It has 16 domes and four minarets that are colored dark green. The external walls are light green.
The minarets of the mosque seem to be piercing the sky, representing a special legacy.
6. Howrah Bridge
Howrah Bridge is an iconic symbol of Kolkata and represents the City of Joy.
The bridge, which is the sixth-longest suspended span cantilever bridge in the world, is one of Bengal’s earliest engineering and architectural marvels.
The Hooghly River suspension Bridge is standing without any pillar support for the past 76 years, and it has witnessed many historical events, including World War II.
It connects two important districts of West Bengal, Kolkata and Howrah, and is a symbol of Bengal’s regal past and present.
Howrah Bridge serves as Kolkata’s entrance. You need to cross this bridge if you want to enter Kolkata from Howrah station.
The bridge is 705 meters long and has 8 lanes that are all 97 meters wide.
During the evening, people can enjoy the stunning views of the illuminated Howrah Bridge and the sparkling River Ganges.
7. Belur Math
Belur Math the main office of Ramakrishna Math and Mission is a symbol of one universal faith. It is located in north Kolkata on the west bank of the Hooghly River.
The Math is situated on 40 acres and is encircled by lush landscaping and palm trees.
This holy shrine was built by Swami Vivekananda along with his monk brothers.
Along with the main monastery, the site houses individual temples with relics devoted to Swami Vivekananda, Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi, and Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa.
Belur Math is one of the most significant places that visitors must see because of its fascinating history, stunning architecture, and status as a monastery of the highest spiritual significance.
Joyrambati Matri Mandir and Kamarpukur are also maintained by Ramakrishna Math and Mission.
8. Marble Palace
The beautiful Marble Palace was built in 1835 by a wealthy Bengali merchant named Raja Rajendra Mullick.
The Grand Mansion is an architectural marvel that combines neoclassical elements with traditional Bengali elements and touches on the Chinese style of architecture.
It was built with premium quality Italian marble, giving the entire structure a majestic appearance.
With lawns, gardens, a lake, a rock garden, and a zoo nearby, this three-story building stands out among other historical monuments.
The Marble Palace also has an extensive collection of priceless paintings and artwork that attracts many history buffs every day.
(Click to know more about the Marble Palace)
9. St. Paul Cathedral
Anglican cathedral St. Paul’s is operated by the Church of North India (CNI). It is a must-see destination for tourists looking for educational, historical, and architectural delights.
Bishop Wilson orchestrated the building of St. Paul’s Cathedral, which was built by Major William Nairn Forbes and C.K. Robinson.
This enormous building in the heart of the city transports you back to colonial days.
The framework of the Indo-Gothic-style building is complete with a tall spire, colorfully tinted windows, and a cascading white edifice.
Its interior features an enormous nave, a magnificent altar, and a chancel, as well as carvings and paintings that reflect significant moments and events in Christian history.
10. Writers Building
The Writers Building was the previous headquarters of the West Bengal State Government. It is a 242-year-old heritage building.
It was designed by Thomas Lyon and was erected in 1777 to house the East India Company, which operated under the Bengal Province of the Mughal Empire.
The building is distinguishable even from a distance due to its striking red brick.
It is situated in the BBD Bagh neighborhood to the north of Lal Dighi lake and provides stunning views of the lake.
The Writer’s building, constructed in a neo-classical style with majestic Corinthian columns, was the very first three-story structure in former Calcutta.
11. Shaheed Minar
The Shaheed Minar, also known as the Martyrs’ Monument, was built in Sir David Ochterlonys’ honor. Previously it was known as The Ochterlony Monument.
The Minar is situated near the Brigade Grounds at the northernmost end of Maidan in the Esplanade neighborhood of Kolkata, India.
It rises to a height of 48 meters (157 feet) and was called the “Cloud kissing monument” by Mark Twain.
The fixed column features a Syrian top portion and a Turkish dome, while the foundation is based on Egyptian architectural forms.
A classical fluted column with two balconies on top is a unique feature of the design. There are 223 steps in total on the staircase leading to the top floor.
Most people visit this monument because of the location’s historical significance.
12. Dakshineshwar Kali Temple
The small sub-urban area of Dakshineshwar is located north of Kolkata.
It is home to the popular Hindu temple, known as the Dakshineshwar Kali Temple, situated on the Hooghly Rivers’ eastern bank.
This temple is one of the most popular Maa Kali temples in West Bengal.
The Kali Temple, built by Rani Rashmoni of Bengal, was constructed two years before the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857 (also referred to as India’s first war of independence).
While the mystic sage and reformer Ramakrishna Paramahansa and his wife Sarada Devi were the main figures associated with the spiritual history of this temple, the socio-political history connected to the temple is also highly fascinating.
Even the temple’s construction adds a historical feel to it because it was designed in the traditional “Nava-Ratna” or “nine spires” Bengal School of Architecture style.
These are some of the popular historical places to visit in Kolkata.
The long-standing culture and tradition of these historic monuments convey the deepest and richest secrets of Indian history as well.
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