Kolkata Where the Twain Meet: Culture & Business
Come visit Kolkata – the ‘cultural capital of India’, the city with a colonial past and rich history
of art and culture and famous for its warm and friendly people
TAKE a train to Howrah, the terminal sta¬tion for almost all long-distance trains that ferry people to the city. Alternatively, you could catch a flight to the city’s Netaji Sub- has International Airport at Dum Dum. All the full-service carriers and low-cost carriers operate flights from the city, so does most of the interna¬tional airlines.
In the main city, there are many must-visit tourist attractions, like the Victoria Memorial, a monument dedicated to the eponymous English Queen, along with the Howrah Bridge that connects the city to the railway station.
Victoria Memorial is a kind of tourist and cul¬ture hub of Kolkata. Your trip is incomplete if you haven’t visited this area. Running alongside it is Cathedral Road that takes its name from the adjoining Saint Paul’s Cathedral. In its back¬yard is the Rabindra Sadan, which stages a medley of plays and stage entertainment. And Nandan, a multiplex movie theatre located next to Rabindra Sadan. Also nearby is the Academy of Fine Arts, which hosts exhibitions of estab¬lished and budding painters and sculptors. Not too far away is the lovely Eden Gardens, proba¬bly the best cricket stadium in India.
Travel southwards, you can reach the Calcutta Zoological Garden, the lovely Taj Bengal Hotel and the lush green lawns of the National Library, which has a copy of every book printed in India or shipped into the country. You should also be able to get a splendid view of the Second Hooghly Bridge, also called the Vidyasagar Setu, which links the city to its suburbs.
Then there is the river cruises that will take you on heritage and entertainment tours through theGanges. The sail in either Government-owned or privately held luxury cruisers is all about grandeur, comfort and imbibing the flavour of one of the greatest rivers of the world -The Ganges.
A few kilometres away is Park Street and the Central Business District at Benoy-Badal-Dinesh Bag (BBD Bag), popularly known as Dalhousie Square. Several heritage buildings dot the sky¬
the line of BBD Bag area, the notable among them are the palatial Governor’s House (Raj Bhawan), Kolkata GPO, the Writer’s Buildings, the Cur¬rency Building, the Eastern Railway Headquar¬ters, and the Kolkata High Court. Very near to the BBD Bag area is the Strand overlooking the river Hooghly, which offers a breath-taking view of the river in the evening.
Park Street is one of the most happening streets in the city! Apart from its busy.drinking holes, Park Street has some great restaurants. Shopping enthusiasts should not miss out on New Market situated very close to Park Street. The Indian Museum and the Oberoi Grand Hotel are also in the vicinity. Another popular shop¬ping destination is Gariahat Market in South Kolkata. Very close to Gariahat is the historic Ka- lighat temple housing the idol of Goddess Kali, one of the most revered Hindu deities.
Further north is the Calcutta University and Presidency College on College Street. College Street has a phenomenal variety of bookshops – you could pick up old and rare books from these shops at bargain prices. One should visit the Marble Palace on Muktaram Babu Street.
Along the EM Bypass is Science City, which has a huge science and technology museum and a giant dome theatre. As you travel north
along the Bypass, you can visit Nicco Park, an amusement park, and Aquatica, a water park.
To keep up with the pace of rapid urbanisation and growing demand for housing and commer¬cial spaces, a new satellite township, The New Town, has been created at Rajarhat near to the city’s Netaji Subhasfnternational Airport.
The New Town is being developed as an in¬formation technology (IT) and residential hub. Skyscrapers line both the sides of the major thoroughfare of the township.
An urban park – ‘Eco Park’ – is situated on a 480-acres plot and is surrounded by a 104-acres waterbody with an island in the middle.
Also at New Town-Rajarhat, a world-class ‘Wax Museum’, modeled on London’s Madame Tussauds has recently opened its doors. As many as 20-odd life-size wax statues dot the museum christened ‘Mother’s Wax Museum‘. It is exhibit¬ing models of historical personalities like Ma¬hatma Gandhi, Subhas Chandra Bose, Ra¬bindranath Tagore, Swami Vivekananda to luminaries of the Indian cinema and music industry like Amitabh Bachchan, Mithun Chakraborty, Shahrukh Khan, Manna Dey, Lata Mangeshkar, Kishore Kurhdr and sports person¬alities like Sourav Ganguly, Kapil Dev, Diego Maradona and others.