( Sight Seeing
A splendid architectural structure in white marble, modeled
on the Taj Mahal, was built in the early 20th century. In
memory of Queen Victoria and was formally inaugurated by the Prince
of Wales in 1921 who later became King Edward VIII of England. The
stately bronze statue of the queen near the entrance, the brass
canons, wrought iron street lamps, manicured lawns, gardens and
pathways, the magical lighting effect in the evening and a fairy
tale 'Fountain of Joy' facing the memorial building create an atmosphere
of unforgettable charm.
This museum was established in 1878 on Jawaharlal Nehru Road. The
museum is built in Italian architectural style and is considered
as the largest museum in the country and one of the best in Asia.
The largest museum in the country, the museum has six sections:
Art, Archaeology, Anthropology, Geology, Zoology and Industry (economic
botany). From the Egyptian mummy to the skeleton of the whale and
some rare statues; the museum has every thing. One of the rooms
has a collection of meteorites. The museum also has a unique fossil
collection of prehistoric animals which includes a giant crocodile
and a huge tortoise. The art collection has many fine pieces from
Orissa and other temples and superb example of Buddhist Gandharan
In the North-West corner of the Maidan are small & pleasantly
laid out Eden Gardens. The gardens were created in 1840 and named
after the sister of Lord Auckland, the former governor general.
The idea was to make a Biblical - style garden of Eden in India.
The expanse dotted with beautiful trees and shrubs is intersected
by winding paths, and there is a large artificial lake. Alongside
the gardens, is the world famous Eden Gardens cricket stadium. The
stadium is supposed to be the largest in Asia with a seating capacity
of more than a lakh spectators. The Kolkata cricket ground, where
International test & one day matches are held, is also with
in the gardens. Near the gardens you can take a pleasant walk along
the bank of hoogly river.
& Fort William
After the events of 1756, the British decided there would be no
repetition of the attack on the city and set out to replace the
original Fort William, in the Maidan , with a massive and impregnable
new fort. First they cleared out the inhabitants of the village
of Govindpur and in 1758 laid the foundations of a fort. Around
the fort a huge expanse of jungle was cut down to give the cannons
a clear line of fire but, as usually happens, the fort has never
fired a shot in anger.
The fort is still in use today and visitors are only allowed inside
with special permission. Even the trenches and deep fortifications
surrounding the fort's massive walls seem to be out of bounds.
The area cleared around Fort William became the Maidan, the 'lungs'
of modern Kolkata. This huge green expanse stretches three km north
to south and is over a km wide. It is bound by Strand Rd along the
river to the west and by Chowringhee Rd, lined with shops, offices,
hotels and eating places, to the east. The stream known as Tolly's
Nullah forms its southern boundary, and here you will find a racecourse
and the Victoria Memorial. In the north-west corner of the Maidan
is Eden Gardens, while Raj Bhavan overlooks it from the north.
Now officially renamed the Shahid Minar, this 48m column tower over
the northern end of the Maidan. It was erected in 1828 and named
after Sir David Ochterlony, who is credited with winning the Nepal
War. The column is an intriguing combination of Turkish, Egyptian
and Syrian architectural elements.
There's a fine view from the top of the column, but permission to
ascend must be obtained from police headquarters, which is on Lal
Bazaar St. It's only open Monday to Friday and you should simply
ask for a 'monument pass' at the Assistant Commissioner's office
on the 2nd floor.
Built between 1839 and 1847, St Paul's Cathedral is one of India's
most important churches. It's east of the Victoria Memorial at the
South end of the Maidan. The steeple fell during an earthquake in
1897 and was redesigned and rebuilt. Inside there's some interesting
memorials and stained glass, including the west window by Sir Edward
Burne-Jones. It's open to visitors from 9 am to noon, and from 3
to 6 pm. Sunday services are at 7.30 and 8.30 am, and 6 pm.