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Since a long time, West Bengal has been contributing huge in the art and craft, literary works, dance, music etc. of India, even the world. And Kolkata, the capital of the state of West Bengal, has been the prime centre of all these for the whole time. This city plays a big role in the history of India –before, during and after the British Rule. Kolkata happened to be one of the prime colonies and capital of British India, and its effect can be seen in the architecture of the monuments, palaces and other historical buildings.
The Victoria Memorial was built in the memories of Queen Victoria after her death in 1902. it was opened to general public in the year 1921. The magnificent building was designed by William Emerson, a famous architect of that era. The cost of construction that time amounted to Rs.10.5 million which was voluntarily donated by British and Indian people. Inside the Memorial there are various painting of the Royal British families, royal and historic artifacts, lithographs and documents of the historical interests. Today the monument is a major landmark of Kolkata.
Howrah Bridge of Kolkata is also known as Rabindra Setu. The Howrah Bridge of Kolkata is the busiest bridge in the world. The bridge caters to about 1,00,000 vehicles and uncountable pedestrians. The bridge is 450 meter long and it stands over Hooghly River without any pylon. The bridge is the best example of the 20th century engineering techniques. today it is one of the most visited tourist attraction in Kolkata.
Calcutta Jain Temple (also called Parshwanath Temple) is a Jain temple at Badridas Temple Street is a major tourist attraction in Kolkata (Calcutta), India. The temple was built by a Jain named Rai Badridas Bahadoor Mookim in 1867. Pratishtha was done by Sri Kalyansurishwarji Maharaj.
The Pareshnath or Parshwanath Jain Temple of Kolkata was built by Ray Badridas Bahadur in 1867. Thousands of people visit this temple annually. The Pareshnath Jain Temple is actually a complex of 4 temples. The main shrine is dedicated to Shitalanatha,tenth tirthankara. The four main temples are Shitalnath Ji Temple, Chandraprabhu Ji temple, Mahavir Swami Temple, and Dadawadi and Kushal Ji Maharaj Temple where the footprint of Jain Acharya Jin Dutt Kushal Suri is kept and worshiped. Towards the south of the temple of Sri Sitala Nath Ji, lies the shrine of Sri Chanda Prabhujidev, which was built by Ganeshlal Kapoorchand Jahar in the year 1895. Main Jain temple is the Paryushan where festival is celebrated in Bhadrav month. During this period the Jains observe Ahimsa, listen to recitations of scriptures of worship and perform charitable deeds. The last day of festival is called Samvatsari. It is one of the most important Jain temples in Kolkata. The deity of Lord Shitalnath Ji is seated in the sanctum sanctorum, and his diamond-studded forehead is a major attraction for the visitors. The other deities are also beautifully decorated with semi-precious stones and precious metals.
There is a lamp, which burns with ghee inside the sanctum sanctorum, which has been continuously burning ever since the initiation of the temple since 1867. The lamp bears silent testimony to the contemporary world since ages and it is wonderful to acknowledge the mysticism associated with. The temple celebrates Paryushan in Bhadrav month (between 16 August and 15 September). Jains believe in ahimsa or peace and are committed to charitable deeds.
Birla Mandir across the world are known for their fabulous architecture and clean surroundings. The Birla Mandir of Kolkata stands at and elevation 160 ft above the ground. The construction started way back in 1970 and it took 26 long years to complete it. The gates were opened for general public after the completion of the temple in the year 1996. The estimated total cost of construction is Rs.180 Million. The whole temple is built in white Marble and is spread over 44-katha of land. The Birla Temple is popularly known as Lakshmi Narayan Mandir.
As the name says, the temple is dedicated to Goddess Kali. The construction of the temple started in the year 1847. The founder of this temple is Rasmani, the queen of Janbazar. The temple is located on the banks of Hooghly River. The main deity of temple is Bhavatarini who is a form of Devi Kali. It is believed that the person who worships Devi Bhavatarini, will overcome all his sorrows and problems. The temple is spread over 25 acres of land that includes the temple premise and the surrounding gardens.
Earlier the palace was known as the “Palace of Art”. The Palace was built in 1835 and was a private possession of Zamindar (Land Owner) Raja Rajendro Mullick. The palace is situated in the congested part of the city. The palace showcases art forms from Italy, Netherlands, England and other European Nations. The Palace is now known as Marble Palace because the interiors of the palace are made from marble. The palace has idols of Buddha, Christ, Christopher Columbus, Virgin Mary and various Hindu Gods.
The Fort is named after King William III of England. Fort William was constructed in 1781 to mark the victory of Robert Clive over Sir David Ochterlony at Plassey. The large patch of garden that surrounds the fort is called the maidan. The Maidan is 3 kilometer long and 1 kilometer wide. It is the largest urban park in Kolkata. Within the Fort’s premise there lies a church, cinema, boxing stadium, market, football ground, post and telegraph office, swimming pool and firing range.
The tipu Sultan Shahi Mosque (also known as Tipu Sultan Masjid) is a famous mosque in Kolkata, India. Located at 185 Dhartamtalla Street, the mosque is a relic of architectural and cultural heritage. People from all sections of society and religions are allowed to visit and take pictures of this historical premises.
Kumartuli is a traditionally potters’ quarter in northern Kolkata (previously known as Calcutta), the capital of the east Indian state of West Bengal. By virtue of their artistic productions these potters have moved from obscurity to prominence. This Kolkata neighbourhood, not only supplies clay idols of Hindu gods and goddesses to barowari pujas in Kolkata and its neighbourhoods, but a number of idols are exported. It is one of the seven wonders in Kolkata.
The Indian Museum at Kolkata is the oldest museum in India built back in 1814 by Dr. Nathaniel Wallich, who used to be a botanist from Denmark. The Indian Museum is the largest museum of the country and ninth oldest regular museum of the world. The museum exhibits collection of antiques, mummies, Mughal paintings, skeletons, fossils, ornaments and armor. It was shifted to the new building in 1875. The building was designed in Italian architectural by Walter B Grawille. The museum was open to general public in the year 1878. The museum is divided into six main sections as Zoology, Industry, Geology, Archeology, Anthropology and Art, the museum has over 60 galleries.
The South Park Street Cemetery was constructed way back in 1767. It was built in order to accommodate British Soldiers. The cemetery is one of the oldest burial grounds of the city. The cemetery has big headstone that dates back about a century and give it an ancient look. The calm surroundings of the cemetery are really enjoyable.
The Writers Building, during the British Rule, used to be the junior servants (the clerical and administrative staff) building. The junior servants then were called writers hence the name came into existence as “Writers Building”. Today the Building is house to the Secretariat of West Bengal Government. It is a massive red color building situated at the BBD square of Kolkata which is the heart of the city.
The Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Indian Botanic Garden (previously known as Indian Botanic Garden) is situated in Shibpur, Howrah near Kolkata. They are commonly known as the Calcutta Botanical Garden, and previously as the Royal Botanic Garden, Calcutta. The gardens exhibit a wide variety of rare plants and a total collection of over 12,000 specimens spread over 109 hectares. It is under Botanical Survey of India (BSI) of Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India.
The best-known landmark of the garden is The Great Banyan, an enormous banyan tree (Ficus benghalensis) that is reckoned to be the largest tree in the world, at more than 330metres in circumference. They are also famous for their enormous collections of orchids, bamboos, palms, and plants of the screw pine genus (Pandanus).
Animals seen inside the Botanic Garden include the Jackal (Canis aureus), Indian mongoose and the Indian Fox (Vulpes bengalensis). A large numbers of varieties snakes also found in the garden.
The St. Paul’s Cathedral is built on the basis of Indo-Gothic architectural style and was designed by Major William Nairn Forbes. The foundation of the building was laid in 1839. It took eight long years to complete the construction. The main building was destroyed twice because of the massive earthquakes and was rebuilt. The last time it was destroyed in 1934 and was re-built on the lines of the Bell Harry Tower of Canterbury Cathedral.
A regular flow of mostly Christian pilgrims visit the Missionaries of Charity’s 'Motherhouse' to pay homage at Mother Teresa’s large, sober tomb. A small adjacent museum room displays Teresa’s worn sandals and battered enamel dinner bowl. Located upstairs is the room where she worked and slept from 1953 to 1997, preserved in all its simplicity.
Kalighat Kali Temple is a Hindu temple in West Bengal, India dedicated to the Hindu goddess Kali. Kalighat is regarded as one of the 52 Shakti Peethas of India, where the various parts of Sati's body are said to have fallen, in the course of Shiva's Rudra Tandava. Kalighat represents the site where the toes of the right foot of Dakshayani or Sati fell. Legend has it that a devotee discovered a luminant ray of light coming from the Bhāgirathi river bed, and upon investigating its source came upon a piece of stone carved in the form of a human toe. He also found a Svayambhu Lingam of Nakuleshwar Bhairav nearby, and started worshiping Kaali in the midst of a thick jungle.
Belur Mutt is the headquarters of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission, founded by Swami Vivekananda, a chief disciple of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. It is located on the west bank of Hooghly River, Belur, West Bengal, India and is one of the significant institutions in Calcutta. This temple is the heart of the Ramakrishna Movement. The temple is notable for its architecture that fuses Hindu, Christian and Islamic motifs as a symbol of unity of all religions.The 40-acre (160,000 m2) campus of the Belur Math on the banks of the Ganges includes temples dedicated to Ramakrishna, Sarada Devi and Swami Vivekananda, in which their relics are enshrined, and the main monastery of the Ramakrishna Order. The campus also houses a Museum containing articles connected with the history of Ramakrishna Math and Mission. Several educational institutions affiliated with the Ramakrishna Mission are situated in the vast campus adjacent to Belur Math. The Belur Math is considered as one of the prime tourist spots near Kolkata and place of pilgrimage by devotees. The ex-president Abdul Kalam regarded Belur Math as a "place of heritage and national importance."
The Belur Math conducts medical service, education, work for women, rural uplift and work among the labouring and backward classes, relief, spiritual and cultural activities. The center also celebrates annual birthdays of Ramakrishna, Vivekananda, Sarada Devi and other monastic disciples. The annual celebrations of Kumari Puja and Durga Puja are one of the main attractions. The tradition of Kumari puja was started by Vivekananda in 1901.
Babughat is one of the many ghats built during British Raj, along the river bank of Hooghly on its bank on Strand Road at Kolkata side. The ghat has a tall colonial structure, which is the landing berth of the ghat. It is a fine Doric-Greek style pavilion with huge pillars. The ghat, originally known was Baboo Raj Chandra Ghat, is now only known by first words Baboo-ghat or Babu-ghat. Babu / Baboo in Bengali means Sahib or gentleman. The ghat is named after Babu Raj Chandra Das, husband of Rani Rashmoni and zamindar of Janbazar, who built it in 1830, in memory of her late husband. A marble tablet beneath the pediment implies that some of the credit for the erection of the ghat must go to Lord William Bentinck as he encouraged such spending with a view to improve public amenities. It is second oldest ghat of Kolkata.
The pavilion today is completely encroached by vendors and pandas. The old colonial structure and stairs leading to the river are in various stages of decay and derelict. A section of ghat originally meant for bathing of ladies has turned in to a garbage point. However, ever so, the ghat is bustling with crowds since morning till late evening with people who use it for bathing, puja, religious ceremonies, massage and leisure. During Chhat Puja, a huge crowd can be seen on Babughat performing their puja. The ghat is also used during Durga Puja, Saraswati Puja rather in all festivals for immersion of idols.
The Sunderbans are a part of the world's largest delta, formed by the mighty rivers Ganga, Brahmaputra and Meghna. Situated on the lower end of Gangetic West Bengal, the Sunderbans is criss-crossed by hundreds of creeks and tributaries. It is one of the most attractive and alluring places remaining on earth, a truly undiscovered paradise. The Sunderbans is the largest single block of tidal, halophytic mangrove forests in the world. The name can be literally translated as beautiful jungle. The name may have been derived from the Sundari trees that are found in the Sunderbans. The Sunderbans is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is spans a vast area covering 4.264 sq. km in India alone. It is the largest Tiger Reserve and National Park in India.
Santiniketan was previously called Bhubandanga (named after Bhuban Dakat, a local dacoit), and owned by the Tagore family. Rabindranath's father, Maharshi Debendranath Tagore, found it very peaceful and renamed it Santiniketan, which means abode (niketan) of peace (shanti). It was here that Rabindranath Tagore started Patha Bhavan the school of his ideals, whose central premise was that learning in a natural environment would be more enjoyable and fruitful. After he received the Noble Prize (1913), the school was expanded into a university. Many world famous teachers have become associated with it, and Indira Gandhi was one of its more illustrious students.
Kala Bhavana, the art college of Santiniketan, is still considered one of the best art colleges in the world. Other institutions here include Vidya Bhavana; the Institute of Humanities, Shiksha Bhavana; the Institute of Science, Sangit Bhavana; Institute of Dance, Drama and Music, Vinaya Bhavana; Institute of Education, Rabindra Bhavana, Institute of Tagore Studies and Research, Palli-Samgathana Vibhaga; Institute of Rural Reconstruction, and Palli Shiksha Bhavana; Institute of Agricultural Sciences.
There are also other centres, affiliated to major institutions such as Nippon Bhavana, the Indira Gandhi Centre for National Integration, Rural Extension Centre, Silpa Sadana; Centre for Rural Craft, Technology and Design, Palli-Charcha Kendra; Centre for Social Studies and Rural Development, Centre for Biotechnology, Centre for Mathematics Education, Centre for Environmental Studies, Computer Centre and Indira Gandhi Centre for National Integration. As well as Patha-Bhavana, there are two schools for kindergarten level education; Mrinalini Ananda Pathsala, Santosh Pathsala; a school for primary and secondary education known as Shiksha Satra, and a school of higher secondary education known as Uttar-Shiksha Sadana.