The Crumbling of the glorious days of Rajbari:

Most of the great Mansions or crumbling Rajbari around Kolkata of which very few are still intact and restored. The Zamindars of Bengal had a life of pomp and show, unimaginable today. Magnificient estates and mansions give a grandeur feeling of old Bengal. The feeling of old zamindars which led to a combination of manipulation, battles, love, arts, and business, set bounded by the abundance and the finest luxury India offered at that time.

crumbling Rajbari around Kolkata

The gorgeous Rajbaris’ architectures and designs varied from one another and glorify the indigenous style of Raja and European concepts. The grand mansions are very expensive to maintain and carry on regular repairs by the right artisans. Unfortunately, few of the mansions are so neglected that they are crumbling. And few have been demolished by promoters. The few surviving Rajbaris are converted in museums displaying the lifestyle of the then people, few became the homestays and others are being used as the location for film/tv series.

Jorasanko Thakur Rajbari:

Thakur Bari as it is popularly known is the nerve of Bengal’s cultural life. The nearest metro is Girish Park and it will take 15 minutes to walk from the station to Rabindra Sarani. The entry fee is ₹20 per person and for photography the additional charge is ₹50. The building has been restored keeping the reflection of old Thakur Bari with a nice corridor and a beautiful courtyard. Rabindranath was born, spent most of his life and took the last breath in this house.

The rajbari is converted into a museum displaying around 700 paintings, rare artefacts, scriptures and antique items of various artists in different galleries that can be explored. The rooms of Rabindranath Tagore and the kitchen of his wife Mrinalini Devi display the lifestyle of the Era of Bengal Renaissance. The best time to visit the place is during the great poet Rabindranath Tagore’s birthday (25th Baishakh), the date of his demise (22nd Sravana) and Poila Baishakh when ceremonies and cultural functions are held. During that time, you can participate in those events and celebrations.

crumbling Rajbari around Kolkata
Rani Rashmoni House:
crumbling Rajbari around Kolkata

Pritam Das, Rani Rashmoni’s father-in-law, started constructing this mansion in 1805. It took around 8 years to complete. There is a Natmandir in front of the verandah, where the famous traditional Durga Puja is still held. Rani Rashmoni was a pillar of strength for women in the male-dominated society of that era. She was a well-known philanthropist and was engaged in numerous charitable activities. She constructed the famous Dakshineswar Kali Temple and funded for Babughat along Ganga.

Now the descendants of Rani Rashmoni live in this Rajbari. The family house is divided into three parts to three of her four daughters’ families. The families are finding it hard to maintain the house as few portions are collapsing as crumbling Rajbari around Kolkata. The falling apart aristocracy of Kolkata requires quick restoration for the future. The traffic along the junction of Surendranath Banerjee Road and Rani Rashmoni Road is extremely heavy, it is a scene of chaos. The best way to get around is by nearest metro station Esplanade and then 15 minutes walk to the place.

The Serene Presence of Buddhist Pagodas from Different Community:

Buddhist temples in Kolkata

Buddhism spread in Bengal during Ashoka. But its effect faded away in the successive period. The presence of Buddhist Pagodas in Kolkata slowly mingled with other cultures of the locals. Still, there are some monasteries in Kolkata and North Bengal. They reveal different stories of their presence with the calmness at their sites with prayer. The Buddhist monks from different parts of Asia as Myanmar, China and Japan came much later to the city and established the temples and prayer halls. But very few people know about these beautiful temples in Kolkata and the amazing stories behind it.

Buddhist monk during prayer

The melodic chants of Mantra make one forget all worries, anxieties, stress and all tribulations. You will find yourself in the divine world of spirituality. The spiritual aura of prayers amidst the calmness and peaceful environment of the Buddhist Pagodas are the best places that one can visit. The best peaceful gesture is when Chinese and Japanese Buddhists jointly built a beautiful temple in Eden Garden leaving the impression of their respective culture.

Buddhism in Kolkata

The different pagodas have their typical architecture which looks out of place in the city of joy. It attracts a few Buddhist locals and some wandering tourists. You will surely experience peace and reconciliation yourself at these breathtaking monasteries.

In the sky, there is no distinction of east and west; people create distinctions out of their own minds and then believe them to be true.

-Lord Gautam Buddha

Hsuan Tsang Monastery (China Temple):

The monastery has been named after the famous monk and scholar Hsuan Tsang who travelled in India in 7th BC. The monastery was constructed by the local Chinese community in 1968. The locals call it China Mandir. The Monastery is two-storied with the monks and nuns residence.

Chinese Buddhist Pagodas in Kolkata

The temple is situated on one end of the premises and the main prayer hall is on the ground floor. The huge hall contains four giant Buddha statues, painted with bright golden colour. On both sides of the main statue, smaller statues of Chinese Gods and Goddesses are placed, creating a mesmerizing environment.

Buddhist Pagodas in Kolkata

The glass cover around the alter makes photography extremely difficult. Festivals like Buddha Purnima, Chinese New Year and senior citizen’s day according to the Chinese calendar are celebrated every year. The monastery also hosts special sessions of prayers on every full moon day apart from daily prayers.

Chinese Budhist temple

It is located on the outskirt of Kolkata. the Monastery is best approached from the Ruby Hospital on the EM Bypass from where regular auto services are available which takes 10-15 minutes for Adarsh Nagar, Chowbanga.

Nipponzan Myohoji Temple (Japanese Temple):

Few people living in the region are aware that there is a Japanese Buddhist Pagodas in Kolkata, and even fewer are aware that it is officially called The Nipponzan Myohoji Temple. The Japanese Buddhist Temple is located on the Lake Road at Kabi Bharati Sarani, in Dhakuria.

Japanese Buddhist Temple

The two-storied milky white building is lined with golden borders and a beautiful compound with manicured lawns and landscaped gardens. It has a prayer hall on the ground floor, where a marble idol of seated Buddha and the altar is marvellously decorated with colourful fabrics and brass lamps.

Buddhist Pagodas in Kolkata

There is a meditation room on the second floor and the Arya Dharma Library beside it. The temple was founded in 1935 by Nichidatsu Fujii (1885 – 1985), who held the opinion of the Lotus Sutra. At the entrance of the temple is signage, which reads “Na – Mu – Myo – Ho – Ren – Ge – Kyo.” meaning “I take refuge in the wonderful law of the Lotus Flower Sutra”.

Stupa in Kolkata

See if you can locate the residence of the ex-President of India, Pranab Mukherjee. To reach the site, come in the middle of the Dhakuria Bridge and climb down the stairs, pass below the bridge, walk a couple of yards away, on the left.

Few Synagogues are left to tell the story of Jewish Community

Few Jewish Community Synagogues in Kolkata are left to tell the story about the first Jew who came with his family to Kolkata in 1798 from Allepo in Syria was Shalom Aaron Obadia Cohen and established the first community. Many other families followed him from different parts of Europe, Baghdad, Iraq, and other Middle East countries. It is estimated that around 6000 Jews settled in Kolkata. But they started to shift to Israel & other countries leading to a decline in their population. At present only 20 Jewish as a legacy in terms of Kolata’s heritage remains in the city.

Well, it’s never too late to broaden your knowledge and know about Kolkata’s different communities & their culture. The beautiful Synagogues with long towers and beautiful interior, decorated by wooden architectures and chandeliers, are the holy place of worship for Judaism. There were five Synagogues in Kolkata of which only three are intact after restoration. All three synagogues are on the same campus. Each one is beautiful and has own architectural ambience. The synagogues are situated at China Bazaar near the junction of Brabourne Road and Canning Street in the locality of Baghbazaar.

Maghen David Synagogue:

Jewish community Synagogues

Maghen David is one of the biggest Jewish community Synagogues in Asia. It was built in 1884 by Sir Elias David Ezra in memory of his father David Joseph Ezra. The building, 40 meters high, is of renaissance style with a clock tower.

Jewish community Synagogues

Its interior stuns the visitors with its black and white checked tiles and in some places, the mosaic tiles, the large stained Belgian glasses, and three curtained doors at the entrance. In the centre of the hall, there is a wooden pulpit and beautiful chandeliers brightening the whole place. A wooden staircase leads up to the gallery having seating arrangements. The warm hue of synagogue presents the best portrait for photography.

Jewish community Synagogues

The caretaker of the Synagogue is a Muslim, the most heartening gesture in this period when the Jews and Muslims of the Middle East are not in good terms. But here in Kolkata, their relation with other communities is cordial. To visit Synagogue you have to take permission from Hony. Secretary/President David Ashkenazy. They are most helpful and will provide you with all the information. Please follow the instructions and respect the environment of the holiness.

Tourist Places in Kolkata – The Heritage City

Welcome to Kolkata, a city steeped in history and brimming with cultural treasures! From its grand colonial architecture to its vibrant street markets, Kolkata offers a delightful sensory overload for explorers. If you’re planning a trip to this enchanting city, this guide is your ticket to discovering the must-visit places.
Start your adventure with a visit to the iconic Victoria Memorial, a magnificent marble palace that pays homage to the British Raj era. Marvel at its stunning architecture and immerse yourself in the surrounding lush gardens. Next, lose yourself in the labyrinthine lanes of the bustling New Market, where you can shop for a variety of goods, from handicrafts to clothing and spices.
Finally, no visit to Kolkata is complete without experiencing the fervour of a cricket match at the iconic Eden Gardens. Join the passionate fans and soak up the electric atmosphere as you cheer on the players.
Get ready to fall in love with the city of joy as you explore the beautiful sights of Kolkata.

Historical landmarks in Kolkata

Historical landmarks in Kolkata

One of the must-visit places in Kolkata is the iconic Victoria Memorial. This magnificent marble palace pays homage to the British Raj era and serves as a reminder of Kolkata’s colonial past. The Victoria Memorial is not only a piece of architectural brilliance but also a repository of historical artefacts and artworks. As you walk through its corridors and explore its galleries, you’ll be transported back in time to the days of the British Empire. Don’t forget to take a stroll in the surrounding lush gardens, which provide a picturesque backdrop to this majestic landmark.
Another historical gem in Kolkata is the Howrah Bridge, an engineering marvel that connects the city to its twin, Howrah. Built-in 1943, this iconic cantilever bridge is a symbol of Kolkata’s resilience and ingenuity. As you walk or drive across the bridge, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of the Hooghly River and the bustling activity on both sides. The Howrah Bridge is not just a means of transportation but also a beloved landmark that has become an integral part of Kolkata’s identity.
The Indian Museum is yet another historical treasure that should not be missed. Established in 1814, it is the oldest museum in India and houses an extensive collection of artefacts spanning various periods of history. From ancient sculptures and coins to paintings and textiles, the Indian Museum offers a fascinating glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of Kolkata and the subcontinent. Take your time to explore the museum’s galleries and soak up the knowledge and beauty that it has to offer.

Cultural attractions in Kolkata

Cultural attractions in Kolkata

Kolkata is known for its vibrant cultural scene, and one of the best places to experience it is Rabindra Sadan. Named after the Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore, this cultural centre hosts a wide range of performances, including theatre, dance, music, and poetry recitals. Immerse yourself in the sheer talent and creativity of the artists as you attend a live performance at Rabindra Sadan. Whether you’re a fan of classical music or contemporary dance, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
For a taste of Kolkata’s literary heritage, make your way to the College Street Boi Para, also known as the Book Market. This bustling area is home to a plethora of bookstores and second-hand shops, making it a bibliophile’s paradise. Lose yourself in the maze of narrow lanes and browse through the vast collection of books on offer. From rare editions to bestsellers, you’re sure to find something that catches your interest. And while you’re here, don’t forget to take a break and enjoy a cup of traditional chai from one of the street vendors.
Kolkata is also famous for its vibrant art scene, and one of the best places to experience it is the Academy of Fine Arts. This cultural institution hosts regular art exhibitions, showcasing the works of both established and up-and-coming artists. From paintings and sculptures to installations and multimedia art, the Academy of Fine Arts offers a diverse range of artistic expressions. Spend an afternoon exploring the galleries and marvelling at the talent on display.

Parks and gardens in Kolkata

Parks and gardens in Kolkata

If you need some tranquillity amidst the hustle and bustle of Kolkata, head to the beautiful Maidan. Spread over 1,500 acres, this vast urban park is often referred to as the “lungs of Kolkata.” Take a stroll or enjoy a picnic on the grassy lawns as you soak in the peaceful ambience. The Maidan is also home to several iconic landmarks, including the Victoria Memorial and the Eden Gardens cricket stadium, making it a must-visit destination for both nature lovers and history enthusiasts.
Another green oasis in the heart of Kolkata is the Botanical Gardens. Spread over 270 acres, this expansive garden is home to a diverse collection of flora and fauna. Take a peaceful boat ride on the lake, explore the various themed gardens, or simply relax under the shade of the ancient trees. The Botanical Gardens also house the iconic Great Banyan Tree, which is believed to be one of the largest trees in the world. This majestic tree, with its sprawling canopy, is a sight to behold and a testament to the power and beauty of nature.

Famous markets and shopping areas in Kolkata

Famous markets and shopping areas in Kolkata

No trip to Kolkata is complete without a visit to the bustling New Market. Located in the heart of the city, this vibrant market is a shopaholic’s paradise. From clothing and accessories to handicrafts and spices, you’ll find a plethora of goods on offer. Lose yourself in the labyrinthine lanes as you navigate through the maze of shops and stalls. The New Market is not just a place to shop but also a cultural experience, where you can immerse yourself in the sights, sounds, and smells of Kolkata.
For a more traditional shopping experience, head to the Dakshinapan Shopping Center. This open-air market is known for its collection of traditional Indian handicrafts and textiles. Browse through the stalls and pick up unique souvenirs to take back home. The Dakshinapan Shopping Center also hosts regular cultural events and exhibitions, providing a platform for local artisans and craftsmen to showcase their talent. Support local artists and get a taste of authentic Indian craftsmanship at this vibrant market.

Popular street food in Kolkata

Popular street food in Kolkata

Kolkata is a food lover’s paradise, and one of the best ways to experience its culinary delights is through its street food. Start your gastronomic journey with a plate of puchka, also known as pani puri or golgappa. These crispy, hollow puris filled with tangy tamarind water and a spicy potato mixture are a burst of flavour in every bite. Next, indulge in the mouthwatering flavours of kathi rolls, a popular street food that consists of a skewer-roasted kebab wrapped in a paratha. The combination of succulent meat and flaky bread is sure to tantalize your taste buds.
For a sweet ending to your street food adventure, try the famous Kolkata rosogolla. These soft, spongy balls of cottage cheese soaked in sweet syrup are a delicacy that Kolkata is known for. The rosogollas are best enjoyed when they are fresh and melt in your mouth. Don’t forget to wash it all down with a glass of refreshing lemon tea or a cup of strong, aromatic Kolkata-style chai.

Religious sites in Kolkata

Kolkata is a melting pot of cultures and religions, and it is home to several important religious sites. One such site is the iconic Kalighat Temple, dedicated to the Hindu goddess Kali. This ancient temple, located on the banks of the Hooghly River, is believed to be one of the 51 Shakti Peethas, or holy abodes of the goddess. Pay your respects to the deity and soak in the spiritual atmosphere as you witness the rituals and ceremonies that take place at the temple.
Another significant religious site in Kolkata is the Nakhoda Masjid, one of the largest mosques in India. This magnificent structure, with its intricate architecture and grand domes, is a testament to the city’s rich Islamic heritage. Step inside and marvel at the beautiful prayer hall, adorned with exquisite chandeliers and intricate calligraphy. The Nakhoda Masjid is not just a place of worship but also a symbol of harmony and inclusivity, a reflection of Kolkata’s multicultural fabric.

Museums and art galleries in Kolkata

Kolkata is a treasure trove for art and history enthusiasts, with its numerous museums and art galleries. One such institution is the Indian Museum, the oldest museum in India. Established in 1814, it houses a vast collection of artefacts and artworks from various periods of history. From ancient sculptures and coins to paintings and textiles, the Indian Museum offers a fascinating journey through time. Explore the galleries and immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of Kolkata and the subcontinent.
If you’re a fan of modern and contemporary art, a visit to the Birla Academy of Art and Culture is a must. This art gallery showcases the works of both national and international artists, providing a platform for creativity and expression. From paintings and sculptures to installations and multimedia art, the Birla Academy offers a diverse range of artistic experiences. Take your time to appreciate the talent and innovation on display and let the artwork inspire and provoke your thoughts.

Offbeat attractions in Kolkata

While Kolkata is known for its historical landmarks and cultural attractions, it is also home to some offbeat and unconventional destinations. One such place is the Marble Palace, a hidden gem nestled in the heart of the city. This 19th-century mansion is a unique blend of Indian and European architectural styles and is adorned with exquisite marble sculptures and artworks. Explore the opulent interiors and marvel at the collection of antiques and curiosities that the palace houses. The Marble Palace is a testament to Kolkata’s eclectic taste and its love for art and beauty.
Another offbeat attraction in Kolkata is the South Park Street Cemetery. This colonial-era cemetery is a tranquil oasis away from the chaos of the city. Take a peaceful stroll among the moss-covered tombs and read the epitaphs that tell the stories of Kolkata’s past residents. The South Park Street Cemetery is not just a burial ground but also a historical site that provides a unique perspective on the city’s colonial history.

Conclusion and final thoughts

Kolkata is a city that captivates and enchants its visitors with its rich history, vibrant culture, and warm hospitality. From its historical landmarks to its hidden gems, there’s something for everyone to discover and explore. Whether you’re a history buff, an art enthusiast, a food lover, or simply a curious traveller, Kolkata has it all. So pack your bags, book your tickets, and get ready to embark on a journey of discovery. Explore the beautiful sights of Kolkata and create memories that will last a lifetime.