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Kolkata Weekend Tour

Kolkata Weekend Tour

03 Nights/04 Days
  • Kolkata

Kolkata, also known as the “City of Joy”, was the capital seat of British Empire during its initial days. It is considered as the intellectual and cultural capital of India.

Home to famous personalities like Rabindranath Tagore, Satyajit Ray, Mother Teresa and many more, it is a town that is rich in traditions, art and values. The citizens of this place loves academic discussions on everything from cricket to movies, plays, exhibitions, art and film festivals all round the year. All the popular tourist attractions included in this tour justify the same. It is also a major commercial centre in the eastern part of the country, and a major contributor to the world of literature, art and cinema both nationwide and across the nation.

The city has some of India’s major attraction sites such as Victoria Memorial, Howrah Bridge, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Kalighat temple, Eden Gardens and busy narrow streets of North Kolkata with lip-smacking street food.

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  • Transfer
  • Hotel
  • Meals
  • Sightseeing
Excursion to Bishnupur

Excursion to Bishnupur

Day Tour
  • Bishnupur – The Terracotta Paradise
  • Radhamadhab Temple
  • Kalachand Temple
  • Radhagovinda Temple
  • Nandalal Temple
  • Rash Mancha 
  • Jogesh Chandra Museum 
  • Jor Bangla Temple
  • Malla King's Fort

Bishnupur – The Terracotta Paradise

 

Bishnupur was the capital of the Mallabhumi dynasty. They ruled over a small region until the 8th century. In the 16th century they expanded and became powerful during the reign of King Birhan Bir. His fort is almost gone, but he developed the city with many lakes and ponds in true Bengali style. Simultaneously during the Hindu revival, Chaitanya preached his faith and many temples were built as a result. There are 30 temples (17th-18th century) in Bishnupur that are a treasure-trove of terracotta sculptures. Krishna, an incarnation of Vishnu and his love Radha, are deified in most of these temples.

Tour Program:   Pick up from hotel at 0730 hrs. and drive to Bishnupur.On arrival at Bishnupur visit Radhamadhab Temple, Kalachand Temple, Radhagovinda Temple and Nandalal Temple. These are all laterite temples.

 

Note: All visits at Bishnupur will be on local cycle rickshaws for group with Tempo Traveller to Large coach.

 

 

Radhamadhab Temple

This impressive laterite “eka-ratna” temple was built in the year 1737 A.D. by Shiramonidevi, one of the wives of the Malla king BirSingha. The square structure stands on a raised plinth and is about 11.1 mtr. On each side and 9.2 mtr. In height. The entrance to the temple has three arched gateways.

 

 

Kalachand Temple

Built in A.D. 1656 by the Malla king RaghunathSingha, Kalachand temple is the earliest of the “eka-ratna” temples found in Bishnupur. Made of laterite, the temple is about 11.1 m square on plan and 9.2 m. in height. The square cell structure has three arched openings on all four sides and has a curved roof.

 

 

Radhagovinda Temple

This large temple with a miniature EkaRatna shrine has no sculptures. Stone wheels have been attached to the low platform. Perhaps, this is meant to be the chariot in which Krishna took Arjuna to battle in the Mahabharata.

 

Nandalal Temple

Nandalal temple with ridged tower and almost no decoration on it. Just opposite to it are three temples in a separate complex. Built by Malla King Krishna Singh in 1726, the temples are collectively known as Jor Mandir. The temple on the south has several scenarios from Mahabharata and Krishna Lila on its walls.

 

After the visit a hot Bengali lunch will be served at Tourist Lodge (this is the best option at Bishnupur to stay & dine).

 

Post lunch visit Rash Mancha, Dalmadal Cannon, Jor Bangla Temple, Madan Mohan Temple, Malla King's Fort and Jogesh Chandra PuraKirti Bhawan Museum.

 

 

Rash Mancha (stage for dancing)

Built in 1600 by the Malla King Hambir, the Rash Mancha is the oldest standing structure of Bishnupur. It is architecturally unique and one of its kind in the whole of Bengal, probably in the whole of India. Sadly apart from a few floral lotus motifs the Rash Mancha does not contain any terracotta art work. It is not a temple and hence does not house any idol.

 

 

Jogesh Chandra Museum [Closed on Mondays]

In the year 1951 a group of young energetic persons established this museum. In 1954 the said museum was named after AcharyaJogesh Chandra Purakriti Bhawan after the name of Jogesh Chandra Roy Vidyanidhi, the famous scholar of this district as well as Bengal. It has 03 Galleries - archaeological gallery, music gallery and folk art gallery.

 

 

Jor Bangla Temple

Built by RaghunathSingha II in 1655 A.D., the temple is greatly influenced by classical Bengali architecture. The temple is also known as the Keshta Raya Temple and is famous for its construction and terracotta sculptures. The Temple resembles two hut-like structures with separate angled roofs held together by a chala (tower) at the crown.

 

 

Malla King's Fort

Very little remains of the fort built between 1657- 1677 A.D by the Malla ruler king Bir Singha. The gate of the old   fort is of laterite stone and is called”PatharDarwaza" the kings soldiers would hide inside the gate and there   were holes drilled in different directions for the ques. A stone chariot in laterite can be seen as cribbed to.

Later drive back to Kolkata.

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  • Transfer
  • Hotel
  • Meals
  • Sightseeing
Full day Kolkata Tour

Full day Kolkata Tour

Day Tour
  • Dalhousie Square 
  • Kumartuli
  • Marble Palace 
  • Book Market 
  • Indian Coffee House 
  • Victoria Memorial 
  • St. Paul’s Cathedral 

 

Dalhousie Square - The Square was named in the memory of Lord Dalhousie who was the Governor General of India from 1847 to 1856. The Dalhousie Square is surrounded by some of Kolkata's most enduring Raj-era monuments like the magnificent GPO (General Post Office), the regal Raj Bhawan, the St.John's Church and the Gothic style Writer's Building. In terms of heritage, no other city square is as rich as Dalhousie Square.

Kumartuli - This unique artisan village dates back 400 years, making it perhaps the oldest of its kind in the world. Around 250 artists work to produce 40,000 idols a year, including 3500 images of Durga. With more than a thousand workers assisting the artisans, Kumartuli is a mini industry. It exports 50 Durga idols to virtually all corners of the world, including UK, USA, Canada, Germany and Switzerland. Photography allowed on charges.

Marble Palace - Located in the northern part of the city and certainly a worth watching place. It houses an age-old art gallery owned by the Mallick family of Chorbagan. Built in 1855 with Italian marbles by one of Bengal's richest landlord Raja Rajendra Mallick Bahadur, this art gallery personifies the earliest effort at collecting by a private individual. Photography not allowed inside. Closed on Monday, Thursday & National Holidays. Guest has to remove shoes to enter inside the palace.

Book Market - Kolkatans are well-known for their passion for books and this area is a treasure for the book lovers of the city, you can find of them every day spending hours browsing through the loads of new books or bargaining for buying a second hand one. Some of the Kolkata’s most renowned academic institutions like Kolkata University, Presidency College, Kolkata Medical College and Sanskrit College are also located in this street. Very few shops remain open on Sundays.

Indian Coffee House - Also known as "Albert Hall", this is the most favourite gathering place for the writers, intellectuals, artists and students for many decades. Casual chatting for hours about any issue is the most favourite social activity of any Bengali and here in this large historical and legendary café, entire day you can find hundreds of Kolkatan's are busy discussing about their favourite issue over a cup of coffee. Closed on Sundays & National Holidays.

Victoria Memorial - This is one of India's most beautiful monuments built between 1906 and 1921 on the lines of white marble. The memorial was the inspiration of Lord Curzon, who in 1901, felt that his lately departed Queen Empress, required a suitable monument to her memory. It houses paintings, manuscripts, and other objects of historic value in its Museum and Art Gallery. Closed on Monday & National Holidays. Photography not allowed inside.

St. Paul’s Cathedral - The Cathedral measures 71m in length 24m in width the spire rising 60m high. The interior has exquisite scriptural scenes. Above these are the two Florentine frescos. In the centre of the eastern sector is the magnificent alter piece. The massive gold-gilt plate presented by Queen Victoria to Bishop Wilson, and the western windows are of special interest. Open all days.  Photography not allowed inside.

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  • Transfer
  • Hotel
  • Meals
  • Sightseeing
03 Nights / 04 Days – Kolkata – Sunderban

03 Nights / 04 Days – Kolkata – Sunderban

03 Nights/04 Days
  • Kolkata
  • Sunderban

Arrival at Kolkata airport.Meeting & assistance on arrival and transfer to the city hotel.Rest of the day free as leisure.

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  • Transfer
  • Hotel
  • Meals
  • Sightseeing
03 Nights Kolkata

03 Nights Kolkata

03 Nights/04 Days
  • Kolkata

Explore-

  • Dalhousie Square (Covering Raj Bhavan, St. John’s church, High Court, GPO, Town Hall, Writer’s Building and other important colonial buildings).
  • Flower Market
  • Howrah Bridge
  • Belur Math
  • Dakshineshwar Kali Temple
  • Tagore House(Closed On Mondays & National holidays)
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  • Transfer
  • Hotel
  • Meals
  • Sightseeing
Kolkata - 02 Nights / 03 Days

Kolkata - 02 Nights / 03 Days

02 Nights/03 Days
  • Kolkata

Arrival at Kolkata airport.Meeting & assistance on arrival and transfer to the city hotel.Rest of the day free as leisure.

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  • Transfer
  • Hotel
  • Meals
  • Sightseeing
Sundarban Day excursion

Sundarban Day excursion

Day Tour
  • Sundarban

Sunderbans, the world's largest estuarine forest and delta covered by mangrove forests and vast saline mud flats is situated on the lower end of Gangetic West Bengal.With a little luck one may experience a salt water Crocodile sunbathing in the mud; a flash in the corner of your eye could be Deer running into the forests. Most famously, however, this protected area is home to the Royal Bengal Tiger. You can also explore the wildlife of Sunderban that harbours Jungle Cats, Fishing Cats, Axis Deer, Wild Boar, Rhesus Monkeys, Mongooses and the largest Estuarine Crocodiles in the world. Sunderban is the breeding ground of immense variety of birds like Heron, Egret, Cormorant, Fishing Engle, White Bellied Sea Eagle, Seagul, Tern, Kingfisher as well as migratory birds like Whimprel, Black-tailed Godwit, Little Stint, Eastern Knot, Curlew, Sandpiper, Golden Plover, Pintail, White-eyed Pochard and also Whistling teal. A wide variety of aquatic and reptile life forms that include Olive Ridley sea turtle, hardshelledBatgur Terrapin, Pythons, King Cobra, ChequeredKillback, Monitor and Lizards including the Salvator Lizards are also there.

 

Sunderban is characterized by the sundari trees that give the mangrove their name. These trees hold together the small islands of mud, on which they grow, with their roots. Nevertheless, with each incoming tide, the greyish brown silt looses itself to water seamlessly. Sunderban consists of a large flora population like genwa, dhundal, passur, garjan and kankra.  Apart from these trees, impenetrable goran trees between 1.8 metres and 3.6 metres high cover almost the entire region.  One of the most remarkable features of this place is the bayonet like roots of mangrove forests that stick out above the water level.

TOUR PROGRAM

 

DAY 1 (Kolkata- Sunderban-Kolkata)

 

  • Tentative start @ 0700 hrs from your hotel byexclusive vehicle and drive to Gothkhali 110 kms (Here the road journey ends and the cruise to beautiful Sunderban begins).
  • Arrive at Gothkhali and board on exclusive vessel to sail towards Sajnekhali Tiger Project Area for viewing wildlife,Sajnekhali, Museum, Mangrove Interpretation Centre and Watch Tower.
  • Later sail to Dayapur. On your arrival you will be greeted by our team at resort with a hot lunch.
  • Post lunch cruise to Sudhanyakhali Watch tower and mangrove islands and creeks of the Park. You may spot some of the wildlife of the eco region (Crocodiles, Water monitor lizard, Spotted deer, Wild boars, variety of endemic or migratory birds and if lucky the Royal Bengal Tiger)
  • Around 04 o’clock cruise back to Gothkhali Jetty to board car back for Kolkata.
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  • Transfer
  • Hotel
  • Meals
  • Sightseeing
Gangasagar Day excursion

Gangasagar Day excursion

Day Tour

Gangasagar

 

Gangasagar is a charming tourist destination, which attracts both pilgrims and adventure lovers. Located on an island in the Sunderbans, Gangasagar offers the charms of an un-spoilt beach on the estuary of the river Ganges. Also known as Sagardwip, Gangasagar is still unexplored and therefore unexploited. The island of Gangasagar is one of the most famous Hindu pilgrimage centres in India. At Gangasagar one can visit the famous Kapil Muni Temple which has an ancient lineage. The present temple however, was built in 1973, as storms and the sea have washed three previous temples away. Other holy places to visit in Sagardwip are Bharat Sevashram Sangha temple, the Ramakrishna Mission and the Onkarnath temple.

 

 

A visit to Ganga Sagar involves surface journey and boat ride. You have to leave after an early breakfast and drive to Kakdwip (Lot No. 08) which is approximately 105kms / 3 hrs from Kolkata. The surface journey ends here and from here you have to board the local ferry which will take you on the other side of the river called Kochuberia. After a sail of 30 – 40mins you reach Kochuberia. You cannot take your vehicle on the other side hence you have to hire the local transports available like Ambassador, Indica or Sumo but all non air-conditioned. A drive of another 40mins will take you to Ganga Sagar. While coming back you have to follow the reverse routing.

 

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  • Transfer
  • Hotel
  • Meals
  • Sightseeing
Kolkata Street food tour

Kolkata Street food tour

Day Tour
  • Dacres Lane
  • BBD Bagh
  • Dalhousie Square
  • Sudder Street
  • AJC Bose Road

 

 

Kolkata is a city where you can get every type of street food you are looking for. A variety of gastronomic delights are available on the streets of the capital city, and that too, for cheap. The city displays a special attitude towards food, cooked and served hot on the streets. Every nook and corner of the city has stalls serving lip smacking dishes. Once the city of just jhal muri (puffed rice mixed with other ingredients), phuchka (golgappa), singara (samosa), kachauri and telebhaja (oil fries), street food graduated to hot kathi rolls (kebabs rolled in a paratha) and Mughlai paratha (paratha with potato filling laced with egg) in the 1960s.

 

Sometime during the 1980s, chowmein (mixed noodles) turned into a favourite street food with kiosks and carts mushrooming in nearly every locality. Around that time, Kolkata adopted paw bhaji, a favourite Maharashtrian dish that is extremely popular in Mumbai. As influx of migrant population increased, hotels sprung up, serving maach-bhaat (fish and rice) around various localities. The substantial meal is still sold at extremely affordable rates. Around the same time, south Indian fare comprising dosa, idli and vada became popular. These were followed by chola- bhatura and kulcha-chana.

 

At the turn of the millennium, more exotic dishes were added to the street food platter. Momo (dumplings) and thukpa (noodle soup) is now a major hit and sold on streets across the city. Biryani, that was available only in restaurants, has also become a regular fare in streets, particularly in office localities like BBD Bag and Camac Street.

 

The Program

Exploring the famous street food joints of Kolkata, especially in the BBD Bagh area, Dalhousie Square area, Sudder Street, A.J.C Bose Road. The kiosks along Dacres Lane are the ultimate destination for foodies. This tour will give you an opportunity to learn how to cook without a kitchen and how to make the most out of not very much. You may experience the different flavours of Kolkata’s street food (at your own risk, of course).

 

Dacres Lane - This is one of the most famous street food places in Kolkata. From China to Punjab, the food map here charts all delicacies one can want. This is a safe place to try out Kolkata’s street food with family as WHO has rated the food here as one of the “Best Street Foods of the World”. One can bite into a myriad variety of dishes—chicken cutlet, fish fry, fish roll, mutton/chicken/vegetable stew, ghugni, chowmein, fried rice, chilly/schezwan/garlic chicken, luchi/puri sabzi, chola-bhatura, kulcha-chana, momo, biryani, a wide range of sweets, lassi, firni and lots more. For almost 200 years, Dacres Lane was the eating ground for sailors who came to Calcutta from various countries. Dacres Lane served as a platform where sailors used to hang around and exchanged tales of their voyages and heroics over generous platters of food. In the 19th century, after the British left India, the tradition has been since carried forward by the city’s fiercely food loving residents. Dacres Lane is a must visit for street food connoisseurs.

 

BBD BaghOne of the prime business centres of the city, BBD Bagh sees a lot of businessmen flock to the street food stalls here for a quick lunch. Join the experienced locals and take a food walk down the square which is known for the numerous vendors who flock to this place to sell their wares. Some of the best vendors here are located near Fairlie place, by the backside of Writer’s Building and Near the Bankshall Court. You can try the Luchi, Kochuri and Aloodom, Cholar Dal, Rice and Fish Curry and Lanchan when here.

 

Dalhousie Square - The alleys off N.S.Road, the famed office area surrounding Writers Building (the administrative centre of West Bengal) offer a lip-smacking variety of snacks and meals, with choices ranging from typical Bengali and South Indian to Mughlai, Punjabi and Chinese cuisine. In fact the entire area, loosely referred to as the "Dalhousie para", encompassing the Calcutta High Court and the Stock Exchange on Lyons Range (to name just two of the many landmark buildings), is a foodies` paradise where one can spend weeks sampling new dishes.

 

Sudder Street One of the best places to enjoy Chinese street foods in Kolkata, ranging from dumplings to noodles and thukpa, Sudder Street is a retreat of spicy repose for foodies. All this bounty of taste involves the risk of falling ill, so be warned!

 

AJC Bose Road - If you are in the mood for some juicy Kathi Rolls which taste like they are food poetry then head to AJC Bose Road for fulfilment. Once here, walk to Gorky Sadan and see these culinary delights being prepared just across the road. Take your pick from a stuffing of paneer, mix veg, egg, curried chicken or chopped mutton, select from the roomali bread or parantha bread and get for yourself the personification of good taste wrapped in paper. Just walk to the vendor who is enjoying the longest queue and walk out with Kolkata’s gift to the food world, a Kathi Roll.

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  • Transfer
  • Hotel
  • Meals
  • Sightseeing
Excursion to Mayapur

Excursion to Mayapur

Day Tour
  • Sri Chaitanya Candrodaya Temple
  • Murari Gupta's House
  • Chand Kazi's Samadhi
  • Jagannath Mandir 

Mayapur is situated on the banks of the Hooghly near the confluence of the Hooghly and the Jalangi. It is one of the nine islands of Navadwip. Founded by Bakti Vinod Thakur, Mayapur was earlier known as Miyapur. It holds a special significance for followers of Gaudiya Vaishnavism since it is the birthplace of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and hence is an important religious center. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was the one who started the Hare Krishna movement and taught the widespread mass chanting and singing of Hare Krishna.

Being an important religious center, Mayapur has many temples dedicated to Vishnu and to other deities. The most important of all however is the beautiful Iskcon Temple also known as Sri Chaitanya Candrodaya Temple that attracts thousands of devotees and tourists from different parts of India and world. The temple has a statue of Lord Radha Krishna along with the eight gopis. It also houses an exhibition section, which depicts the life and work of Sri Chaitanya

The temple’s timings are from 7.30 am to 1 pm and from 4 pm to 8.30 pm. 

 

Another place of interest is Sri Chaitanya Math located one kilometer past Sri Chaitanya's birthplace. Murari Gupta's House located behind the Sri Chaitanya Math near the bank of the Ballal Dighi is the place where deities of Rama, Sita and Hanuman were worshipped by Murari Gupta and his family. The Chand Kazi's Samadhi is another main landmark in Mayapur. Chand Kazi was the Muslim magistrate of Navadwip, who with his men broke the mridanga of Srivash Pandit. He had opposed the sankirtana movement where people collectively chanted Hare Rama, Hare Krishna on the road, but he later became the disciple of Sri Chaitanya. The Jagannath Mandir is another place worth checking out in Mayapur.

 

Evening drive back to Kolkata.

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  • Transfer
  • Hotel
  • Meals
  • Sightseeing
Excursion to Shantiniketan

Excursion to Shantiniketan

Day Tour
  • The VishwaBharati University Campus
  • China Bhawan
  • Chhatimtala 
  • Kala Bhavan 
  • Bichitra
  • SangeetBhawan
  • Uttarayan Complex
  • Sriniketan

 

Shanti Niketan means the abode of peace. In 1863, a meditation center was founded at Shanti Niketan by Maharishi Debendranath Tagore, the father of the world famous Bengali Poet Rabindranath Tagore. Rabindranath established the Brahma Vidyalaya and in 1901 another open air school “Brahmacharya Ashram”. In 1921, it had expanded into VishwaBharati University – a residential university with an international body, hostels and extensive grounds. In includes separate colleges for fine arts and crafts, dance, music, teachers’ training, Asian languages, technology, postgraduate studies and research.

 

After breakfast at hotel drive to Shantiniketan (220 kms / 05 hrs one way). On arrival at Shantiniketan lunch at a pre decided place. Post lunch visit the University Campus and Sriniketan. If time permits you can visit Kankalitala also.

 

The VishwaBharati University Campus

China Bhawan (The Chinese Faculty)

Chhatimtala (Here MaharshiDevendranath, the father of Rabindranath Tagore, used to meditate)

Kala Bhavan (The College of Fine Arts & Crafts) PathaBhavan, Prayer Hall (Founded by the poet's father in 1863, the hall is made of glass. Prayers are held on Wednesday)

Bichitra (Also called RabindraBhavan, a Research Centre and Museum where the poet's personal belongings, paintings & various editions of his works are exhibited)

SangeetBhawan (College of Dance and Music)    

Uttarayan Complex (The poet lived and worked in the Northern Complex consisting of several buildings as: Udayana, Konarka, Shyamali, Punascha and Udichi). 

 

Sriniketan

The Institute of Rural Reconstruction was founded in 1922 at Surul at a distance of about three kilometers from Shantiniketan. It was formally inaugurated on February 6, 1922 with Leonard Elmhirst as its first Director. Thus the second but contiguous campus of Visva-Bharati came to be located in 1923 at a site which assumed the name of Sriniketan. The chief object was to help villagers and people to solve their own problems instead of a solution being imposed on them from outside. In consonance with the ideas about reconstruction of village life, a new type of school meant mainly for the children of neighbouring villages who would eventually bring the offering of their acquired knowledge for the welfare of the village community was also conceived. This school, Siksha-Satra, was started in Shantiniketan in 1924 but was shifted to Sriniketan in 1927. The Lok-SikshaSamsad, an organization for the propagation of non-formal education amongst those who had no access to usual educational opportunities, was started in 1936. Siksha-Charcha for training village school teachers followed next year.

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  • Transfer
  • Hotel
  • Meals
  • Sightseeing
Wheel O City (Transport Tour

Wheel O City (Transport Tour

Day Tour
  • Flower Market
  • Howrah Bridge
  • Howrah Station
  • Kumartuli
  • College Street
  • Victoria Memorial

Kolkata is the only Indian city which maintains such rich heritage. The first tram rolled out on the tracks way back in February 28, 1873. A horse drawn tram system opened in January 1881 after a premature experiment in 1873 and a steam tramway line opened in 1882. Electric trams began plying on March 27, 1902.

Ferry travel is also another novel and enjoyable way of avoiding tiresome traffic jams, especially those along the Howrah Bridge. The twin cities of Kolkata and Howrah are connected by local water ferries through the extensive ghats like Fairlie Ghat, Howrah Ghat, Shibpur Ghat, Prinsep Ghat, Cossipore Ghat, etc.

Hand-pulled rickshaws are used for short distance travel. Several major streets have been closed to rickshaw traffic since 1972, and in 1982 the city seized over 12,000 rickshaws and destroyed them. In 1992, it was estimated that over 30,000 rickshaws were operating in the city, all but 6,000 of them illegally, lacking a license (no new licenses have been issued since 1945).

Apart from buses, if you find any other transport system in Kolkata in abundance, is yellow colored ambassador Taxis which are very common and can be hired as per anywhere and can be paid as per meter systems. The metered-cabs are mostly of the brand "Ambassador" manufactured by Hindustan Motors.

 

One of the best modes of local transports in Kolkata is the Metro. Kolkata Metro Rail has been in operation since 1984 and is the first underground Metro Rail in the whole of India. It is the most convenient way to get around in the busy city of Kolkata. It is held in high esteem throughout the world for its efficient functioning, cleanliness, comfort and time - saving quality.

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  • Transfer
  • Hotel
  • Meals
  • Sightseeing
Excursion to Dalhousie Square

Excursion to Dalhousie Square

Day Tour
  • Raj Bhawan
  •  Treasury Building
  • St. John’s Church
  • Secretariat Offices
  • Kolkata GPO
  • Postal Museum
  • Collectorate Building
  • Writers Building
  • St. Andrew’s Church
  • Old Currency Building
  • Central Telegraph Office
  • Great Eastern Hotel.

This walk will be conducted by experienced guides from the department of tourism.

 

The area covered by this walk was originally known in the eighteenth century as ‘Lal Dighi’ (Red Lake), and later as Tank Square. Later still, in the heydays of the British administration, it was called Dalhousie Square, after Lord Dalhousie who was the Governor General in the 1850s. Later on it was renamed as Benoy – Badal – Dinesh Bag (popularly known as BBD Bag) in the memory of three Indian nationalist martyrs – Benoy Krishna Bose, Badal Gupta and Dinesh Chandra Gupta. The area near around the Dalhousie Square provide one of the most interesting walks through eighteenth and nineteenth century history and architecture of Kolkata.

 

BACKGROUND

The Dalhousie Square area was once Dihi Kalikata – one of the three villages which later grew into the metropolis of Kolkata. It was here that the British first built a mud fort around 1700 and started their trading ware houses. Later, when the East India Company took over the administration of the region after 1757, their courts of justice and seat of governance and the churches for Sunday service were set up around Lal Dighi.

 

THE WALK

It starts from the Governor’s House (Raj Bhavan) goes past the Treasury Building to St. John’s Church, up to the Kolkata General Post Office (GPO), and around past the Collectorate Office and the Writer’s Building – the seat of the state government. Then you can take a quick round of St. Andrew’s Kirk, take a straight walk down the Old Court House Street and go past the Old Currency Building. Cross over to see the Postal Sorting Office, the Central Telegraph Office. Then turn left into Wellesley Place (now Red Cross Place), past the Raj Bhavan outhouses and left again to the Great Eastern Hotel. This would bring you out very near Curzon Park where you would have started off from.

 

Details at a Glance

 

RAJ BHAVAN OR THE GOVERNOR’S HOUSE

Raj Bhavan was the former official residence of the Viceroys of British India when Calcutta was the capital of the country. Built in 1803 by Governor General Marquis of Wellesley, there are six gates in all-upon four sides. It is probably the largest residence in Calcutta with 137 rooms and is considered a major Calcutta Tourist Attraction.

TREASURY BUILDING - The red – thick Treasury Building is located just to the south of the intersection. It houses many important offices of the state accounts and audit sections. It is built on a classical quadrangular plan, with tall windows, matching seta of Corinthian pillars and a balustrade on the roof with pairs of phoenixes at intervals.

ST. JOHN’S CHURCH – To the north of the intersection, opposite the Treasury Building is the St. John’s Church. This is not the oldest church in Kolkata, nor the largest. Its distinction, however, lies in its graceful architecture, modellled by Lt. James Agg, apparently on the lines of the church of St. martin-in-the-Fields in England.

COMMERCIAL LIBRARY – Once out of the St. John’s compound, turn left along the Council House Street. One can see further down the road the other secretariat office buildings, with the typical red brick construction, portico and arched passageways. This was built in 1885, to mark the visit of the Prince of Wales, who later became Edward VII.

KOLKATA GPO & POSTAL MUSEUM – The Postal headquarters of Calcutta, located in the BBD Bag area, is an interesting architectural piece. The Calcutta General Post Office (GPO), the commercial hub of the city designed by Walter B. Grenville was built in 1864. Its high domed roof and tall Ionic-Corinthian pillars give the building an imposing appearance marking the boundaries of the former Fort William, destroyed during Shiraj-ud-Daulah's attack on the British Settlement in 1756. It is also alleged to be the site of the notorious Black Hole of Calcutta. The GPO functions as the chief post office of West Bengal and houses an adjacent redbrick building, the Postal Museum that was built in 1884. The museum displays a wide collection of artefacts and stamps, which includes antique cast iron post boxes, signal lights from the Railway Mail Service, franking seals, copies of charters, etc commemorating the history of postal services in India. At the southwestern end of the building is the Philatelic Bureau, which is a collector's delight. Visitors can buy some of the more recent first day covers and mint stamps at cost price from the Bureau.

COLLECTORATE BUILDING – Kolkata Collectorate building was constructed in 1890. This is the office of the presidency commissioner, in charge of the south Bengal districts. It is a neat red-brick building with quadrangular courtyard and has a notable Palladian-late ornate curlicues, decorative tablets and typical small pavilions on the roof.

WRITERS BUILDING - A massive red building was originally built as a residence for the British East India Company's clerical and administrative staff called as writers, hence the name Writers' building. This building summarizes the political revolution of Bengal. The Chief Minister's office is also located in this building. Kolkata's present Writers' Building was first started as early as 1690. Within the periphery of the old fort, the junior writers or clerks of the East India Company used to stay in mud hovels. So it came to be known as the 'Writers' Building'.

ST. ANDREW’S KIRK - The Scots in the East India Company brought their 'rivalry' with the English to the banks of the Hooghly and when their own church (or 'kirk') was built in 1818 by Messrs Burn, Currie & Co, its steeple was built higher than that of the English church at St John's - after a preceding row between the Anglican Bishop Middleton and Dr Bryce of the Scottish Church. Only the unkind would suggest that the Jocks were out to upstage the Sassenachs!
This is yet another colonial church built in the early 19th century which owes its design to the oft-copied St Martin-in-the-Fields in London. Its location at the top of Old Court House Street made this church a focal point in the city which it retains to this day.

OLD CURRENCY BUILDING – This building till about 1936-37 housed offices of the Reserve Bank of India before it shifted to Mumbai. It was in this very run – down, half demolished building that many momentous decisions concerning the trade and monetary policies of India in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century  were taken.

CENTRAL TELEGRAPH OFFICE – This is a red-brick structure, with a graceful rectangular pavilion at the northeast corner of the roof, resembling the Villa Medici in Rome. Done in the Palladian – Tuscan style, it has a quadrangle inside with both robust and slender Corinthian columns (some in pairs, balancing the arches and windows. It manages to look elegant despite the hawkers selling foodstuffs, knick – knacks and old books on the ground floor alcoves and verandas.

 

 

 

 

GREAT EASTERN HOTEL - The Great Eastern Hotel was born Auckland Hotel in 1841, at the crossroads of the Old Courthouse Street and British India Street, founded by confectioner David Wilson and named after the current Governor General Lord Auckland. It grew from strength to strength over the 19th and first half of the 20th century. Locally known as "Wilson's Hotel", it was also known as "Auckland Hotel and the Hall of Nations" in the 19th century, and was referred to as the "Japani Hotel" (Japanese Hotel) colloquially in the 20th century, due to the large number of Japanese tourists there. The hotel was extremely elite, referred to as the Jewel of the East and "the best hotel East of the Suez" by Mark Twain on his voyage along the Equator, and described by Rudyard Kipling in "The City of Dreadful Night". It had notable board members like the author Parry Chand Mitter and stockholders like W. C. Bonnerjee - president of the Indian National Congress. The hotel was famous for its new year parties thrown by Maharajahs (like the Maharajah of Cooch Behar) uptil the 1950s. It has been host to such notables as Queen Elizabeth II on her India visit, Nikita Khruschev's delegation in the 1950s, and visiting international cricket teams. The hotel kitchens, manned by the legendary Baruahs of Chittagong (now in Bangladesh), was the talk of Kolkata. It steadily progressed downhill since the 1970s, and was taken over by the Government of West Bengal in 1975 on grounds of insolvency.

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  • Transfer
  • Hotel
  • Meals
  • Sightseeing
Path of Knowledge

Path of Knowledge

Day Tour
  • Medical College
  • Calcutta University
  •  Asutosh Museum
  • Mirzapur Street Eateries
  • RadhanathMullick Lane
  • College Square
  • Sanskrit College
  • Presidency College
  • Indian Coffee House
  • Old book shops and eating houses
  • College Street Market
...

  • Transfer
  • Hotel
  • Meals
  • Sightseeing

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