Did you think West Bengal tourism referred only to the Victoria Memorial and the Birla Planetarium in the heart of Kolkata? Reconsider, my friend, reconsider. Howrah is a Kolkata suburb, and is by far the most memorable tourist experience a suburb has ever provided someone with. It has every convenience possible- it is well networked, it has a number of important tourist hotspots, is fairly modern and somehow still manages to remind one of the quaint town populations before WiFi arrived, in some ways. Howrah is a must visit for the experience if a lifetime, whether it is history, art or state of the art architecture you’re looking for. Its hot in summer and fairly rainy in the monsoon, so you’d do well to plan ahead and tailor your vacation.
Here are the top 5 places to visit in Howrah:
1. The Howrah Bridge
This mountain of political, cultural, historical and architectural significance needs very little introduction. Constructed in the most awe inspiring style possible, Howrah Bridge is very popular for photography or a view of the magnificent Ganges underneath. It has become a visual symbol for Kolkata, being visible from far and wide. It plays an important part in Kolkata colonial history too and also has literature written about it. It is also a hub for a number of celebrations and festivities around Kolkata all through the year, and you possibly couldn’t miss it if you’re planning a visit anytime soon.
2. Belur Math
As Howrah is a symbol to glorious Kolkata as a whole, Belur Math stands tall as the most famous religious retreat in this area and its surroundings. Belue Math is a temple premises on a large space area and is dedicated to the famous Swami Vivekananda of Bengal and his undying devotion to Ramakrishna, Devi Sarada and the Goddess Kali. It has beautiful premises where you can spend contemplative moments, shrines you can worship in and festive galas at important times of the year like Diwali.
3. Acharya Jagdish Chandra Bose Botanic Garden
This one is named after the famed botanist of Bengal, AJC Bose, and is a botanic reserve true to its historic legacy. Acharya Jagdish Chandra Bose Botanic Garden is a wide botanical reserve which is diverse in its collection of species, and lakes and abundant trees serve scientific as well as ecological interest. It is popular with ordinary tourists and couples, but also with a number of educational institutions for excursions and the like. A very important landmark while you’re in Howrah.
4. Vidyasagar Setu
This is the second magnificent bridge that’s a tourist spot on this list, and indeed, is of the very best of its kind nationally, if not globally. Because it serves the same testimony to architectural, aesthetic and historic merit as the Howrah Bridge does. Vidyasagar Setu is visible from far and wide on its perch up above the Hooghly river, the second, as it connects the twin pride cities of Kolkata and Howrah. It is particularly beautiful to photograph during sunset, and can even be used to kick back and relax with a view of life and tides beneath.
5. Andul Rajbari
This is a heritage site in and around Howrah in the true sense of the term. Andul Rajbari belonged to feudal land owning lords of yore of this place, the zamindars with kaccharis. It is a palace, magnificent, and now open to the public for viewership. In olden times, it also used to be let out for picnics. Now, the condition is almost one of decrepitude, in urgent need of upkeep, at the mercy of the government. The spirits residing here have apparently turned aggressive, turning it haunted nowadays. A priority visit for a day filled with history and aristocratic glamour of old heritage.
Howrah near Kolkata, West Bengal is the most composite tourist spot a suburb in existence ever was. There are temples, for your soul, and palaces in ruins, in case you want to experience folk tales come to life in person, and bridges on rivers to posit the glitzy against the timeless. So, book your calendars, grab comfy shoes and get exploring, preferably in winter, and I can guarantee you won’t regret it.
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