Kolkata, famously known as the ‘City of Joy’, is not just another metro city, but has an important place in the history of India. It was the first capital of the British rulers when they had just started building their system of administration to empower their position in the country. The city has gone through multiple transformations industrially and culturally since its formation. In Kolkata you will find multiple places to tell the story of the British age. Here we discuss five historic places and monuments in Kolkata.
1. Victoria Memorial
The grand white palace amidst the lush green gardens not only overwhelms the visitors, it also offers a time-machine ride back to the British age. The plan of this monument to memorize Queen Victoria, was conceived by Viceroy Lord Curzon. And the idea took shape through the beautiful imagination of Sir William Emerson. White Makrana marbles were used to build the elegant structure. Its style is inspired by the British and the Mughal architectural trends. The museum inside the Victoria Memorial has a rich collection of paintings, sculptures, coins, maps, weapons and other interesting items from the historical ages.
2. Dakshineshwar Kali Temple
Dakshineswar Kali temple in Kolkata has a glorious past. It was built by Rani Rasmoni, a pious lady from an aristocratic background. She purchased a huge plot of land beside the Hoogly river and established the Kali temple in 1855. Along with the main Kali temple, there are twelve temples of lord Shiva in his twelve different names. The temple construction follows the typical architectural pattern of Bengal.
Lord Sri Ramakrishna was the famous priest of this temple, after his elder brother. He resided here with his wife Sri Ma Sarada Devi and it was a place of gathering for his devotees. This place is not just a temple, but a place where a great spiritual revolution took place during the 19th Century.
3. Marble Palace
The Royal palace of Raja Rajendra Mullick, built in 1835, is the witness of the high-class taste of Bengal during the British ages. Marble Palace being made of milky white marble, speaks for the grandeur of its maker. The grand pillars, wide courtyards and artistic architecture bear the signature of the aristocracy of the then rich class of Bengal. Inside, it has a rich collection of paintings and artworks, by famous artists like Titian, Ruben, Murillo and others. The visitors need to have the permit from the West Bengal Tourism Information Bureau, 24 hours prior to visiting the palace. The palace is a residence of the heirs of the royal family.
4. Indian Museum
A renowned scholar, sir William Jones, established the Asiatic society in Kolkata in 1784, with a view to promoting the growth of culture and art. It became an enriched gathering of reputed scholars who wanted to ensure the growth and preservation of the Indian culture.
In 1808, The Indian Museum first took shape through the earnest efforts of the Asiatic society members. Now it is the biggest museum in India and also in the Asia-Pacific region. The museum has different segments of collections, to name, the Zoological, Archaeological, Geological, Anthropological, Art and Culture and a few more segments. Locally it is known as the ‘Jadughar’, and you need a whole day or even more than one days, to cover the entire Museum.
5. Fort William
Fort William, one of the oldest historical tombs in Kolkata, dates back to the seventeenth Century. There are the old fort and the new fort; The East India Company built up the first fort in 1696. It was captured by the then Bengal ruler Siraj Ud Daulah; the company built a second fort in Maidan. The old fort was regained by the company in 1766. The fort was named after the King of England and Ireland, King William III. The brick and mortar fort is built in a geometric design. It has six gates including the Chowringhee and the Treasury gate. Presently it is owned by the Indian Army.
So, when you are in Kolkata, visit these five places for sure to know the history of India during the British ages.