The city where time stands still. I’d take the liberty to say that there are two kinds of people who have lived in Kolkata; Those who have adored it for its charm and those who haven’t got this opportunity yet.
This autumn I had plenty of time to spare, so I thought of exploring and getting to know about the city deeper, which I never did earlier even though I had stayed here for four years. I wonder what was wrong with me back then that I didn’t bother to feel the pulse of the city! The day I left this city, I realized the importance of Kolkata just like how people in love realize the importance of their better half when they leave.
Now let me give you those 10 reasons as to why you should visit the city!
1. Howrah Bridge : Built in 1943, this iconic cantilever bridge of India has stood sturdy since the second world war to unite two lands divided by water. The bridge is fastened together by the desire of millions of hearts. It is the busiest cantilever bridge and the sixth–longest bridge of its type in the world.
2. Victoria Memorial: The ‘Taj of the Raj’. It is one among the many popular landmarks in Kolkata. Like Taj Mahal, it is also built using Makrana marble. Before the Victoria memorial was erected, the location housed the Presidency Jail, which was later demolished and relocated to Alipur.
3. Trams; Travelling in a tram in Kolkata is a surreal experience with a vintage charm. I felt positive vibes washing through me while I was on it. It is the oldest in tram service in Asia, running steadfast since 1873. These are the oldest electrically operated trams in the whole of Asia.
4. Prinsep Ghat: Built-in 1841 and named after James Prinsep, an Anglo- Indian Scholar, this place rose to fame when it got featured in a song from the Bollywood movie Parineeta.
Towering above is the Vidyasagar Setu which adds to the charm of the ghat. Evenings are a sight to behold in this neighborhood, boat rides leave from this ghat for a 20minute ride at prices ranging between 250-400INR—with a maximum of 4 people on a boat rowed in an old-fashioned way. I have done the same only once so far, but I wouldn’t mind doing the same again if I get a good company.
5. Jadavpur University; An abode of academic excellence and successful campus agitations, Jadavpur University comes in the list of India’s top 10 engineering institutes. Every student’s life at JU mostly was filled with the ideology of “Chaap nibi na” meaning “Don’t worry pal”, no matter how screwed we were at times! And if there is one thing that remains constant throughout the life of a JU student, it is “Lyadh” implying “Procrastination” in all forms. And I am sure, like me, every other student at JU used to take their trips to Worldview at Art Campus way more seriously than our academics.
6. Presidency College: Being established in the year 1817, Presidency College is one of the oldest colleges in South Asia and also one of the most prestigious colleges under Kolkata University. Lots of notable personalities like Subhas Chandra Bose are alumni of this college.
7. The College Street is most famous for its small and big bookstores which gives it the nickname Boi para (Colony of books). It is the largest book market in India. The place collectively boasts of a collection of almost any title ever sold at Kolkata.
8. Kumortuli, meaning “potter locality”, is in north Kolkata and is over 300 years old. I have always adored the skills of the artisans seeing the intricate beauty of the idols of Goddess Durga during the Durga puja. Thus, for obvious reasons, there was so much of excitement within me in visiting this place again, because the artists are so passionately involved in crafting idols of a god and goddess for festivals. I have always wanted to see them work and to get some candid shots of that as well.
9. Roshogollas: The sweet legacy of Durga Puja, Roshogollas, like every other good thing, has controversies surrounding it, with Odisha and Kolkata claiming their stake on its inventions.I cannot ever seem to have enough of this dessert though. It is also known as rosogulla, rasagulla or rasbari(depending which Indian state it is being referred in).
10.Metro; Proudly called “India’s first, Kolkata’s pride” It is the oldest metro station in India which started its journey in the year 1984. You’ll discover its presence in movies more than any other metro in India, including the Vidya Balan starrer ‘Kahaani’ movie. There is a spooky side of the story to it, According to the reports, around 70% of all people who have lost their lives in the tracks of Metro have committed suicide at Rabindra Sarovar Metro Station and most people have seen apparitions after the last train has left the station.
And I would like to let my thoughts drop here and end this by quoting a famous line from Mother Theresa, “It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving”