Calcutta (Kolkata) tour / guide / attractions

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Kolkata or Calcutta is the cultural capital of India. It is both a city of joy and a city of sorrow, a city of granduer and a city of poverty. But Calcutta (Kolkata) is always a city of warmth and love. Calcutta is compelling. Calcutta is effervescent. Anybody who has lived in Calcutta for sometime has fallen in love with the city despite its many shortcomings. This cannot be said about any other city of India.

You can click on any stamp on this page to see an actual photo of the featured subject on the stamp and/or to learn more about it.

For a tourist, the first and foremost attraction of Calcutta is the Victoria Memorial Hall. Designed by Sir William Emerson, President of the British Institute of Architects, and built between 1906 and 1921, Victoria Memorial is a stately, spacious, monumental, and grand white marble building surrounded by exquisite gardens. It sits on the southern fringes of the great Calcutta maidan which is a vast tract of open, green land that serves as the lungs of Calcutta. Victoria Memorial is the largest repository in India for a visual history of Calcutta. It also has a major collection of paintings, sculptures, and manuscripts from the British period. The following stamp image shows the Victoria Memorial of Calcutta. The stamp was issued in 1935 as part of King George V's Silver Jubilee celebrations.

Victoria Memorial, Calcutta
Victoria Memorial,
Calcutta

The same set of stamps that shows the Victoria Memorial, has another stamp showing another Calcutta landmark - Pareshnath Jain Temple. The temple is indeed superbly designed having intricate ornamentation. It is a brilliant example of superior temple architecture.

Pareshnath Jain Temple, Calcutta
Pareshnath Jain Temple,
Calcutta

The twin city of Calcutta and Howrah are separated by the River Hooghly. The Howrah Bridge (now known as the Rabindra Setu) joins these two cities. The Howrah Bridge is the longest cantilever bridge in the world and it is a piece of engineering marvel. Howrah Bridge is also perhaps the busiest bridge in the world. The main railway station of Calcutta that connects the city with the rest of India, is on the Howrah side of the river Hooghly. If you arrive in Calcutta by train, the chances are you will arrive at Howrah station. To cross over to Calcutta, Howrah Bridge used to be the only option. Now, a second bridge, known as Vidyasagar Setu is available. But since Howrah Bridge is much closer to Howrah station, it still remains the the first choice.

Howrah Bridge, Calcutta
Howrah Bridge
(seen on the background)

Next, we'll see the Calcutta High Court, which is the country's oldest high court. It is built as an exact relica of the Stand Hans in Ypres, Belgium. The building is marvelous. It is a must see.

Calcutta High Court
Calcutta High Court

Calcutta University is one of the most prestigious educational institutions of India which celebrated its centenary in 1957. The following stamp was issued to commemorate the occasion.

Calcutta University
Calcutta University

The Calcutta General Post Office (G.P.O.) is situated in B.B.D.Bagh. Its imposing structure makes it a landmark of the city. The building has a high dome, huge pillars in the front, and to reach the first floor to do any business, one has to climb up an impressive set of semi-circular stairs that covers the entire front of the building. It is the main post office of Calcutta and the entire state of West Bengal. Designed by Walter B. Grenville the General Post Office was built in 1864. An adjacent red brick building houses the Postal Museum. At the southwestern end of the building is the Philatelic Bureau, which is a collector's paradise. Visitors can buy some of the more recent First Day Covers and mint stamps at cost price from the Bureau.

Calcutta General Post Office
General Post Office,
Calcutta

Also in Binoy Badal Dinesh Bagh or B.B.D.Bagh (formerly, Dalhousie Square), a few yards from the G.P.O. building, stands another landmark of Kolkata (Calcutta) - the Writers' Building. This massive red building was originally built as a residence for the British East India Company's clerical and administrative staff called "writers". That's how the building got its name. The Writers' Building is now the secretariat of the West Bengal State Government. The Chief Minister's office is also located in this building. The following stamp shows the Writers' Building in the background, and the first Chief Minister of West Bengal, Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy, in the foreground.

Writers' Building, Calcutta
Writers' Building,
Calcutta

Calcutta (Kolkata) police headquarters on Lalbazar street is not far from Writers' Building, and the police headquarters building is also red in color. Recently Kolkata police celebrated its 150th anniversary. To commemorate that occasion, India issued the following impressive looking stamp.

Kolkata Police Headquarters
Kolkata Police Headquarters

Calcutta is also home to Mother Teresa's internationally famous Missionaries of Charity, located on Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose road. After she passed away in 1995, the Mother was buried in the compunds of Missionaries of Charity here. Calcutta and Missionaries of Charity are two inseparable names.

Mother Teresa
Mother Teresa

New addition:

Howrah Station
Howrah Station
Calcutta's (Kolkata's) main railway station
(Click on the stamp for more info)

Here are some links to Kolkata (Calcutta) information / tourism sites:

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