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Kolkata: The Most Beautiful City of India

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Kolkata, the former capital of British India, still retains some of that old elegance. Which makes it a different city from other large cities in the country. Even today it remains the proud capital of the state of West Bengal and the cultural heart of India.

The best thing about visiting Kolkata for the western traveler is that you will find in it all the true essence of India. But you will also find much more. It is that in this city where more than five million people live there is a lot of history, art, culture and fun.

Kolkata is also a city of contrasts. In it, luxury palaces and villas coexist alongside some of the poorest neighbourhoods in the world. Where the famous Mother Teresa carried out tireless humanitarian work for decades.

But above all, Kolkata is a fascinating destination that leaves no one indifferent.

Dakshineswar Temple

One of the most beautiful and impressive buildings in the country. The temple of Dakshineswar dedicated to the goddess Kali, always full of devotees and tourists.

The temple stands on the banks of the Hooghly River. It built in the 19th century on the initiative of the philanthropist Rani Rashmoni. Its structure draws attention to its nine large towers. Already inside a large courtyard opens where the faithful can worship and raise their prayers to the large white marble statues of deities of the Hindu pantheon such as Shiva, Vishnu and, of course, Kali.

At the foot of the temple are the ghat, the sacred steps that descend to the river bank.

The entrance to the Dakshineswar Temple is free, maybe that explains why it is always crowded with people.

Howrah bridge

For many, this is the great icon of the city. Although his official name is Rabindra Setu, everyone in Calcutta knows him by the name that the English gave him: Howrah Bridge. It inaugurated in 1943 to provide the city with access from the neighboring town of Howrah, from which it takes its name.

This marvelous metal structure supports heavy traffic: about 150,000 vehicles and more than 90,000 pedestrians a day. Its dimensions are as follows: 217 meters long and 90 meters high. At night it illuminated offering a beautiful spectacle to the people of Calcutta.

Maidan and Victoria Memorial

The most important park in the city, known during colonial times as Brigade Parade Ground. It is a large esplanade with groves and grassy areas located in the very center of Calcutta. It is the ideal place to escape the bustle of the city streets. Which for tourists can be a bit overwhelming.

Among other things, Maidan Park is home to the popular Eden Gardens Cricket Ground and the Calcutta Racecourse.

But above all, at one end of the park stands the wonderful Victoria Memorial building. A commemorative monument in honor of Queen Victoria after her death in 1901. Its interior houses a museum where oil paintings on the life of the Queen.

Belur Math

Another must-see in Calcutta is undoubtedly the Belur Math temple. It is not just any temple, but a very special one, as it is the heart of the Ramakrishna Movement. The most remarkable thing about its architecture is it’s almost impossible fusion of Christian, Islamic, Hindu and Buddhist art. And it is that its builders intended that this temple was a symbol of the unity of all religions.

Other essential visits in Calcutta

The interesting places to see and discover in Kolkata are endless. It is better to take it easy and dedicate each day of your stay to exploring a different area of ​​the city. A good plan for example is to look for the British colonial traces, which we will find in Fort William, in the Cathedral of San Pablo and in the neo-Gothic building of the Superior Court.

To immerse yourself in the vibrant and colorful atmosphere of the city, visit the flower market at Mullick Ghat and haggle at the fabric and craft stalls at New Market. It is also worth dropping by Phears Lane, in Old Chinatown (the old Chinatown). However, to enjoy a 100% Bengali dining experience, you must stop at one of the traditional restaurants on Park Street.

A more relaxed visit is offered by the Calcutta Botanical Garden. Where giant lilies grow and where we will find a centuries-old banyan tree. There you will finally find a bit of peace among so many emotions.