Half day visit to Kolkata – The city of joy

Welcome to THE CITY OF JOY – Kolkata.

Brief History of Calcutta (kolkata)

Kolkata is capital of West Bengal situated at the bank of river Hooghly. It was capital of British India .Calcutta city established in the year 1686, as a result of expansion plans of British Raj. Calcutta derived its name from the name of a village kalikata.

The period between 1820 and 1930 saw the growing of seeds of nationalism that reached its height in 1905, when people stood against Lord Cruzan’s plan regarding the partition of Bengal. Rabindranath Tagore led the nationalist anti partition movements. The Partition was repealed in 1911, followed by the shifting of capital of India from Calcutta to New Delhi.

In 2001, Calcutta was officially renamed Kolkata.

I got an opportunity to attend a training in IIM – Kolkata . Although there was a tight schedule, but I along with other trainees got a chance to visit Kolkata for half a day.

Kolkata is a rare blend of tradition & modernity.

On the roads of Kolkata you will find the old buses with antique designed wooden windows running & on the other side speeding up the Volvo buses. One can find tram as well as metro, taxi/auto as well as rickshaws pulled by man.

Kolkata Tram

Kolkata Tram

Kolkata Rickshaw

Kolkata Rickshaw

Kolkata Old Buses

Kolkata Old Buses

Anyone visiting Kolkata , the first thing comes in his mind is to visit Victoria Memorial , we also planned to start with the same way and rest of the visit was planned according to the time left.

Victoria Memorial
Victoria Memorial is one of the most fascinating landmarks of Kolkata. Victoria Memorial has been built in a sprawling 26 hectares of land and a visit to Victoria Memorial is the best education one can possibly have of the British East India Company’s rule in India. Here you will come face to face with miniature paintings and images of Queen Mary, King George V and Queen Victoria.

Victoria Memorial - Front View

Victoria Memorial - Front View

Victorial Memorial

Victorial Memorial

Victoria Memorial - Main Enterance

Victoria Memorial - Main Enterance

Victoria Memorial - left  side view

Victoria Memorial - left side view

Victoria Memorial- Back View

Victoria Memorial- Back View

Victoria Memorial - QV

Victoria Memorial - QV

Hawarah Bridge

Howrah Bridge is another place to be seen in Calcutta. It is excellent example of engineering techniques of the early 20th century. The whole bridge is 450 m long without any pylon in the river. The bridge also has the distinction of being the busiest bridge in the world catering to around 100,000 vehicles and innumerable pedestrians.

The area around the Hawarah bridge generally remains over crowded.

Hawarah Bridge

Hawarah Bridge

Vidyasagar Setu

Vidyasagar Setu (commonly known as the Second Hooghly Bridge), is a bridge over the Hooghly River in West Bengal, India. The bridge is a toll bridge for vehicles, but is free for bicycles. It is one of the longest bridges of its type in India and one of the longest in Asia.
The bridge is named after the 19th century Bengali reformist Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar.

Vidhya Sagar Sethu

Vidhya Sagar Sethu

Kalighat Kali temple

The temple is dedicated to Goddess Kali, the goddess of destruction. This is the temple from which the old village Kalikata took its name, which, in turn, also gave the city its name.

The original temple was a small hut. A small temple was constructed by King Manasingha in the early Sixteenth century. The present temple was erected under the patronage of the Sabarna Roy Chowdhury family of Banisha. It was completed in 1809. The Haldar family claims to be the original owners of the temple property. But this was disputed by the Chowdhrys of Banisha. In the nineteen sixties a committee was formed for the administrative management of the temple with representation from the Government and the Haldar family.

Kalighat Temple

Kalighat Temple

Birala Mandir

Birala Mandir is located in ballygunge – kolkata, built by the industrialist Birla family. The Temple designed on the pattern of the famous Lingaraj Temple of Bhubaneswar. The construction of the temple began in 1970. It took 26 years to complete the entire structure. The Main temple houses statues of deities Krishna and Radha. The left side dome (shikhar) houses godess durga & right side Shiva.

Birla Temple

Birla Temple

How to reach Kolkata

By Air:

It is completely accessible by air. There are a number of domestic airlines that connect Kolkata with other major cities of India.

By Rail:

Kolkata is well linked to other parts of the country by railways. There are super fast trains like Rajdhani Express and Shatabdi Express that join Calcutta from Delhi and other nearby places. Calcutta consists of two major railway stations; one is located in Howrah and the other at Sealdah.

By Road:

The city of joy is well linked with almost all the cities of India by road. The Esplanade Terminus is the main bus terminus that lies in the heart of the city. The latest development is the starting of Dhaka-Calcutta buses, which are fully air-conditioned and also very comfortable.

Local Transport


There is a complete chaos in buses and therefore the ride is not very relaxing.


The Calcutta Tramways Company Limited (CTC) is a West Bengal state government undertaken company that runs trams in Kolkata and buses in and around Kolkata. Kolkata tram is the oldest operating electric tram of Asia, running since 1902

• 1st class – Rs. 4 & Rs. 4.50 (depending on distance)
• 2nd class – Rs. 3.5 & Rs. 4 (depending on distance)

Kolkata is only city in India where one can enjoy Tram. It is the slow moving trundling tram that circles the city. It covers the stops at Park Circus, Sealdah Railway Station and Howrah.They provide services from 4 am till 11 pm.


Metro system was initialized in Calcutta in 1984. It has helped a great deal in sharing some congestion on the streets. There is one track that covers the entire city from Dum Dum train station (north) to Tollygunge (south). On the metro station, TV screens keep the commuters busy.


Taxis provide a 24 hour service and the best thing about Taxi drivers in Kolkata is that, they are very honest and always put on the meter.


Ferries cover short distances across the river Hooghly and they run every few minutes.

Rickshaws and Auto-rickshaws

Rickshaws and auto rickshaws can be more commonly spotted around the market areas.

Shopping in Kolkata

Kolkata is famous for its tanth Sarees & leathers goods. The sarees , Bengali gents kurta’s ,other readymade garments can be found at Gariahat market, for leather good one can explore park street.

It is suggested not to waste your much time on exploring the entire market for the different types of products, just go straight away to SHREE LEATHER – Chowringee market for the vast collection of leather goods with very attractive prices.

I missed out one of the worth seeing places , Belur math & Science City because of the time constraint.

Belur Math( Headquarter of Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission)

Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission are twin organizations which form the core of a worldwide spiritual movement. The Math and the Mission together have171 branch centres
all over India and in different parts of the world. The Headquarters of these centres are situated in Belur Math. All branch centres of Ramakrishna Math come under the administrative control of the Board of Trustees, whereas all branch centres of Ramakrishna Mission come under the administrative control of the Governing Body of Ramakrishna Mission.

Science City

Science City, the largest science centre in the sub-continent, under the National Council of Science Museums.


  • Aarti says:

    Wow, i’ve been wanting to go to Cal for some time, wonder when my wish will come true.. Sure sounds fascinating ….

    [i’ve only recently begun reading ghumakkar.. and find it good fun and very informative..!! ] :)

  • Reema says:

    nice account! May I point out that its Howrah Bridge not Hawarah.

  • Mahesh semwal says:

    Dear Reema,

    Thanks for the correction.

  • Nandan Jha says:

    As always, a very info-rich post. I never knew that Howrah Bridge attracts largest number of vehicles/people, making it the busiest in the world.

    Never been there.

  • manish khamesra says:


    I enjoyed the pictures in the post. I esp. liked the composition of victoria memorial main entrance.

    Calcutta is the land of intellectuals :-)

  • Mahesh Semwal says:

    Thanks Manish,

    Getting appreciation from the old Ghumakkars like you , matters a lot to me. Sorry dont be mistaken , I was talking about the age :-)

    • Manish Khamesra says:


      I am not sure that you have used sorry at right place. Don’t you think it should be after your second sentence.
      Now, I have to find some younger photographs to post at my profile.

  • Nandan Jha says:

    MK – you would need to scan those b/w photos and then post. Unlike me, in your age there was no digi-cam or a mobile-phone with a camera.

    • Mahesh Semwal says:


    • Manish Khamesra says:

      Once upon a time I too used to have such an energy level. I won’t have simply scanned those pictures, but might have filled colors in them too. But now, …, after all aging makes you intelligent :-)

      • Mahesh Semwal says:

        Sorry Manish I realised later that I missed the word ” not” in my last comment. please go through my amended comment below :-

        Getting appreciation from the old Ghumakkars like you , matters a lot to me. Sorry dont be mistaken , I was NOT talking about the age :-)

        • Manish khamesra says:


          Your comment really scared some. Look who was the first one to jump to it … :-)

          Nandan was really quick to clear himself before you write another comment after taking a truth serum.

          Thanks again that today you have not committed yourself to “?? ?? ??????? ?? ???????, ?? ?? ???? ??? ??? ???????”


  • mala says:

    Hi Mahesh,

    It was truly fascinating to see the “Vidyasagar Setu” -The second Howrah Bridge, it is said it literally hangs in the air…), besides ofcouse, the symbolic “hathgarhi”- the autorikshaw you mention, it is difficult to perceive how a human being can actually pull passengers across roads!

    And yes, when all the traffic is stalled and you see a slow moving tram cutting across the route…another amazing exclusive bengali delight…:)

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