Netaji SubhasBose International airport – CCU – direct connections to Dubai, Doha, Singapore, Bangkok ,Hongkong & all over India .
3 large stations – Howrah, Sealdah & Kolkata – connections all over India
By Road: by NH 2 from Delhi, NH 6 from Mumbai & Chennai , NH 34 from NorthEast Local Transport – Uber , Yellow Cab, Metro (2 lines) , AC bus, Tram
Walk: Down the Centre
Distance Covered: 3.5 Kms (approx)
Duration: 2 hrs
Pick Up Point: Hotel
Places Covered - ESPLANADE ROW EAST - TIPU SULTAN MOSQUE - CENTRAL AVENUE - SCHOOL OF TROPICAL MEDICINE - MARCUS SQUARE - MAHAJATISADAN- MARBLE PALACE - GIRISH PARK - TWIN SHIVA TEMPLES-MINERVA THEATRE - RAMDULAL DEY’S NAT-MANDIR - SOVABAZAR RAJBATI - BHUPEN BOSE AVENUE - RAM KANTA BOSE STREET - NABA BRINDABAN TEMPLE - SISTER NIVEDITA SCHOOL MADANMOHANTALA STREET - HOUSE OF GOKUL MITRA - CHITPUR ROAD - SIDDHESWARI KALI TEMPLE - GOPESWAR SHIVA TEMPLE - KUMARTULI – BANAMALI SIRCAR LANE – SHYAMSUNDAR TEMPLE AND OLD SHIVA TEMPLE – NANDARAM SEN’S TEMPLE.
This walk will be conducted by experienced guides from the department of tourism. This walk takes one from imperial Calcutta through some Prominent Bengali residences of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, to temples dating back to the first half of the eighteenth century, and earlier. Although the walk commences from near Esplanade, there is a couple of kilometers in between one can do on the metro or by bus, before alighting at Mahatma Gandhi Road junction. From there, aside from two major lateral forays it is almost a straight stretch – down Bhupen Bose Avenue, almost approaching Shyambazar, then circling around to the west via Ramakanta Bose Street, into Madanmohantala Street and then briefly on to the extreme north end of Chitpur Road (described in Walk 5), before getting into the Kumartuli area. Then one can turn back via Sovabazar Street to Central Avenue (or Chittaranjan Avenue as it is now called) to catch the metro or any bus back to Esplanade.
ESPALANDE ROW EAST:-
Esplanade Row is now known as Sidhu-Kanu Dahar after two Santhal leaders who rose against the British, in 1855. Bang at the centre of the Dahar are the central government offices including the Ordanance Factories Board and the Directorate General of Foreign Trade. Prior to 1911, when the British shifted their capital from Calcutta to Delhi, this was where several imperial offices were located. The beautiful grey stone building, with its lofty Doric frontage, supported by slender Corinthian pillars with arched and colonnaded corridors, is both an elegant and an imposing sight. Utility now seems to have taken precedence over beauty, and the building is a typical warren of government offices.
The Tipu Mosque built in 1842. This was generously endowed by Prince Gholam Mohammad Shah, the youngest son of Tipu Sultan. The late sultan’s family had been settled in south Calcutta in 1806 after being deported from Mysore. Built of brick and mortar, the mosque is rather low in height, with closely-spaced domes and minarets, typical of Islamic architecture, on the roof. All around the mosque are stationery shops and Muslim eating houses specializing in mosque gets extremely crowed on Fridays during the time of namaz. In front of the mosque is a small pavilion visit to marble plaque, set up in 1875 to commemorate the visit to Calcutta of the then Prince of Wales. This was set up by Nawab Asanullah Khan of Dacca.
Retrace your way to the crossing and turn right towards the junction of Central (now Chittaranjan) Avenue with Bentinck Street. The former is named after Deshbandhu Chittaranjan Das, a nationalist leader and philanthrope in the early twentieth century. The latter street is named after Lord William Bentinck who served as governor general from 1825 to 1834 and helped eradicate several social evils of those days, including sati.
From this point, leap-frog straight to Mahatma Gandhi Road. The choice is between taking a bus or taxi from this point on Central (Chittaranjan) Avenue; or walking back a couple of hundred meters to avail the metro from Esplanade station.
SCHOOL OF TROPICAL MEDICINE:–
Just a little short of the Mahatma Gandhi Road, is the School of tropical Medicine which has been in the forefront of research on viral and parasitical ailments typical of the tropical region for over a hundred yeadrs. The school also forms the western wing of the Calcutta Medical College.
Once across Mahatma Gandhi Road (earlier called Harrison Road) one can see the Mutty Lal Seal Free College, set up in 1843. Seal was born in 1791 and amassed a fortune from a small business in old bottles and cork (and later in silk, indigo and shipping). He was deeply commited to the spread of education and gifted considerable land for setting up the Calcutta Medical College.
Just a little further, on the right hand is the Marcus Square. At one time, there used to be a large tank here called Bysack’s Dighi, as it belonged to the estate of the famous Bysack family, one of the city’s oldest. The area was then Known as Kalabagan from the banana orchards nearby. There is a mosque almost in front of the square, oddly enough in red-brick with an equally odd bell-tower like minaret. Opposite this is the Visuddananda Saraswati Vidyalaya or high school. This is also in red-brick with domed pavilions on the roof.
Just beyond the high school is the Mahajati Sadan, or the House of the Great Nation. Three storeys high, the building has two ‘ath-chala’ pavilions at two ends of the roof. It was conceived by the poet Rabindranath Tagore in 1939 and it was inaugurated in 1958 by the then chief minister of West Bengal, Dr. B. C. Roy. It was the site where many important meetings in the immediate post-independence period were held. Even now it is used mainly for meetings and social function by various organizations.
The high iron gates to the north of the Marble Palace open up to a large grassy roundabout, with a beautifully sculpted marble fountain in the centre. There are several statues of lions in repose as well as in stride, resembling Italian architecture. The building rises three storeys high. The roof has a triangular, ornamented pediment, held aloft by fluted Corinthin pillars. On either side are small ornamented vernadas, with fretwork and sloping roofs in the style of a Chinese pavilion. A gravel road runs past the roundabout to the west front of the building, with one arm moving to the right towards a large water tank. Do not be surprised if you see a grey pelican sunning itself on a ledge alongside the tank: the Marble Palace at one time had one of the finest menageries in Calcutta. The west front has a huge portico with two tiers of colonnaded verandas running the length of the building.
From here, you can see Grish Park which lies at the corner of Chittaranjan Avenue and Vivekananda Road. A little before that is the prayer hall dedicated to Narayana, built in the 1930s. religious hymns in Hindi are sung here in the morning and evening. The structure is typical of the prayer halls of northern India.
Grish park is named after the thespian and dramatist Grishchandra Ghosh (1844-1912). In a sense, he can be called the father of Bengali theatre. Working in and writing plays with social and religious content, Grish Ghosh captivated the Bengali audiences. He also came under the influence of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, the renowned religious figure of the mid-nineteenth century.
TWIN SHIVA TEMPLES:–
Further down the road, on the left is Garanhata Street. As mentioned earlier, this was once a mart of goran trees, a type of pneumatophores (or root-breathing plants typical of the Sunderbans mangrove forests). Just off this street, to the right, is the Jadu Pandit Lane. To the left of the T-junction are the twin Shiva temples built in the ‘ath-chala’ style around 1803, by one Panchanan Dutta.
A short way down to the left is the Minerva theatre. It was one of the three major theatres in Calcutta – the other two being Rangmahal and Star – which were in the vanguard of Bengali theatre for over a century. Earlier known as the Grand theatre. It was originally built in 1893, and was substantially altered in 1922. The theatre has tiled and marbled walls and floors, with a wide, winding staircase on the right leading to the balconies. The walls are adorned with photograph of thespians and playwrights from yesteryears.
RAMDULAL DEY’S NAT-MANDIR:–
Earlier, Rmadulal Dey’s house also stood next to the nat-mandir, but now it has been replaced by modern buildings, which are now occupied by his descendants. Next to the nat-mandir are two Shiva temples, said to have been constructed by and named after Ramdulal’s two sons, the fabled Chhatu Babu (Ashutosh) and Latu Babu (Promotha) in the early nineteenth century. Many tales still do the rounds about the extravagance of the two brothers. The nat-mandir is marked by elegant Ionic pillars along either side holding up ahigh roof, with a stage or thakur-dalan to its north side. It is well-maintained and still boasts some exquisite chandeliers.
The Rajbati, or royal house, is divided into two section. The one on the north of the street once belomged to the family of Gopi Mohan and was also used by Raja Radhakanta Deb (Nabakrishna’s grandson). A large gate with figures of lions on either side opens up to the thakur-dalan. It was here in1897 that the first public reception was given to Swami Vivekananda after his speech at the Chicago Parliament of religions. The structure is now much run-down. Just next to it is the nat-mandir or the place for receptions and festivities. It is possibly the only nat-mandir which has galleries on either side. It was here that the British administrators and the Bengali gentry were entertained.
The Rajbati has been a hub of the social and cultural history in Kolkata.Nabakrishna was among the first who invited the British to the Durga puja and thus made it sarbajanin, or public, as against the earlier family – oriented worship. He also used to entertain on a lavish scale on such occasions.
From the Sovabazar Rajbati, take the Jatindramohan Avenue towards Shyambazar . This road is named after a renowed nationalist leader . The road veers to the right and this stretch is known as Bhupen Bose Avenue after a legal luminary . Where the Bhupen Bose Avenue reches Raja Manindra Chandra College, turn left and you come to Ramkanta Bose Street.
Once back on the street, turn right into Bose Para Lane. Several houses bfurther, on the left – hand side is No.16, where was once located the girls school started by Miss Margrate Noble or sister Nevidita as she later came to be known . She was greatly influenced by the sage Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and his disciple Swami Vivekananda. It was here on 28 November 1898 that Sarda Devi, the wife of Ramakrishna, inaugurated the school in the presence of Vivekananda.
Just ahead of the school is Girish Avenue which passes along the eastern side of Bagbazar. It lies at the Northern extremity of Chitpuir Road, with Bagabazar canal Chitpir proper and Cossipore. This is the Dol – mancha of Madanmohan, a manifestation of the Lord Krishna. The structure is about fifteen feet high resting on a four feet plinth, and round shaped . There are arched entrances all around and on the top is a tapering dome. It was here that during ras– purana, or the full moon in the month of November, the images of Radha and Krishna were placed on a swing, decorated with flowers and worship. A fair used to be held here. It takes place even now though on a much smaller scale.
The dol-mancha is an adjunct to the main temple of Madanmohan which is a couple of houses further down. The entrance (on the right hand side) is unprepossessing but the nat-mandir and the thakur-dalan are truly magnificent! In the central courtyard, huge pillars on either side hold up a roof almost thirty feet high over the nat-mandir. In front, on the eastern side, behind beautifully arched pillars is a place for the deity. The main place of worship is, however, on the first floor, for which you have to go up the wide staircase near the entrance. An attractive three feet high image of Madanmohan is kept on a pedestal at one end of a large hall, with elegant stained glass windows behind, on either side.
This was once the house of Gokul Mitra (1724-1808), who was an affluent salt trader; he also took over the city’s Chandni Chowk Bazar in a lottery in 1784. Around this time, Damodar Singh (some researchers say Chaitanya Singh) of the Vishnupur Raj family in Bankura deposited the image of the deity Madanmohan as collateral for a loan from Gokul Mitra to tide over financial difficulties. Since then the deity has been worshipped at the latter’s house.
SIDDHESWARI KALI AND GOPESWAR SHIVA TEMPLES:–
The Siddheswari temple marks one of the oldest continuously inhabited parts of Calcutta. According to old accounts, it was opposite this temple that Govindram Mitra had built his ‘Black Pagoda’ in 1725. While some commentators have mentioned this to be a ‘naba-ratna’ Kali temple, it is seen in several contemporary aquatints, notably that of Baltazar Solvyns, as a lofty ‘ath-chala’ temple. These differences have been mentioned by Radharaman Mitra, a well-known researcher on Calcutta.
Opposite the Siddheswari Kali temple can be seen a small complex of temples,apparently built later. In fro0nt is a temple of Hanuman and just alongside is a temple with a tall conical roof, to Shiva as Ratneswar. Behind this is another, older ‘ath-chala’Shiva temple dedicated to Gopeswar. The temple has a high ceiling and there is a rather large lingam in the sanctum. A small but old image of the deity Sitala is placed on one wall. The local priest believes that the latter Shiva temple is in fact much older than the others. The entrance was then from the west since thye Hooghly in those days flowed almost alongside (rather than being nearly a hundred meters to the west as at present). Considering the description from Daniell’s print given above , it seems possible that the Gopeswar Shiva temple is the original Black Padoga, or came to replace the Kali temple after the cyclone of 1737.
KUMATULI AND SHYAMSUNDAR TEMPLE:–
Walk about fifty meters further down Chitpur Road turn right into Kumartuli – the neighbourhood of Kumhars or potters. This is the largest colony of the potters specializing in production of clay images for practically every festival in Bengal, starting from Saraswati Puja in January / Feburary to Vishwakarma in September / October to Kali Puja in October / November , and other smaller festivals in between . Coming here a couple of week before the festivals - especially Durga Puja – can provide many good photo – opportunities. The Shyamsundar temple, one comes to an old temple to Buro Shiva, or the Old God Shiva . About eighteen feet high, in the typical ‘ath – chala’ style, this is probably the only extent terracotta temple in the city which still boasts terracotta tablets, in the frieze below the roof. The style is nearly three hundred years old. Unfortunately many tablets are said to have been destroyed or taken away during a political movement during the early 1970s.
An inscription says this is Nandaram Sen’s Rameswar Shiva Temple- San 1061, 31 Chaitra. The date corresponds roughly to mid – April, 1665. This would make the temple contemporary (in a sense) to the Chitteswari temple built in 1610 by Manohar Ghose, which is said to be oldest extant temple in the city . Although some researchers have held that this temple was built by Nandaram Sen, one time dewan to the British Resident in 1700, there is some confusion about the dates and the identity of Nandaram. Others sources, however, have put this temple to the account of a wealthy trader with the same name, who came considerably later, around the early nineteenth century. These discrepancies have been remarked upon nby Radharaman Mitra and P Thankappan Nair, both well – Known scholars on Calcutta.
For attractive travel packages in or out of the city contact our travel desk
Worlds largest mangrove forest – largest concentration of Royal Bengal Tigers
The Sundarbans is a mangrove area in the delta formed by the confluence of Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna Rivers in the Bay of Bengal. It spans from the Hooghly River in India's state of West Bengal to the Baleshwar River in Bangladesh. It comprises closed and open mangrove forests, agriculturally used land, mudflats and barren land, and is intersected by multiple tidal streams and channels. Four protected areas in the Sundarbans are enlisted as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, viz Sundarbans National Park, Sundarbans West, Sundarbans South and Sundarbans East Wildlife Sanctuaries. There is much more wildlife there than just the endangered Bengal tiger (Panthera Tigris Tigris). Most importantly, mangroves are a transition from the marine to freshwater and terrestrial systems, and provide critical habitat for numerous species of small fish, crabs, shrimps and other crustaceans that adapt to feed and shelter, and reproduce among the tangled mass of roots, known as pneumatophores, which grow upward from the anaerobic mud to get the supply of oxygen. Fishing cats, macaques, wild boars, common grey mongooses, foxes, jungle cats, flying foxes, pangolins, and spotted deer are also found in abundance in the Sundarbans.
The happiest country in the world – discover the kingdom from Kolkata - easy access, visa on arrival & visit with Indian currency only. (Passport required)
Bhutan, a Buddhist kingdom on the Himalayas’ eastern edge, is known for its monasteries, fortresses (or dzongs) and dramatic landscapes that range from subtropical plains to steep mountains and valleys. In the High Himalayas, peaks such as 7,326m Jomolhari are popular trekking destinations. Paro Taktsang monastery (also known as Tiger’s Nest) clings to cliffs above the forested Paro Valley.
Tour Details:TASTE OF BHUTAN- 3 nights / 4 days
PLACES TO VISIT: THIMPHU (2N) - PARO (1N)
TOUR HIGHLIGHTS: CULTURE – MONASTERIES – WAY OF LIFE – VALLEYS – VILLAGES
ENTRY & EXIT: PARO – PARO BY DRUK AIR
Day 1 Arrive Paro from Kolkata & transfer to Thimphu 65 km 1hrs drive
The most spectacular mountain flights you will ever experience in a life time. Flying in from the heat of the plains of India one can witness from the left side of the aircrafts window a series of the world’s highest peaks. Your pilot will announce the names of the peaks if the weather is clear. You will descend into the high mountains and as the plane lowers you will not find any airstrip or any city but instead you will enjoy the view of the approaching valley of Paro, the alpine forests, little monasteries, temples and farm houses. Before the plane touches the runaway you will get a glimpse of the fertile valley of Paro, the Paro Dzong and Paro chu(river). Our representative will be at the airport to assist you, meet and greet and transfer to the capital city Thimphu and rest of the day at leisure. O/n at Thimphu.
Day 2 Thimphu – capital city
When in Thimphu you got to prepare for surprises where this unique capital has no traffic lights but adopted its own version of the British – Indian colonial times traffic policemen who can startle you and memorize others with his elaborate hand gestures, sometimes he may be signaling stop when it looks like go but don’t worry you can observe the flow and notice his smile as you stare at him. Sightseeing includes visit to the National Memorial Chorten a stupa dedicated to the third king of Bhutan and Buddha statue, Takin Zoo where you will find national animal of Bhutan and drive downhill stop at the junction to take a glimpse of Trashichho Dzong, proceed towards National Library and Folk Heritage Museum. Afternoon take a short walk to Handicraft Bazaar to view the traditional arts or take a walk to the main city from Clock tower square for shopping. O/n at Thimphu.
Day 3 Thimphu - Paro valley 55 km 1 hr drive
Morning Thimphu sightseeing includes Buddha Statue, Takin zoo, take a glimpse of Trashichho Dzong from view point, Folk Heritage Museum, Handicraft bazar and transfer to Paro valley and later visit Paro Dzong, the National Museum housed in a round fortress called as the Ta Dzong considered to be one of the best natural history museums in Asia where it has a fine collection of natural and historic artifacts. Your last stop for the day will be at the base of the world famous “Tigers Nest “or popularly known as “Taktsang” one of the popular spiritual heritage sites. It was here that the great tantric master Guru Padma Sambhava flew in from Tibet on a tiger to bring Buddhist teachings to Bhutan. Evening free time for shopping or leisure. O/n at Paro.
Day 4 Departure
Morning transfer to Paro International Airport for your next destination.