Victoria Memorial. Ask anyone where to go first in Kolkata, and this heritage site is the first one you will be recommended on your visit to the city. The white marbled structure belonging to the British period is dedicated to the memory of Queen Victoria. Now turned into a museum, the most popular tourist destination in the City of Joy, the Victoria Memorial, bears resemblance to the Taj Mahal and is famous for its architectural beauty and the ‘Angel of Victory’.
Kolkata, however, isn’t just home to the Victoria Memorial. The old Indian Capital offers plethora of choices when it comes to a day’s trip, and has something for everyone. If you’re looking to explore the city to discover its heritage, here are a few spots and activities you can take note of:
Fort William – Kolkata has a strong colonial connection, and was also a chief centre for Indian Army operations after the country acquired independence. Constructed in 1781, Fort William has been the city’s citadel for centuries. Extending over a vast area, the fort comprises of St. Peter’s Church along with accommodations, offices, school, recreation and training facilities including a swimming pool, a movie hall, a boxing stadium and a firing range. The fort is however entirely owned and maintained by the Indian Army nowadays, and civilian entry is restricted.
Tram Ride – India’s only operating tram network is in Kolkata and that makes it quite a unique experience, drawing thousands to the city for a heritage ride on wheels. Operated by the Calcutta Tramways Company (CTC), the Kolkata Tram system dates back to 1873, when it used to be horse-drawn, and was later electrified in the 1900s. Being over 100 years old, the rides carry a quaint charm and can be considered for light and lazed transits across the state capital.
St. Paul’s Cathedral – This Church represents a unique blend of culture, religion, history, heritage and architecture, which draws in thousands of visitors from across the world. Work on this first Anglican cathedral in India began in 1839, which features exquisite stained-glass windows, colourful artwork, delicately carved wooden church chairs and benches, and several ancient trees on the grounds surrounding it.
Marble Palace – This is another marble wonder in the city that can take you back to the nineteenth century Kolkata. With the walls, floors and sculptures entirely made of marble, this palatial mansion is a major tourist attraction in North Kolkata. Since, it is used as a private residence, prior permission is a mandate for tourist visits. The palace houses a lot of western sculptures, Victorian furniture, European and Indian paintings, artefacts, decorative objects like large chandeliers, clocks, floor to ceiling mirrors and more.
Shaheed Minar – Literally translating as ‘Martyr’s Monument’, this 158 foot high towering structure in Kolkata is awe-inspiring. Erected long before the Indian independence in 1828, the structure was later dedicated to the memory of the martyrs of the Indian freedom movement. Standing tall for over 150 years, the monument offers a bird’s-eye view of the entire city.
These, however, are only a few of the the prime heritage locations in Kolkata. There are a lot others you can explore if you want to revel in the colonial architecture and old school charms the city, including Writer’s Building, Magen David Synagogue, Armenian Church and Metropolitan Building. It would take around 4-5 days to explore all in the city, besides enjoying its local eateries and sweets. Holiday Inn Resort Kolkata NH6 offers you the unique opportunity for a relaxing stay amid natural surroundings near the city, which you can opt for if you want to roam around the nooks and crannies of the old British capital. Strategically located off the National Highway 6, at around an hour’s drive from the City Centre and Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport, the resort can renew your spirit after a tiring travel outing in the city.