Kolkata is nicknamed City of Joy after Dominique Lapierre‘s 1985 novel of the same name. The city is located on the east bank of the Hooghly River.
Across the Hooghly is Howrah Bridge. It was built during World War II and opened to traffic in 1943. Howrah Bridge is the busiest cantilevered bridge in the world. More than 80,000 vehicles pass through it daily. The bridge links Kolkata and Howrah and is the lifeline of the city.
Down below the bridge, I found a busy flower market. Bright flowers in different colours were being sold. The flowers will be used mainly for decorations and for pooja.
Dakshineswar Temple is dedicated to goddess Kali. It was built in 1847 by Rani Rashmoni. The temple is famous for its association with Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa who was perhaps the best known saint of nineteenth century India.
There is a shrine dedicated to Rani Rashmoni within the compound of Dakshineswar Temple. Her statue in white marble can be found here.
Dakshineswar Temple stands on the bank of the Hooghly. Devotees can use the bathing ghat in front of the temple. A bridge has been built across the river.
Esplanade is in the city centre of Kolkata. It is just north of the Maidan and includes Dalhousie Square with its Gothic buildings. Many of the city’s important buildings are located here. The area transports visitors back to a bygone colonial era.
The Kolkata Mounted Police has been functional since 1840. The force is mainly deployed to control crowds on the maidan during sporting events and fairs. The unit also takes part in ceremonial parades and mounts guard at Raj Bhavan during VIP visits.
Tea, cricket, trams, Gothic architecture and hand-pulled rickshaws were all part of the English way of life in colonial Kolkata. There are reportedly 18,000 rickshaw pullers and 6,000 rickshaws in the city. Kolkata is probably the only city in India where they are still in use.
Victoria Memorial was built to commemorate the reign of Queen Victoria on the English throne. It brings together the best of the English and Mughal architecture and has been built using white Makrana marble. The Prince of Wales laid the foundation stone of Victoria Memorial in 1906. It was inaugurated in 1921.
Victoria Memorial is now a museum. It has noteworthy collections of paintings, sculptures, weapons, maps, coins, stamps, artifacts and textiles.