Hey! Happy holidays and Merry Yuletide, folks! It is that time of the year again when your palms and feet are cold, and all you want to do is just curl up inside a blanket and enjoy a cup of coffee. But it is also the (only) perfect time to discover the city you live in. And for me, Calcutta’s my city.
Trust me, on the surface the City of Joy may appear to be on the very brink of metropolitan decadence, but pry a little and you will be overwhelmed by its history and its availability to showcase Bengali and Indian culture. This is my personal pick, a list of five places where you can hang out as well as learn:
Historically, a part of the village of Govindpur which constituted one of the three hamlets on which the city was founded, Maidan soon developed into the open green area we know it as today. But the openness of the Maidan was more practical than anything else, for the proximity of Fort William made it mandatory for the area to be clear, so in the face of attack, the cannons of the Fort could be used to make the enemy columns thinner.
Maidan is accessible by road (buses and taxis) as well as by Metro (Maidan Station). Along with being the spiritual center of Calcutta and being the only significant green zone, it boasts of being near a lot of places. Stroll around or sit under the shadow of the trees or you can decide to visit Victoria Memorial, the Birla Planetarium, Elliot Park. Happy walking!
2. Prinsep Ghat:
Apart from being one of the places where people carrying DSLRs click their pictures- only to upload them later, Prinsep Ghat happens to be one of the most beautiful places in the city. Located on the Strand Road, it faces the Hooghly and making it a scenic place to be.
Constructed in honour of Sir James Prinsep, a civil servant in the East India Company who helped to decipher the Bramhi script- the script with which most of Ashoka’s Pillars have been written in.
So, sit back and enjoy the sunset with your friends or your special one. Prinsep Ghat can be reached by bus and taxi, especially on bus routes which are going all the way to Howrah.
3. South Park Street Cemetery:
If you aren’t scared of ghosts or anything else which can belong in the realm of the supernatural, South Park Street Cemetery is the place to be! A place steeped in an eerie romanticism and history, the Cemetery was in peak use from 1765 to 1790. In fact, Park Street was originally named Burial Ground Road due to the presence of this Cemetery.
It is a great place to have a great conversation as well as to study the history of the city, though not without a sense of melancholic pathos because you’d notice that death can claim anyone at anytime.
The Cemetery is reachable by road- buses and taxis. And it is connected to the Metro by Park Street Station.
4. Eco Park:
Eco Park, or the Eco Tourism Park, in Rajarhat, is one of the most beautiful places to be at. Reachable by any Rajarhat/ New Town bound bus, or by taxi, this is a place which offers natural beauty as well as lots of activities such as cycling and boating and ice skating- yes, ice skating!
5. Science City:
If you are a geek and you’re into science, worry not! Calcutta boasts of a Science City as welll! Located in Salt Lake- or Bidhanagar, Science City serves those who want to watch the wonders of science in detail. Accessible by both bus and taxi, Science City is the place to be if you want to satiate your analytical mind!
So what you’re waiting for?! Get up, and explore your Calcutta! Happy exploring, guys!