Victoria Memorial is a huge white-marble structure and the most enduring of remains of the British Raj in India. The structure, which is now floodlit in the night, gives a fascinating site. It has been now converted in a museum that houses the most impressive collection of memorabilia's from the days of Raj.
Indian Museum, built in 1874, has a beautiful structure. The oldest museum in India, it has one of the rare collections of archeological. The entrance to the museum houses an original Lion Capitol, the national symbol of India. The museum is opened all days of the week except Monday. The normal timing is 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Fort William was constructed in 1781 after the unfortunate happenings of 1756 in which many British soldiers with their families were killed by Siraj-Ud-Daula. Large area around the village of Govindpur was cleared off the forests and this fort was constructed, which for some time also lent its name to the city. The fort is still in use and visitors are allowed inside only after getting special permits. The area around the fort is a very large patch of green known as the Maidan (ground). The Maidan is also known as the lung of Calcutta and stretches 1 km in width and 3 km in length.
Eden Garden, located in the northwest corner of the city, is a small and pleasantly laid-out garden. The place also houses the renowned cricket ground by the same name.
Birla Planetarium is one of the largest of its kind in the world, and a good place to enjoy oneself. Regular shows in Hindi and English are held here.
Kali Mandir is the temple dedicated to Kali, 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.
Howrah Bridge is an 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.
When Calcutta was the capital of British India, BBD Bagh was the center of power. This is the place that houses the now famous Writer's Building (clerks were known as writers in the British India) and the old Fort William.
Belur Math, the headquarters of Ramakrishna Mission, is situated in the north of the city. The place was founded in 1899 and houses a structure that was designed to be a church, temple, and mosque all in one.
Other important sites that can be visited are Dakshineshwar Kali Temple, Botanical Garden, Marble Palace, Tagore House, Church of St John, Nakhoda Mosque, Raj Bhawan, Town Hall, and St. Paul's Cathedral.
Places Around Calcutta
The most popular place to visit around Calcutta is Shanti Niketan. Situated 136 km northwest of the city, this is the place where Rabindranath Tagore lived and established a university.
Bishnupur, 100 km northwest of Calcutta, is yet another exciting and hitherto unexplored holiday destination. Bishnupur houses unique terracotta temples, each more beautifully embellished than the other. Once the capital of the Malla kings, Bishnupur is renowned for its crafts such as intricate Balucheri saris, the rare ganijifa (circular Indian playing card), delicate carving on shells and bell metal artifacts.
Chandernagar (35 km) is the former French settlement that still abounds in buildings from that period of history. The important places to visit are the Quai Dupleix, Eglise Du Sacre, and image of Joan of Arc.