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 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. 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 the 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, they could use the cannons of the Fort to make the enemy columns thinner.
Maidan is accessible by road (buses and taxis) and Metro (Maidan Station). Along with being the spiritual center of Calcutta and being the only significant green zone, it boasts of being near many places. Stroll around or sit under the shadow of the trees, or you can even visit Victoria Memorial, the Birla Planetarium, and 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 Strand Road, it faces the Hooghly, making it a scenic place.
Constructed in honor of Sir James Prinsep, a civil servant in the East India Company who helped decipher the Bramhi script- the script with which most of Ashoka’s Pillars were written.
So, sit back and enjoy the sunset with your friends or your special one. Prinsep Ghat can be reached by bus and taxi, especially via bus routes that go all the way to Howrah.
3. South Park Street Cemetery:
If you aren’t scared of ghosts or anything else which belongs in the realm of the supernatural, South Park Street Cemetery is the place to be! A place steeped in an eerie romantic background, 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 study the history of the city, though not without a sense of melancholic pathos because you’d notice that death can claim anyone at any time.
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 that offers natural beauty and lots of cycling and boating and ice skating activities- 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 are you waiting for?! Get up, and explore your Calcutta! Happy exploring, guys!