A Religious Festivals

DURGA PUJA : It is a Hindu festival usually held in the first week of October. It is a celebration of the victory of good over evil, of Goddess Durga and her lion killing the demon Mahishasura. It is held for five days during which people visit the various pandals and make merry. The state is on official holiday for four days. on the last day, called Vijaya Dashami, the idols of the Goddess and her four children are immersed in water. People visit relatives and friends and distribute sweets.

KALI PUJA : This is a traditional Bengali festival usually celebrated in the first week of November. Goddess Kali is worshipped at night and the city is lit up. It corresponds with the Hindu festival of Diwali.

SARASWATI PUJA : This is done to worship Goddess Saraswati, the Goddess of Learning. Books are worshipped by students.

DOL YATARA UTSAV :This is the Bengali equivalent of Holi. It celebrates Lord Krishna and the onset of spring.

RATH YATRA : A chariot of Lord Jaganath is taken out in a long procession with mush fanfare by the ISKCON group.

EID : There are two eids, Eid-ul-Fitr or “the little feast” and Eid-ul-Adha or “the big feast” which celebrate the end of the month of fasting called Ramadan and the sacrifice of the son of Prophet Ibrahim in the name of Allah.

CHRISTMAS : The Anglo – Indian community celebrate Christmas in a big way in Kolkata with a beautiful service at St. Paul’s Cathedral. The Park Street and New Market areas are decorated for this festival.

Cultural Festivals

DOVER LANE MUSIC FESTIVAL : It is a prestigious festival promoting Hindustani Classical music where the world maestros and new talent share the same stage. It consists of 3 all – night recitals held during January 23 – 26 each year.

CALCUTTA BOOK FAIR : Also known as Kolkata Boi Mela, it is the largest non-traditional annual book fair on earth. It is held in the last week of January and continues for twelve days.

CALCUTTA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL : It is an annual event held between November 10 – 17. It is affiliated with the International Federation of Film Producers' Association (FIAPF) in Paris and was started in 1995.

NATIONAL THEATRE FESTIVAL : the biggest annual event in the field of Indian Theatre. It was first held in 1984 as a celebration of the silver jubilee of the Nadikar group, who are its organisers.

Others

BENGALI NEW YEAR : “Poila Boishakh” is celebrated on April 15 when people give friends and relatives gifts and sweets alongwith greetings. Numerous cultural programmes are organised throughout the city.

ENGLISH NEW YEAR : the night of 31st December is widely celebrated in Kolkata. Every hotel, terrace and open ground has its own party. Thousands also congreggate on Park Street and party all night long.



How To Reach Here

Kolkata is well connected with all the major cities by road, air and railways.

By Air :
Chowringhee is the center of most airline offices. One and only airport is " Netaji Subash Chnadra International Airport" and it is situated at DUM DUM.Kolkata is well connected by air to all major countries in the world, as well as to Indian cities. The air carriers that have flights to and from the city include Aeroflot, Air France, Air India, Biman Bangladesh, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Gulf Air, Indian Airlines, Japan Airlines, Jet Airways, KLM-Royal Dutch Airlines, Royal Jordanian Airlines, Royal Nepal Airlines, Singapore Airlines and Thai Airways International.

By Train :
There are many comfortable trains available from Kolkata to other places mainly operating from Howrah station. Kolkata is the Divisional HQs of two zones of Indian Railways .So a number of train services are available from here. Trains are available from all parts of the country to Kolkata. Most inward bound trains stop at Howrah, which is also the station from which major trains to other cities depart. Since Howrah and Sealdah are at a distance from each other, please remember to check which station you need you board your train from, when you buy your ticket! RAJDHANI EXPRESS leaves from Howrah and as well as Sealdah also.
And I will post the train schedule and train at a glance in my next post.












(Howrah Station )


( Early Morning at Sealdah Station )


By Road :
There are many well connected main road at Kolkata to the major Indian cities. Like Delhi Road, Bombay Road etc.


Places to go to:

Maidan, Fort William

Completed in 1781 to serve as an impregnable fort at Maidan, Fort William, named after King William III, now serves as the Military Head quarters of the Eastern Command, which can accommodate a garrison of 10,000 men and has huge green expanse giving lung space to a chocked city. After the events of 1756, the British decided there would be no repetition of the attack on the city and set out to replace the original Fort William. First they cleared out the inhabitants of the village of Govindpur and in 1758 laid the foundations of a fort, which was completed in 1781 at an expense of 2 million British pounds. The fort is still in use today and visitors are allowed inside only with special permission. The area cleared around Fort William became the Maidan, the ?lungs? of modern Calcutta, stretching 3 km north to south and is over a km wide.


The Structure
The Fort is a brick-and-mortar structure built in the shape of an irregular octagon surrounding 5 square km of which five sides look landward and three on the river, surrounded by a fosse 9 meter deep and 15 meter broad which can be flooded in times of emergency. There are six gates Chowringhee, Plassey Calcutta, Water gate St Georges and Treasury Gate. A telephone office, recreation club, canteen, cinema hall, restaurant, swimming pool and wide moat surround it. For the tourist, there is a museum housing arms and armours, swords, muskets and machine guns. Another section has photographs of the Burma campaign and of the Bangladesh Liberation War. The Arsenal inside is worth visiting with a prior permission required from the Commanding Officer.



Eden Gardens
The Eden Gardens were created in 1840 by the two Eden sisters who were related to the Governor General, Lord Auckland. The idea was to recreate a Biblical - style Garden of Eden in India.



(Inside Eden garden )

In the Garden, the vast expanse dotted with beautiful trees and shrubs is intersected by winding paths. There is a large artificial lake here. Adjoining the lake is the Pagoda which was brought to Calcutta from Burma after the British defeated the Burmese in the war of 1884. This pagoda, set in the centre of the pond, is a special attraction of this scenic garden, a favourite spot among the local people.

Victoria Memorial

This is a memorial dedicated to Queen Victoria, built between 1906-21. The architectural blend of this monument is interesting. The Mogul domes blend beautifully with the Sarcenic and Renaissance styles.




( Victoria Memorial On Evening )

There is an interesting museum in the memorial with over 3000 exhibits, including the Queen’s piano and study desk. It is open on all days of the week except Mondays between 10.00 am to 4.30 pm.

Saint Paul’s Cathedral
This church is aesthetically very appealing. Its stained glass windows, Florentine frescos, grand altar, a gothic tower produce a profusion of grandeur. It is open from 9.00 am to noon and from 3.00 pm to 6.00 pm.

Nakhoda Mosque

This massive red sandstone mosque on MG road can hold 10,000 worshippers. It was built in 1926 as an imitation of Akbar's tomb in Agra. The top floor has views of the streets below, which are crowded with stalls selling everything from paperback editions of the Koran to kebabs!

Marble Palace
Located on MG Road, you must have a dekko for its sheer opulence. This palace was the home of a rich Bengali landlord in the 1800s. There are some important statues and paintings on display. There are also beautiful chandeliers, European antiques, Venetian glass, old pianos and blue china vases, which provide an idea of the lifestyle of the rich in the 1800s.

Paresnath Jain Temple
This temple, built in 1867, is ornately decorated with Venetian glass mosaics, chandeliers from Paris and Brussels, a gilded dome, stained glass windows and mirror inlaid pillars. It is open through the week from 6.00 am to noon and from 3.00 pm to 7.00 pm.



( Pareshnath Jain Temple )


Kali Temple

This is a popular site for the devout. 6 km south of Sudder Street, this temple is dedicated to Kali, the patron goddess of Kolkata. Kali literally means "black." The tongue of the deity of Kali drips with blood and she wears a garland of skulls. Kali is the destructive aspect of Lord Siva’s consort, Parvati. The present temple was built in 1809 on the site of a much older temple. It is open from 3.00 am to 8.00 pm.


( Cherish Moment - "Kirtan"at Dakhineswar Temple )

( Moment During Kali Puja's)

Mother Teresa’s homes

A must-see for those who wish to see what humanism is all about. This has become a major attraction of Kolkata. A visit to this place will give your visit to Kolkata a new perspective. Located near the Kali Temple, the place is a home for hundreds of destitute and "the poorest of the poor" - to quote Mother Teresa herself. You may help the needy with your contributions.