Being a tourist in my city Kolkata: St. Paul’s Cathedral

St paul's cathedral kolkata, church, sightseeing, Kolkata walking tour

Kolkata is too crowded and noisy. Air pollution has reached its alarming level in the city. The weather is too hot and humid most of the time. Yet, amidst all these negatives, there are still some things about Kolkata that will never lose their charm. One of these is Kolkata’s heritage. Kolkata is rich in its historical, cultural and architectural inheritance. And when we talk about Kolkata’s heritage St. Paul’s Cathedral definitely comes in our mind. This beautiful colonial architecture dotting the cityscape stood the test of time from its colonial past.

St paul's cathedral kolkata, church, sightseeing, Kolkata walking tour

St Paul’s Cathedral, situated on Cathedral Road, was built between 1839 and 1847 A.D. The steeple of the church was damaged twice in earthquake and reconstructed to current design in the year 1938.

St paul's cathedral, kolkata, steeple, church, kolkata sightseeing

St Paul’s Cathedral is one of the most important churches in India. Inside you’ll find some beautiful statuettes and stained glass work on windows. Photography is prohibited inside. However, the church is open to everyone who wants to spend some moments of quiet and peace in the house of god.

stained glass window, St Paul's Cathedral, church, kolkata, kolkata sightseeing, kolkata tour

How to Reach

The quickest way to reach the cathedral is (if you are not traveling by car) to travel by metro and getting down at Rabindra Sadan station. Then walk towards Rabindra Sadan and take right turn on Cathedral Road where the church is situated on the east side of Victoria Memorial Hall, another most important monument in Kolkata. Continue walk for a couple of minute along the road. The gate of the church will be on your right-hand side.

Check out my previous post for more details on Victoria Memorial Hall – Being a tourist in my city Kolkata: Destination Victoria Memorial Hall

st paul's cathedral, church steeple n from Victoria Memorial, kolkata

 

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Being a tourist in my city Kolkata: Destination Victoria Memorial Hall

Victoria Memorial Hall Kolkata

‘How often do you travel in your city like a tourist?’

Can’t remember exactly where I read this but that simple question moved me very much. How it feels being a tourist in my city – I have never thought that! Thanks to an old friend who has never been to Kolkata before, I became a tourist in my city for the first time. 🙂 He called up a couple of days ago to say that he will give a brief visit to Kolkata on Friday, 30th January and asked me to be his guide for the city tour.

There are so many things to see in Kolkata. Although born and brought up in Kolkata I haven’t yet seen all of them. So, I readily accepted the proposal. Fortunately, it was a cool morning yesterday with a partly cloudy sky, ideal for soft snaps. So, what could be better than to start with Victoria Memorial Hall, the most beautiful monument in Kolkata?

Wide-open greenery all around, cool breeze blowing my hair and the unmatched architecture beauty to behold it felt awesome inside the Victoria Memorial ground!

Victoria Memorial Hall, kolkata, heritage building, architecture
Kolkata’s very own Victoria Memorial Hall

Victoria Memorial Hall Museum  

The monument was built in the memory of Queen Victoria (1837-1901). Its unique architecture is a wonderful blend of European and Mughal style which is a treat to the eye. The museum inside the building houses an extensive collection of photographs and oil paintings depicting the history of Kolkata in time of British rule including a pictorial chronology of the monument itself. Every evening Light & Sound (Son-et-Lumiere) shows are held in the Victoria Memorial Hall ground.

The museum remains open every day except Mondays from 10 am to 5 pm. Entry fee for Indians is Rs 10 per head and for foreigners it is Rs 150. However, if you are not interested in history and museum you can just buy a garden ticket and sit in the garden as long as you want till 7 pm. Click here for more details.

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15781904754_4dbe29e7e3_hHow to Reach There

The best way to visit Victoria Memorial Hall is to take metro rail to Rabindra Sadan station. From the metro station walk (2-3 min) towards Cathedral Road, named after St. Paul’s Cathedral located midway of the street. You’ll walk past Kolkata’s cultural hub, Nandan complex – Nandan, Sishir Mancha, Rabindra Sadan and take right turn to Cathedral Road. Then walk for another 10 minutes to Queens Way to reach the main entrance of Victoria Memorial ground.

victorial memorial hall, kolkata, victorian architecture

victoria memorial hall, architecture, marble, memorial, kolkata, heritage

P.S: If you want to have the royal feel of British colonial era take a ride on horse drawn carriages lined up right in front of Victoria Memorial gate. However, a royal ride comes with a ‘royal’ price. Last time I heard it was INR 150 for 15 minutes. 🙂

horse drawn carriage, victoria memorial hall, kolkata
enjoy a horse drawn carriage ride at the heart of Kolkata

A Photowalk in Botanical Garden Kolkata

Pathway, Shibpur Botanical Garden, Howrah, Kolkata
Pathway, Shibpur Botanical Garden, Howrah, Kolkata
Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Indian Botanic Garden popularly known as Shibpur Botanical Garden

It was a warm morning in the month of March. I bought my Nikon Coolpix P500 the previous night and thought to go out on a photowalk to test the new camera. It was a bridge camera with powerful zoom (34x) …ideal for shooting birds. Two of my friends also wanted to join me. They suggested we go to the Botanical Garden in Kolkata’s twin city Howrah on the other side of the Ganges. That was also my first visit to Shibpur Botanical Garden which is officially named as Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Indian Botanic Garden. We reached there at around 7:30 am, a little before the ticket counter opened. Looking through the main gate I could see some people were already returning from their everyday morning walk session in the garden.

morning walk in Indian Botanic garden, Shibpur Botanical Garden, Howrah, Kolkata
Morning walkers in the Botanical Garden

Founded in 1787 on the western bank of the River Ganges the Botanical Garden is about 30-40 minutes ride from the heart of Kolkata. Built on an area of 273 acres the garden is home to 12,000 perennial plants and a variety of plant species cultivated for scientific research. The garden has become a popular tourist attraction over the years, especially because of The Great Banyan tree. It is a huge 250 years old Banyan tree (Ficus benghalensis) forming world’s second largest natural canopy spreading over an area of 14,500 square meters.

the great banyan tree, Botanical Garden, Shibpur
The Great Banyan Tree in the Botanical Garden, Kolkata – Photo: Wikipedia

Apart from banyan and various types of trees there are manicured gardens, lakes and ponds where rare water lilies (such as Victoria Amazonica) bloom and a variety of birds come in search of food and shelter amidst the greenery.

Water lilies in Shibpur Botanical Garden #Kolkata #BotanicGarden #2

As we explored deeper in the garden, it became obvious that I did not have the patience to shoot birds neither the eye for it and ended up shooting trees, flowers and ponds in the garden. 🙂 While my friends were busy in clicking birds I took a few shots of the surrounding.

birding, Shibpur Botanical Garden, Indian Botanic Garden
My friends busy in photographing birds.

Whether you are a photographer, or a fitness freak, or just a visitor you’ll love the place full of greenery and quietness away from the din of city life as you breathe in fresh air which immediately relaxes your mind. So, don’t forget to include the Botanical Garden in your must-see list of Kolkata Tour.

Here are a few glimpses of the Indian Botanic Garden through my lenses.

We walked down the nature trails

country road, #naturetrail - Shibpur Botanical Garden

Went past the bamboo groves

Bamboo Orchards - Shibpur Botanical Garden #kolkata

Along the canals flowing across the garden

Landscape - Shibpur Botanical Garden #kolkata

To reach a pond where trees contemplate upon their reflections

The trees look into the reflction in pond - Shibpur Botanical Garden

Where red water lilies bloom all around

Red waterlilies - Shibpur Botanical Garden #Kolkata

Where dead trees were lying beside the track

dread tree trunks - Shibpur Botanical Garden, #Kolkata

But the green foliages of spring shone bright in the morning sun

Green foliages of early summer - Shibpur Botanical Garden

I looked through the leafy frame

a leafy frame - Shibpur Botanical Garden #kolkata

To find this Bronze-winged Jacana wading through the water 

Birding at Shibpur Botanical Garden

Suddenly my eyes fell on this dragon fly resting on the branch of a tree

Dragonfly on Krishna Chura (Royal Poinciana or Flamboyant) - Shibpur Botanical Garden #Kolkata

We sat down under the tree to relax in its cool shade

The tree by the pond - Botanical Garden, #Kolkata #BotanicalGarden #nature

And watched bright cosmoses flooded the garden yonder

cosmos - Shibpur Botanical Garden #Kolkata

And red poppies swaying their heads in breeze

red poppies in Botanical Garden #Kolkata

To welcome the little bee that sucked nectar until its stomach was full

bee on red poppy in the garden - Shibpur Botanical Garden #Kolkata