Fort William was another place that we went, which is also close to the hotel that we stayed. We reached the fort within minutes, after taking permission from the Commanding officer to visit the fort. It is built on the banks of the rivet Hoogly and in front of it is the Maidan, the largest park in the city. It was named after the King of England, William III. Now the fort is under the control of the Indian Army and you need special permission to enter the fort. It is open from 10.00 am to 5.30 pm on all days of the week.
Fort William Kolkata | Image Resource : veethi.com
On reaching the fort, I could see nothing from outside. There was greenery all around and the fort was an octagonal structure with its three sides facing the river. The fort is surrounded by a moat which is 9 m deep and 15 m broad. So nobody could enter it unnoticed. The fort has six massive gates, which are Chowringhee, Treasury Gate, Plassey Kolkata, Water Gate and St. George. Once we got inside the gate, we were awe struck by the splendor inside. We felt that we were transferred to an era of the British-raj with old European style buildings and splendor. The fort covered an area of 5 sq km and can hold about 10,000 troops..
The place is very well maintained and has a swimming pool, restaurant, shopping mall, outdoor play ground, telephone office, cinema hall, canteen, recreation club ad many more facilities for the military officials. We were escorted inside and as we walked on we saw the military engaged in their duties. They were very courteous to all the visitors but very alert and watching if anybody misbehaved or broke the rules.
There was a museum inside the fort, which contained arms and armors, machine guns, muskets, swords and so on. In another section we saw photographs showing Burma Campaign and Bangladesh Liberation War. You are not allowed to take any photographs inside the fort. The visit to the fort was really educative and it teaches you how disciplined and well-trained the Indian Army is.
Birla Mandir Kolkata | Image Resource : panoramio.com
Description : There are Birla Mandirs in diverse corners of India. They are known for their unique construction and air of serenity. I felt great visiting the temple. I love the unique construction of all Birla temples in India. THe main deity in the Kolkata temple is an idol of Radha and Krishna.
Good food is something that everyone loves. Whichever place I go, I make it a point to taste the local cuisines and if possible, get some new recipes, so that I can make my mother cook it for me. Kolkata is known for its fish curry, which is made in different styles. Bengali people are very fond of fish and they have their own ways to make it. Rice with fish curry is the favorite food of the people in West Bengal. So one day we decided to have rice with fish curry. We were served rice with bhapa ilish. The curry was so delicious that we ate more rice than we ever had. Ilish is the Hilsa fish, which is considered a delicacy here. Bhapa ilish fish curry is something special, served to the guests.
Delicious Bhapa Ilish Kolkata | Image Resource : blogspot.com
It is very simple to make and very tasty also. To make Bhapa Ilish you need 500 gm Hilsa, 1 table spoon each of black and yellow mustard, cumin seed and turmeric powder, 2 table spoon each of coarsely ground coconut and coconut milk, salt to taste and 2 table spoon mustard oil.
First you have to cut the fish and wash the fish and marinate it with turmeric salt for about 30 minutes. Also soak the yellow and black mustard seed in water for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes grind the soaked mustard seed with one green chili, cumin seeds, turmeric and salt and make it in to a fine paste. Now mix it with the coconut and coconut milk. Next you have to put the marinated fish in a single layer in a steel tiffin box and cover the fish pieces with the paste you have prepared. Cover the box and steam it for about 15 minutes and your bhapa ilish is ready. When you take it out and open the lid, the rich aroma of the fish curry stimulates your taste buds and makes you hungry.
We also tasted other delicacies prepared here and especially the Bengali sweets. We even bought some sweets to distribute among our friends and family. But the fish curry was the tastiest of all.
Rabindra Sarobar Lake Kolkata | Image Resource : panoramio.com
Description : I enjoyed the visit to Rabindra Sarobar Lake. It is an artificial lake of Kolkata. I is suurounded by a few major landmarks. The lake Dhakuria Lake. THe places is an ideal place for tourists. There are several major tourist locations in the vicinity. It is easy to plan a trip to the lake during your Kolkata visit. I loved the trip.
Shahid Minar is only about 2 km from our hotel and we went to visit on our first day at Kolkata. It is a monument built in 1828, the memory of the commander of British East India Company, named Sir David Ochteriony. It was to commemorate his victory in the Nepal War that took place during the period from 1814 to 1816. Then it was known as Ochteriony Monument. Later, in 1969, it was rededicated to those who died in the struggle for Independence and renamed Shahid Minar.
Shahid Minar Kolkata | Image Resource : flickr.com
We reached the place at 4.30 in the evening and saw that it was tall, about 48 meters in height. The base of the skyscraper was built in the Egyptian style, and the upper portion of the column reflects Syrian architecture. The dome of the tower is built according to the Turkish architecture. It has two balconies on the top floor. The vast space to the south of Shahid Minar is known as Shahid Minar Maidan or the Brigade Ground. A number of political rallies and meetings were held here in the past. The first political meeting was held in 1931, presided over by Rabindranath Tagore. The central bus terminus of the city is also around the monument.
We had got a special pass from the Deputy Commissioner of Police to climb to the top of the tower, as we were advised at the travel desk in the hotel. So we went in and climbed the steps leading to the top of the tower. We had to climb about 218 steps to reach the top. But once we reached the top, all our fatigue was forgotten. The view from there was superb. The sight was so fantastic that we stood there for a long time, feeling the cool evening breeze on our face and admiring the surrounding view.
We got down and wandered in the Brigade Ground for about 1 hour, enjoying the surroundings and having a cup of hot tea from the local vendor. As darkness fell, the tower got illuminated with bright lights from all its corners, which looked very beautiful. We stood there admiring it for some time and then left to the hotel.
I used to watch the sky and the stars in the sky when I was a kid and often worded about them. Even now I have a curiosity regarding the stars and the planets. So I never missed visiting Birla Planetarium when I was at Kolkata. It was situated close to Victoria Memorial, in Chowringhee Road. It is popularly known as Taramandal in Kolkata. Since it was very close to our hotel, we had no difficulty in going to the place. It conducts shows relating to stars, space, galaxy, heavenly bodies and other such subjects daily from 12.00 noon to 7.00 pm. these shows are conducted in English, Hindi and Bengali, and sometimes in Gujarati, Oriya and Tamil as well.
Birla Planetarium Kolkata | Image Resource : panoramio.com
As we reached the place, I saw that it was a spherical structure, somewhat similar to the Sanchi Stupa. There were already many visitors ready to go inside and we were lucky to get tickets for the next show. We got in and took our seats and found that it was full with the visitors. It had a capacity to accommodate about 500 people at a time.
Soon the lights went off and the show began. It was in English, and first of all we all were welcomed to witness the show. It was dark inside and slowly we could see the sky above lighting up with various stars and other heavenly bodies in it. It felt as if I was lying down looking up the sky at night and watching the stars. We were offered a brief explanation of how the stars were formed, the names of stars, and their importance and so on. We were so immersed in the show that we did not notice that one hour has passed. Soon the show came to an end and we got out, feeling the bright light of the sun on our face.
We also visited the astronomy gallery and the Celestron C-14 Telescope with ST6 CCD camera, solar filter and other accessories. It is the largest planetarium in Asia and the second largest in the world and we were happy that we had the opportunity to visit it and learn about the celestial bodies.
Eden Gardens Kolkata | Image Resource : wikimedia.org
Description : I have seen the Eden Gardens cricket ground in Kolkata only on the small screen while IPL matches are telecast on TV. It is a place yu can visit. Traveller are sure to enjoy the view of the cricket stadium. You can also witness some good matches here if you have the tickets.