(Last Updated on : 17/02/2012)
The Maidan which means open ground, is the largest urban park located in the park street- Chowringhee area of Kolkata. It is among the most picturesque areas of Kolkata and the greenery is spread across 400 hectares. It stretches 3 Kms from the north to south and is surrounded by the Strand Road to the West and the famous Chowringhee Road to the east. There are numerous famous places that are located in the adjoining areas of the Maidan and Tolly`s Nulla is the southern boundary where the Kolkata Race Course and Victoria memorial are located. We get an awesome view from the north, from where we get a glimpse of the Raj Bhawan or the Governor`s House.
The Maidan during the British Raj was the center of activities, which made the Europeans breathe fresh air leaving behind their confined territories. The stretch of ground came into existence when the tiger-haunted jungle was cleared off which gave rise to the movement towards Chowringhee around 1746 from then onwards there was an effort to keep the greenery.
The maidan served the purposes of the major political meetings and rallies of all political parties. Though cleaning measures are on a spree and the Army has made it a point for the cleaning procedure to follow up after any such public happening.
The Maidan is home to numerous playgrounds that also include the famous Eden Gardens, renowned cricket stadium and Victoria Memorial, which has a history and glory of its own. The Royal Calcutta Golf Club was also situated here, which is the oldest Golf Club outside Great Britain. Many clubhouses belonging to various sports clubs look like `tiny greenish bungalows` surround the Maidan beside the road. There are also major clubs occupy the fields, like the Mohun Bagan, East Bengal and Mohammedan Sporting, with wooden galleries. The Kennel Club and Press Club also capture the limelight, along with the lower order clubs, whose contribution can be noticed like the Wari, Aryans, Rajasthan and so on. Host of office clubs also abound that area. Seems that the Maidan is all encompassing and is the lifeline and the hub of all leisurely activities in the city. No wonder it has been referred to as the "lungs of Kolkata". During holidays and weekends people in great numbers flock to the Maidan for recreation and unwinding after a hectic working schedule.
There are a number of statues that can be spotted at maidan. The statues of British governor-generals and other eminent personalities of the British Raj like Lord Curzon, Roberts, Minto, Kitchener, Northbrook, Canning and others can be found. Many were pulled down and after wards statues of reverend Indians also started filling up, like Mahatma Gandhi, Chittaranjan Das, Jawaharlal Nehru, Ram Mohan Roy, Subhas Chandra Bose, Sri Aurobindo, Matangini Hazra, Pritilata Waddedar, Indira Gandhi, Gostho Pal and others. Earlier the Maidan was developed as a parade ground, but then the administrative responsibility lay with the police.
Maidan area is highly cherished by the people of Kolkata and abroad and it is a great heritage to have it among the public. This area is known as a major place for just lasting around. Present day is marked by pollution and environment control policies by the army and other organizations. The place has been known for conducting fairs and other cultural programs and has been the hub of these cultural actions in Kolkata.