(Last Updated on : 13/01/2010)
Kolkata, the main city in East India in West Bengal, lies on the banks of the Hoogly River. Kolkata is renowned for the building and monuments built in the European style of architecture, for example, the Victoria Memorial hall, Writer's building and the Kolkata High Court. There are also some structures that reflect both the Indo Islamic and the Hindu architectural patterns. Kolkata which was formerly known as Calcutta is the capital city in the state of West Bengal. The history of this city commenced with the advent of the British East India Company in the year 1690. The city was a centre of the British East India Company and they were largely responsible for the growth of the city and its public architecture which led to the description of Calcutta as "The City of Palaces" because of the numerous palatial mansions built all over the city. Over the next century Calcutta kept expanding into an urban city. Maidan Park, where Fort William is situated, has many European style buildings around it designed by British architects. No traces of the traditional Indian style are seen in the structures. The impressions of monuments and buildings embedded throughout the city are still fresh and not more than three hundred years old. Unlike other places of attractions the Kolkata has not been gifted by any ruler or dynasty.
is a store house of holy places which includes mosques, temples and churches. These holy places include Dakshineshwar Kali Temple
, Paresnath Temple, Nakhoda Mosque
, Belur Math
, the St Paul's Cathedral
and Portuguese Cathedral. The Dakshineshwar temple on the banks of the Hooghly River
is a huge temple dedicated to Goddess Kali
. The temple is a large elongated building standing on an elevated platform with a flight of stairs. It is built in a very traditional Bengali style even though it is a new structure. The walls of the temple are not terracotta panels but are plastered. The architecture of the Belur Math is very interesting. At the same time it gives the impression of a temple, mosque and church depending on the way one perceives. The structure of Belur Math is a combination Hindu, Muslim and Christian architectural styles. The huge shrine is completely covered with ochre cladding stones, with Indian motifs as decorations. The Shitalanatha temple in Kolkata is a Jain temple and is a blend of European and Islamic styles, with a traditional Indian shikhara, set in an Italian style garden. The Nakhoda Mosque the biggest mosque in Kolkata. It has been constructed in the style of Akbar's tomb at Sikandra which is an exam-ple of Indo-Saracenic architecture. The interior of the mosque is an exhibition of exquisite embellishment and creative extravagansa.
The city of Kolkata is the pedestal for great architectural and constructional accomplishments. The Victoria Memorial
in Kolkata built in 1921 is a fusion of the classic doctrine of the Paradeo School and the Mughal style. It resembles the Taj Mahal
to a great extent. The architecture of this monument blends the best of Mughal and British architectural styles. Most of the important buildings are concentrated in the Dalhousie Square in Kolkata such as the St. John's Cathedral. This Cathedral is modeled after London's, St Martin's Inn- a field church. The thick pillars on the ground floor, contrast sharply with the sleek steeple on top. The Writer's Building with its long façade facing the Dalhousie Square is a simple building and was renovated in the 19th century and improved considerably to make it a befitting Imperial image. It now houses Government offices. The Gothic structure of the Kolkata High Court with its richly contrasting, red brick & white plaster, was built in 1872.
Kolkata, hence, can be termed as a place of architectural wonder. Among the other monuments of architectural importance are the Shahid Minar, the Howrah Bridge
and the Fort William
. The diverse architectural structures contribute to the popularity of Kolkata as a favourite tourist destination.