Monday, 3 October 2011

In the Land of Kolkata Knight Riders- Day 2

The hotel had arranged us a cab and it arrived at 9.30 am. Driver Sanjay first took us to Victoria Memorial and on the way we realized that like any other metropolitan cities, Kolkata also struggles with problems like pollution and traffic congestion, but the rate is little high.
Below Howrah Bridge
Below Howrah Bridge
Below Howrah Bridge
In front of Birla Planetarium

Within a few minutes, we also realized that there were literally no rules for vehicles. Cars and bikes criss-crossing all over, screeching and honking all around.

But still, who can deny that it is one of the major educational and cultural hubs of the country. One cannot forget the fact that the city has long been known for its literary, artistic and revolutionary heritage. It was the birthplace of modern Indian literary and artistic thoughts.

Kolkata, earlier known as Calcutta, situated on the east bank of river Hooghly, is the capital of West Bengal. The city is also called as the commercial capital of Eastern India. I remember my Indian history classes very well and as everybody knows, I’m also aware that Kolkata served as the capital of India during the British rule till 1911. Before the arrival of British, Kolkata with three villages -- Kalikata, Gobindapur and Sutanuti -- was under the indirect rule of the Nawab of Bengal. By the 1850s, Kolkata was split into two areas — one British, also known as the White Town, centred around Chowringhee, and the other Indian, centred around North Calcutta.
The Kolkata Metro, running parallel to the River Hooghly and spanning the north-south length of the city covering a distance of 22.3 km, is the oldest underground system in India since 1984.

I have never seen trams elsewhere in the country and I think Kolkata is India’s only city to have a tram network.
Tram tracks
Our driver told us that this slow-moving tram services are restricted to certain areas of the city.

We didn’t find auto rickshaws on the way to Victoria as they ply only in specific routes. But to my surprise, cycle rickshaws and hand-pulled rickshaws still exist here. One can easily find rickshawmen pulling passengers in their vehicle or cycling them :( 


We also found that the city has many buildings adorned with Gothic, Baroque, Roman, Oriental and Indo-Islamic, including Mughal, motifs. Several major buildings of the Colonial period are well maintained and have been declared heritage structures, while others are in various stages of decay and we were lucky enough to capture many of them in our camera.

Driver Sanjay dropped us in front of Victoria Memorial and told us to call him 15 minutes before leaving Victoria, so that we could see other places.

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