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Calcutta (aka Kolkata) - Five Must See Sights

November 06, 2012
Group owner Richard Martine

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Calcutta (aka Kolkata) - Five Must See Sights

By: Richard Martine   Post Date : November 06, 2012
Calcutta (Kolkata) is the third largest metro area in India. Calcutta has a reputation for widespread poverty, pollution, and overcrowding. And while this is true, it is also the third wealthiest city in South Asia as measured by GDP (behind Mumbai and Delhi). If you are going to Calcutta, here are five must-see sites:

Victoria Memorial. Opened in 1921, this memorial to Queen Victoria was modeled after the Taj Mahal. It has on display many paintings of the British royal family, other notable paintings and lithographs, historical artifacts and documents. The building is set among extensive and beautiful grounds.

Indian Museum. Established in 1814, this is said to be the largest museum in Asia and the oldest in East Asia. It houses large collections of Indian art and natural history. Its highlights include the dinosaur and meteorite halls in the Natural History and Geology section; the numismatics exhibit; Mughal miniature paintings; Burmese woodwork; and Buddhist Gandhara art from pre-Muslim Pakistan and Afghanistan. The museum also has an excellent historical library.

Marble Palace. This palatial mansion was built in 1835 by Raja ("raja" is a title of nobility among Hindus) Rajendra Mullick, and is still a residence for his descendants. The palace, built in neoclassical and Bengali styles, is renowned for its marble floors and walls. It is also an art gallery featuring world-renowned artists such as Van Gogh, Rembrandt, and Reuben.

Howrah Bridge (Rabindra Setu). This engineering marvel is the third longest cantilever bridge in the world. It is more than 1500 feet long with no supporting columns in the center. It is 71 feet wide and has 8 lanes of traffic, plus footpaths on both sides. Two million people are estimated to cross the bridge each day.

Botanical Garden. Built on the west bank of the Hoogly River in 1786, these gardens occupy 269 acres. The famous teas grown at Darjeeling and Assam were developed here. There are many rare trees from Brazil, Java, Nepal, Sumatra, and elsewhere. Specimens include towering mahogany trees, mango and tamarind trees, an orchid house, and an avenue of Cuban palms. The most famous attraction is the 200-year-old Banyan tree, said to be the world's largest.

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