Calcutta Monuments

Calcutta Monuments
Calcutta, now known within India as Kolkata, was the capital of India during the British Raj until 1911. The area has been inhabited for at least two millennia, but its documented history begins with the establishment of a trading center by the East India Company in 1690. It is home to British, Hindu and modern Indian landmarks, and--as of 2010--more than 10 million people, making it India's third largest city.

Sahid Minar (Ochterlony Monument)

In Calcutta, simple mention of "the Monument" refers to the Sahid Minar, which dominates the downtown skyline. This tower was constructed in 1848 to commemorate Sir David Ochterlony's victory in the Nepal War. It was renamed Sahid Minar ("Tower of the Martyrs") in 1969 to honor the dead from the struggle for Indian independence.

The tower is 158 feet high and topped with two balconies, which offers a beautiful view of Calcutta. A serpentine staircase includes 198 steps to the first balcony, and an additional 25 to the second balcony.

Victoria Memorial

After the Taj Mahal and the Golden Temple, the Victoria Memorial in Calcutta is India's most renowned landmark. The white marble building is surrounded by formal gardens and water courses, commemorating Queen Victoria at the height of the British empire. The main attraction is a giant statue of Victoria flanked by ornamental tanks.

The building's dome is made of Makrana marble and is topped by a revolving bronze figure symbolizing victory. Twenty-five galleries contain art and relics of the British imperial era.

Marble Palace

Raja Rajendra Mullick built this Palladian palace with marble walls and floors in 1835. The house was designed in neoclassical style with traditional Bengali open courtyards. The Raja constructed India's first zoo on the grounds, which includes an aviary and exotic specimens.

Indian Museum

The Indian Museum in Calcutta, the largest in India, was built by the British in 1878 with an Italian architectural style. It includes more than 60 galleries spanning more than 10,000 square feet, including art, archeology, anthropology, botany, geology and zoology. More than 1 million exhibits are publicly viewable.

Holwel Monument

The Holwel Monument commemorates John Zephaniah Holwell, the leader of Fort William in Calcutta at the time of the British fort's 1756 capture by Indian troops. The capture ended with the "Black Hole of Calcutta" incident, an event of historical controversy.

This monument was erected in 1901 at the site of the incident but removed by Indian nationalists in 1940. It is now located in the graveyard of St. John's Church in Calcutta.

Howrah Bridge (Rabindra Setu)

The Howrah Bridge links Calcutta to the city of Howrah across the Hoogli River. This architectural marvel was completed entirely by riveting, without the use of nuts or bolts. There are no supporting pillars under the bridge, which is the busiest in the world.

Dakshineswar Kali Temple

The Dakshineswar Kali Temple is a monument to the Hindu deity Bhavatarini, an aspect of Kali, "she who takes her devotees across the ocean of existence." The nine-spired main temple is surrounded by 12 shrines dedicated to the deity Shiva, Kali's companion. The Dakshineswar Kali Temple was completed in 1855.

Article Written By Timothy Aldinger

Timothy Aldinger brings 20 years of experience as an instructional design consultant and corporate training strategist in the automotive, environmental, health and insurance industries. His professional writings have been published by Ford Motor Company, Chrysler Corporation, General Motors, Volkswagen, Toyota, Nissan and many other major corporations. Aldinger received his Bachelor of Arts in political theory from Michigan State University.

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