Kolkata has a rich tradition of academic excellence since the days of
reformist movements led by Raja RamMohan Roy, Ishwar Chandra Vidya Sagar,
Rabindranath Tagore and other renowned educationists, litterateurs, scientists
and spiritual leaders. Some of the old schools, colleges and universities
established in the city are internationally acclaimed for their excellence
in various fields of learning. However, many old academic buildings are
in a sorry state owing to lack of funds and negligence on the part of
maintenance authorities. Some historic academic buildings have even been
demolished to give way to modern constructions, which are barely functional
in architectural terms.
Martiniere Boys' School
Administrative and Judicial Buildings
As former capital of the British India, the city of Kolkata, was one of
most important centres of trade and commerce in the Eastern Hemisphere
as well as the main outpost of British Empire in the east. A number of
administrative and judicial buildings were built over a period of about
two centuries to accommodate the colonial corps. Today most of these have
turned into the administrative and judicial headquarters of the state
of West Bengal. However many buildings are shabbily maintained, reconstructed
beyond recognition or even completely demolished apart from a few well
Two old bridges over the Hooghly bear the brunt of traffic across the
river: the Rabindra Setu and the Vivekananda Setu in the extreme north.
In the years to come we may witness the closing of these bridges unless
a solution to lessen their burden is found soon.
Meeting Places and Old Neighbourhoods
Various public places and quaint old neighbourhoods Kolkata have served
as the favourite rendezvous for people from all walks of life. It is perhaps
this charming character of Kolkata's numerous bylanes, tea-stalls and
street corners that give the city its life. Over the decades, some
old neighbourhoods have become as popular as the impressive buildings
and monuments by virtue of countless stories and events associated with
them. One can hardly imagine College Street without the rows of second
hand bookstalls and the gathering of students and aspiring intellectuals
at Coffee House. Other locales such as Kumartuli come alive during the
Puja season when the potters start their work of clay statues for the
Museums and Monuments
In spite of Kolkata's present crisis in the field of heritage preservation,
the museums in this city treasure a huge collection of rare and invaluable
relics from all over the country.
The city's pockets of greenery was a matter of pride for its residents.
Outdoor life in these verdant surroundings consisted of sporting activities
and family outings which were something to look forward to, for all residents.
Today, many parks are in a very bad state, encroached by wilderness and
illegal constructions, unsafe and avoided by the general population. Recently
some progress has been made to maintain the parks for proper use, notably
Minto Park, but some other spots are in urgent need of cleaning and maintenance
Kolkata is a city well known for its tolerance for all communities. In
its three hundred years of existence, people from all parts of the country
and the world have not only made the city their home but also freely practiced
their religious beliefs. Today, there are many old religious buildings
dating over a century or more which are a pride for the city. Perhaps
nowhere in India is our country's secular credentials so much in evidence
as in this city. Here are a few examples of the religious buildings built
by Christians, Hindus and Muslims which are over a hundred years old and
a part of the city's heritage.
Some old residential houses, which belonged to the urban elite are no
doubt part of the city's heritage owing to their architectural uniqueness
or historical importance. Some of these privately owned quarters are probably
the worst examples of destruction of heritage. Unless responsible bodies
take charge of these buildings they will probably be demolished by real
estate developers to develop modern high-rises or apartment blocks.
Rammohan Roy's Residence
Sports Arena and Clubs
Kolkata has a long history of various sporting activities. Many sports
arenas and clubs are a part of the city's heritage and still continue
to operate at various parts. Although many national and international
sporting events take place with a perhaps unmatched enthusiasm in the
part of the spectators, very little has been done to preserve the historical
spots and institutions which have actively popularized sporting events
and activities in the city.
Kolkata Golf Club