Watch a game of cricket
The British introduced cricket to India during the days of the Raj and today it remains the country’s number one sport and the subject of considerable passion for Indians of all ages. Visit Eden Gardens, the world’s third largest cricket stadium, to experience some of the most voluble, ardent cricket fans you’ll ever encounter. Eden Gardens was established in 1864 and today is home to the Bengal cricket team and the Kolkata Knight Riders as well as being the venue for Twenty20 International, Test and One Day International matches. For cricket fans, this is India’s premier venue.
Explore Kolkata’s colonial history
Victoria Memorial - KolkataKolkata is inextricably linked to the days of colonial rule. It was established as a trading post by an English trader for the East India Company and rose in importance to become the capital of the British Empire in India until 1911. Everywhere you look there are remnants of the Raj, with imposing municipal buildings, monuments and museums. The Indian Museum started life as the Asiatic Society in 1814 and is India’s oldest museum. Today it houses sculptures, prehistoric and geological finds. The vast white marble Victoria Monument, crowned with a huge dome, was erected at the bequest of Lord Curzon in 1906 in memory of Queen Victoria. Inside, there are marvellous treasures including statues of colonial era heroes, historical documents from the East India Company and Victorian works of art, all capturing an age now long gone. The heart of colonial Kolkata is the BBD Bagh (formerly known as Dalhousie Square), where the State Secretariat accommodates a building that once served as the East India Company’s headquarters. Nearby stands St John’s Church, which resembles London’s St Martin-in-the-Fields, and a cemetery where a monument stands to commemorate the victims of the infamous Black Hole of Calcutta. Also nearby is the Governor’s Residence, built in 1802, and the domed Post Office. Explore Kolkata’s colonial past with Husna-Tara Prakash, whose own family heritage is similarly linked with England.
Sail along the Hoogly at sunset
As part of the River Ganges, the waters of the Hoogly (the Anglicized name for the Hughli) are considered sacred. Sail along its course at sunset sipping Darjeeling tea and watch as you pass riverside temples and bridges as your guide, Devika, reveals the river’s history. Devika is the daughter of a prominent family from Kolkata and she has an intimate knowledge of the city she calls home.
Visit the Kalighat Kali Temple
The Kalighat Kali temple is dedicated to the fierce Hindu goddess Kali, from whom the city is said to take its name. Her imposing statue – with three eyes, four hands and black face – is worshipped by garlanded visitors. New mothers come to adorn the ‘tree of life’ with black stones to give thanks for fertility. The temple was originally constructed on the banks of the River Hoogly but over time the course of the river has changed and the temple now stands next to a canal tributary. Adjacent to the temple, and far more peaceful is a ‘tank’ where people bathe.
If you want to find out more about India contact Red Savannah's travel specialists on 01242 787800.