A walk down the street of Kolkata is the ultimate therapy for any tourist willing to beat the stress of his mundane self and rejuvenate himself. Kolkata, often celebrated in literature for its historical importance and proud structures, has a painful history of torn colonial past. It went through its grey yet exciting period of anarchism in 70’s through the Maoist gatherings but successfully emerged as one of the most dignified cities in the recent years. Fêted for its rich artistic expressions in the form of paintings, sculptures, and folk arts, a visit to Kolkata will cement your belief that a thing of historical relevance is a joy forever. Kolkata is one city that retains its historical and cultural legacy with great pride and reflects the past with such clarity that at times it can give you the impression as if you were traveling in time. Take a quick tour down the famous museums in Kolkata and get ready for a historical dive.
Birla Industrial and Technological Museum
Situated at Gurusaday Road at South Kolkata, the Birla Industrial and Technological Museum stands tall as one of the city’s magnificent landmarks. Although incepted in 1956 by the council of scientific and industrial research, the idea for this technological museum was put forward by West Bengal’s then Chief Minister Dr. B.C. Roy. These museum galleries hosts subjects like nuclear physics, optics, communication, and motive power. There are some pleasant surprises for the tourists here like Rabbit House, Snake Pits, Aquarium, Bonsai and Cacti Garden. It is open for the visitors from 10 am in the morning to 5.30 pm in the evenings.
Birla Academy Of Art And Cultural Museum
Established in 1966, Birla Academy of Art and Cultural Museum houses some of the best paintings from the medieval era as well as displays brilliant illustrations of modern arts and several archaeological specimens. If you are somebody who enjoys history, you are likely to have a great time in this museum. Affectionately defined as the epitome of Indian art, the museum houses archeological collections that dates back to the 19th century and showcases other proud symbols of dynasties like Chola and Vijayanagara. The museum is open to visitors from 4.30 pm to 7 pm.
Ashutosh Museum Of Indian Art
This museum was established in the year 1937 and was named after the great educationist Ashutosh Mukherjee. The prime inspiration for constructing this museum came from Bengali intellectuals who were keen to save Indian culture and heritage of Kolkata amidst the epical rise of cultural invasion. The museum building is situated in the Centenary Building of the Kolkata University. Tourists can treat their eyes to the works of many ancient Buddhist and Hindu sculptors here. The best time to visit this museum is between 10.30 am to 5pm on weekdays.
Rabindra Bharti Museum
The Rabindra Bharti Museum, which was once the home of the great Rabindranath Tagore, is situated near Girish Park. Better known as ‘The Jorashanko Thakurbari’, this palace was built in 18th century by Tagore’s grandfather, prince Dwarkanath Tagore. The museum houses the works of Tagores and remains as an eye candy for the enthusiasts. You can visit this museum between 10 am to 5 pm on all weekdays and between 10 am to 1.30 pm on Saturdays.
Gurusaday Museum Of Bengal Folk Art
Established in 1933 by Gurusaday Datta, this Bengali folk art museum is situated 15 km away from the BBD Bagh, on Diamond Harbour Road. Established in the year 1961, this museum houses a small but rich collection of folk arts and craft works of Bengal. The collection includes paintings, kalighat pat, terracotta plaques from temple stones, brass, woods and bronze, sculptures and archaeological specimens etc.. The museum remains open to visitors on all days except on Thursdays.
The well-known Indian Museum, which is also known as ‘Jadughar', is located on Jawahar Lal Nehru Road. This museum is apparently the largest museum in India and houses rare collections of antiques, ornaments, mummies and more. Incepted by Dr. Nathaniel Wallich, a Denmark botanist, in the year 1814, this Museum is divided into six main sectors and has around thirty-five galleries dedicated to art, anthropology, archeology and more. Visitors are allowed in the museum from 10 am to 5 pm.
M.P. Birla Planetarium
Located near the crossing of Chowringhee and Theatre Road, this famous planetarium has the capacity of nearly 500 visitors. It is reported that Birla planetarium, which was established in1962, is the second largest of its kind and the construction value of it was around a whopping two million rupees. It has the finest collection of paintings, celestial models, and famous astronomers’ pictures in the hall. The artificially recreated space, stars, and other planets on the vast screen of planetarium promises to be a real delight for the visitors. The planetarium is open on all days and the best time to visit this place is between 11 am to 7 pm.
Academy Of Fine Arts
Located near Victoria Memorial in Kolkata, this academy was incepted in the year 1933 by Lady Ranu Mukherjee. A true feast for the eyes, these fine art museum houses rare manuscripts, textiles, sculptures, and miniature paintings. Academy of Fine Arts houses a separate section on exhibition, popularly named as The Rabindra Gallery after Rabindranath Tagore and contains the personal belongings and manuscripts of the Nobel laureate. What’s more, this academy helps the upcoming artists to exhibit their talent. This place is open to the visitors from 10 am to 5 pm on all weekdays.
Sir William Jones, the former chief justice of Supreme Court, founded the Asiatic Society of Kolkata society in the year 1784. This edifice was constructed with the sole purpose of disseminating eastern education. At the time of its inception, this society was mainly concerned with collecting scientific and archaeological materials. However, today this society stands as a humungous reservoir of books and manuscripts on various Asian languages. This society is open for the visitors on weekdays from 10 am to 8 pm and from 9.45 am to 6.15 pm on Saturdays.
The Centre of International Modern Art, situated at “Sunny Tower” in Ashutosh Chowdhary Avenue near Birla Temple, is the first art gallery in Kolkata. One of the famous tourist destinations in the city, this modern art gallery is highly regarded as the epitome of art and culture. Said to be inspired from the famous museums and art galleries in New York and London, this art gallery has established itself as one of the premier art centers in India in the recent years. This great centre of art is open to visitors on all days from 2 pm to 8 pm except on Mondays.
Sabarna Sangrahashala, as the name goes, upholds the true saga of the city and serves as the storehouse of the land’s rich history, tradition and culture. Set up as an exclusive wing of Sabarna Roy Choudhury Paribar Parishad, this one-of-its-kind of museum was established in the year 2005 and since then has been a source of great interest and inspiration for the antiquarians, history buffs and students. Situated at Barisha in Kolkata, Sabarna Sangrahashala is fondly depicted as a treasure pot of antique manuscripts, pictures, books, tickets, coins and more. Sabarna Sangrahashala is open to the visitants on all days except on Thursdays.