Places of Tourism Interest in Howrah District
|The Howrah Station
It is the gateway of Kolkata, the capital of West Bengal
to the rest of the country. Developed towards the early part of the
twentieth century, it has become one of the most important transitpoints
for passengers and goods movement in the country. The present station
building will be completing its glorious 100 years in 2006.
Howrah is the terminus of the first Indian Railway
system namely East Indian Railsays. A survey for the East Indian
Railway was taken up in 1845 and construction began in 1851. The section
of the Railways, a Broad guage railway 5’6’’ was opened in 1854 from
Howrah to Hooghly. In 1855 the line was extended up to Ranigunj and in
1862 up to Benares. After construction of the first Howrah Bridge in
1874, the Howrah Station was remodeled and improved. The other great
line, the Bengal Nagpur Railway also a Broad gauge Railway, was
extended to Howrah in 1900, thus connecting it with Nagpur and Bombay
on the west Cuttak, Puri and Madras on the South. After this the
station was further remodeled and became a joint station for E.I. Rly.
and B.N. Rly. The old station was made over to the B.N. Rly. The E.I.
Rly and B.N. Rly were subsequently renamed as Eastern Railway and South
Eastern Railway respectively. Howrah station has now become a large
imposing building facing the river with clock Tower and twenty long
platforms for the passenger trains and three for the goods trains.
|The Howrah Bridge or the Rabindra Setu
The old Howrah Bridge, a floating pontoon Bridge,
was opened in October 1874 and made over to Port Commissioners who
managed and maintained it. Designed by the late Sir Bradford Leslie, it
had a total length of 1528 feet between centers of abutments and
provided a 48 feet roadway and two 7 feet footways. The most novel
feature was the removal section which when floated out gage a 200 feet
clear openings, with a head room of 22 feet, were also provided for
smaller crafts. The adjusting ways or shore spans, one at each end of
the bridge, consisted of three 160 feet long bow sting girders.
The traffic between commercial Kolkata and industrial
Howrah having enormously increased during the first quarter of the 20th
Century, the old b ridge was quite insufficient and it was decided to
build a new one. The shifting mode of the river Hooghly was dangerous
for either a cantilever or a suspension Bridge and hence a Bridge was
designed as a sort of combination of the both. It was however known as
and a reputed cantilever Bridge and is the third largest bridge of its
kind in the World having a over-all length if 2150 feet with a single
span of 1500 feet. The new Howrah Bridge was designed by M/s. Rendell,
Palmer and Tritton, consulting Engineers. It took 8 years to complete
the bridge and 26,000 tons of steel including 18,200 tons of high
tensile quality were used. The total cost of construction of the land
and all ancillary works, amounted Rs. 3.33 crores.
It is interesting to note that the Bridge expands about
4.8 inches during the heat of the day and contracts equal length in the
cool of the night. Another peculiarity of the Bridge is that the
Bridge bends over slightly in strong winds. The framework has also been
built to withstand earth-quakes, as Calcutta lies in a Seismic zone.
The height of the Bridge at the supporting towers on the
both ends in 300 feet. Each tower has a constant width of 11 feet and a
tapering from 8’6’’ to4’6’’ at the top. The entire structure is laid
on main piers of re-enforced concrete monoliths with steel ceiling
edges. Each pier is 181’6” long by 81’6” wide and is amongst the largest
in the world. The monoliths and grinders on Calcutta side are 103 feet
deep and on the Howrah side it is 88 feet deep. These monoliths are
the heaviest in the world.
|Indian Botanic Garden
The Indian Botanic Garden previously known as Royal
Botanic Garden with the famous Banyan tree is comprised of 285.05 acres
of land is about 1000 bighas and lies on the bank of the River Hooghly
just outside the Municipal area of Howrah bordering its southern
boundary line and adjoins the compound of the Shibpur Engineering
College (Now known as Indian Institute of Engineering, Science &
Technology) on the south.
This green belt is considered to be the lungs of the
highly industrial and urbanized city of Howrah. Use of plastic
materials has been banned in the Garden Campus.
In the Garden, beside the great banyan tree we have a
fair collection of rare indigenous and exotic plants, beautiful Amazon
lilies, climbing plants, varieties of palm, delicate orchids and all
sorts of large trees – mahogany, teak, walnut etc. We also find here a
nursery (not open to the public), a Conservatory, a palm House, a
Herbarium, an Orchid conservatory. We have also a second large Banyan
tree. Besides we can find in the Garden the following Monuments and
buildings:- Wallich’s Monument, Kyds’ Monuments, Griffiths Monument,
Jack’s Monument, Kurze’s Monument, Roxburg’s monument, Palmyra Bridge,
Superintendent’s Office, Curator’s Office, Ladies Cloak Room,
Gentelmen’s Cloak Room, Residence of Assistant Curator, Residence of
Curator of Herbarium, a large Pavilion, a small Pavilion.
The founder of this Garden was one Colonel Robert Kyd who was one of the Engineers of the East India Company.
|The Great Banyan Tree
This tree is the chief attraction and also the pride and
glory of the Garden. It resembles more like a forest than a single
tree and evokes awe and wonder in the mind of the vast multitude of
daily visitors. The tree has sent down innumerable roots from its
branches vertically to the ground and the roots have grown thick and
stout to bear all the appearance of so many trunks. The striking
development of the aerial roots from branches is peculiarity of the
banyan tree. The main trunk of the Banyan tree was about 51 feet in
girth in December 1984 and the aerial roots which actually reached the
ground at that date numbered 378 and the roots newly formed which did
not reach the ground numbered 100.
It may be observed that aerial roots are thrown out from
such places where support for the horizontally spreading branches is
mostly required. The circumference of the leafy dead of the tree, if
its sinnosities be followed, is 976 ft. otherwise it is 858 feet. The
tree is not symmetrical and the main steam does not stand on the centre
of the space covered by it. The long diameter of the space is 287 ft.
and the short diameter is 264 feet. During the great Cyclones of 1864
and 1867 several of the largest limbs on the northern and western sides
were removed. Breaking of branches by frequent severe storm of wind
during the hot season is a regular feature. The southern side has
however hitherto entirely escaped damage by storms. The age of the tree
is not actually known but according to current tradition prevailing in
the neighbourhood, in 1786 when garden was established, the tree was
quite a small tree growing on the top of a wild date-tree. According to
this tradition the age of the tree would be 238 years now in 2007.
|Belur Math & Temple
Belur Math is situated just outside the boundary of
Howrah Municipal Corporation on the north and stand on the West Bank of
the river Hooghly. It was founded in 1897 by Swami Vivekananda, the
great servant of India, and other disciples of Sri Sri Ramkrishna
Paramhansa, who is regarded by the Hindus as an incarnation of God and
occupies a place of great honour amongst the religious leaders of the
world. A magnificent temple has been build at a great cost by the
unique munificence of two pious American ladies, Miss Helen Rubel and
Mrs. Auna Worcester. The breadth of the shrine is 100 ft and its
length, including the prayer hall, is 233 ft. On a marble pedestal in
the shrine is a marble statue of Sri Ramkrishna in his familiar asana.
The prayer hall is 152 ft. long, 72 ft. wide and 48 ft. high.
The math is the head quarter of the Ramkrishna Mission, a
society established for the propagation of the orthodox Hindu faith
chastened with modern outlook. There is also a large Museum inside the
Math on the lives of Sri Ramkrishna and his close disciples. The temple
and the math is visited by countless people, most of whom are
religiously inclined, to celebrate the birthday anniversary of Sri
Ramkrishna (18th February 1836) in February when a fair is held there.
The place also attracts large number of visitors from Kolkata and
abroad every day, especially on Sundays and holidays.
|Second Hooghly Bridge or Vidyasagar Setu
Vidyasagar Setu – otherwise known as the second Hooghly
Bridge opened to the traffic in 1992 is the finest product of modern
architecture and technology. It is intricately connected with cities of
Kolkata and Howrah by a series of over bridges and situated at a
distance of 1.5 k.m. southwards of Ravindra Setu. It is erected on only
four pillars and hung on 121 number of iron ropes. The bridge is 458
meters long and 115 meters wide. One can have a glimpse of a large part
of Kolkata standing at the middle of the Bridge. The beauty of the
bridge and its background is largely utilized by the Film Industry for
Situated at the confluence of the rivers Hooghly and
Rupnarayan, the scenic beauty of this place touches the heart of any
nature loving tourist. Though the site is mainly used by hundreds of
daily visitors mainly as a picnic spot, its main attraction lies in
watching the rising and the setting of the sun from the top of Fort
Mornington. The Fort is also locally known as Clive’s Fort. After
winning the historic Plassey war in 1757, Robert Clive constructed this
Fort at the strategic location of the confluence of the Hooghly and
the Rupnarayan. From the beginning of the twentieth century, the fort
is not in use. A portion of the Fort is destroyed in 1942 flood.
Standing in a dilapidated condition, the Fort bears the legacy of 200
years of British Rule in India. Besides some private hotels, there is a
big Tourist Lodge of west Bengal Tourism Development Corporation just
in the vicinity of the confluence.
Situated at the confluence of the Hooghly and the
Damodar, this spot has a quiet scenic beauty. The undulating irrigation
canal connecting the two rivers adds to the beauty of the spot. There
are two Bungalows of Howrah Zilla Parishad. The new Bungalow is situated
in the vicinity of the confluence. There is also one deer park within
the campus of the old bungalow.
It is the home place of the immortal Bengali novelist
Sri Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay. Though he was a Bengali Writer, his
great novels and short stories dealing with human emotions are
translated in almost all major languages of India. His two-storied
dwelling house is situated at Panitras or Samtaber village on the bank
of the river Rupnarayan in a perfect lonely village atmosphere of
Bengal. The building is now preserved as a Museum where mementoes of
Saratbabu, like table, chair, chappals, stick, bed, writing tables are
kept, apart from his works (books), some manuscripts and personal
Saratbabu spent twelve years (1926 –
1938) of his literary life in this place before permanently settling at
Kolkata. During this period he created some of his finest stories
& novels such as Abhagir Swarga, Bamuner Meye, Palli Samaj, Ramer
Sumati, Mahesh, Srikanta (4th Part).
*Source: 'Wikipidia.org' & 'Tourism Department, Howrah'