Kolkata, a magnificent city, steeped in history beckons leisure and business travelers from all across the world. Kolkata and Howrah Bridge, the iconic landmark of the city is as inseparable as idli and sambhar. Dating back to 1943 is built over the Hooghly River. Words fail to express the eternal beauty of this bridge. As the city is enveloped in a blanket of darkness, the bridge is illuminated by thousands of LED bulbs, making it look stunning and as captivating as ever. The bridge connects Kolkata with its twin, Howrah. Being the sixth largest bridge in the world, it is truly a one-of-its-kind structure.
Those who have watched “Piku”, a poignant tale of father and daughter will surely remember Howrah Bridge in the background with Irfaan Khan and Dipika Padukone enjoying a brief tete-a-tete about their lives and aspirations. A grand structure, an engineering marvel, one cannot miss Howrah Bridge when visiting Kolkata, its presence is so imposing and strongly felt. It is a magnificent structure made of shiny steel and traces its roots back in history to the time of World War II. Yes, Howrah Bridge Kolkata was built during those testing times, and since then it has been no less than an architectural icon. Apart from tourists, this bridge is also a favorite destination for many travel photographers who time and again visit this bridge to click some really incredible pictures of this historical bridge. It is truly one of the most fascinating bridges in all of India, meant for travelers, wanderers, and photographers. It is also referred to as the Gateway of Kolkata. Since its construction, Howrah Bridge is known as the face of Kolkata and is also a vital part of local tourism. So, your trip to Kolkata might feel incomplete without a visit to this place.
The spectacle is breathtaking but you can preferably visit Howrah Bridge in the evening. During this time, the cool breeze will ruffle your hair while giving you the mental space to reflect on and contemplate life.
Best Time to Visit Howrah Bridge, West Bengal
Visit this iconic bridge in winter, between November to February. The maximum temperature hovers around 29°C during this time, making it comfortable and convenient for visitors. Tourism is at its peak during this time and the bridge sees a massive footfall of revelers, photographers, wanderers, and nature lovers. The weather is absolutely charming and delightful for outdoor activities. Grab the opportunity and set about checking out this most iconic and famous tourist spot in West Bengal. Visit the bridge in the daytime as well as in the evenings when the sun sets on the horizon and capture some picture-postcard clicks in your camera.
History of Howrah Bridge
The idea to build a bridge over the Hooghly River was conceived in 1862 when the Government of Bengal requested George Turnbull, the Chief Engineer of East Indian Railway Company, to study and research the possibility of bridging the Hooghly River. It was then on 19th March, that he came up with the blueprint of bridging the river, where he described the highs and lows of investing time and money in such a project. He proposed that the Pulta Ghat will be the ideal place to build this project.
Later, Pontoon Bridge was built which connected Howrah and Kolkata. Due to its less-impactful bearing ability, it was unable to withstand weather conditions and huge traffic. The Bengal government kept on looking for alternatives and finally got its new bridge commissioned. This contract was given to The Braithwaite Burn and Jessop Construction Company for the reconstruction. Subsequently, the Howrah Bridge was constructed without using nuts & bolts and formed completely using steel. It was officially opened in 1942 for public use.
It was originally named the New Howrah Bridge as it replaced the Pontoon Bridge. It was June 14, 1965, when it was renamed Rabindra Setu after India’s Great Poet, Rabindranath Tagore. There are a total of four bridges on the river, namely Vidyasagar Setu, Vivekanand Setu, Howrah Bridge, and a newly built Nivedita Setu.
Major Attractions In And Around Howrah Bridge, West Bengal
The lifeline of Kolkata, Howrah Bridge is one of the best tourist places in West Bengal. Its mechanical and architectural excellence makes it unique and significant. The bridge is standing strong for the past several decades with no support from pillars, nuts, and bolts. The 700m long bridge looks simply stunning. The third-longest cantilever bridge adds to the stunning cityscape and landscapes.
Here are a few major Kolkata sightseeing places that you must check and explore after visiting Howrah Bridge.
1. Rail Museum
This museum is the perfect place to know the history of Rail transport from the British Era in India. The museum exhibits vintage railways, historic rail cars, and so much more that it will take you for a spin to the bygone era.
2. Agni Mandir
It is one of the most famous sacred sites for Hindus in Kolkata. The fine architecture with beautiful carvings makes it one of the most interesting Destinations in India.
3. River Hooghly
The river is also known as the Bhagirathi-Hoogly and Kati-Ganga River. The epic Hooghly river is a must-visit. This wide river also serves as a great picnic spot for locals and tourists. People love to spend some soul-rejuvenating time amidst the serene environment here.
4. Vidyasagar Setu
One of the four bridges constructed on the Hooghly River, this is the longest and busiest cable-stayed bridge in India. Vidyasagar Setu Kolkata is a great work of architecture and is a must-visit on your trip to Kolkata.
5. Burman Market
It is a great place to shop around. Here, one can find a great variety of items ranging from classical and traditional attires to antiques. So, while on your trip to Kolkata, try not to miss this interesting marketplace.
6. Santragachi Jheel
It is located at Santragachi at Howrah. The lake attracts various migratory birds, mostly during the winter months. It is an ideal bird-watching destination for nature and wildlife explorers.
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Things to do at Howrah Bridge, West Bengal
When traveling to Kolkata, you will catch a glimpse of the imposing Howrah Bridge from different corners and angles of the city. Instead of looking at the bridge from afar, spend some time close to this magnificent structure. Here are some enthralling activities and things to do near Howrah Bridge that will make you appreciate this engineering marvel.
1. Hire a Ferry
Step on a ferry and sail gently on River Hooghly, admiring the twinkling lights of the city, the bustling town, people walking at a fast pace in a state of perpetual urgency, enjoying the amazing sights and sounds of the city, and more. All this will help you know more about this magnificent city. A ride on the ferry is also perfect for a romantic evening!
2. Sit By the Ghats
Another way of enjoying this iconic bridge and soaking in its magnificent sight is sitting by the ghats. A visit to these ghats is also the best way to understand the lifestyle of people residing in Kolkata and how Howrah Bridge plays a vital role in their existence. They come here to pray, wash, bathe, and more.
3. A Leisurely Stroll
In the daytime, this bridge is one of the busiest bridges in the world. Visit the bridge late at night or in the wee hours of the morning to admire its construction and details. It is sure going to leave you wondering how this magnificent structure would have come up and appreciate the engineering prowess of our forefathers.
4. A Bird’s eye view of the Bridge
Look at it from any angle or distance, the Howrah Bridge looks as impressive and stunning as it looks when you go up close and personal to enjoy it. Most of the hotels and restaurants have planned their seating arrangement such that the guests can enjoy expansive views of the bridge and its neighboring areas. Visit any rooftop hotel or restaurant to enjoy a peek at this charming bridge.
5. Party in a Cruise
Now visitors can enjoy a party under the bridge. Boats are available for 4-5 hours that take the guests through the river, passing under the bridge twice. It is also one of the best ways to party.
How To Reach Howrah Bridge
Howrah Bridge is one of the major tourist places in Kolkata. It is very easy to reach How rah Bridge by road and boat. Take a look at the best ways to reach here by different means of transportation.
After deboarding at the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport, Kolkata, you can either opt for a private cab or any local mode of transportation to reach here. The airport has good connectivity with other Indian cities.
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The nearest railway station is Kolkata Railway Station which is about 47 km from the falls. After deboarding at the station, you will need to hire a cab or a bus to reach your respective destination.
Howrah Bridge is quite well-connected with other major cities via the road network. So, planning a road trip can be a memorable journey for you.
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Frequently Asked Questions Related to Howrah Bridge
Q 1. Is Howrah Bridge open for tourists now?
A 1. Howrah Bridge is now open for tourists.
Q 2. Which month is best to visit Howrah Bridge?
A 2. November to February is the best time to visit Howrah Bridge as tourists can engage in outdoor trips to the area in the pleasant weather.
Q 3. What is special about Howrah Bridge?
A 3. Dating back to 1943 is built over the Hooghly River. Words fail to express the eternal beauty of this bridge.
Q 4. Can I visit Howrah Bridge from Darjeeling?
A 4. Howrah Bridge is around 619 km away from Darjeeling and you can take a state-owned bus or simply hire a taxi to reach the destination.
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