Esplanade is typically a long, open and levelled area which is next to the sea on which people can take walks for pleasure. The Esplanade in Kolkata which was earlier known as Calcutta is located at the centre of the city. It unlike typical Esplanades does not have a sea next to it, but does however have the river Ganga (Ganges) or Hooghly flow nearby.
It is located at the heart of the city just north of Maidan (Brigade Parade Ground). It includes most of the famous British Colonial Buildings and takes visitors back to the British Era. Calcutta was known as the City of Palaces courtesy the extensive number of palatial structures built here. When British made Calcutta their capital, construction of various mix of Gothic, Baroque, and Roman, Islamic and Oriental style of buildings began on frenzy. Many cities in the North maintained minimalistic type of architecture but Calcutta was heavily influenced with British styles. This type of construction was also influenced by the Bengali Babus who did their best to please the British by acting like them and earning monetary gains for the same.
The Term Esplanade was first given to the Northern portion of a Jungle. This was later cleared and turned into the present day Maidan. It was a favourite promenade used for Elegant walking parties. Daniell and William Baillie were the first to take the pictures of this area in which you can see the Council House and the Old Government House. The present day Bourne & Shepherd photographic studio was established on this road in 1867. Post the Battle of Plassey, which was won by the British, the construction of Fort William began in 1758. The Esplanade is also remembers for the first soccer match which was played there in 1858 between Calcutta Club of Civilians and the Gentlemen of Barrakpur.
The buildings you can see here are the Indian Museum, the Government House in BBD Bagh, Bauddha Dharmankur Sabha, Reserve Bank of India, General Post Office, Zoological Garden, Raj Bhavan, Calcutta Race Course, Vidyasagar Setu, national Library, Burmese Pavilion, Eden Gardens and the Nakhoda mosque. Despite having a number of Buildings of importance here, most of them are in pitiful state and on the verge of decay. Many important buildings have been restored through efforts of conversation and declared to be Heritage Structures.
You can get here through Bus, Metro or cab. When in Kolkata, this area is a must visit as you have everything under one roof.