The Maidan also known as Brigade Parade Ground, literally means open field. It is a vast green recreational place at the heart of Kolkata. It is the largest urban park in the city and stretches from Raj Bhawan in the North to the National Library in the South, Victoria Memorial in the East and Hooghly River in the West. What makes it a destination in itself is the landmarks that surround it - Kolkata Race Course, Eden Garden, the Royal Kolkata Golf Club, Football Stadiums and a number of other Historical sites. It is known as the “Lungs of Kolkata” as greenery is in abundance here.
It is spread across 988 acres of land and has a number of statues and architectural works spread across. As the property of the Indian army, the Maidan hosts the army’s Eastern Zone High Command in Fort Williams, the entry to which is restricted. The Maidan was created in the year 1758, post the battle of plassey. The British decided to tear down the old fort Williams after the “Black Hole Fiasco” that took place there. In order to give the cannons in the new fort a clear line to fire, the entire village of Gobindapur was relocated and the site demolished and cleared. This cleared piece of land is fundamental to Kolkata like how central park is to New York. The fort Williams however remains restricted and hidden behind walls.
You can visit the Victoria Memorial that is dedicated to Queen Victoria, the St Paul’s Cathedral to admire its Indo-Gothic Architecture, you can watch a match of cricket at Eden Gardens, and if you are there between July to September and November to March, then don’t forget to watch the Horse race. The Birla Planetarium is also located close by they have educational presentations here in Bengali, Hindi and English. It is also the best place to gaze at stars and learn more about them.
You will also get to see the statues of renowned personalities like Raja ram Mohan Roy, Jawaharlal Nehru, Mahatma Gandhi, Sri Aurobindo, Subhas Chandra Bose, Matangini Hazra, Gostho Pal, Indira Gandhi, and Pritilata Waddedar to name a few. The park also has small club houses, playgrounds and is a great place to walk and exercise. If you don’t feel like walking, then you can take a horse ride around. The park has a tram line that cuts right through, it is also nice to hop onto this and enjoy a slow ride around. You can reach the place through Bus, taxi or the metro line.