Nandini Reddy, picks out the heritage sites you should spot along the way on your TATA Steel Kolkatta 25k run this weekend.
The Tata Steel Kolkatta 25k is a fantastic run for the pros but if you also want to enjoy the heritage city then its the perfect route to be on. The run takes you through the heart of the City of Joy where every building and corner could tell you a thousand stories.
When you begin your run at the High Court Grounds, the first grand landmark you will come upon is the Raj Bhavan, the finest colonial structure which is more than 200 years old. Here is a bit of trivia, did you now that the Raj Bhavan spans an area of around 84,000 sq. ft. and is surrounded by a compound covering an area of 27 acres. Grand isn’t it? For all you cricket lovers, the next landmark to spot is the Eden Gardens. The largest cricket stadium in India and the second largest cricket stadium in the world, this grand space has hosted many an international cricketing battles. With Sourav Ganguly flagging off the race, you have to pay homage to this sporting arena.
After a bit of history and sports, you will enter ‘The Strand‘, a major thoroughfare that runs along the east bank of the Hooghly River. The breathtaking view of the majestic river in the early morning mist is the best way to enjoy the grandeur of nature. As you turn of Strand road you will run past the Hastings Crossing and Kidderpore market. There is a roadside restaurant there as reminder of the British Era, called ‘Panchubabur Dokan’ that might be place you want to sit down in after your race. This area is one of the oldest parts of the city and you can even spend days learning the many stories it harbours.
Your next big landmark that you may not see but will pass is the Kalighat. You are more likely to get a view of the Kalighat station behind which lies the historical Kalighat. Kalighat an old densely populated area of the city—with a history of cultural intermingling with the various foreign incursions into the area over time. From the oldest part to the most posh avenue of the city, Rashbehari Avenue is your next location to spot. It is the prime shopping and aristocratic residential neighbourhood of south Kolkatta.
After you make a U-turn at TollyGunge Golf Club and head back to race to the finish line, there are two grand places you will see – the Victoria Memorial and the grand Maidan. The Victoria Memorial is a large marble building dedicated to the memory of Queen Victoria, which now serves as a museum and tourist destination under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture. The last big piece of history that you will pass by , The Maidan. It is a vast stretch of field and home to numerous play grounds, including the Eden Gardens, several football stadiums, and the Kolkata Race Course.
Not every run offers a glimpse into history, so when you have the opportunity at the TATA Steel Kolkatta 25k, enjoy it to the fullest.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
An irregular runner who has run in dry, wet, high altitude and humid conditions. Loves to write a little more than run so now is the managing editor of Finisher Magazine.