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April 19, 2017
Kolkata, India is currently the third-most populous city in India after Delhi and Mumbai. During the British colonial era from 1700 to 1912, when Kolkata (then known as Calcutta) was the capital of British India, Kolkata witnessed a spate of frenzied construction activity of buildings largely influenced by the conscious intermingling of Neo-Gothic, Baroque, Neo-Classical, Oriental and Islamic schools of design. Unlike many north Indian cities, whose construction stresses minimalism, the layout of much of the architectural variety in Kolkata owes its origins to European styles and tastes imported by the British and, to a much lesser extent, the Portuguese and French. Today, many of these structures are in various stages of decay. Some of the major buildings of this period are well maintained and several buildings have been declared as heritage structures. Conservation efforts are patchy and are often affected by problems of litigation, tenant troubles, ownership disputes, old tenancy laws and a lack of funds. Maidan means "field" in Hindi, Marathi, Urdu and Bengali. The Kolkata Maidan was once a vast uninterrupted field, right down to the edge of the Hoogli, but is being encroached upon by the city and is fragmented by roads. The Maidan has nurtured sports like Polo, and has been the home of equestrianism, horse racing, football, cricket and rugby in Kolkata. It houses numerous clubs including the "big three" of Indian football - Mohun Bagan Athletic Club, East Bengal Football Club and Mohammedan Sporting Club along with their respective home stadiums. The arterial Chowringhee Avenue, Eden Gardens and the Millennium Park and the associated 3 km long Riverfront beautification project border the Maidan. The Maidan abounds with monuments and statues, the most famous of them being Shaheed Minar and the statue of ace footballer Gostho Pal. The Elliot Park, Mohor Kunja and the Victoria Memorial complex are three parks which are situated in the Maidan area.