A dollop of Bengal – Science City & St. Paul’s Cathedral

S had such an illustrious list of topics to be written about that it got quite difficult to pick up only one among them. From the cricketing legend Sourav Ganguly to the oscar winning cinema maestro and writer Satyajit Ray, spiritual leader and reformer Swami Vivekananda, revolutionary freedom fighter Subhash Chandra Bose, legendary movie actress Suchitra Sen, national award-winning actor Soumitro Chattopadhyay and one of the favorite tourist destinations Sandesh khali, there seemed to be no end to the options. However, the two subjects that made it to the featured list today are Science City and St. Paul’s Cathedral.

Science City –

Science city.jpg
Science City 

Science City, Kolkata, a unit of the National Council of Science Museums (NCSM), an autonomous body under the Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India and the largest science centre in India was opened on July 01, 1997. It consists of two facilities – the Science Centre and the Convention Centre.

The Convention Centre complex comprises of the Main Auditorium of 2232 seating capacity, one Mini Auditorium of 392 seating capacity and a Seminar hall complex consisting of 11 halls ranging from 15 to 100 seating capacity, an indoor (270sq.m.) and an open air exhibition ground (20000 sq. m). The Convention Centre of Science City is a major destination in the city of Kolkata for conventions, conferences, trade exhibitions and cultural programmes.

Science city - Dinosaur & flowers
The entrance to the exploration Hall

Science Centre attractions –

1.Earth Exploration Hall –

A permanent exhibition on earth is housed in a two-storied hemispherical building that displays the details of the southern hemisphere in the ground floor and northern hemisphere in the first floor. Slicing a huge earth globe at the centre of the hall into 12 segments vertically in each hemisphere, important features of each segment such as physical geography, lands and people, flora and fauna and other dynamic natural phenomenon on earth have been highlighted around the central globe with the modern display technologies such as attractive visuals, interactive multimedia, video walls, panoramic videos, tilting tables, computer kiosks and 3-D effects theatre wearing a special Polaroid spectacle.2

 2. Space Odyssey –

Comprising of Space Theatre equipped with Helios Star Ball planetarium supported by 150 special effect projectors and Astrovision 10/70 Large format Film Projection system housed in a 23-meter diameter tilted dome having unidirectional seating arrangements for 360 people immersive shows on sciences.

  • 3-D Vision Theater A show based on stereo back projection system where visitors experience 3D effect by Polaroid spectacles.
  • Mirror Magic – 35 exhibits based on reflection of light.
  • Time Machine – 30-seater motion simulator providing virtual experience of space flight or journey
Science City - monument
Science City – Within the premises

3. Dynamotion Hall –

Interactive exhibits on various topics of science encouraging visitors to experience with props and enjoy the underlying scientific principles.

  • Illusions – A permanent exhibition on the world of illusions with interactive exhibits explores how motion and placement make a different in the visual perception.
  • Power of Ten 43 exhibits unfold the smallest or the biggest of the universe through zooming in or out in the order of ten.
  • Fresh Water Aquarium Variety of fresh water fishes in 26 tanks; provide the bio-diversity of the fish species.
  • Live Butterfly Enclave A colony of live butterflies is hatched here along with screening of a film Rang Bahari Prajapati on life cycle of butterfly.
  • Science On a Sphere The spherical projection system created by NOAA.

4. Maritime Centre

Depicts maritime history of India, artefacts, dioramas and interactive exhibits on shipping and navigation systems.

5. Outdoor Science Park

Science City Road rail
Road Rail

It comprises of Caterpillar Ride, Gravity Coaster, Musical Fountain, Road Train, Cable Cars, Monorail Cycle, butterfly nursery and several exhibits on physical and life sciences and a maze set up in a lush green ambience.

6. Science Exploration Hall –

Science City - Evolution of Mankind
Panorama on Human Evolution

The 5400 square metres building provides an enquiry based learning to the visitors. It has four sections:

  • Emerging Technologies gallery
  • Evolution of Life through a dark ride
  • Panorama on Human Evolution (360 degree projection) –Depicts the evolution of life over the ages, on the world’s largest Panoramic Display.
  • Science and Technology Heritage of India gallery

There is also a Musical Fountain in the premises and an area marked as the picnic spot.

Science City - Musical Fountain
Musical Fountain

Science City is open on all days except Holi from 9 am to 8 pm. Tickets are available until 7 pm.

St. Paul’s Cathedral –

St. Paul's Cathedral
St. Paul’s Cathedral

St. Paul’s Cathedral is a CNI (Church of North India) Cathedral of Anglican background in Kolkata noted for its Gothic architecture. It is the seat of the Diocese of Calcutta. The cornerstone was laid in 1839; the building was completed in 1847. It is the largest cathedral in Kolkata and the first Episcopal Church in Asia. It was also the first cathedral built in the overseas territory of the British Empire.

Following the 1897 earthquake and the subsequent massive earthquake of 1934,  the cathedral was reconstructed to a revised design. The architectural design of the cathedral is “Indo-Gothic” – a Gothic architectural style designed to meet the climatic conditions of India.

The cathedral’s design, otherwise known as Gothic Revival style includes three stained glass windows and two frescoes in the Florentine Renaissance style. The nave of the cathedral is very long at 247 feet (75 m), and its width is 81 feet (25 m). The nave is fitted with well-crafted wooden pews and chairs. The central spire rises to a height of 201 feet (61 m) and the tower on which it stands is square in shape and was patterned on the lines of the 12th-century Canterbury Cathedral, England. The tower was fitted with five clocks, each of which weighed about three tons.

The roof of the cathedral is in the shape of a “shallow curve” arching over iron trusses decorated with “Gothic tracery“. The hall of the cathedral is built spaciously without any aisles on its flanks. 

St. Pauls during christmas
The premises during the Christmas month (scenes from the Biblical Magi)

The cathedral’s interior has a display of many plastic art forms and memorabilia. There is an “episcopal throne” on the southern flank of the altar and a decorative reredo or wall on its back side dated to 1879. It has carvings of episodes related to the life of St. Paul, the Annunciation, the Adoration of the Magi, and the Flight into Egypt. The parish hall within the premises of the cathedral is the venue for holding social functions. The eastern wall in the cathedral has paintings of the life of St. Paul. Also notable is the front, with its sculpture of Bishop Heber in a kneeling posture.The cathedral’s organ, with 41 stops is still in use.

The cathedral complex also has a library situated over the western porch.

Entry to the cathedral is from the north through a large gate made of wrought iron called the Sir William Prentice Memorial Gate. The cathedral is surrounded by a well-tended garden.

St. Paul's Birth of Jesus
Birth of Jesus – the garden decorated during Christmas

Photography is not permitted inside the cathedral without written permission from the Vicar.

Just before Christmas every year, the Cathedral is decorated for the festival and midnight mass. Other than lighting and Christmas tree, the garden also has scenes enacted after the birth of Jesus through statues and decorative items.

The personal angle –

Science city -toddler
Exploring aqualife

Science City fascinated me as a student and the impact has not lessened over the years. While our toddler was too young to decipher the happenings in the science center last year, he had amazing fun while riding on the road rail, watching dinosaurs (they are his current favorite), exploring aqua life and jumping around along with the sound from the musical fountain.

Despite living in the city for so long, the first time that I visited St. Paul’s Cathedral was only during Christmas last year.  The beauty and serenity of the place lingers on even today as I plan to revisit the place very soon.

Hope you enjoyed reading and viewing the places through my pen and lens respectively.

Author: Sonia Chatterjee

Who am I? An erstwhile banker turned blogger/writer/author. Any qualifications? A Post-Graduate degree in Chemistry followed by a second Post-Graduate Diploma in Management. I completed a one-year MFA in creative writing course from the Writer's Village University, U.S. in Dec 2020. Though I must admit that I am still trying to figure out how and when I can connect all these dots. Have I done any real work? If two years in market research, six years in banking as a branch head, three-plus years of blogging, writing, and publishing a book can be considered as real work, then yes! Where do I live? After spending life like a nomad for sixteen years in Delhi, Bangalore & Mysore, I am back to where it all started from - Kolkata. My favorite things - Books, coffee, travel, food, and my five-year-old son. What is this blog about? Through Sonia's musings, I intend to explore writing in various genres, create social awareness, spread laughter, and give words to emotions. Anything for readers? You can check out my book 'Deal of Death' on Amazon Kindle. If you like fast-paced thrillers, this Detective fiction introducing the woman sleuth, Raya Ray could turn out to be your perfect weekend read.

16 thoughts on “A dollop of Bengal – Science City & St. Paul’s Cathedral”

  1. I love how you have your own personal picks rather than going with what´s popular or expected. You bring more things on the table to explore in Kolkatta 🙂 …My husband and I love going cathedral hopping whenever we go to a new place..especially abroad for its architecture. They make stunning backdrops as well as the main focus for pictures. And, its always a surreal experience. The same goes for science museums..:) Lovely post!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The device I see in the very first image reminds me of the first computer ever to be designed by Charles Babbage. The time machine and power of 10 sound equally exciting. Though I am technology graduate I take a keen interest in evolutionary science and would sure like to experience the evolution of life through a ride. It reminds me of a book by Richard Dawkins I once read, ‘The Ancestor’s Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution’. In that book, the author takes us back through time in a time machine and at each stop, the reader gets out and experiences what the world was like in that era. It is a wonderful book though a tad too thick and one needs a lot of patience to get through to the end. I enjoyed reading about the St. Paul’s Cathedral too.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m dreaming of the day I’ll be visiting Science City with my son. I’m sure we’re gonna enjoy it to the core. Thanks for introducing yet another gem for people who haven’t been to Kolkata.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. In the heart of the city of KOLKATA , a cable car is built in the science park, named Science City. The cable car takes visitors from the point of entry to the far end of the park, thus providing an internal transport system and a much needed respite to walking. The passengers additionally get an aerial view of Science City.Damodar ropeways & infra limited (DRILL) provides the cable car service at science city and they are supper efficient at their work without a doubt.

    Liked by 1 person

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