Kolkata, the City of Joy is home to numerous attractions and a rich cultural diversity replete with anachronistic lifestyle and there is no better way to wind up a long day than head to the Hooghly riverfront to find some recluse. Catch a boat ride down the twin Howrah bridges, sit at one of the ghats and watch the the ‘steamer’ boats ferry people to the other side or just munch on some jhalmuri or slurp on ice-cream on the wooden benches and watch the sun go down…there is something for everyone here.
Along the beautified riverfront that stretches from Princep Ghat to Babughat (Baje Kadamtala Ghat) known as Millenium park, has illuminated and landscaped gardens and pathways, fountains, and renovated ghats. The best maintained among the colonial ghats that line up along the river is the Princep Ghat. Located between the Water Gate and the St George’s Gate of the Fort William, the ghat was built in 1843 in the memory of James Prinsep, an English scholar and officer of the East India Company.
The Ghat is lined up with beautiful Greek inlays, Gothic white columns and the majestic Vidyasagar Setu towering over it all. The Palladian porch, designed by W. Fitzgerald and constructed in 1843 is an impressive architecture, which has the flowing Hooghly river for a fabulous backdrop
Behind the ghat is the VidyaSagar Setu or the New/second Howrah Bridge, the longest cable–stayed bridge in India. It was the second bridge to be built across the Hooghly River; the first, the Howrah Bridge (also known as Rabindra Setu) about 2.5 miles to the north, was completed in 1943. Read more : Howrah Bridge
In its initial years, all royal British entourages used the Prinsep Ghat jetty for embarkation and disembarkation. Today, one can take a boat ride on the Hooghly passing barges, boats, and old warehouses towards the magnificent Howrah Bridge. There is also a jetty nearby called the Man-O-War jetty that belongs to the Kolkata Port Trust and commemorates the role played by the port in the Second World War. The jetty is mainly used by the Indian Navy.
The beauty of Princep Ghat has drawn attention of many Bollywood and Bengali filmmakers. A scene of the song – Piyu Bole from the movie Parineeta (2005) that starred Vidya Balan, Amitabh Bachchan, Saif Ali Khan, Sanjay Dutt and Rekha has been shot here.
The riverfront is also dotted with a number of food stalls that await visitors to step in. Do not forget to visit the 40 year old ice-cream-cum-fast-food joint that is located within the complex.