If you are in Kolkata (Calcutta), in no way could you not be introduced to the Biswa Bangla Gate or the Kolkata Gate! There have been speculations about it, be it the design, the “Biswa Bangla Globe”, the gallery or Kolkata’s first hanging restaurant. Aikantik decided to photograph the magnificent structure on my behalf for www.anirbansaha.com; I believe it’s a part of the beautification and the process of creating a brand out of Bengal.
The present West Bengal government has always been trying to create a unified brand out of Bengal and as a young Bengali who is enthusiastic about creating and maintaining brands, I’m very excited about it. From conceptualizing the brand “Biswa Bangla” and establishing the “Biswa Bangla stores” across in airports and major locations across cities, the “Biswa Bangla Globe” at the E.M.Bypass Science City crossing to now changing the name of “West Bengal” to “Bangla”. While a section of the voters would discuss and debate over the necessity of this creation of a brand, one thing that they have to see, especially when they go to New Town area is the brand new “Biswa Bangla Gate”.
Love it or hate it, it exists and you can not ignore the magnanimous presence of the enormous structure. When I decided to make a blog post, a couple of my friends thought it to be proper to help me a bit about it. Mr. Debashis Sen, IAS, Managing Director of WBHIDCO not only gave the permissions to photograph the Biswa Bangla Gate from inside the HIDCO building but also allowed Aikantik Bag (student, Amity University Delhi) to get into the building while the construction was on, to take a quick look inside. Rishav Saha (Bhawanipur Education Society) joined Aikantik in this! Both are alumni of Calcutta Boys’ School, Calcutta. Tamron India had very kindly given us the lens to shoot with.
“Biswa Bangla” – where the world meets Bengal; is the brand under which things are being consolidated. Before we proceed, here is some second hand information which you would anyway find on the Wikipedia – The Biswa Bangla Gate or the Kolkata Gate, is at Narkel-Bagan New Town, on the way to the new IT hub of the city, just beside the Rabindra-Tirtha and the HIDCO building; more like a gate welcoming everyone to the core of the new city. It looks great and is made of roughly 70 tonnes of steel (not verified); also costs around Rs. 25 Cr. It would also provide a viewpoint of major areas in Rajarhat and New Town. On the walls, there would be a gallery showcasing Bengal and there would also be the Kolkata’s first hanging restaurant. Whoaa. How would it look like? Aikantik decided to go there and photograph it for you.
Well, people are excited about the new hanging restaurant and people like me, who are away from Calcutta and aren’t going back home anytime soon, are kinda sad. It’s great to see how things are shaping up there – IT companies (including Infosys (link)) are coming in, housing complexes are being built and sold. As a part of beautification, there’s the Eco-Park which has made a name for itself on the global stage (link) and is pretty popular among the mass. Wide streets, proper green patches, great art installations at key locations make the New Town, something to look forward to. Do not forget to notice the innovative zebra crossing (link)! But-but-but, that should be another blog post, if you come forward to help me. Drop me an email, if you would like to photograph Kolkata for me.
According to The Telegraph article, it is 55 metres tall with the gallery and hanging restaurant at around 25 metres high. The gallery would be 10 metres wide and 60 metres long. The facade is made of toughened glass with laminated silicone sheets that can withstand gale-force winds, hail storms and extreme heat. The viewing gallery would have a snacks counter till evening 7; beyond that only diners would be allowed. They’ll have the access to the cityscape at night! The walls of the gallery have been painted with murals with an entire wall dedicated to the schemes and achievements of the state government. The gallery visitors are expected to pay Rs. 30.00 to see the gallery, the fee is not applicable to the diners.
Like this EiSamay article mentions, there are four arcs and you can climb up the spiral stairs up to the restaurant from either side of the road. For unfit lazy-ass Bangalis with a paunch, like me, there’s a glass elevator as well. To get your spot in the multi-cuisine restaurant, you need to pre-book it. The writer of this article is very poetic and romantic I suppose. Haha, s/he goes on to write in Bangla (language) what would roughly translate to – “Be it heavy rains or a clear sky with the best sunset, soft rays of the winter sun or the moonlit cityscape of Calcutta, it would be a surreal experience to see it from the hanging restaurant of the Biswa Bangla Gate”. Only when it opens, could any of my friends go and photograph it, till then take a look at the Rabindra-Tirtha from the inside of the Biswa Bangla Gate.
While we have to wait to rush ourselves into the hanging restaurant of the Kolkata’s Biswa Bangla Gate, do let me know what you think of the way Kolkata is being decked up and the different initiatives different civic bodies, government bodies and the government is coming up with.
If you are excited about the Biswa Bangla Gate or the Kolkata Gate, as many people call it, do share this blog post on your social media and let more people know how awesome this is!
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