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Birla Industrial and Technological Museum
Biswa Bangla Gate - Captivating Calcutta
181    Dibyendu Banerjee    13/06/2024

Biswa Bangla Gate, also known as Kolkata Gate, is an arch-monument located in New Town on Biswa Bangla Sarani that connects Garia in South Kolkata with Kolkata Airport, through Salt Lake and New Town. It is a new iconic gateway of the city, like the India Gate in New Delhi, Charminar in Hyderabad and Gateway of India in Bombay.

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The gigantic structure, built by The West Bengal Housing Infrastructure Development Corporation (HIDCO), houses a visitors' gallery and a restaurant, surrounded by glass, offering a beautiful panoramic view of the area.

biswa bangla gate

The idea of Kolkata Gate came up under the Newtown beautification project and the first and obvious choice for the proposed structure was on Biswa Bangla Sarani, near Haldiram, a prominent landmark food court in Teghoria, near the left-turning flyover from the airport, which kind of marked the entry into New Town. But due to shortage of sufficient space, next option was to erect and install the structure in Chinar Park.

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However, that option was also discarded as space in the area was at a premium, apart from several litigation problems. Moreover, the planners of the project soon discovered that the Metro corridor, which had started taking effect with elevated pillars on the ground, would hinder the majestic view of the huge structure.

biswa bangla gate
biswa bangla gate

Finally, it was decided that the proposed structure would be located over the third rotary traffic island on Biswa Bangla Sarani in Narkelbagan, the crossroads junction that leads to all four directions to the Kolkata Airport, the wetlands and Action Area 3 of New Town. Although according to the master plan, a flyover was to be constructed, stretching from the Bartaman offices till Narkelbagan, green signal for the construction of the gate was given with the assurance that in case the proposal of the flyover ever materialises in the future, it would finish way before the Gate.

biswa bangla gate
biswa bangla gate

After the selection of the plot, a national design competition was organized by a committee headed by the reputed architect Dulal Mukherjee, to select the design of the much awaited gateway and the minimalistic but futuristic design submitted by M/S Vector Designs, a Pune based company, matched HIDCO’s New Town vision.

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However, although initially the plan included only a viewing gallery, later it was decided to also have a night-time restaurant for the delight of the visitors. While the design was made public in 2015, the construction of the colossal Gate started on 6 March 2017.

biswa bangla gate
biswa bangla gate

It was a problem to elevate the four parts of the ring, two large and two small, to the proposed height of 82 feet (25 m), which needed full 48 hours of uninterrupted work in the rather busy intersection. However, with the help and permission of the authority, uninterrupted work continued over one whole weekend, with minimum inconvenience to traffic and the rings were elevated using large cranes. However, the plan to include a Biswa Bangla Globe hanging in the centre of the ring was discarded, when the globe crashed to the ground while it was being pulled up, due to the mechanical fault of the pulley.

biswa bangla gate

Finally, the 180 feet (55 m) tall new iconic gateway of the city, with 197 feet (60 m) diameter circular viewing gallery, located around 82 feet (25 m) above the ground and with an overall diameter of 722 feet (220 m), was opened for public by Mamata Banerjee, the Chief Minister of West Bengal on 2 February 2019. While 70 tonnes (70,000 kg) steel was used for the erection of the structure, its four legs stand on concrete foundations. The ring of the structure exhibiting the Biswa Bangla Gate logo on its outer wall is supported by two parabolic arches from four corners of the intersection. In addition to the Glass Capsule lifts, the Gate is also equipped with two staircases to reach the gallery. The inside wall of the ring is decorated with the paintings of the luminaries and various other themes which showcase the flavour of Bengal, while the outer side, with a glass façade, offers a 360 degree view of the township to the visitors, with a maximum of 100 at a time.

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Author Details
Dibyendu Banerjee
Ex student of Scottish Church College. Served a Nationalised Bank for nearly 35 years. Authored novels in Bengali. Translated into Bengali novels/short stories of Leo Tolstoy, Eric Maria Remarque, D.H.Lawrence, Harold Robbins, Guy de Maupassant, Somerset Maugham and others. Also compiled collections of short stories from Africa and Third World. Interested in literature, history, music, sports and international films.
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