Home > Calcutta (Kolkata), General, Kolkata (Calcutta) Nature > Rabindra Sarobar, Lungs of South Kolkata

Rabindra Sarobar, Lungs of South Kolkata

Rabindra Sarobar

Lungs of South Kolkata and Birder’s Paradise

The artificial lake of Rabindra Sarobar and the green zone surrounding the lake is one of the most beautiful areas of Kolkata. The entire area provides oxygen and is often refereed to as the lung of south Kolkata.

Rowing at Rabindra Sarobar

Rowing at Rabindra Sarobar

But it is hard to believe that even a hundred years ago this beautiful area was a marshy stretch of land. It was a breeding ground of mosquitoes and source of malaria and other diseases.

Map of Rabindra Sarobar

Map of Rabindra Sarobar (click to enlarge)

In 1920 the Calcutta Improvement Trust, now Kolkata Improvement Trust (KIT) took up the initiative was beautifying the city. The Calcutta Improvement Trust, which was formed in 1911 under Lord Curzon, took up the initiative of beautifying the southern fringes of the city and making it suitable for habitation.

Cannons of Rabindra Sarobar

Cannons of Rabindra Sarobar

The area covered 192 acres and the plan included digging of a large lake and the surrounding areas beautified by planting trees.

The digging of the lake was completed in about 1929 and the surrounding areas beautified with newly planted trees.

Roads were developed around the area and the area was connected to the centre of the city.

The lake cane to be known as Dhakuria Lake and it was renamed as Rabindra Sarobar, after the noble laureate poet Rabindranath Tagore in 1958. In 1997 the lake was provided with the status of national lake

Durga Museum, Rabindra Sarobar

Durga Museum, Rabindra Sarobar

Presently the lake covers 73 acres and the total area measures 192 acres. The entire region contains over ten thousand trees. Many of which dates back to the time of the digging of the lake.

The lake surrounded by the green zone plays an important role in the bio-diversity of the city.

The region provides a fresh dose of oxygen to the city polluted atmosphere, thus the area is often referred to as the lung of south Kolkata.

Rabindra Sarobar has a elongated shape stretching in the east-west direction. The norther side of the lake is flanked with the Russa Road and the south it is flanked by the Sealdah-BudgeBudge rail line.

Hanging bridge, Rabindra Sarobar

Hanging bridge, Rabindra Sarobar

On the east is Garihat Road and on the west is SP Mukherjee Road. The Lake Garden Flyover stretches across the lake dividing it into two parts. The portion on the west is smaller than that on the east.

Durga Museum, Rabindra Sarobar

Durga Museum, Rabindra Sarobar

There are a total of four island in Rabindra Sarobar, out of which three are located in the larger eastern section, while one is located on the smaller western section.

Western most island of the eastern section of the lake houses a mosque, which was probably built at the time of the digging of the lake.

The island housing the mosque his popularly known as the mosque island and is connected to the main land by means of an iron hanging bridge.

An iron plaque on the bridge indicates that the bridge was built in 1926 by Burn & Co. Ltd.. The remaining island of Rabindra Sarobar are not connected to the main land.

AMRI Memorial, Rabindra Sarobar

AMRI Memorial, Rabindra Sarobar

Presently there are ten entry gates to the complex which also houses two other water bodies one of which is known as Padma Pukur (Lily Pond).

The complex also has two swimming clubs and two rowing clubs. The Rabindra Sarobar Stadium and the theatre hall of Nazrul Mancha.

concrete slab

Interestingly digging of the lake revealed several cannons. According to historians the cannons were probably used during the battle between Siraj ud-Daulah and Lord Clive in Calcutta during 1756. Cannon experts opine that the cannons were built in England in the early part of the 18th century.

Tree Sculpture, Rabindra Sarobar

Tree Sculpture, Rabindra Sarobar

Presently three of these cannons, two big and one small, are displayed atop a concrete platform on the southern part of the lake. Sadly nothing is mentioned about the history behind these big guns.

Lions Safari Park, Rabindra Sarobar

Lions Safari Park, Rabindra Sarobar

Behind the cannons is the Durga Museum, christened as Maa Phire Elo (মা ফিরে এলো).

Literally meaning the return of the mother goddess, the museum houses several Durga idols from several well known Durga Pujas of the city, spanning over several years.

The museum aims at preserving the temporary art of Durga Puja in a permanent gallery accessible to visitors throughout the year.

 

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The entire Rabindra Sarobar area is beautifully landscaped with walkways meandering past the lake. The edge of the lake is lined lined with small decorative pillars connected with iron chain. The pillars are fitted with dim light adding to beautification, as well security of area.

Morning Walkers at Rabindra Sarobar

The area also has broad metal roads ideal for morning walkers. The place is a morning walkers paradise who engage themselves in walk, jogs, exercise, yoga and laughing clubs. Vehicles are not permitted inside the Rabindra Sarobar premises thus controlling the pollution of the green patch.

Rowers at Rabindra Sarobar

The Rabindra Sarobar area is open from 5 am – 6 pm and entry of hawkers is totally prohibited. But almost all the ten entry gates have makeshift tea stalls and street food like puchka, ice-cream, bhelpuri are widely available during the evening time.

Birds of Rabindra Sarobar

Birds of Rabindra Sarobar
(Top row left to right: Asian Koel (male), Black Hooded Oriole and Blue Throated Barbet
Middle row left to right: Cormorant, Black Drongo and Yellow Footed Green Pigeon
Bottom row left to right: Rufous Treepie, Oriental Magpie Robin and Jungle babbler)

On the northern side of the lake near gate number 8 is a small memorial dedicated to the men and women who died in the devastating fire in the nearby AMRI Hospital in 2011. Next to it is a beautiful sculpture of a human being curved out of a dead tree. It was installed in 2008 and named Mumukhu (মুমুখু) and executed by sculptor Saikat Halder.

A Cormorant in flight, Rabindra Sarobar

A Cormorant in flight, Rabindra Sarobar

Also next to the gate number 8 is the Lions Safari Park a landscaped area within the Rabindra Sarobar premises.

The park is complete with children’s play area and separate open air gyms for men and women.

The park is an initiative of North Kolkata Lions Club and they are responsible for its maintenance.

One of the star attractions of Rabindra Sarobar is the rowers. Belonging to the Calcutta Rowing Club or Bengal Rowing Club this rowers crisscross the lake in their long streamlined canoes. The specially built canoes host 1 to 6 or even more rowers.

White Breasted Kingfisher, Rabindra Sarobar

White Breasted Kingfisher, Rabindra Sarobar

Rabindra Sarobar is also a paradise for bird watchers. According to bird experts over a 100 species of birds, including a few migratory ones, are spotted in the lake and is surrounding areas.

The birds include several water birds along with terrestrial birds. From the tiniest Purple Sun Bird to the giant Painted Stork, Rabindra Sarobar is a birder’s paradise.

The Painted Stork are definitely the prime attractions of Rabindra Sarobar during the winter.

The painted stork (Mycteria leucocephala) is a large bird in the stork family. They migrate from the Himalayan foothills to the plains of India during the winter to breed. Because of their short migration route they are not considered as migratory.

Painted Storks in flight, Rabindra Sarobar

In 2020-21 session the Painted Storks have made Rabindra Sarobar their breeding ground after a long time. According to records in 2016 several Painted Strok arrived in Rabindra Sarabor but the fire crackers and pollution of the Chhat Puja drove them away.

In 2020 Chhat Puja celebration was banned in Rabindra Sarobar and this was a welcome relief for the Painted Storks and they turned up in large numbers. Hope the trend will continue in the years to come.

Quick facts about Rabindra Sarobar:

  • Timimngs: 5am – 6pm, open every day
  • The Mosque has a restricted entry. However the bridge is accessable
  • Morning is the best time to visit
  • The trip can be combined with a visit to the nearby Japanese Buddhist Temple

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  1. SUBHABRATA PRAMANICK
    May 28, 2021 at 12:11 PM

    Wonderful write up about lake. Just one correction is needed. AMRI hopital fire incident took place on December 2011 not in 2009.

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