If you know anything about Bengal and Bengalis, you must know about their passion for sports! If we are asked about the passions of a Bengali, we can surely point them out as food and sports (well, in the reverse order, actually). In fact, during archrivals Mohunbagan vs. East Bengal matches, supporters of the former carry giant lobsters to the field while those of the former carry Hilsa (the fishes being the symbols of the “two Bengals”). Well, this goes a long way to describe the passion of the Bengalis for food and sports. Now, let’s have a look at some of the brilliant sports stadium that this region has to offer.
7. Geetanjali Sports Complex
The newest stadium on the block, Geetanjali Stadium is located in south Kolkata at Kasba. After a wait of almost 2 years, the 57.5 meters long stadium was finally completed in 2011 as a result of a joint effort by KMDA and Public Private Partnership. A sum of around 25 crores was spent to build the multi-sporting, world class The Geetanjali Sports Complex. With a total seating arrangement of 4000 people and a separate area for indoor games and a posh gymnasium, it is Kolkata’s latest sports sensation, indeed!
6. Kishore Bharati Krirangan
Again located in South Calcutta, at Santoshpur, Kishore Bharati Krirangan is a multi-purpose stadium, though not world class. Built around an area of 13 acres, it is used mainly for football matches and sometimes, for other athletic events as well. It has a seating capacity for 12,000 people and is also used to host seminars, conferences and other important events as well. This stadium is also equipped with a swimming pool, to host important swimming events, and a martial arts training centre.
5. Salt Lake Stadium
Widely recognized as the Yuva Bharati Krirangan, Salt Lake Stadium is a world class, multi-purpose stadium in the Bidhannagar area of Kolkata. Built in 1984, the stadium is India’s largest stadium, and in terms of seating capacity, it is the third largest stadium in the world. It can seat up to 1,20,000 people! This stadium hosts all the important national and international (if any) foot ball marches and other important athletic events as well. The stadium is built on an area of 76.40 acres of land and, apart from sporting events, hosts a number of charity shows, functions, etc. In all aspects, it is one of the most important stadiums in Kolkata.
4. Rabindra Sarobar Stadium
One of the oldest stadiums in Kolkata, Rabindra Sarobar Stadium is also located in the heart of South Kolkata, at the Rabindra Sarobar premises. The stadium has a capacity of holding around 20,000 spectators and hosts some of the important football matches. It is also the home ground of Tollygunj Agragami Club. This stadium, however, lacks the amenities of a world class stadium.
3. Mohunbagan Stadium
The Mohunbagan Ground was the first stadium in India, and is the breeding “ground” of the famous Mohunbagan Club. Originally located in Marble Palace, it was finally relocated at its current position, opposite the Eden Gardens. This football ground is acclaimed as being the best in Kolkata with its lush green grass carpet being imported from Brazil. This ground, uplifted at the centre to drain off rain water, has a concrete gallery and enjoys floodlights as well!
2. Netaji Indoor Stadium
The Netaji Indoor stadium is one of the most important and the only indoor stadium in the city. The fully air-conditioned stadium is used to host various sports and non-sports events of National and International caliber. Inaugurated in 1975, and located at Babughat, beside Eden Gardens, it has a capacity to house around 12,000 people!
1. Eden Gardens
The only stadium for hosting international cricket matches, Eden Gardens remains one of the favorite cricket fields among the cricketers and cricket-lovers alike around the globe. Built in the late 18th century, it is the first cricket stadium outside the British Isles, and one of the first in India where floodlights were installed. The stadium, with a seating capacity of around 1 lakh, is the third largest in the world—a few notches behind the Lord’s and the MCC.