Often described as the lungs of Kolkata, the Maidan is the city’s largest urban green space, home to numerous cricket and soccer fields, playgrounds, the flowery Eden Gardens, and several memorials and monuments. The park is an important gathering place in Kolkata, and residents head to the Maidan for entertainment and leisure on the weekends.
After Fort William was constructed in 1758, the jungle that used to occupy the Maidan was cleared out to give the fort’s cannons a clear line of fire. While park maintenance leaves something to be desired, a morning visit makes for some of the best people watching around, giving visitors a peek into the day-to-day lives of Kolkata residents. If you’re particularly interested in the historical side of things, join a tour and go with a guide to learn more about the Maidan’s historical relevance.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Maidan is a must-visit for history buffs or anyone who enjoys people watching.
- The area is family friendly, with plenty of space for kids to run around.
- Wear sunscreen and bring bug spray; mosquitos can be an issue here, particularly around dusk.
When to Get There
The park is open 24 hours a day, though like any park in a big city, it's best avoided late at night. Come during the early evening around dusk to mingle with families on evening strolls; just beware that this is the time when mosquitoes come out in full force. During the monsoon months (July–September), the park can get flooded and muddy.
How to Get There
The Maidan is situated just east of the Hooghly River. Many of the city's major historic attractions are located in the area; the most noteworthy, St. Paul's Cathedral and the Victoria Memorial, are inside the park. For those relying on public transportation, the Princep Ghat, Park Street, and Rabindra Sadan metro stations are all right by the park, on the west, northeast, and southeast sides, respectively.
The Maidan and Sports
Besides being used as a parade ground for the British military stationed at Fort William, the park has also played an important role in the establishment of several team sports in the city. The biggest three soccer teams in Kolkata maintain a presence at the Maidan, and the now-popular sport of cricket was introduced to India with a 2-day match in the park in 1804.