Stadiums in Kolkata
The stadiums in Kolkata are a perfect attraction for the sports lovers of this metro. Everyone loves various kinds of sports, among them cricket and football being the most popular. Some of them worship the Indian cricket team and its players while some are crazy fans of either East Bengal or Mohun Bagan. Important matches of either cricket or football are being played in various important sports stadiums in Kolkata.
While international cricket matches between India and other countries are played in the most popular stadium of Kolkata- the Eden Gardens, some friendly football matches are also played in Salt Lake Stadium. The recently constructed Barasat Stadium has also hosted quite a few football matches for the League Cup and state level.
The Eden Gardens is the most popular stadium is Kolkata. It was established in 1864 and is the second largest stadium in the world. Many test cricket matches, one-days and T20s were held in this ground. Many IPL matches were also played as it is the home ground for the Kolkata Knight Riders. Earlier, it has the sitting capacity of 90,000 people. But recently, during the 2011 world cup, the stadium was renovated and now, it has the capacity to hold around 100,000 people. There are many records created and broken in this stadium.
Salt Lake Stadium or Yuva Bharti Krirangan is another large stadium in Bidhan Nagar. It was established in January 1984 and has a sitting capacity around 120,000. This stadium is mainly used for hosting football matches. Many soccer tournaments and friendly football matches were played here. The football frenzy in Kolkata is mainly due to the presence of the two biggest clubs- East Bengal and Mohun Bagan. Most of the matches between these two teams are held in the Salt lake stadium. Important matches for the national leagues are also hosted by this stadium.
Recently, international friendly matches were played in the Salt lake Stadium. There was a friendly match between Mohun Bagan and Bayern Munich, which was also the farewell match for Oliver Kahn, one of the greatest goal keepers in international football. In September 2011, another friendly match between Argentina and Venezuela was played. Some of the crucial athletics events are also held in the Salt lake Stadium.
Netaji Indoor Stadium is one of the popular indoor stadiums in Kolkata. It was opened to the public in 1975. Along with sports events, it also hosts cultural programs and other activities. It is located near the Eden Gardens Stadium. The Sunfeast open, an internationally acclaimed tennis tournament is held in this stadium every year. It is also used for counting votes during elections as well as for various job fairs and trade fairs.
Another new addition to these already popular sports stadiums is the Gitanjali Stadium. The work for this stadium was completed in 2011. Here, indoor as well as outdoor games can be played. It is located near E M Bypass and has a sitting capacity around 4000. There is a large gymnasium and other excellent facilities for indoor games. There are plans to host national and international cricket as well as football matches in the near future in this stadium.
Yet another popular stadium is the Rabindra Sarobar Stadium. It is located in Dhakuria, near the Dhakuria Lake. It was established in the 1950s and has a sitting capacity of 26,000. Some of the football matches of the Calcutta Football league are held here. Kishore Bharati Krirangan is another stadium in Kolkata which is situated near the E M Bypass. This stadium also hosts important matches of the Calcutta Football League.
There are many clubs in Kolkata which host indoor tournaments. There is the Calcutta Cricket and Football Club and other clubs such as the Royal Calcutta Golf club, Calcutta Ladies Golf Club, President Veterans Sports Club etc. Many prominent persons, who are directly or indirectly associated with sports are members of these prestigious clubs, where sports is the primary topic that binds the members.
There are also lesser known stadiums in Kolkata spread all around the city where everyday budding cricketers and footballers practice. There are many camps organized by the West Bengal state Council of Sports for these budding sportspersons so that they can hone their skills with experienced sportsmen. There are various projects under way regarding the stadiums in Kolkata. There are talks to improve the infrastructure of the current stadiums and build better ones in the near future. Internationally famous stadiums in Kolkata are the next big aim for the state government.