Kolkata, the City of Joy, is one of the oldest cities in India, which is famous for its culture, art, music, and delicious foods. The most interesting thing about Kolkata is that it is so rich in culture, and it is so diverse. You will find a completely different vibe in one part from another part of Kolkata. This city is a beautiful combination of ancient culture and modernity. Whether it is Rabindranath Tagore’s poetry or Satyajit Ray’s movies, delicious Rasogulla or Misti Doi, Kolkata has always surprised its visitors. Times have changed, but the golden charm of this beautiful city has never changed. Apart from the fabulous culture and history, Kolkata is also famous for some amazing places, which attract a plethora of tourists every year from different nooks and corners of the world. Through this blog, we’ll try to explore some of the best places in Kolkata.
Built during the British era, Victoria Memorial is the most iconic monumental buildings of Kolkata. It is also a heritage of Kolkata, which shows the colonial history of this city. This amazing white marbled building was constructed between 1906-1921 to keep alive the memory of Queen Victoria’s 25-year reign in India. Victoria Memorial spreads over a vast area of 64 acres, surrounded by large and magnificent gardens. It has now transformed into a museum that houses a fine art history collection and a gallery from the British Colonial period, including many impressive paintings, sculptures, and books. The building’s exterior is magnificently illuminated at night. The colorful light and sound show in the evening is another striking attraction of this place. In short, if you are visiting Kolkata, then you must visit this place to gather more knowledge about our country’s past.
Timing: 10.00 AM-5.00 PM
When you think of Kolkata, one thing that must come to your mind is the Howrah Bridge. The journey to Kolkata seems incomplete without visiting the Howrah Bridge. Constructed over the river Hoogly, this iconic landmark of the city is a massive steel bridge. This is the third-longest cantilever in the world, which is also known as Rabindra Setu. The construction of this bridge without a single pylon makes this one of the unique places to visit in Kolkata. Howrah bridge connects Kolkata with its twin city Howrah, which also carries a daily traffic of approximately 150,000 vehicles and 100,000 pedestrians. Furthermore, the night view of Howrah bridge is priceless as it comes alive with beautiful dazzling lights.
This architecturally brilliant bridge was initiated in 1939 and was renamed Rabindra Setu on 14th June 1965 to honor the Nobel laureate, Rabindranath Tagore. This is one of the must-visit tourist places in Kolkata that you shouldn’t miss.
The mighty Fort William of Kolkata is present on the eastern bank of river Hooghly. It was built in 1696 by the British East India Company and reconstructed by Sirāj al-Daulah, the Nawab of Bengal. This splendorous fort spreads over a vast area of 70.9 hectares with lush green gardens. Spectacular stonework on the surface of the building makes this even more beautiful. Previously, this place was a jail where prisoners were hauled, that’s why it was also known as Blackhole of Calcutta. Now, this fort serves as the headquarters of the Eastern Command wing of the Indian Army. But, you can visit this fort to relish its beautiful architecture. It should be a must-visit place on your Kolkata trip.
Spreading over 40 acres of land, on the western bank of Hooghly, the historic Belur Math is one of the famous pilgrimage places of Kolkata. It is the main headquarters of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission. The key feature of this temple is its unique architecture, which amalgams Hindu, Christian, and Islamic motifs as a symbol of unity of all religions. This temple consists of prayer halls and other shrines dedicated to Sri Ramakrishna, Sri Sarada Devi, and Swami Vivekananda. You can also see a museum and other educational institutes in the vicinity of Belur Math. The spiritual ambience and creative architecture make Belur Math as one of the best places in Kolkata.
Timing: 6.00 AM-9.00 PM
Indian Museum, the 9th oldest museum of the world, is present in the heart of West Bengal, Kolkata. It is also referred to as the Imperial Museum of Calcutta. Asiatic Society of Bengal founded the largest museum in India in 1814, and it has been a center of multidisciplinary activities ever since. Also known as Jadughar, the Indian museum houses some of the rare collection of antiques, armor and ornaments, fossils, skeletons, mummies, and Mughal paintings. This museum has 35 galleries, which have been divided into 6 sections, namely Indian art, archaeology, anthropology, geology, zoology, and economic botany. In addition to this, the Indian museum also boasts of some of the finest collection of contemporary paintings, sacred relics of Buddha, Egyptian mummies, and ancient sculptures.
Timing: 11.00 AM-5.00 PM
Located at the Chowringhee Road, Birla planetarium is the largest planetarium in Asia and the 2nd largest in the world. This magnificent edifice, popularly known as Taramandal, was inaugurated by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru on 2 July 1963. It is a circular-shaped structure designed on the lines of Buddhist Stupa and Sanchi styles. Birla planetarium often hosts many shows and programs in various languages, including Hindi, English, Bengali, and other regional languages. In addition to this, it also holds an electronics laboratory and an astronomy gallery with a huge collection of fine paintings and celestial models of renowned astronomers. Its unique architecture and sky shows make this one of the best places to visit in Kolkata.
Timing: 12.00 PM-7.00 PM
The largest science center in the Indian subcontinent, the Science City of Kolkata, was inaugurated on 1st July 1997. This science center is a perfect fusion of education with fun. Under the National Council of Science Museums, it is one of the finest and the largest science museums in the world, providing a fun way of gaining knowledge of science. It is located on the crossing of the EM Bypass and the JBS Halder Avenue in Kolkata. It is one of the favorite places among the kids as well as adults. This Science City comprises of a Space Odyssey, Dynamotion, Evolution Park Theme Tour, Maritime Centre, and Earth Exploration Hall, which make this one of the best tourist destinations in Kolkata.
Timing: 9.00 AM-9.00PM
St. Paul’s Cathedral
St. Paul’s Cathedral in the city of Kolkata is an Anglican cathedral that runs under the Church of North India. It is the largest church of Kolkata, which is famous for its Gothic style of architecture. During the Christmas holidays, it looks more beautiful with colorful dazzling lights. It is the first Episcopalian church in Asia, which was built to accommodate the increasing Christian community in Calcutta. The cathedral follows the Indo-Gothic style of architecture. This building houses an episcopal throne on the southern flank of the altar and a reredos on its eastern end. The cathedral’s interior also displays many plastic art forms and memorabilia. It is a must-visit place in Kolkata for those who are seeking historical and architectural pleasure on their vacation trips.
Timing: 9.00 AM-6.00 PM
Marble Palace Mansion
Marble Palace Mansion is a 19th-century mansion located at Chor Bazar in North Kolkata. Raja Rajendra Mullick in 1835 built this mansion. There is a famous art collection of masterpieces by Reuben and paintings by various eminent international artists such as Reynolds, Van Gogh, and Rembrandt in the Marble Palace. The palace is also famous for its magnificent marble walls, floors, and sculptures. The mansion also bears a zoo with various rare animals and birds.
Timing: 10.30 AM-4.00 PM
With a collection of over 2.2 million books, the National Library of Kolkata is the biggest library in India. The library operates under the national government’s Ministry of Culture. The National Library is a house of a huge amount of books, periodicals, and titles of all the Indian languages. The fragrance of old books, along with new books, makes this a perfect place for bookworms and history buffs. This 1836 library is the best place for all book lovers and nerds in Kolkata.
Timing: 9.00 AM-8.00 PM
Dakshineswar Kali Temple
Dakshineswar Kali Temple on the eastern bank of the river Hooghly is a Hindu navaratna temple, dedicated to Bhavatarini, a manifestation of Goddess Kali. Rani Rashmoni founded this popular Hindu pilgrimage in 1855. Dakshineswar temple is famous for its navaratna style of Bengal architecture. You can also find twelve shrines in the vicinity of this temple. This architectural masterpiece is one of the beautiful places to visit in Kolkata.
Timing: 6.00 AM-8.30 PM
Kalighat Kali Temple
Kalighat Kali Temple is one of the 51 Shakti Peethas, located in the city of joy-Kolkata. This is the temple where the toes of Sati’s right foot fell during Shiva Tandava. It is said that the Calcutta name is derived from the word Kalighat. This 200-year-old temple is one of the best places to visit on your Kolkata trip.
Timing: 5.00 AM-2.00 PM, and 5.00 PM-10.30 PM
Calcutta Jain Temple
Calcutta Jain Temple, also known as Pareshnath Jain Temple, is a complex dedicated to four Jain Tirthankaras. A Jain named Rai Badridas Bahadoor Mookim built this temple in 1867, and Sri Kalyansurishwarji Maharaj inaugurated this one. The intricately carved marbles and glassworks are the key attractions of the architecture of this temple. The premise of the temple also consists of beautiful gardens and fountains. Moreover, the beautiful architecture of this temple draws tourists from all over the world.
Timing: 6.00 AM-10.00 AM, and 5.00 PM-8.00 PM
Nakhoda mosque is one of the busiest mosques of Kolkata, in the Chitpur area of the Burrabazar business district. The construction of this mosque imitates the architecture of the mausoleum of Mughal Emperor Akbar at Sikandra, Agra. This mosque holds a large prayer hall with a capacity of 10,000 people. The masjid also has three domes and two minarets, which resemble the Buland Darwaza at Fatehpur Sikri. In short, the Nakhoda mosque is a must-visit place in Kolkata for those who love to relish the beautiful architecture.
Timing: 11.00 AM-9.00 PM
Park Street, officially known as Mother Teresa Sarani, is the famous thoroughfare in Kolkata. This street is famous for its entertainment, restaurants, nightclubs, and prominent historical landmarks. The street has been a popular hangout spot in Kolkata since the British era with many pubs and restaurants. Asiatic Society, St. Xavier’s College, South Park Street Cemetery, and The Park Hotel are some of the historical landmarks that present in Park Street. It is said that this street never sleeps as it is always busy with several activities.
South Park Street Cemetery
Though the cemetery is not that much of an important place to visit, if you have interest in India’s colonial history, then South Park Street Cemetery is a worth-seeing site for you. Located on Park Street, this 18th-century cemetery is the earliest non-church cemetery in the world. Constructed with a mix of Gothic and Indo-Saracenic style of architecture, it is one of the best tourist places in Kolkata. Aesthetically beautiful and very attractive, this cemetery attracts numerous tourists with its mysterious yet soothing vibes.
Timing: 9.00 AM-5.00 PM
Alipore Zoo, also known as Calcutta Zoo or the Zoological Garden of Alipore, is the oldest zoological park in India and surely one of the best places to visit in Kolkata. This popular zoo ok Kolkata covers an area of 46.48 acres. It is famous as a home of expired Aldabra giant tortoise Adwaita, a tortoise who had lived for over 250 years when he died in 2006. This zoo is also home to various animals like the Royal Bengal Tiger, Indian Elephant, the Great Indian One-horned Rhinoceros, Grant’s Zebra, White Tiger, Antelope, Deer, etc. Apart from these animals, this zoo also boasts several attractive birds like Macaws, Swinhoe’s Pheasant, Lorikeets, Lady Amherst’s Pheasants, Ostriches, Emus, and Hornbills. It is a popular tourist spot for children as well as nature lovers.
Timing: 9.00 AM-5.00 PM
Botanical Garden, also known as Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Indian Botanic Garden, is situated in Shibpur, Howrah, near Kolkata. It is a spawning garden that spreads over a vast area of 273 acres. With approximately 12,000 floral species, it is one of the oldest gardens in India. The East India Company established the botanical garden in the year 1787 and people knew this as the Company garden at that time. Now, the Botanical Survey of India (BSI) of the Ministry of Environment and Forests has the responsibility to take care of this garden. The Botanical Garden is famous for its vibrant floral diversity. During the winter season, i.e., from October to March, the weather is very appropriate to visit this beautiful garden. If you are in Kolkata, then don’t forget to visit this beautiful site in the city.
Timing: 10.00 AM-7.00 PM
Built on the banks of Hooghly river in 1843, Princep Ghat, a famous place in Kolkata, is the best known columned Colonial monuments dedicated to English scholar James Prinsep. It follows the Greek and Gothic styles of architecture. Surrounded by lush greenery, it is the perfect spot to enjoy the beautiful sunrise and sunset with delicious street foods and a cup of tea. The night view of the Princep Ghat is more beautiful with colorful dazzling lights.
Timing: 8.00 AM-8.00 PM
Kolkata is the only place in India to have a Chinatown. This is the ancient market, also known as Tiretta Bazaar. This market comes alive as the sun sets with delicious authentic Chinese street food. Momos, dumplings, prawn crackers, pork sausages, and fish ball soup some of the best delicacies of Old Chinatown. Unfortunately, this ancient market has lost its authenticity in recent years.
Timing: 10.00 AM-8.30 PM
Kolkata loves its festival, and it celebrates them in the most elaborate way possible. Kumortuli in North Kolkata is traditionally a potter’s village, where 150 families and thousands of artisans live here and create beautiful idols for various festivals. If you are more of a creative person and looking for the ultimate cultural tour of Kolkata, then you should visit the lanes of Kumortuli.
Indian Coffee House
The Indian Coffee House is a place that has literally stopped the time. It has stopped at a time before our independence, and it still looks so pretty and beautiful. Since the British era, the Indian Coffee House is one of the most historic restaurants in India. This was a popular hangout place for many intellectuals, freedom fighters, social activists, revolutionaries, and bohemians like Rabindranath Tagore, Subhash Chandra Bose, Manna Dey, Amartya Sen, and so on. The most important thing about this place is you can order something, and after that, you can chill here for whatever amount of time you want. If you are in Kolkata, then this place should be in your itinerary.
Timing: 9.00 AM-6.00 PM
Because of the old world charm, peace, and the calmness of Kolkata, some of the best creative people may have emerged from this place. Among the several beautiful places, I have tried to list some of the amazing places to visit in Kolkata. Apart from these places, you can also visit some places like Mother Teresa’s Mother House, Eden Garden, Nicco park, etc. You can also do boating in the Hooghly river, which will give you the best memory about Kolkata. Kolkata is a beautiful city that has much more to offer. So plan your next vacation to witness the charm of this literary hub.
I hope this blog will help you to find some of the best places in Kolkata. If you think through this article, I have done justice to the city of joy, then don’t forget to share your experience by commenting below.