From the famous Sabyasachi label of clothing to lip-smacking food and vintage infrastructure, Kolkata is one of the most sought after places to visit in India. The city breathes a 350-year-old history and is a concoction of traditional festivities round the year. Truly, Kolkata is a spectacle of joy. This chaotic city, brimming with creativity and life, envelopes old colonial charm with contemporary lifestyle and majestic artwork.
There is a wide array of places to visit in Kolkata. From history lovers to shopaholics, nature adorers, and culture admirers, the city has something for everyone. The city is also the perfect destination for people who just want to absorb the sights and sounds of a place. So here is a compiled list of the best places to visit in Kolkata.
Heritage Places in Kolkata – For History Buffs
Surrounded by a belt of greenery, this shimmering marble-built structure is considered a replica of the Taj Mahal. It was constructed in memory of Queen Victoria during the British rule in India. Later this place was converted into a museum. It has more than 3000 paintings and artifacts from the yesteryears and is one of the best sightseeing places in Kolkata.
Fort William has been used for multiple purposes from the time it was established to date. A colonial attraction of Kolkata it has a huge Maidan right in front, which is also the largest park in the city. The octagon shape structure has eight sides of which three face the Hooghly river and the rest five faces towards the land. Its stonework and carefully planned infrastructure have a moat surrounding it that protected the fort from invaders. One of its rooms was once used as a jail for prisoners which is why it was called the Black Hole of Kolkata. During British Raj the Fort was used as the Customs House, it is now used as the Eastern command headquarters for the Indian Army.
The Marble Palace was established in the 19th century and is among the top places to visit in Kolkata. Holding royal significance in the form of its architecture, interiors, paintings, the palace showcases the lifestyle of the monarchs during the British Raj and attracts people from across the globe.
Jorasanko Thakur Bari/Tagore’s House
Famously known as Tagore’s house, Jorasanko Thakur Bari is the house of the eminent writer Rabindranath Tagore. One of the historical heritage structures of the city, it is now a museum. The literary works of Tagore are exhibited here, as well as a photo gallery of paintings and images of medieval times.
This ghat was built in 1841 in memory of Anglo-Indian scholar and antiquary James Prinsep. The Ghat lies parallel to the Hoogly river. With the Greek and Gothic style of infrastructure, it is one of the oldest Kolkata sightseeing attractions. People come here for boating, a stroll along the shore, and to enjoy the street food stalls. The place makes for a perfect evening of leisure.
Established in 1864, Eden Gardens was named after the Eden Sisters. It is also the oldest cricket stadium in India. Time and again World Cup, IPL, ODI, T20, and other national and international cricket tournaments take place here. It can seat around 68000 people, making it the second-largest cricket stadium in the world.
Kolkata’s Architectural and Scientific Extravagance
Built-in 1963 by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, it is the largest Planetarium in Asia. It is also called the ‘Taramandal’ Birla Planetarium. It has an astronomy gallery, science equipment, and celestial models about space and its functioning. To give you a real view of celestial activities and elements, there are scheduled programs set up for visitors to watch stars, planets, and other planetary movements and educate them.
Most people recognize Kolkata city by the Howrah Bridge. Build in the 17th century; the bridge is one of the strongest and oldest establishments. Open 24 hours to visit; this charming creation is also the busiest spot of the city. When in Kolkata a walk down to the Howrah Bridge is a must-do activity.
Science city in Kolkata is the largest science centre in India. From kids to elders who enjoy science and its wonders this is the perfect place. From the Evolution Park to Earth Exploration hall and Maritime centre there is much to fascinate all.
It is the headquarters of Ramakrishna Math and Mission of Swami Vivekananda. A collection of monasteries and temples, the architecture of this place is a key attraction for tourists. The highlight of the place is that it holds artefacts of Christian, Islamic, Hindu and Buddhist religions, promoting the unity of communities and humanity. This makes it one of the most attractive places to visit in Kolkata.
One of the literary emblems of the 18th century, the Writer’s building holds the great work of British writers who frequented the place during the British Raj. Carved in a contemporary English style the place has huge corridors and offices. Literature lovers would love this place reeking of modern British scholars work.
Religious Places to Visit in Kolkata
St. Paul’s Cathedral
St. Paul’s Cathedral is the seat of the Diocese of Calcutta and was established in 1847. With Indo-gothic architecture, the church is made in a way keeping in mind the weather conditions in India. Eminent personalities of the Church like Bishop Daniel Wilson, the founder of the church along with John Paxton Norman lie buried in the church. It is a must-visit place in Kolkata to witness the excellence of colonial architecture which still challenges the modern foundation.
Built by the famous Birla Family, the intricate work of the temple with Bhagavad Gita scriptures engraved all over makes it an extraordinary establishment. It took over 26 years to complete. The Radha Krishna temple attracts devotees all-year, who come to seek blessings and admire the beauty of the temple. Especially during Janmashtami, the temple has people flooding in.
Dakshineswar Kali Temple
Established in 1855 the devotees of Goddess Kali consider the temple to be a place of pilgrimage. Located on the eastern banks of the river Hoogly, it makes for a picturesque setting. Its Bengali architecture is worth seeing and of course, it is worth seeking the blessings of Goddess Kali.
Kalighat Kali Temple
Kalighat Kali Temple is one of the 51 Shakti Peethas of India, making the Kalighat Kali temple one of the significant Kali temples across India. To seek blessings of this temple is a privilege. Innumerable devotees come here every year to worship and enjoy the traditional festivities like Navratras and Kaali Pooja.
The largest mosque of Kolkata, it was established in 1926. Its intriguing design and size make it among the popular tourist places in Kolkata. People come here to chant prayers and seek the blessing of Allah.
Kolkata Attractions for Nature Lovers
Now known as Rabindra Sarobar, Dhakuri is an artificial lake in the southern part of Kolkata and a popular recreation spot. Surrounded by age-old trees, plants and shrubs you can view flocks of migratory birds during winters. The Waterhouse in the vicinity is now a museum for tourists to see traditional and medieval artwork. Sunset and sunrise are a must watch at this place. It is also a perfect place for picnics and outings, besides being a favorite with joggers.
Dating back to 1787, this garden was known as the Company Garden. Sprawled across a stunning landscape with artificial lakes and more than 12000 species of plants, it is a fantastic place for nature lovers. Multi-colored flowers, a peaceful ambiance, and the shade of its great banyan tree give you every reason to visit this beauty.
This is a well-known tourist attraction in Kolkata. Established in 1876 Alipore Zoo is also called the Kolkata zoo. Home to many endangered and critically endangered species, you can even spot Bengal tigers, white tigers and other rare animals. From varied bird species to exotic animals this place is a crowd puller, especially amongst young children.
A UNESCO World Heritage site, Sundarbans is a reservoir in the largest delta of India. It is the point of confluence of the Ganga, Brahmaputra and Meghna rivers. Located 100 km away from Kolkata this mangrove area is a reserve for wildlife animals. Its scenic beauty, natural greenery and landscapes make it one of the most visited places from Kolkata for children and family.
Kolkata Shopping Destinations
The New Market also called Hogg’s market is one of the oldest markets in Kolkata. From hawkers selling jewelry to handbag stalls and vendors of terracotta wares, this place is full of people and is apt for bargains. You can find anything, and everything here but is ready to face the teeming crowds.
Dakshinapan Shopping Center
The hub for Indian handicrafts and artwork, this place has many emporiums with fixed price items. If you are looking for a variety of Indian textiles, then you can easily find it here.
For book lovers, this place is heaven. Anywhere you look this place has piles and piles of books stacked everywhere. It is the largest book market in India. At the best of prices, you can find tons and tons of books; even the rarest collection is available here. The old publishing houses have been located here for decades.
As the oldest wholesale market of Kolkata, it is equal to Chandni Chowk of Delhi. In the same way endless crowds during festivities here give the perfect picture of a bustling Indian market. Bara Bazaar is the place where you can find anything and everything from sweets to clothes and footwear in the city. The market has four sections making it easy for people to spot what they want to shop for.
If you are fond of boho clothes, this is the place to go. From embroidered notebooks, handbags, shawls, and jewelry you can get many interesting picks. There are some good shops which are quite popular amongst foreigners too. Moreover, the reasonable pricing makes it a must-visit shopping place in Kolkata. This place also has a number of cheap hotels making it a preferred location for many foreigners.
Are you planning a visit to the city? Mark out the Kolkata places to visit as per your interest.