From the exclusive colonial age, Victoria Memorial to the busy Howrah Bridge, the art, architecture and culture of Kolkata have undoubtedly impressed its visitors since ages. Having information on a variety of temples, historic churches, mansions, synagogues and colonial buildings, this blog of ours will reveal 25 best places to visit in Kolkata. If you are looking for some reasons why you should visit Kolkata, check our list below and do visit ‘The City of Joy’ as soon as possible.
25 Best Places to Visit in Kolkata
This relic built during British Raj in India is situated at the centre or Heart of Kolkata. The entire structure is built by white marble and is a replica of Victoria Memorial in London. This mansion was built in memory of Queen Victoria who ruled India for 25 long years. A beautifully built and lush green garden is spread around the Memorial for over 64 acres of land and has various sculptures and statues. Overall, this place built in the Victorian era is surely one of the best places to visit in Kolkata in today’s modern world.
In the city of joy, Fort William stands as a mighty edifice on the eastern bank of river Hooghly. The Fort was built in 1696 after King William Ill. The Fort is embellished with several arched windows which looks over 70.9 acres of lush green lands. Fort William also serves many purposes. Initially, it served as a place to keep the prisoners and was also called as ‘the black hole of Calcutta’. Now, it is one of the properties held by Indian Army and accommodates not less than 10,000 army people. It is also a headquarters of the Eastern Command. Though you cannot get access to inner premises as it has been restricted to army personnel’s, surely you can relish the stunning architecture view itself.
This sacred place of Kolkata is situated on the bank of river Hooghly and spreads across 40 acres of land of Belur. Founded by Swami Vivekananda, Belur Math is famous among the pilgrimage and is headquarters of famous Ramakrishna Math and Mission. Many people visit Belur Math irrespective of religion to have a look at the beautifully built temple, enjoy the serenity and tranquillity of the place. The temple has an impressive architecture which fuses Islamic, Hindu as well as Christian motifs all together as a symbol of peace and unity among different religions. This place houses several affiliated institutions and museums too.
The Howrah bridge is entirely made by a riveting steel structure that is tied with nuts and bolts. Officially opened in 1943, this bridge was the world’s third-longest cantilever bridge and today, it is the sixth-longest bridge in the world of its type. The Howrah bridge is one of the best places in Kolkata and is popularly known as Rabindra Setu that connects Kolkata and Howrah. As many as 100,000 vehicles pass over the bridge each day along with thousands of pedestrians who seek to cross river Hooghly. At night, the bridge becomes alive and is lit with beautiful illuminations and laser light shows. You can even enjoy the ferry ride that runs between different Ghats of the city through launch Ghats.
St. Paul’s Cathedral Birla Planetarium is one of the most exciting places for the people who are interested in motion planets, astrology and science. The Birla Planetarium is the second largest planetarium in the world and the largest planetarium in Asia. This magnificent place in the city of joy was founded by Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru in 1963 and is among three planetariums in India. We also call the place as Taramandal as it holds many shows related to tara or stars in several languages such as English, Hindi, Bengali, etc. Other than shows, this planetarium also holds an astronomy gallery, electronic laboratory along with several astronomic models and paintings.
St. Paul’s Cathedral church
St. Pauls Cathedral church is located beside Birla Planetarium is an Anglican cathedral operating under Church of North India. Visit this place for sure if you seek to look upon some historically enriched and architecturally pleasurable place during vacations. The colossal structure will remind you of the colonial era and take you beyond memory lane. Travellers who look for best places to visit in Kolkata usually keep St. Paul’s Cathedral Church in the top of their list of must-visit places.
Indian Museum in Kolkata is the largest museum in India and the ninth oldest museum in the world. Built-in 1814, Indian museum is the primary place to carry multidisciplinary activities. This place is also symbolised as ‘Jadughar’ meaning a magical place and has sacred relics of Egyptian mummies, Buddha, finest paintings and ancient sculptures. There are 35 galleries in the museum divided into 6 categories: Art, Geology, Anthropology, Zoology, Archaeology and Economic Botany. This museum can take you to the ancient times where you can witness a fascinating past of almost every culture.
Rajendra Mallick was the founder of Marble Palace situated near Chorbagan. Built-in 1835, this place is popular for its art collection including paintings of many renowned artists like Van Gogh, Rembrandt and Reynolds. This Palace has a zoo with rare animals and birds.
Science City was open to the public in 1997 and since then has served as a major attraction for Kolkata residents along with people who visit the city of joy. It has the largest science museum in the world and provides children and adults with some very fun-loving ways to learn science. A special section is dedicated to Aquatic and Jurassic world where you can know about various extinct dinosaurs, fishes, insects, etc. Science City is listed among the best places to visit in Kolkata and will make your trip with friends and family a memorable one as there are many special places of interest in it.
Mother House is also known as Missionaries of Charity and comprises a religious congregation established by Mother Teresa. Around 4,500 members of the charity house give free service to poor people. The members are also called as sisters who devote their lives selflessly to serve the needy ones. Their strong dedication is the reason the world has many similar branches spread throughout for helpless and needy people. They also run schools and soup kitchen to feed and educate street children.
Initially known as Dhakuri Lake, Rabindra Sarovar is an artificial tank. It is spread across 75 acres and homes many migrant birds from Russia and Siberia. The Lake is surrounded by children’s park, gardens and auditorium which fulfils the purpose of a recreational spot and an idyllic picnic.
Birla Temple is one place which you can’t afford to miss if you visit Kolkata. This temple towers an enormous doom covered by intricate stonework which has been designed to garnish the main façade of the temple. The interior of the temple is made of pearl white marble that reflects artefacts made of Belgium glass and silver. When the dusk approaches, the sight of the Temple looks magnificent as it is adorned with gleaming chandeliers and diyas all over with soft music playing in the background.
Eden garden is one of the popular places dedicated to host sports like cricket. Eden garden is the oldest cricket stadium in India and is popularly known as the Mecca of Indian Cricket. At the entrance of the garden, you can see trees like banyan, mango and mahogany manicured beautifully. The stadium also has a three-storeyed Burmese Pagoda coloured golden yellow and red which was brought by Lord Dalhousie. Today, Eden garden is the home turf of IPL Team Kolkata Knight Riders along with Bengal Cricket Team.
Jorasanko Thakur Bari
When we talk about Bengal, how can we forget about Thakurs? Jorasanko Thakur Bari is one place which homes Thakurs and is the ancestral house of Tagore Family. Around 700 paintings are displayed in the home which captures the attention of its visitors. The museum also has three galleries, ancient books, manuscripts and antique items.
This garden boasts around 12,000 living perennial plants and many dried ones too which have been gathered from across the world. Botanical garden’s major attraction is 250 years old banyan tree which is spread in an enormous land thereby called as Great Banyan Tree. The tree is also the second most extensive canopy in the world. Tea grown in Darjeeling and Assam were in fact first grown in Botanical garden.
This museum of Kolkata exhibits a huge collection of historical documents and rare articles which can be dated back to 1800 century. The museum was developed and designed by Sabarrna Roy Choudhary Parishad which exhibits the heritage of Bengal families.
Shobhabajar Rajbari is yet another Bengali style house built by a Royal Bengali family. Situated in Shobhabajar, this place is the oldest standing Royal House in Kolkata and offers a grandeur for every eye. One reason Shobhabajar Rajbari is popular is due to the grand Durga Puja festival celebrations organised during the month of October-November.
Birla Industrial & Technological Museum
BITM is the first scientific and industrial museum in India and one of the most visited places of attraction in Kolkata. The museum is located in Gurusaday road and was founded in the year 1959. BITM was initially known as Birla Park and was converted into a museum within the first three years of its opening.
Kalighat temple is among 51 Shakti Peeth or Shakti Sthals in India. Kalighat is one spot which has the toes of Sati’s right foot that fell during Tandav naach of Shiva.
Nakhoda mosque in the Chitpur area is among busiest mosques in Kolkata. The prayer hall of this mosque has a seating capacity of more than 10,000 people. The minarets and domes have been constructed a century ago and made in Fatehpur Sikri architecture style.
Calcutta Jain Temple
Dedicated to Jain Teethankaras, Pareshnath temple is one complex which has arranged shrines in a way that attracts tourists from all over the world. The temple has intricately carved marble with glasswork that gives visitors a charismatic vibe. The complex is spread over a huge land and people following Jainism visits the temple more often. You can see well-maintained fountains and gardens on the premises of the temple which offers a recreational feeling due to the architecture.
A water theme park and a resort, Aquatica offers people with various slides, water-themed rides, recreational and entertainment activities. It occupies a land not less than 75,000 square feet and remains filled up during summers. You can choose from many rides while keeping your belongings safe in the lock rooms provided by the resort.
The Alipore zoo is popularly known as the Zoological Garden of Alipore or Calcutta zoo. This is one of the oldest zoological parks in India and contributes to gathering major tourists in the city of joy. The zoo attracts many tourists worldwide who seek to explore wildlife and endangered animals. The zoo is famous for keeping an expired Aldabra giant tortoise ‘Adwaita’ who had lived for more than 250 years and died in 2006. Since 1876 and spread in around 46.5 acres of land, the zoo constitutes as one of the best places to visit in Kolkata.
Nicco Park is a favourite place for many people in Kolkata and is a place often visited by many people who look for recreation and entertainment besides experiencing thrilling rides. Nicco Park is also known as ‘Disney land of West Bengal’ that attracts people in huge quantity throughout the year. The park runs on solar energy and maintains the rides efficiently to make it safer.
This expansive urban park is in the list of best places to visit in Kolkata as it promotes eco-tourism in the land spread over 475 acres. Eco-park is the biggest urban park in India and has a water body with an island in the middle of it. Park offers various recreational activities such as bicycling, boating, and ferry ride which makes most of the picnickers choose Eco-park to make a quick escape from everyday mundane life. The facilities provided and the well-maintained infrastructure are designed in a way that offers non-pollution effects besides preserving natural landscapes.
Being home to a larger community like Armenian, Jewish, Chinese along with many immigrants since the past few centuries, Kolkata indeed is one place worth visiting. Every community has contributed to the historical, cultural, social and architectural development of the city. This is the reason Kolkata has a unique blend of cultures, offering some of the best places worth visiting this year.