Where the sound of the Indian National Anthem echoed for the first time, it is Kolkata (or Calcutta). Where the first zoo of India was established, it’s in Kolkata. This is Kolkata, where the legends like Rabindranath Tagore and Mother Teresa resided. The land of mishti doi, trams, palaces, literature, art, and vibrant culture; this is Kolkata.
With one of the largest planetarium of Asia (Birla Planetarium), it grows in the field of science. With stadiums like Eden Gardens and Salt Lake Stadiums, Kolkata grows in sports. This is an impressive city located in West India, which has been beautifully adorned with the British Rulers as Bengal Presidency. In this article by Indian Holiday, we will put you in acquaintance with the top things to do in Kolkata.
Best Things to do in Kolkata
- Victoria Memorial Hall
- Dakshineswar Kali Temple
- Eden Gardens
- Howrah Bridge
- Belur Math Shrine
- Marble Palace
- Indian Museum
- Park Street
- Birla Mandir
- Fort William
- St. Paul’s Cathedral
- Tagore house
- Mother’s House
- Birla Industrial & Technological Museum
Victoria Memorial Hall
A striking landmark in Kolkata, this white-marbled marvel is dedicated to Queen Victoria, and thus named Victoria Memorial. The construction of the memorial was also intended to mark the power of British Rule. It was built somewhere between 1906 and 1921 on the bank of the Hooghly River.
And today many tourists visit Victoria Memorial for retreat and rejuvenation. Ministry of Culture turned the memorial into a museum; where a collection of sketches, miniatures, paintings, statues, books, etc. Buggy ride, house ride and simply unwinding in front of this beauty is a pleasure.
Dakshineswar Kali Temple
During 1847 people had no easy conveyance in order to reach Banaras for pilgrimage. That’s when Goddess Kali appeared in a wealthy widow’s dream, saying she needn’t visit Banaras if she installs the goddess’s statue on the Ganges bank and offers it prayer. The wealthy widow commissioned the construction of this beautiful temple complex in the same year, and it took eight years for its completion.
There is a shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva, a temple of Radha Krishna, a shrine of Rani Rashmoni, and a bathing ghat near the river, other than the main sanctum of Mahakali. The Dakshineswar Kali Temple is also known for its association with and stories of Ramakrishna Paramhansa.
Packed with cheers and howls from the crowd Eden Garden is one of the most beautiful and oldest cricket stadiums in the world. This is the home of the Bengal Cricket Team and IPL’s Kolkata Knight Riders. The capacity of the hall is approximately 120000.
It also hosts Test matches, One Day International, and T20 International Matches, along with different others. For the Cricket World Cup of 2011, Eden Garden was put into renovation as per the standards of the International Cricket Council.
A prominent bridge of Kolkata, the Howrah Bridge runs above the Hooghly River. It was commissioned in 1943, replacing the Pontoon Bridge. Another name of the bridge is Rabindra Setu, christened after Rabindranath Tagore. It does not have nuts and bolts but was formed by riveting the whole structure.
The bridge consumed about 26500 tons of steel, of which a generous amount of steel was provided by Tata Steel. The Howrah Bridge indeed plays an important role in the smooth transportation of Kolkata. An evening stroll along the Howrah Bridge with a refreshing sea breeze caressing your face and offering respite from a humid day is definitely one of the top things to do in Kolkata.
An important pilgrimage spot of Kolkata, Kali Ghat Temple is dedicated to Goddess Kali and this is one of the 51 Peethas of Shakti. It is believed that the toe of Dakshayani fell here. The Shakti is known as Kalika here and Bhairava is known as Nakulesh.
The temple has the statue of Goddess Kali with a tongue made of gold. It already is an important pilgrimage spot in India, but during the festivals of Kali Puja, Durga Puja, Bengali New Year, Poila Boishakh, and Sankranti, the number of devotees intensifies.
Belur Math Shrine
Belur Math Shrine is located on the western bank of the Hooghly River, this temple is the epicenter of the Ramakrishna Movement and the headquarters of Ramakrishna Math and Mission, which was founded by Swami Vivekananda. No wonder this structure is an architectural landmark and ranks as one of the top things to do in Kolkata.
The architectural style of this structure reflects a mesh of Hindu, Islamic, and Christian motifs and this attribute promotes the idea of oneness of religion. This is an ideal spot even if you are an atheist; you will be inspired by its tranquil aura, which does not promote any religion.
Marble Palace is a mansion in Kolkata known for its marble walls and floors. It is made of a Neo-classical style of architecture with an open courtyard. The mansion today exhibits a collection of Western sculptures, Victorian furniture, paintings, chandeliers, clocks, etc. Next to the palace is the Marble Palace Zoo, the first one opened in India. You can spot peacocks, storks, cranes, monkeys, deer, pelicans, and hornbills inside it.
The largest and oldest museum in India, Indian Museum of Kolkata exhibits a rare collection of armor, ornaments, fossils, mummies, skeletons, Mughal paintings, and antiques. Their collection has been divided into six sections, viz. Art, Anthropology, Geology, Archeology, Zoology, and Economic Botany. The museum is open all days a week, (except Monday), from 10:00 Am to 5:00 Pm. Entry charges for Indian Museum are: Indians are INR 10 and for Foreign Nationals, INR 150.
To gorge yourself with your favorite meal, head to Park Street; a plush location of Kolkata where you can find amazing eateries for that perfect dinner you have been looking forward to. Witness the vibrant Kolkata Nightlife here.
The place has been a stage for popular musicians like Mocambo, Blue Fix, and Trinca. Apart from restaurants Park Street has 5-star hotels and clubs which make it a numero uno entertainment hub of Kolkata.
Built by the Industrialist Birla family this Hindu Temple is an important pilgrimage spot in Kolkata. The main temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna and Goddess Radha. Other temples inside the complex are dedicated to Goddess Durga and Lord Shiva.
Pictorial representations of the holy book Bhagavad Geeta are found carved in the stone. The complex is spread over 44 kathas of land and looks similar to the Lingaraja Temple of Bhubaneshwar.
On the eastern banks of the Hooghly River, Fort William was built during the early years of the Bengal Presidency. The fort has been named after King William III of England and Ireland.
The park in the front used to be a part of the fort and today this is the largest park in Kolkata. It is built of rock and moltar and is octagon in shape, covering 5 sq km of area. Inside the fort is a 9-hole golf course as well.
St. Paul’s Cathedral
This is the Anglican Cathedral of the Church of North India. It is situated beside the Victoria Memorial, Nandan, Rabindra Sadan, and Birla Planetarium; all of which are collectively known as “The Island of Attraction”.
The cathedral was commissioned in 1839 and its construction was completed in 1847. The architecture reflects the Gothic Revival style. St. Paul’s Cathedral is one of the most important religious places in Kolkata and gets even more beautiful during the Christmas season.
Sundar means beautiful, and Ban means forest, and Sundarbans of Kolkata totally justify its name. Covering 10000 sq km, this protected forest is densely carpeted with mangroves and is amongst the largest tiger reserves in India. UNESCO entitled this natural area as a World Heritage Site.
Sundarbans is home to 270 tigers, along with numerous rare species of flora fauna, and avifauna. The Sundarbans National Park is amongst the most popular national parks of India.
[ Plan Your Short Escape to Sunderbans ]
Tagore house is the house of the eminent poet and the writer of the Indian National Anthem, Rabindranath Tagore. Here you can stumble upon some really inspiring quotes by the man himself that might set fire to you. Then there is an exhibition of paintings, photographs, and belongings of the legend.
Tagore House is also known as Jorasanko Thakurbari. It is open all days except Monday, from 10:30 am- 5 pm (No entry after 4:30 pm). Entry fee is INR 10 for adults and INR 5 for students.
Named after the great Mother Teresa, Mother House of Kolkata is the headquarters of the International Religious Congregation of the Missionary of Charity. Mother Teresa resided here for quite a long time, and her body was laid to rest here itself.
You can visit Mother House all days of the week, from 9:00 am-12:00 pm and 3:00 pm-5:30 pm. The entry fee for Mother House for weekdays is (Mon-Fri) INR 10 and for weekends it is INR 15.
Birla Industrial & Technological Museum
One of the most popular museums of Kolkata, Birla Industrial & Technological Museum is a part of the National Council of Science Museums. Its galleries have been divided into the following categories: Biotechnology, Electricity, Television, Metals, Motive Power, Fascinating Physics, Metals, Life Science and Underground Mock-up Coal Mine, Electronics, and Transport.
Engaging shows are held in the museum like Science Magic Miracle, Super Cold Bodies, Planetarium Show, 3D Show, Fun Science Show, and Surprising Chemical Reaction. The timing of Birla Industrial and Technological Museum is between 10:00 am to 5:20 pm (except Monday). INR 30 is the entry fee for the same.
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