Where the sound of 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 things to do in Kolkata.
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 also intended to mark the power of the British Rule. It was built somewhere between 1906 and 1921 by the bank of Hooghly River.
And today many a 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 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 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 temple is also known for the its association with and stories of Ramakrishna Paramhansa.
Packed with cheers and howls of the crowd Eden Garden is one of the most beautiful and oldest cricket stadiums in the world. This is home of 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 International Cricket Council.
A prominent bridge of Kolkata, 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 smooth transportation of Kolkata. An evening stroll along the Howrah bridge with refreshing sea breeze caressing your face 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 the 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 amount of devotees intensifies.
Belur Math Shrine
Located on the western bank of Hooghly River, this temple is the epicenter of 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 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, monkey, deer, pelicans and hornbills inside it.
The largest and oldest museum of India, Indian Museum of Kolkata exhibits a rare collection of armor, ornaments, fossils, mummies, skeleton, Mughal painting and antiques. There 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 is 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’s. Apart from restaurants Park Street have 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 Lingaraja Temple of Bhubaneshwar.
On the eastern banks of Hooghly River, Fort William was built during the early years of Bengal Presidency. The fort has been named after King William III of England and Ireland.
The park in the front was used to be a part of the fort and today this is the largest park of 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 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 mangrove 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 Indian National Anthem, Rabindranath Tagore. Here you can stumble upon some really inspiring quotes by the man himself that might set fire in 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 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 9:00am-12:00pm and 3:00 pm-5:30 pm. 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 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, and Planetarium Show, 3D Show, Fun Science Show and Surprising Chemical Reaction. 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.