- Kolkata is a 300-year-old city. The city has earned the nickname ‘City of Joy’ for its soulful embodiment of culture, love, mystery, respect, excitement, and some wonderful sweet treats. Kolkata was chosen as a trading center by the British. Kolkata became the capital of the state of West Bengal after the partition of India and Pakistan. After a long time, Kolkata has become a busy and prosperous city, which is the center of the cultural, political, and economic life of Bengal.
The top 13 best places to visit in Kolkata are:-
1. Howrah Bridge
- The fourth busiest Cantilever bridge in the world – Howrah Bridge is probably the first suggestion you will get when you ask about the best places to visit in Kolkata. The celebrated landmark built upon River Hooghly acts as a gateway to Kolkata and connects the eastern Bank of Howrah to the western banks of Kolkata. The bridge has been shown in numerous films.
Howrah Bridge merits a visit if you want to spend some time alone with just the ocean in front of you. Sit here in silence or simply observe the fishermen go about their work at dawn and dusk.
The construction of this architecturally brilliant bridge was initiated in 1939 and the bridge was renamed Rabindra Setu to honor the Nobel laureate, Rabindranath Tagore, in 1965. About 90,000 vehicles and hundreds of pedestrians travel on this bridge every day.
2. Victoria Memorial
The great big, white marble building that stands in the heart of the city is the brainchild of George Curzon, Viceroy of India. It is a vital part of Kolkata tourism. The memorial was built to commemorate Queen Victoria between the years 1906 to 1921. It has now been transformed into a beautiful museum that houses a remarkable collection of ancient artifacts in its 25 stunning galleries. One of the most popular tourist spots in Kolkata, Victoria Memorial receives visitors from all over the globe. The architectural wonder is built-in Indo-Saracen revivalist style with a blend of British architecture and methods borrowed from various parts of the world such as Egyptian, Mughal, Venetian, Islamic, and Deccan.
If you ever feel like taking a walk down our past and reflecting on how long India has come from its colonization days, visit this place. There are light and sound shows held in the evening. The era of India’s freedom struggle is shown not only through the light and sound show but through a series of paintings, artifacts, sculptures, and books. We would recommend spending at least 3-4 hours gaining knowledge about our country’s past.
- Museum – 10:00 am to 05:00 pm; closed on Mondays and National Holidays
- Gardens – 05:30 am to 06:15 pm; every day
- Museum – ₹20 for Indians; ₹500 for foreign nationals
- Gardens – ₹10 per person
3. Kumortuli, Kolkata
- Durga Pujo is perhaps one of the most vibrant and extravagant festivals to be celebrated in Kolkata. Spanning over 10 days, everything from the pandals to the delicious food served on the final day, this festival happens on a grand scale.
If you’re looking for the ultimate cultural tour of Kolkata, turn your gaze towards the artistic lanes of Kumortuli. The traditional potters’ quarter is where most of the globally admired Durga idols are sculpted with devotion and perfection for the famous Durga Puja.
The skilled potters here depend on their ancestral art of clay idol making for their livelihood. Over 150 families and thousands of artisans work hard in the congested studios to bring out some of the most intricate work ever seen in history.
You can take a walk through the place and talk to the potters and get a better idea of how these beautiful idols are made.
4. Alipore Zoo, Kolkata
- The Alipore Zoo is one of the major tourist attractions in Kolkata, especially if you are traveling with children. The zoo is the oldest in the country and houses amazing species of animals, birds, and reptiles. You can spot the one-horned rhinoceros, white tigers, zebras, the Swinhoe’s Pheasant, and many migratory birds here.
Location: Alipore Road, Kolkata
Timings: 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM
Entry Fee: <5 years old – ₹10, >5 years old – ₹30
- It is also known as the Calcutta Zoo or the Zoological Garden of Alipore. It is home to various animals like Royal Bengal Tiger, Indian Elephant, the Great Indian One-horned Rhinoceros, White Tiger, Grant’s Zebra, Antelope, Deer, and more. At the same time, the zoo is also the home to various attractive birds like Macaws and Lorikeet, colorful and flamboyant birds like Swinhoe’s Pheasant, Lady Amherst’s Pheasant, and Golden Pheasant, large birds like Ostrich, Emu, Hornbills and more. During the winters, the Alipore Zoo also witnesses a few migratory birds like the Sarus Crane. The zoo attracts tourists from all over the world who come to visit and explore the wildlife comprised in it.
5. Dakshineswar & Kalighat Temple
1. Dakshineswar Temple:-
The temple of the goddess who is believed “to liberate her devotees from the ocean of existence” – Bhavatarini, a manifestation of goddess Kali, was constructed by a philanthropist called Rani Rashmoni in 1855. The beautiful temple complex was built in the classic ‘Nava-Ratna style of Bengali architecture.
- The temple was founded by Rani Rashmoni, who lost her husband and was left with a vast amount of wealth. The idea of building this temple came to her in a dream and this was the last thing she did before going on a pilgrimage to Varanasi.
Timing:- Everyday 6am–12:30pm, 3–8:30pm
2. Kalighat Kali Temple, Kolkata:-
- The original name of the city Calcutta originated from the term ‘Kalighat’. Kalighat is one of the oldest neighborhoods of Kolkata and houses the famous Kali Temple that devotees flock to. Surrounded by shopping streets, the temple is in a busy and crowded part of this city.
Opening Hours of the temple: 5.00 a.m. to 2.00 p.m. and 5.00 p.m. to 10.30 p.m. To avoid crowds, visit the temple on Wednesday or Thursday.
6. New Market, Kolkata
Built by the British in 1874, New Market is the place where all the shopaholics go to get the best clothes, jewelry, and other items. One of the places to visit in Kolkata for youngsters, the market is a maze of stalls and has around 2000 of these. If you can bargain and have a good eye for items, this market is perfect for you.
Stop for something to eat at one of the restaurants or steps outside the market complex and try some tea and crispy bhelpuri from a street vendor. Treat yourself to marzipan and fruitcake at Nahoum and Sons. This popular confectioner has been trading in the same New Market spot since 1902.
- New Market is open every day except Sunday and operates from midmorning to early evening. On Saturdays, it closes in the early afternoon. New Market is close to the center of Kolkata and is easily reached by taxis and numerous bus services. The nearest railway station is within a few minute’s walking distance. Metered car parking is available in the underground parking plaza.
Note– If you don’t like crowded places then avoid this place.
7. Eden Gardens, Kolkata
If you are a cricket fan, there is no way you can miss the Eden Gardens. This is one of the popular visiting places in Kolkata. This is the second-largest cricket stadium in the world and can house an impressive 66,349 spectators at a time.
- Eden Gardens has hosted 15 Cricket World Cup matches hosted in India across formats and men’s and women’s cricket.
Location: B.B.D Bagh, Kolkata
Timings: 5:30 AM to 11:30 PM
8. Science City
Science City is one of the finest and the largest science museums in the world and provides a fun way of imparting knowledge about science to people. It is running since 1st July 1997 and has emerged as a major attraction for the people of Kolkata as well as for the tourists in Kolkata.
Students love visiting the center and exploring its popular exhibits like The Aquatic World, the Jurassic World, and the Time Machine.
- There is also a separate area designed for aquatic creatures. The area provides a detailed description of the various fishes and insects in the aquatic world. Many unique and rare fishes can be seen in these aquariums.
- The timings are 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM
- The cost to enter is INR 50 per head.
9. Nicco Park, Kolkata
- One of the biggest amusement parks in India is located in Salt Lake City, Kolkata. Nicco Park opened on 13 October 1991. Nicco Park also provides a “green” environment. It is a nice place to spend 5~6 hours with your family and kids. But during Summer it will be a little difficult to enjoy the rides. Winter is the best time to enjoy.
- Visit timings: 10:30 AM to 6:30 PM all day.
- Rides: 10:45 AM to 07:30 PM.
- Entry Fees: ₹200.00 / per head. The price includes 11 Free Rides & attractions.
- Nicco Park has received various awards in the 20 years since its inception.
10. Princep Ghat, Kolkata
Located along the river Hooghly, Princep Ghat is a perfect place to spend your evenings. The surroundings are fully lit up post-sunset and you can pack some food and spend a relaxed time enjoying the grounds. The Princep Ghat is a Greek-style building located in a strategic place right under the 2nd Hooghly Bridge.
Prinsep Ghat is a ghat built-in 1841 during the British Raj, along the Kolkata bank of the Hooghly River in India. The Palladian porch in the memory of the eminent Anglo-Indian scholar and antiquary James Prinsep was designed by W. Fitzgerald and constructed in 1843.
Best time to visit: After 6:00 PM
11. M.P. Birla Planetarium, Kolkata
- Birla Planetarium. Inaugurated in 1963 by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the planetarium has exhibition corners, several galleries, a library, and a very impressive theatre room with high-end projector screens. It is a great place to introduce astronomy to children.
- Timings: 12:30 PM to 6:30 PM
- Entry Fee: ₹100 per head
12. St. Paul’s Cathedral, Kolkata
The building was completed in 1847. It is said to be the largest church in Kolkata and the first Anglican cathedral in Asia. It was also the first new-built cathedral in the overseas territory of the British Empire. The edifice stands on Cathedral Road on the “island of attractions” to provide more space for the growing population of the European community in Calcutta in the 1800s.
St. Paul’s Cathedral is built in an indo-gothic style and is an impressive structure you should not miss visiting. The cathedral complex is serene and calm, and the building leaves you feeling relaxed.
- Entry timings: 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM, 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM
13. Jorasanko Thakur Bari, Kolkata
This is the ancestral home of late Tagore, and the house has three separate galleries filled with paintings, and personal items of the Tagore family, including his books and manuscripts. The house is surrounded by a lush garden and is a peaceful spot in the middle of the city.
If you are interested in poetry and Rabindranath Tagore, you should visit this place.
- Timings: Tuesdays to Sundays from 10:30 AM to 4:30 PM