Tourist Places in Kolkata
Kolkata formely known at Calcutta also reffered as “The City Of Joy”, is the capital city of West Bengal. Places to visit in Kolkata, India, encompass Museums, Gardens and Architecturally Stunning Buildings. Many of the buildings bear the essence of English architecture as they were mainly constructed during the British rule.
The city is a rich repository of culture and heritage. On a visit to Kolkata one may come across various places that would reflect the silhouettes of History. From the old lanes of Kolkata to the bustling Esplanade one would never miss the experience of feeling the pulse of the city. One may see & explore the Indian Museum and walk down the path of history or get mesmerized is the beauty of the Marble Palace.
Build by a Brahmin Zamindar, Sabarna Roy Choudhury, the Kalighat Temple is a place for worshipping Goddess Kali. It is said that the old temple was housed within a small hut. It was only in 1809 when the construction of the present day temple began.
In the 16th century the original temple was set up by King Manasingha. Several thousands of years ago when Lord Shiva was performing his looming dance, more popularly known as Pralay in Hindu mythology, he carried his dead wife, Sati on his shoulder. In order to stop this menace Lord Vishnu sliced Goddess Sati with his Chakra. The body parts of the Goddess fell in several places where Lord Shiva travelled with the corpse.
All these places became prominent attractions of Hindu pilgrimage. Kalighat is believed to be a place where Goddess Sati’s last finger of her left hand was dropped. During Diwali and Navratri, the temple is decorated with flowers and thousands of lamps. People from all over the country visit the temple to offer their prayers to the Goddess.
Maidan is considered to be the landmark of the city that is capable of reflecting the essence of the Bengali culture. Maidan is situated at the heart of the city and is one of the main attractions of the city.
The place is also chosen as the venue for political rallies and meetings. It comprises of around 400 hectares of greenery, from the city’s north and south covering a length of 3 km. Chowringhee Road bounds the stretch to the east, Strand Road to the west, Governor’s House or Raj Bhawan to the north and Tolly Nullah to the south that also covers the Victoria Memorial and Roya.
India’s oldest cricket stadium is the Eden Gardens of Kolkata, which has witnessed some of the spectacular matches and performances by Indian players against foreign countries. This stadium is considered one of the finest in the world and is often termed as the “Lords of Asia”.
Eden Gardens is the second largest stadium in the world just after the cricket ground at Melbourne. In 1917 –1918, the 1st, first – class match was played at Eden Gardens. Presently, the Cricket Association of Bengal owns this stadium that has a seating capacity of 120,000 spectators. In addition to the grounds, this stadium has a pavilion and a modernized Club House.
Established in 1814 the Kolkata Indian Museum is the largest museum of the country. The museum was founded by a botanist from Denmark, Dr. Nathaniel Wallich. There are over 60 galleries in the museum that has on display several artefacts and prehistoric objects. All the exhibits can be broadly divided into categories like Geological, Anthropological, Artistic, Archaeological, Zoological and Industrial items.
The main attractions of the museum are the fossils of extinct animals and the Egyptian mummy. The Egyptian Mummy is more than 4000 years old. The Indian Museum also has on display a pot containing the ashes of Lord Buddha.
Works of art from all parts of the world, paintings of eminent artists, pre – historic relics from Mohenjo-Daro, Harappa and Bihar and a huge collection of coins and stones are among the things that are on display here.
There are even gold coins belonging to the 5th century BC from the time of Samudragupta, Akbar and Jahangir. English speaking guides explain each section and every item on display thoroughly. A small store inside the museum puts on sale a host of items that can be picked up as a souvenir.
10:00 am to 5:00 pm ( March – November )
10:00 am to 4:30 pm ( March – November )
Closed on Mondays and national holidays
Admission Fee : INR 150 ( Free for children below 12 years )
Located in the Northern part of Kolkata, close to the residence of Rabindranath Tagore is the Marble Palace. Constructed purely with Italian marbles in the year 1855 in the Chorbagan area of the C.R. Avenue, the Marble Palace was the residence of one of the richest landlords of Bengal – Raja Rajendra Mullick Bahadur.
The entire gallery of Marble Palace has got collection of artworks amassed by one individual. This heritage building has a throne room and a courtyard in the interiors of the Palace. The gallery of this palace is home to original oil paintings and their copies, art objects from Europe, and collections made of porcelain from Japan and China.
Exclusive paintings of Reynolds, Rembrandt, Van Goyen and Rubens can also be found here. Artworks from over 90 countries can be found in this palace. Tourists can also find a small zoo of herbivorous animals and birds inside the palace. The best time to visit this palace is between 10:00 am and 12:00 pm. Centrally located in the city, it can be easily accessed by bus, taxi or metro railway.
The National Library is the biggest and one of the oldest libraries of the country. Located nearby the Alipore Zoo, the building was the residence of the former Lieutenant Governor of Bengal. The library has a collection of over 2 million books and nearly half a million rare and old documents. Attracting thousands of readers throughout the week, this place is mainly flocked by graduate, post graduate and doctorate students.
There are various regional language divisions in the library. One can find books primarily in languages like Bengali, Assamese, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Oriya, Gujarati, Hindi, Punjabi, Sindhi, Kashmiri, Marathi, Sanskrit and Urdu. One of the divisions of the library has a major collection of books written in Pali and Prakrit.
There are a vast collection of books on all possible subjects from Mathematics to Literature. Eminent personalities like Surendra Nath Bonnerjea and Sir Ashutosh Mukherjee have made huge donations in respect of books as well as money, which have made National Library the second largest in Asia. Besides books, the library also has on display age old manuscripts, original letters and notes written by renowned personalities, 16th century books and paintings and even writings on palm leaves.
Timing : 9:00 am to 8:00 pm
Post independence, Kolkata was the Indian Army’s main centre for operations. Constructed in 1781, Fort William today is the head quarter of the Indian Army’s eastern operation wing. Also known as the Eastern Army Command the Fort is named after King William III.
Sprawling over an area of five square kilometres, this octagonal area is surrounded by Hoogly River on three sides and land on the rest five. There are six entrances to the fort : Water Gate, Chowringhee, St Georges, Plassey, Calcutta and the Treasury Gate.
Fort William has been a witness to several historic battles having its roots in the independence movement of India. In 1757, during the battle of Plassey, the British were attacked and defeated by the Nawab of Bengal, Siraj Ud Daulah. A large part of the fort was destroyed in the war, which was rebuilt by Robert Clive in 1780.
Displaying an octagonal shape, the fort today houses offices, accommodation, training and several recreational facilities of the Indian Army. Starting from swimming pool to boxing arena and a firing range one can witness everything under one boundary here. This is a restricted area and one needs to get special permission from the Indian Army in order to enter Fort William.
The most famous landmark and tourist attraction of Kolkata is the Victoria Memorial hall. Built in 1921, this monument was designed by Sir William Emerson, a famous architect from the then British Empire. Sprawling over an area of 64 acres of land, the Victoria Memorial is surrounded by a well maintained landscaped garden.
The museum housed by the hall displays age old artefacts and paintings from all over the world. Photographs of British monarchs and eminent personalities who had major contributions towards shaping modern India adorn the walls of the museum. With a huge collection of paintings and artefacts, Victoria Memorial is one of the most visited tourist attractions of Kolkata.
There is a huge collection of European oil and watercolour paintings of celebrated painters like Johann Zoffany, Charles D’oyly, William Simpson, Thomas Hickey, Emily Eden and several others. Besides European art, the museum also has on display paintings by eminent Indian artists, a handsome collection of stamps, lithographs, manuscripts, sculptures, rare books and arms and armours used during the pre-independent era in India.
Timing : 5:30 am to 7:00 pm ( Monday to Sunday )
Admission Fees : INR 150
M.P. Birla Planetarium or the Birla Planetarium is known for space science and astronomy museum and is one of the largest museums in Asia. This place specially will interest stargazers and aspirants of becoming rocket scientists.
The Planetarium is situated at the intersection of Jawaharlal Nehru Road, which was previously known as Chowringhee and Theatre Road. The outer structure of this planetarium is milky white in appearance and has a roof in the shape of a dome. From this place, one can also visit the nearby Maidan, Victoria Memorial and St. Paul’s Cathedral. It was established in 1963 and since then it has been imparting knowledge and revealing celestial mysteries to the visitors.
Birla Planetarium is equipped with high tech gadgets like Solar filters, Celestron C-14 Telescope, The Carl Zeiss Universal Planetarium projector and a huge variety of projectors for the special effects. With the help of all these gadgets, the Birla Planetarium reveals to its viewers the mysteries of the skies. Inside the planetarium making video recordings or taking photographs are strictly prohibited.
World’s fourth busiest Cantilever bridge is situated on the River Hooghly and connects the western bank of Kolkata to the eastern bank of Howrah. This bridge acts as the lifeline of Kolkata city and offers its best view from the centre of the river, although photography is restricted here.
This bridge, which handles a regular traffic of roughly 60,000 vehicles and uncountable pedestrians, is now popularly called Rabindra Setu after Rabindranath Tagore. In 1939, the construction of this bridge began, owing to the communication problem between Howrah and the-then three villages of Sutanuti, Kolkata and Gobindopur. With time, Howrah emerged to be the largest railway station in West Bengal and the centre of the metropolitan city of Kolkata.
Moreover, it was put up at the time of the 2nd World War to allow access for the Allied powers to the Burmese front. Previously there was a pontoon bridge constructed by Sir Bradford Leslie in 1874. This structure was redesigned and made into the Howrah Bridge in 1942, which was opened to the public for use since February 1943. An approximate figure of Rs. 333 crore was invested to create the strong structure of Howrah Bridge.
The bridge had two sections that covered the entire pool joining both the sides. The bridge was also lighted up by electricity. The length of the bridge was 1528 ft. and its width was 62 ft. There are two 7 ft. wide pavements on both sides of the bridge for the pedestrians and the 48 ft. road with 8 lanes allows passage of traffics and serves commuters 24 hrs.
Nicco Park is the most visited and the oldest amusement park of Kolkata. Spread over an area of 40 acres the park is situated in the Salt Lake region of the city. Often regarded as the Disneyland of the City of Joy, the park is known for its adventure rides.
The park was opened in 1991 when it was named as Jheel Meel. Full of entertainment and adventure options for all age groups Nicco Park is one of the biggest amusement parks in India. Besides several adventure rides, the park also houses lakes and gardens, which are good for boating and family picnics.
The large Food Park serves Bengali, Chinese, North Indian and South Indian dishes. There are a wide variety of activities for children and young people. Rides like Cable Car, Water Chute, Pirate Ship, Tilt-a-Whirl, Toy Train, Flying Saucer, Moonraker and Water Coaster are popular among people of all age groups. The special attraction of Nicco Park is the Cave Ride.
11:00 am to 8:00 pm ( winter )
11:00 am to 9:00 pm ( summer )
Admission Fee :
INR 50 ( 8 free rides included )
INR 150 ( for all rides )
Aquatica Theme Park
Sprawling over an area of 8 acres, Aquatica is the largest water park in the northern and eastern part of India. This theme park is an ideal escape during the hot and humid summer days. The large area of the park can accommodate as many as 5000 people at a time.
Flocked mainly by young people, the artificial waves, tornadoes and dance floors are the prime attractions of Aquatica. The artificial river flowing through the park is popular for swimming. Besides, there are several adventure water rides. Aqua Wave Pool is the main attraction of the water park. This is a pool with artificial waves where the water is cleared every hour to keep the pool clean. There is a car riding area along the pool especially designed for kids.
Cyclone Pool is another major attraction of Aquatica. It is more popularly known as Tornado. Sweeping through the tunnel, the ride will lead one to a free fall into a large pool from a height. The Aqua Dance is a mini dance floor on a pool.
Timing : 10:00 am to 6:30 pm
One of the popular temples of Kolkata is the Birla Temple, which is situated at the junction of Ashutosh Chowdhury Avenue. This white marble temple is designed on the lines of the popular Lingaraj Temple of Bhubaneshwar and is of a height of 160 ft. Numerous stone engravings, episodes and messages from the Bhagavad Gita have been pictorially depicted, inside the temple.
The electric diyas ( lamps ), chandeliers and soft music help the devotees to experience the spiritual ambience. A number of gods and goddesses are worshipped in this temple such as Radha and Krishna, Lord Ganesha, Lord Hanuman, Durga, Shiva and Ten Avatars of Lord Vishnu. The most fascinating feature of this temple is the evening ‘Aarti’.
Binoy Badal Dines is the main administrative center of Kolkata. When Kolkata was the capital of British India, was the center of power. This is the place that houses the now famous Writer’s Building and the old Fort William.
Dakshineswar Temple was constructed under the supervision of Rani Rasmani of Janbazar. A popular story says that in her dreams she was asked by Goddess Kali to build this temple. The temple sprawls over an area of 25 acres housing the main Kali temple and adjoining prayer halls and Shiva temples.
This is one of the oldest and the largest temples of the city that reflects the Navaratna style of architecture. One of the prime attractions of the temple, the Ganga River that flows by the temple is the place for all the visitors to take a holy dip. Standing opposite to the main temple are the 12 temples of Lord Shiva.
Dakshineswar received its prominence after Rama Krishna Paramahamsa achieved spiritual enlightenment here and started spreading the words of Goddess Kali. He lived in this temple for years and remained as the main priest here. His rooms are open to the public, which has now been turned into a place for meditation and prayer.
Several Hindu religious ceremonies take place in this temple premises even today. Every evening one can attend the prayers offered to the Goddess through the form of dance and religious songs. The Panchavati garden close to the temple is beautifully landscaped and well maintained by the temple committee.
5:30 am to 10:30 am
4:30 pm to 7:30 pm
In Kolkata, some of the popular temples are dedicated to Goddess Kali, in her various forms. The Thanthania Kalibari is one of the most popular temples of Kolkata that is dedicated to Siddheswari Mata, one of the forms of Goddess Kali. Shankar Ghosh built the temple.
Based on an inscription on the temple’s stone structure, the date of the foundation of the temple is considered to be 1703. Tourists can visit this temple on Saturdays and Tuesdays, the auspicious days as per the Hindu mythology and during Lunar Eclipse or ‘Amavasya’. The best time to visit this temple is on the occasion of Kali Puja that takes place on the eve of Diwali and the deity is worshipped with great pomp and splendour.
Constructed in the honour of Ramakrishna Paramhansa, Belur Math is the international head quarters of Ramakrishna Mission. The concept of the Math was entirely designed by Swami Vivekananda.
Housed inside the Math is the Ramkrishna Sarada Mandir where regular prayers take place. This is the place where Swami Vivekananda resided and died on 4th July, 1902. A monument commemorated in his memory stands within the Math premises right beside River Hooghly. The rooms where he resided have now been transformed into a museum exhibiting the clothes and articles he used.
Belur Math houses the Sri Ramakrishna Temple, the Old Shrine, Swami Brahmananda Temple, Holy Mother Temple, Swami Vivekananda Temple, the Samadhi Enclosure, Old Math and the Ramakrishna Museum. The museums have on display the articles and clothes used by Sri Sarada Devi, Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda.
A store inside Belur Math has on sale several religious and philosophical books of teachings, CDs and pictures of Ramakrishna Dev and Swamiji. Regular prayers and spiritual teachings through religious songs and recitation take place in the shrines of the Math which can be attended by visitors.
5:30 A.M. – 10:30 A.M.
4:30 P.M. – 7:30 P.M. ( Monday to Sunday )
Admission Fee : Free
Application Form Submission 16 Dec 2020 to 16 Jan 2021.