Kolkata, eastern India’s largest city is the cultural capital of the country and with 12 million inhabitants, the third largest city in the country. A city which throws up surprises at every corner because of its great variety was the birthplace many famous Indians, from Rabindranath Tagore to Satyajit Ray. It was founded about 330 years ago by the British.
From crumbling colonial mansions from the time of the British Raj to shimmering skyscrapers, Kolkata is a heady cocktail for the senses of any visitor.
- Victoria Memorial – Located in central Kolkata and made of marble this massive building was an attempt by the British to replicate the Taj Mahal. Far less than the monument it chose to imitate it is nevertheless an enormous monument and the foremost symbol of British dominance. It has splendid green lawns which are a haven for those seeking to rest and gaze at the tranquil lake. Plan booking your complete trip with available Yatra Offers for bus booking, hotel reservation and flight options at best rates.
- Dakshineswar Kali Temple – Located on the banks of the Hooghly River on the outskirts of Kolkata, it is devoted to Goddess Kali. It was where the famous 19th-century saint Ramakrishna lived and taught his philosophy. It is surrounded by twelve shrines of Lord Shiva.
- Kalighat Kali Temple – The most well-known Shakti Peeth of the east is located amidst narrow lanes of south Kolkata on the banks of Adi Ganga. The modern temple complex is no more than two centuries old, but relics found here indicate it was a place of worship several hundred years back at the time of Emperor Chandragupta.
- Indian Museum – Established as the Imperial Museum it was founded in 1814. The largest museum in India has a collection of rare antiques, manuscripts, and idols from every era of Indian history. There are over 100,000 exhibits across this gigantic museum.
- Calcutta Racecourse – Situated beside the 3000 acres of Kolkata Maidan the racecourse is a part of Kolkata’s lungs as the maidan is popularly known. Built-in 1820 it is maintained by the Royal Calcutta Turf Club and is an excellent example of colonial architecture. Races are held from November to March and again from July to September.
- Eden Gardens – Probably the most famous venue of cricket outside England the lush fields of Eden Gardens have hosted many renowned cricket matches by every cricketing great. The new pavilion was built a few years ago to accommodate the world cup matches.
- Jorasanko Thakur Bari – Located in Chitpore in north Calcutta close to the Ganges it is the ancestral home of the Tagore family whose most illustrious son Rabindranath Tagore is the pride and joy of Bengal. Built by Prince Dwarkanath, it houses a museum and a university on its premises.
- Marble Palace – A massive mansion built in the 19th century it is one of the most well preserved among colonial era home built in Kolkata by wealthy merchants. It was created by Rajendra Mullick in the mid-19th century and is striking due to the fluted Greek pillars adorning the front.
- Fort William – One of the earliest structures built by the British in 1780 it is the Eastern Headquarters of the Indian Army since independence. It extends over 70 hectares and has a military museum. Book your hotel with Fab Hotel Coupons which can bring some extra savings while planning to make an online reservation.
- St Paul’s Cathedral – Situated close to the Victoria Memorial the St. Paul’s Cathedral was completed in 1847. It is the center of Kolkata’s vibrant Christian community and is admirable with the Gothic beauty of its spires.
- Birla Planetarium – A building with a circular dome situated next to the maidan, it resembles a Buddhist stupa. Set up as a sign of past independence Indian modernization it has an electronic laboratory and a colossal astronomy gallery.
- Writer’s Building – The seat of the government is a secretariat set up by the British. Till 1911 India was governed from this building. At this moment it is undergoing a massive renovation effort to restore it to its former glory.
- New Market – Situated in central Kolkata the New Market or the Hogg Market was the first modern market set up in India by the British in 1874. It is a heritage, and one gets a feel of old pre-independence Kolkata during a visit here.
- Nicco Park – A large amusement park located in the Salt Lake suburb of Kolkata it was set up in the early 90s to attract tourists. Spread over 40 acres, it attracts over a million and a half tourists every year with its variety of joy rides.
- Eco Park – Kolkata’s latest attraction, the Eco Park is located in New Town. The amusement park is ten times larger than Nicco Park and is the biggest park of its kind in India.
There are so many places to visit in Kolkata from the narrow streets of Kumartuli, where straw idols come to life as Durga images each autumn to the glitzy malls that it is quite impossible to recount. Kolkata is a heady cocktail of history and contemporary arts and culture and leaves most visitors spellbound.