Best Places to Explore in Kolkata

Top Places to Explore in Kolkata


Kolkata is both chaotic and charming! The City of Joy has a lot to offer tourists who are keen to discover, from lively corners to ever-changing markets. There is something for everyone, if you are a literature student or someone who enjoys learning about foreign cultures.

Kolkata is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal, and it is located on the eastern banks of the Hooghly River. The city is home to India’s oldest operating port and, after Mumbai and Delhi, is the country’s third most populous metropolitan area. Under the Mughals, the territory was ruled by the Nawabs of Bengal, and then the British, who took complete control of the city in 1772. Between the 19th and early 20th centuries, the city was also the epicentre of India’s industrial revolution and the cradle of contemporary Indian cultural, lyrical, artistic, and literary movements. Kolkata has become one of India’s most popular tourist destinations due to its many cultural mixtures.

If you are planning a trip to Kolkata in the near future, here is a checklist of all the top spots to go. While some are well-known, there are others that are less well-known among the city’s tourist crowds but nonetheless merit a visit.

1. Howrah Bridge


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Howrah Bridge is a huge steel bridge that crosses the Hooghly River and is a well-known landmark in Kolkata. It is considered as one of the world’s longest floating bridges. It joins Howrah and Kolkata and is also called Rabindra Setu. It is as historic as it is grand, carrying over 100,000 automobiles and countless pedestrians on a daily basis. The richness of the bridge, on the other hand, comes alive at night when it is illuminated.

The Howrah Bridge is crucial to Kolkata’s survival. It was started in 1939 and finished in 1940. The Governor of Bengal planned to build a bridge across the River Ganges and commissioned an East India Company engineer to come up with a plan that never materialised. In 1874, Sir Bradford Leslie constructed a pontoon bridge. It had to be modified, however, to suit the growing traffic crossing the Hooghly River. As a result, the Howrah Bridge was built in 1942. It was given the name New Howrah Bridge as a result of this. The building took seven years to complete, and it was officially introduced to the public in February 1943. The project’s chief engineer was Sir Rajendra Nath Mukherjee. The iron for the bridge came from a company called TATA STEEL.

Howrah Bridge was once the third-longest floating bridge in the world, but it is currently the sixth-longest of its kind. On June 14, 1965, it was renamed Rabindra Setu, after Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore. It is 1500 feet long and 71 feet wide, and it spans the Hooghly River. The Howrah Junction Railway Station, India’s oldest railway station, is located at the bridge’s Howrah end.Rendel, Palmer, and Tritton designed the bridge, which was built by The Braithwaite Burn and Jessop Construction Company Ltd. The bridge’s pillars are 468 feet long, while the anchor arm is 325 feet long. It transports about all of the traffic to and from Howrah Junction Railway Station. Cars and buses account for the majority of the traffic. The bridge carries far more weight than is intended. It is surrounded on all sides by wide footpaths, and as a result, it is swamped by pedestrians.

The Howrah Bridge is a massive cultural landmark in Kolkata, serving as a major symbol in the city. It is associated with this magnificent city, and its beauty has inspired several directors to include it in their films.Howrah Bridge has recently been featured in films such as Parineeta, Love Aaj Kal, Kahaani, Barfi!, Gunday, and Piku. It was also included in the Oscar-nominated picture Lion from 2016.

2. Victoria Memorial

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Victoria Memorial, an impressive white structure, is one of Kolkata’s most popular tourist attractions, and with good reason.The Victoria Memorial, historic landmark of the British Raj in India, is located in the central part of Kolkata, West Bengal. This beautiful white marble building was created in Queen Victoria’s honour to remember her 25 years of rule over India and is nearly identical to the Victoria Memorial in London.Lord Curzon’s beautiful artwork was made to honour the Queen’s twenty-fifth year reign over India. After the Revolt of 1857, the Queen became the figurehead of India and effectively controlled the country until her death in 1901. Lord Curzon wished for a dignified, expansive, and massive monument to be dedicated to her, along with a lovely garden.

William Emerson, the head of the Royal Institute of British Architects, is the lead architect for the Victoria Memorial. He has given the monument a stylish Indo-Saracenic design while also taking ideas from Egyptian, Venetian, Mughal, and other Islamic forms. The white Makrana Marble that was imported all the distance from Jodhpur, Rajasthan, was used to construct the 184-foot tall structure. Botanist Sir David Prain and Lord Redesdale developed the enormous gardens that surround the monument, which cover 64 acres.

A variety of sculptures can be found in the greenery of the Victoria Memorial. At the memorial’s entry, a bronze statue of Queen Victoria on a bronze throne greets visitors, while a tour around the garden exposes statues of Edward VII, Curzon, Hastings, and Dalhousie. Motherhood, Architecture, Learning, and Justice are among the allegorical statues on display. The gardens, which cover 64 acres and are being tended by 21 gardeners, are a top location for morning walkers.

The Victoria Memorial is awe-inspiring and magnificent, especially when illuminated at night. The evening Sound and Light showcases are an added bonus and a must-see. Overall, the location is a must-see for everyone interested in remembering the atmosphere of the Victorian era in the present world.

Timings and a Ticket to Enter

  1. Victoria Memorial Gallery: The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Indians pay INR 20 per person, whereas foreigners pay INR 200 per person.

  1. The Gardens: The gardens are open from 5:30 a.m. to 6:15 p.m. every day.

The entrance fee is only INR 10 per person.

It’s important to remember that a garden ticket does not allow you to enter the museum.

3. Park Street

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Park Street is the place to go if you enjoy sharing images of meals with your friends on social media. Because there are so many eye-catching cafes and restaurants in this area! Park Street has become a gathering place for those looking to unwind in the evening. This area has everything, from large restaurants to famous clubs and pubs.

Park Street is frequently frequented by bookworms looking to buy new and used books. Park Street is also home to the world-famous Oxford Bookstore. There are also various local gift shops, corner shops, and apparel shops that one can visit and purchase products from, depending on their needs.Park Street is home to the city’s greatest bars and clubs. The majority of these establishments have live music, with both lesser-known and well-known musicians performing. Happy hours are held in practically all restaurants and pubs, with enticing deals for patrons. Some of the most popular pubs here are Roxy, Somewhere Else Pub at the Park Hotel, M Bar, and The Myx.

Some are well-known for delivering traditional Bengali cuisine, whereas others offer a diverse selection or fusion of cuisines from around the world. With its decor and furniture, each restaurant has managed to build a vibe that ranges from stylish, elegant, and contemporary to vintage. Some of the restaurants on Park Street are The Park Hotel, Charcoal Grill, Peter Cat, Over The Top, Mocambos Restaurant, Khandani Rajdhani, and Tung Fong Restaurant.

On the festivals of Diwali, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve, the street attracts a huge number of locals. The entire place is lit up with dazzling and colourful lights, indicating that the festivities are being celebrated with zeal. Park Street is also home to or near a number of notable landmarks. Asiatic Society, St. Xavier’s College, and South Park Street Cemetery are among them. It is one of Kolkata’s most popular leisure and recreational areas.

4. Eden Gardens

Top Places to Explore in Kolkata
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It was initially named as the ‘Aukland Circus Garden,’ but due to many influences, it was renamed Eden Gardens. It was not only named after General Aukland’s sisters, but it was also strongly inspired by Eden Garden from the Bible. This stadium has hosted a number of matches, with at least six of them attracting over 100,000 spectators. The first Test match was played here in 1934, followed by the first One-Day International in 1987.

The stadium’s initial capacity was only 40,000 people. In preparation for the 1987 World Cup, major modifications were conducted to expand its size to over 100,000 and improve the facilities available. The roof was built in such a way that it gave maximum coverage with minimal support. In a very short amount of time, a geometrically precise roof was built over a somewhat uneven stadium, making this stadium an improbable technical spectacle.

The Eden Gardens, Kolkata’s home of cricket, is a magnificent, well-kept cricket stadium in Kolkata’s B. B. D. Bagh neighbourhood, near the State Secretariat and the Calcutta High Court. This cricket stadium, which spans 50 acres and has a seating capacity of 66,349 people, is the world’s second largest stadium. Eden Gardens is a charming place for nature lovers when it is not holding several of the most exciting sporting events. It is a popular sporting location that stages one-day, test, and T20 matches on a regular basis. It is currently home to the IPL team Kolkata Knight Riders as well as the provincial Bengal Cricket Team. Eden Garden has also hosted a number of Association Matches.

5. Prinsep Ghat

Top Places to Explore in Kolkata
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Princep Ghat, which is located beside the Hooghly River, is a great area to enjoy your evenings. After the sun sets, the surroundings are fully illuminated, and you may bring some food and spend some time relaxing and enjoying the grounds. The Princep Ghat is an Ancient Greece building built beneath the 2nd Hooghly Bridge in a strategic location.Tourists visiting these attractions frequently visit the ghat, which is situated between Fort William and the WaterGate. Princep Ghat is one of the rare places in the country that has been restored to its pre-independence appearance.

Near the ghat, there are food vendors selling tasty local foods. One of the locations is nearly 50 years old and has been selling ice cream and fast food to locals since it first opened. Prinsep Ghat has received many renovations and improvements. The ghat now features lovely lawns and gardens, as well as tall trees and flower beds, making it an ideal hideaway for nature lovers.

At the Prinsep Ghat, boating is a popular fun activity. Old wooden boats and speedboats are available for these river rides, which range anything from a few minutes to an hour.

Boating in the peaceful river is best done in the early mornings (6:00 AM to 9:00 AM) and evenings (5:00 PM to 7:00 PM). On request, some boatmen may continue the sunset river boat ride for an additional hour or so for a charge.The Prinsep Ghat is undoubtedly the highlight of any visit to Kolkata.

6. Race Course

Top Places to Explore in Kolkata
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While Calcutta was the centre of the British empire until 1911, the city gained the honor of being home to a number of enjoyments for art and sports. The Kolkata race track, which is one of the country’s largest, was established with the goal of promoting horseback riding. The Kolkata Race Course was founded in 1820 as a place for the city’s elite to meet for entertainment and sports. The race course, which had previously only been available to its members, was opened to the public in 1880, and public observation stands were established. The race course is known for hosting some of the most famous racing events in the world.The Royal Calcutta Turf Club was established or, more correctly, is the product of the renovation of a home once owned by the Apcar Family, a famous Armenian merchant family who arrived to India from Persia in the late 1770s. The clubhouse is a two-story Palladian structure with marble floors, polished wood doors, and a wooden staircase.

Horse racing is a seasonal sport that takes place twice a year. The first season starts in July and lasts until September, while the second season begins in November and lasts until March. The races are held every Saturday during these months.Horse races are held on days when there are no public holidays or special occasions.

The Kolkata Race Course, located in Kolkata, West Bengal, is one of India’s largest and most prestigious horse racing venues. The Royal Calcutta Turf Club maintains the race course, which is a must-see for anybody visiting Kolkata. Visitors get a sense of the city’s wealthy and regal side here. There’s also a huge polo field right next to the racetrack, which is often regarded as the greatest in the country. Due to its central placement in the city’s core, the race track is readily available from all sections of the city. The Victoria Memorial is located in the western side of the race course, which is situated in the south-west area of Maidan.

7. Kumartuli

Top Places to Explore in Kolkata
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The town buzzes with energy in the weeks leading up to the festival, as it is a potter’s community that is approximately 300 years old. Over 150 families live in the area and work tirelessly to create all of the festival idols. You can enjoy a tour of the facility and speak with the potters to learn more about how these gorgeous idols are created.

Kumartuli translates to “potter’s quarter.” Many artists used to live in these districts of north Kolkata centuries ago. However, they were soon up against strong competition from the Marwaris of Burrabazar in terms of both occupation and housing. Durga Puja began to spread throughout communities, and these potters discovered a better way of life as a result. However, it would be incorrect to assume that these artists focus solely on the talents that are displayed during the Durga Puja. They are kept occupied all year because of the numerous events that occur during a Bengali year.

Thousands of people flood these alleys each September, hoping for god (and goddesses). Kumartuli idols have been throughout the world for the past 30 years. The artisans’ lives haven’t changed significantly as a result of their fame, but they continue to toil, infusing the divine into the carefully created idols.The essence of Kumortuli, which is filled with the rich fragrance of wet clay, is its old world beauty, which captures observers as expert artists create the god as if by magic – a century-long tradition passed down from generation to generation. Kumartuli artists now not only make clay idols of gods and goddesses that are worshipped in Cities of India, but they also transport the idols on a regular basis for a range of festivals held by Indian populations throughout the globe.

8. Alipore Zoo

Top Places to Explore in Kolkata
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The Alipore Zoo is one of Kolkata’s most popular tourist attractions, especially for families with children. The zoo is the country’s oldest and has a diverse collection of animals, birds, and reptiles.The Alipore Zoo, also known as the Calcutta Zoo or the Alipore Zoological Garden, is the oldest zoological park in India and a popular tourist destination in Kolkata, West Bengal.

The zoo grew thanks to donations from British and Indian royalty. Many contributors, including Maharaja of Mysore Krishna Raja Wadiyar IV and Raja Suryakanta Acharya of Mymensingh, donated portions or all of their private zoos to Alipore. The zoo has recently been under fire from members of the zoo community, as well as environmentalists and nature conservationists. The zoo’s tight cages were a major point of contention, as was the zoo’s Panthera hybrid breeding programme, which was a lion-tiger cross-breeding experiment.Since then, the zoo has undergone sizable changes at a furious speed. The Panthera programme was stopped, and the animals are now housed in larger, more open habitats.

The Alipore Zoo has a Reptile House, a Primate House, an Elephant House, and a Panther House, among other attractions. There is also a separate children’s zoo here, as well as the Calcutta Aquarium, which is located across the street from the zoo but is connected with it.

The Alipore Zoo’s hours and schedule are as follows:

  1. Zoo hours are 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  2. Hours of operation: 10:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  3. Hours of operation for the ticket counter: 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Thursdays are a weekly off day.

4.On days other than Saturdays, Sundays, and public holidays, the rate is INR 25.

5.On Saturdays, Sundays, and public holidays, the price is INR 30.

INR 10 for visitors under the age of five.

9. Eco park

Top Places to Explore in Kolkata
P.C : ecoparknewtown

Kolkata’s Eco-Tourism Park is a large urban park dedicated to promoting eco-tourism in the city. It is India’s largest urban park, covering over 475 acres of property. Because of a water body that encircles the park and forms an island in the middle, the location’s attractiveness is increased tenfold. Picnickers and individuals looking for a quick break from their daily routines frequent the area. For nature lovers, the lovely and well-kept terrain is the ideal escape. All of the park’s facilities are designed to reduce negative environmental impacts by avoiding pollution and maintaining the natural scenery.

Eco Park’s Food Court contains roughly 20 food shops serving a variety of foods. These shops are placed around a square garden with shelters that double as dining areas.The park’s replicas of the Seven Wonders of the World can be found in various locations throughout the park. Some of the Seven Wonders can be viewed, while others are being built on the 480-acre Park, including Christ the Redeemer, Taj Mahal, Colosseum, and Great Wall of China.

Mamata Banerjee, the Chief Minister of West Bengal, presented the proposal of an Eco-Tourism Park in Kolkata. The Eco-Tourism Park in Kolkata was built in partnership with numerous departments by HIDCO – Housing Infrastructure Development Corporation of West Bengal. It is divided into three sections: natural zones, gardens, and recreational zones, making it an ideal place to relax and enjoy. Visitors can select from a variety of activities to meet their specific needs. They also rent out cottages and conference halls for personal or corporate use. The Eco Park is a lovely break from the city’s growing concrete jungle.

Dates: March 1st through October 31st (Summer Season)

From 2:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday,

Sundays and holidays: 12:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.,

From November 1st to February 28th (Winter Season)

From Tuesday to Saturday, 12 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Sundays and holidays: 11:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Monday is a holiday.

Ticket Price : INR 30 per person (3 years and above),

Ticket counter closes at 7:30 PM

10. College Street

Top Places to Explore in Kolkata
P.C : lifestyle

There is no better spot in Kolkata to shop for books than College Street. College Street, one of the top tourist attractions in Kolkata for young people. College Street has a long history dating back to 1817, when David Hare founded The Hindu College with the goal of providing a progressive education for the children of the Hindu community of the time. The first group of students at the college were 20 scholars. The route was previously known as ‘The Great Arterial Road’ before being renamed College Street. The street was designated as one of India’s prominent landmarks, and in 2007, it was included in Time Magazine’s ‘Best of Asia’ list.

Kolkata’s Indian Coffee House and College Street are well-known landmarks. The Coffee House on College Street is the city’s most iconic structure, known for being a hangout for the city’s finest since its origins. With names like Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Rabindranath Tagore, Oscar-winning director Satyajit Ray, noted scientist Jagdish Chandra Bose, Amartya Sen, Aparna Sen, Ritwik Ghatak, and talented singer Manna Dey, it has always been an adda (meeting place) for the literati, arts, academia, and politicians.

Locals affectionately refer to College Street in Kolkata as “Boi Para” (Book Colony). The College Street, which stretches over 1.5 kilometres, is the world’s largest storehouse of used books and India’s largest book market, with bargains galore. Hard bargaining can also be used to obtain good books at extremely low prices.College Street is noted for being frequented by the city’s eminent literati, in addition to its collection of books.

College Street has everything from classroom materials to secondhand novels. Calcutta Medical College, Presidency College, Hare School, Hindu College, University of Calcutta, and Sanskrit College are among India’s most famous academic institutions.

Lata Mangeshkar – The immortal Voice

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