Best places to visit in Kolkata That You Can’t Afford To Miss
It is easy to say that the streets of Kolkata kindle a spark. Every nook, every corner, has an appeal that is worthy of being devoured. This city wasn’t the erstwhile capital of India for no reason. To this day, it remains the cultural and intellectual hub of India. One walk down the streets of Kolkata will make you see why, especially because some places still scream ‘Calcutta’. Standing out even amidst the prevalent charm of Kolkata, here are the best places to visit in Kolkata that need to be on your list of tourist destinations in Kolkata.
About the place: The memorial built for the death of Queen Victoria left us with a beautiful monument to flock to and learn about the marvels of the past, as was wished by the proposer of the idea, Lord Curzon. The Victoria Memorial is a large museum of exquisite white marble, and so are its beautifully crafted sculptures. Surrounded by plush gardens of dense trees, the whole place is lit up by the Light and Sound Show every evening. Inside the museum are 25 galleries with displays like paintings and manuscripts from the colonial era, no doubts Victoria Memorial tops our list of best places to visit in Kolkata.
Museum: ₹20 for Indians, ₹200 for foreigners
Light and Sound Show: ₹10 for children, ₹20 for adults
Museum: All days from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm, except Monday and National Holidays
Gardens: All days from 5:30 am to 6:30 pm (March to August); 5:30 am to 6:00 pm (September to February) (even on holidays)
Light and Sound Show: 6:15 pm to 7:00 pm (Bengali) and 7:15 pm to 8:00 pm (English) (October to February); 6:45 pm to 7:30 pm (Bengali) and 7:45 pm to 8:30 pm (English) (March to June)
About the place: Fort William is actually two forts that have separate histories and different purposes they serve. It is also known as the Black Hole of Kolkata as it once served as a prison. As it is currently occupied by army personnel, civil entry is restricted, but the architectural magnificence will draw you in for a visit. Three sides of the fort face the banks of Hooghly River, and the other five face huge green gardens. Fort William has skilfully constructed gates and hundreds of arched windows. No wonder it took over a decade to be built!
Tickets: Free entry, but with permission from the Commanding Officer
Timings: All days from 10:00 am to 5:30 pm
About the place: Howrah Bridge is the emblem, the representative of Kolkata. It has navigated a massive amount of traffic every day since 1946. It is the very reason it was built – to take people from one bank of Hooghly to the other. Today, it is the busiest cantilever bridge in the world with nearly 100,000 vehicles and 150,000 pedestrians passing it daily. The Howrah Bridge is the gateway to the city and its lit-up view at night is a sight to behold. A trip to Kolkata is incomplete without a visit to the Howrah Bridge.
About the place: As the name suggests, the Marble Palace is known for the marble that has been used to construct it, and the whiteness that comes with it. The features that lie within are no less elegant – Bengali-style lawns, a rock garden, a lake, a small zoo and a Jagannath Temple (the temple is only open to the residents of the palace). The residents have been the Mullick family for generations. The palace is graced with fine pillars and verandas. The Marble Palace is one of the few remaining examples of real modern-day royalty, and is a must-visit on the list of the best places to visit in Kolkata.
Tickets: Free entry
Timings: 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
About the place: Established by Mother Teresa, the Mother House offers a place with open arms for everyone who seeks peace and the deeper meaning of life. The place still resonates her spirit and purity and is still filled with vibrations of positivity. The Mother House houses the tomb of Mother Teresa and has a museum that displays her articles and her way of life. Her tomb is simple and therein lies its beauty – simplicity. The Mother House is beyond a tourist spot; it is a tranquil experience, an opportunity to walk on the footsteps of the beloved and respected Mother Teresa.
Timings: All days from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm and 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm, except Thursdays; mass every day at 6:00 am for sisters and volunteers
About the place: Tagore House, or Jorasanko Thakur Bari, is the ancestral house of Rabindranath Tagore. He was born here and even breathed his last in his very home. It is now a museum with three galleries worth of dedications of art and literature to and by the Tagore family. A trip to the Tagore House is a golden chance for history lovers to view Bengali Renaissance in a different light. The best time to visit the Tagore House is on the birthdays of the poets to witness a grand celebration of their work and life.
Tickets: ₹10; ₹5 for students
Timings: All days from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, except Mondays
About the place: Rabindra Sarovar is an artificial lake surrounded by children’s parks, gardens and auditoria that offer something for everyone in the family. There are various species of birds in the sky and fish in the lake. To add to the charm of the venue, there is often live music playing in the evenings and a free salsa class on Sundays! Rabindra Sarovar is your go-to place to relax and get your groove on with your family. The place is crowded with vendors who have the best street food in store for you. It’s the perfect place to spend a day!
About the place: The world’s largest mangrove forest is of course known for being a tiger zone. Especially the Royal Bengal Tigers, the kings who own the place. Needless to say, the Sundarbans are home to hundreds of species of plants, trees, animals and birds. A walk along its paved routes or a boat ride on the estuaries will bring you closer to nature than you’ve ever been. To do so, you can take a safari, a boat safari or even a cruise for a couple of nights! There are several general and private tours to choose from. The Sundarbans are a sightseeing must-hit near Kolkata and one of the best places to visit in Kolkata.
Tickets: ₹950-₹50,000, depending on your choice of safari
Timings: 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, depending on your choice of safari
About the place: The Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Indian Botanic Garden, more popularly known as the Botanical Garden, is a festival of a number of species of flora like orchids, bamboos and palms, amidst which, stands The Great Banyan, a giant banyan tree which is the icon of this tourist spot. There are artificial ponds within the gardens that are covered in water lilies. You can spot jackals, mongooses and foxes, along with a variety of snakes. The Botanical Garden is filled to the brim with nature’s best and offers a great place to sit back and breathe in the fresh air.
Tickets: ₹10 for Indians, ₹100 for foreigners; ₹20 for camera
Timings: 10:00 am to 7:00 pm
About the place: The Alipore Zoo is the most popular tourist attraction in winters. It houses a large variety of animals and birds of all sizes – Bengal tigers, African lions, one-horned rhinoceros’, zebras, jaguars, antelopes, elephants, emus, cassowaries, macaws, golden pheasants and plenty more. To add to it, the Calcutta Aquarium is right down the street from the zoo, with a long list of its own. The Alipore Zoo is best known for being home to Adwaita, the Aldabra giant tortoise who had lived for 250 years before he died in 2006.
Tickets: ₹25 for adults, ₹10 for kids below 5 years
Timings: All days from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, except Thursdays
These are hand-picked places to visit in Kolkata. Add them to shopping at Bara Bazaar and eating puchkas in Bhawanipore, and your Kolkata trip is complete. And perfect.
Catch you later,