Top attractions in Kolkata
Kolkata, the capital city of West Bengal, India, is a vibrant metropolis known for its rich history, cultural heritage, and intellectual pursuits. Here are some of the top attractions to visit in Kolkata:
This grand marble building is an iconic symbol of Kolkata and a popular tourist attraction. It houses a museum that showcases the city’s colonial history and offers stunning views of its surroundings.
A landmark of Kolkata, Howrah Bridge is one of the busiest and most famous bridges in the world. Spanning the Hooghly River, it provides a breathtaking sight, especially when illuminated at night.
Dakshineswar Kali Temple
Situated on the banks of the Hooghly River, this Hindu temple is dedicated to Goddess Kali. It is known for its intricate architecture and religious significance, attracting a large number of devotees and visitors.
Established in 1814, the Indian Museum is the oldest and largest museum in India. It houses a vast collection of artifacts, including ancient sculptures, fossils, paintings, and archaeological exhibits.
A splendid mansion built in the 19th century, the Marble Palace is renowned for its exquisite architecture and lavish interiors. It features a fascinating collection of artworks, including paintings by famous artists such as Rubens and Reynolds.
Kalighat Kali Temple
Another significant temple dedicated to Goddess Kali, Kalighat Kali Temple is believed to be one of the 51 Shakti Peethas. Pilgrims and tourists visit to seek blessings and witness the spiritual fervor.
A popular science and technology center, Science City offers interactive exhibits, a space theater, and a planetarium. It is an educational and entertaining destination for people of all ages.
St. Paul’s Cathedral
Built in the Indo-Gothic architectural style, St. Paul’s Cathedral is one of Kolkata’s most beautiful churches. Its impressive stained glass windows and serene ambiance make it a must-visit attraction.
Located on the outskirts of Kolkata, Belur Math is the headquarters of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission. It is a serene complex that encompasses temples, a museum, and a library, dedicated to the teachings of Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda.
South Park Street Cemetery
A historic cemetery established in 1767, South Park Street Cemetery is a peaceful oasis amidst the bustling city. It contains tombs and graves of notable individuals, reflecting Kolkata’s colonial past.
These attractions offer a glimpse into Kolkata’s diverse culture, architectural marvels, and religious heritage. Remember to check the opening hours and any specific guidelines before visiting each site.
Things to do in Kolkata
In addition to the top attractions mentioned earlier, Chennai offers a range of activities and experiences for visitors. Here are some things to do in Chennai:
Explore the living museum of DakshinaChitra to immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of South India. Experience traditional art, crafts, music, dance, and architecture from various states in the region.
Take a heritage walk
Join a guided heritage walk through the historic neighborhoods of Chennai, such as George Town and Mylapore. Discover the city’s colonial past, explore old buildings, and learn about the local history and culture.
Indulge in South Indian cuisine
Chennai is renowned for its delectable South Indian cuisine. Don’t miss the opportunity to savor authentic dosas, idlis, vadas, filter coffee, and other local specialties at popular restaurants and street food stalls.
Attend a classical music or dance performance
Chennai is known as the cultural capital of South India, with a thriving classical music and dance scene. Catch a performance of Carnatic music or Bharatanatyam dance to experience the soulful art forms of the region.
Explore the art galleries
Chennai has several art galleries showcasing contemporary and traditional Indian art. Visit places like Cholamandal Artists’ Village, Lalit Kala Akademi, and Forum Art Gallery to admire artworks by local and national artists.
Enjoy a boat ride in Pulicat Lake
Take a day trip to Pulicat Lake, located on the outskirts of Chennai. Enjoy a serene boat ride, spot migratory birds, and witness the beautiful sunset over the lake.
Shop for souvenirs at local markets
Explore the local markets like Pondy Bazaar, T. Nagar, and George Town to shop for traditional handicrafts, silk sarees, jewelry, spices, and other souvenirs. Bargaining is a common practice in these markets.
Experience a traditional Ayurvedic massage
Treat yourself to a rejuvenating Ayurvedic massage or spa therapy at one of the wellness centers in Chennai. Relax and revitalize your mind and body with traditional healing techniques.
Watch a cricket match at M.A. Chidambaram Stadium
If you’re a sports enthusiast, try to catch a cricket match at the iconic M.A. Chidambaram Stadium. The electrifying atmosphere and passionate fans make it an unforgettable experience.
Go on a beach hopping tour
Apart from Marina Beach, Chennai has several other picturesque beaches like Elliot’s Beach, Covelong Beach, and Mahabalipuram Beach. Plan a beach hopping tour to soak up the sun, enjoy water sports, or simply relax by the sea.
These activities offer a glimpse into the diverse and vibrant culture of Chennai and provide a memorable experience for travelers.
FAQs on Kolkata Tourism
The best time to visit Kolkata is during the winter months, from October to March, when the weather is pleasant and comfortable. The city experiences hot and humid summers, so it’s advisable to avoid visiting between April and June.
Kolkata is well-connected by air, rail, and road. The city has an international airport, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport, which is served by numerous domestic and international flights. It also has two major railway stations, Howrah and Sealdah, with regular train services from different parts of the country.
Kolkata has an extensive public transportation system. You can travel within the city using buses, the metro (underground railway), trams, taxis, auto-rickshaws, and cycle-rickshaws. The metro is a convenient and efficient mode of transport for getting around the city.
Like any other city, it is important to take necessary precautions while traveling in Kolkata. Avoid walking alone in isolated areas at night and be cautious of your belongings in crowded places. It’s advisable to use authorized taxis or transportation services and follow basic safety measures.
Kolkata has its own cultural customs and etiquettes. It is customary to greet people with “Namaste” or “Pranam” as a sign of respect. When visiting temples, it is appropriate to remove your shoes and dress modestly. Also, it is common to use the right hand for eating and giving or receiving items.
Some popular shopping destinations in Kolkata include New Market, Gariahat Market, College Street, Dakshinapan Shopping Complex, and South City Mall. These places offer a variety of items, including clothing, accessories, handicrafts, books, electronics, and more.
Kolkata is known for its vibrant festivals and cultural events. The most famous festival celebrated in Kolkata is Durga Puja, held in September or October. It is a grand celebration with beautifully decorated pandals (temporary structures) and artistic idols of Goddess Durga. Other notable events include Kolkata International Film Festival, Kolkata Book Fair, and Rabindra Jayanti (celebration of Rabindranath Tagore’s birth anniversary).
Yes, there are several day trip options from Kolkata. You can visit the Sundarbans National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its mangrove forests and Bengal tigers. You can also explore the historic town of Serampore, the terracotta temples of Bishnupur, or the riverside town of Chandannagar.