What is Special in Kolkata
Kolkata, the capital of West Bengal, with its 350-year-history boasts of a spectacular artistic heritage as well as a chaotic yet vivid creativity-filled culture. It is the second biggest city of India and famously known as ‘City of Joy’.
When we think of Kolkata, we are reminded of this ancient city on the banks of the serene Ganges, beautifully covered with yellow lights and soulful Rabindra-sangeet in the background. The old-world charm oozing from every corner of the town will inspire you to explore the picturesque ‘Calcutta’.
Durga Puja or ‘Durgotsav’ is the most celebrated Hindu festival of the Bengalis residing in Kolkata which you can observe if you plan to visit the place at that time. It is celebrated between September and October. There are various fascinating preparations for the grand celebration which you should not miss in you are travelling Kolkata around that time. The prior week of the festival, the city gears up and wait with eagerness to welcome Goddess Durga. From ‘Chokkhu Daan’ to ‘Vijaya Dashami’ every step of the puja has some meaning, which is new learning for the traveller.
Kolkata Book Fair
If you are a bookworm, then you should know a little about Kolkata Book Fair which was first organized on March 5, 1976. Gradually the fair became an international event, and it went beyond the boundary of India and became world famous. Kolkata Book Fair is not only about books, but it is an annual event of a potpourri of books, magazines, friends, food, favourite people, music, nostalgia and memories.
Rabindranath Tagore’s ancestral house is popularly known as the ‘Jorasanko Thakurbari’. It is situated near Girish Park on Chittaranjan Avenue and is now a museum dedicated to the life and work of the legend. The museum has many original paintings of Rabindranath Tagore and many photographs. The museum is housed in the 217-year-old building where Rabindranath was born, spent an important part of his life and breathed his last there too. If you are a culture lover, then be sure to visit this point of attraction.
Academy of Fine Arts
You will be amazed to explore the heritage of one of the oldest fine art society in India, located in the Cathedral Road, Kolkata. It is a non-government cultural institution established in 1933. The facilities include one of the best auditoriums, six galleries showcasing the artistry of several notable artists, and art classes at the low expense by great personalities.
10 Best Places you Should Visit in Kolkata
When you speak about the best places to roam around in Kolkata, north Kolkata has older areas featuring narrow lanes, century-old buildings, such as Chitpur Road. Places like Barbara, Belgachia, Kumartuli, Sealdah and Howrah are the areas which are connected here. Enjoy the grandeur of the central Kolkata where the old and new regions are wonderfully blended. People from all over the world can be seen here as several of the city's hotspots are hear. South Kolkata has the charm of posh residential areas, newly built commercial and shopping complexes as well as ancient temples and historical sites.
Dakshineswar Temple & Belur Math
Dakshineswar Temple is situated in the eastern bank of the Hooghly River. It is a Hindu Temple built by Rani Rashmoni in 1855. The temple is famous for association with Ramakrishna Paramhansa, a mystic of 19th Century in Bengal. Along with twelve shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva, there is a Kali Temple, a temple of Radha-Krishna and a memorial of Rani Rashmoni. It is built on traditional ‘Navaratna’, or nine spires style, based on Bengal architecture, which is a must visit place for the people.
Belur math temple is the heart of the Ramakrishna movement, and is one of the significant institutions of Kolkata. This headquarter was founded by Swami Vivekananda, the chief disciple of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. The entrance gate of Belur Math has symbols of all religion. Thousands of people visit the place for the annual day celebration. The devotees of the math serve millions of people, including men, women and children because they see living god in human being. While visiting Dakshineswar, Belur Math can also be visited on the same day.
Indian Coffee House
Kolkata’s Coffee House is not just a place to have coffee but nostalgia and culture itself. It is located in College Street, and a regular hang out and meeting place for students and intellectuals. Maybe it is not a real tourist place, but if you love heritage, it is a unique place to visit while at Kolkata.
The nineteenth-century mansion in North Kolkata located at Muktaram Babu Street is one of the most elegant and well-preserved houses. This mansion is famous for its beautiful marble walls and floors, and sculptures. The palace is built in the neoclassical style, and the premises include a rock garden, a garden with lawns, a lake and a small zoo. Western sculptures, pieces of Victorian furniture, Indian and European artefacts make this palace a unique visiting place of Kolkata.
College Street is the world’s largest second-hand book market, which is a heavenly place for the readers. It is lined up with many of Kolkata’s academic institutions including the University of Calcutta, Medical College of Kolkata, Sanskrit College, and Presidency College, to name a few of them. It is a stretch of road between Bow bazaar crossing and Mahatma Gandhi Road. To get the rare books on dirt cheap rate, you have to visit the place when you travel to North Kolkata.
Indian Museum of Kolkata is the largest museum in India and the ninth oldest museum in the world. It is popularly known as ‘Jadughar’ and has the most exquisite collection of paintings, relics of Buddha, ancient sculptures and Egyptian mummies. It also has a brilliant and rare collection of ornaments, antiques, armours, skeletons and beautiful Mughal paintings. If you love history, the Indian Museum located at Jawaharlal Nehru road in the Dharmatala area will take you back to the fascinating past.
The building of Birla Planetarium popularly called as ‘Taramandal’ is unique as it is based on the famous Buddhist Stupa at Sanchi. It is situated in the Chowringhee Road, and it is involved with the research and academic activities in astrophysics and astronomy. It has an electronic laboratory and some fascinating science equipment. It is a must visit place for those who love galaxy and a great learning experience for kids of all ages.
The landmark of Kolkata located in the heart of the city is almost a replica of the Victoria Memorial in London. It was built in the memory of Queen Victoria to celebrate her twenty-five years of ruling time over India. It is surrounded with beautiful lush green garden over sixty-four acres of area and has numerous statues and sculptures throughout the place. The palace looks breathtaking at night as the entire complex is illuminated. The light and sound show in the evening is a must watch for the visitors. If you love to see the real Victorian era in the present day world, then you cannot miss the Victoria memorial of Kolkata.
India’s oldest and formally stated as Zoological Park, Alipore Zoo of Kolkata is a big tourist attraction for people of all ages. It is one of the most popular tourist attraction of the city which draws a huge crowd during the winter season. The zoo is located in the Alipore Zoological Garden, and it is open for the visitors throughout the week from 9 am to 5 pm.
National library of Kolkata is the most extensive library in India by volume, and it is situated in the 30-acre scenic Belvedere Estate in Alipore. If you are a book lover, you will be amazed by the massive collection of books in almost all the possible languages of India. It has many rare manuscripts and first published Hindi books. It has no entry fee, and it is open throughout the week from 9 am to 8 pm on weekdays and 9:30 am to 6 pm on weekends.
It is said that the name of the city ‘Calcutta’ is derived from the word Kalighat. The Kali Temple of Kalighat is a Hindu temple dedicated to the Hindu goddess Kali. This holy place is regarded as one of the 51 Shakti Peethas of India, and it is almost 200 years old. It gets an enormous crowd on special occasions like Kali Puja, Poila Boishakh, Durga Puja and more. It is opened all day of the week, but Saturdays get the huge crowd as it is the worship day of Goddess Kali.
Peter Cat Restaurant
If you are foodie, then Peter Cat is a must-check-out joint for excellent continental preparations. Peter Cat has an outstanding ambience that evokes the mixed charm of both Indian and Continental. It has a fascinating history of enchanting food at inexpensive cost among the locals and the visitors of the Park Street area. If you visit the restaurant, then you should try this Anglo-Indian restaurant’s famous ‘Chelo Kebab’ with a platter of hot steamed rice, a fried egg and melting butter on top. It is a sensation for the locals and the tourists as well.
Enjoy Beautiful Evenings of Kolkata
Millennium Park is a privately owned park situated in the Strand Road spreading over the area of two and a half kilometres on the banks of River Hooghly in Kolkata. It is quite a refreshing place, and scenic beauty is remarkable. You will get a boat ride and snacks at a fair price. The soothing Ganges will cherish your memory forever after the visit.
Princep Ghat has a Greek and gothic inlay, and it is located at the banks of river Hooghly. It is located between the Water Gate and the St. George of the Fort William and considered as one of the oldest recreational spots of Kolkata. The place at night looks gorgeous, and you will certainly enjoy the ambience near the river Ganges.
The Newtown Eco Park, also known as “Prakriti Tirtha” is a beautiful urban park in Rajarhat and the biggest park so far in India. The extensive park is designed to promote eco-tourism in the city, and it occupies 475 acres of land. Take a quick escape from the mundane life in the beautiful well-maintained landscape. It has three major parts like the gardens, ecological zones and a perfect getaway to relax.
The bridge in Floatel
This floating hotel offers a fun and unique experience that makes it unforgettable. Its the first floating hotel in south Asia which offers state of the art facilities and world-class amenities. It has multi-cuisine restaurants which offer mouth-watering dishes that can be enjoyed with a scenic view of the water. The evening at this place is quite a different experience for the locals as well the visitors.
Shopping Destinations of Kolkata
A visit without shopping is incomplete, especially if you are travelling to Kolkata. It is a nostalgic city and you will get all kinds of ethnic and charming gifts for yourself and your loved ones here.
- New Market: New Market is a shopper’s paradise in Kolkata, and it is merely a nostalgic shopping institution situated in Lindsay Street, which you should visit if you are travelling there.
- Gariahat Market: It is the heartbeat of the shopaholics and a never to miss shopping attraction of south Kolkata.
- Hatibagan Market: It is amongst the most significant and oldest markets in North Kolkata. It is a traditional market and very famous as the weekly market.
- Burrabazar Market: It is located in the North-Central part of Kolkata where you can get wholesale priced items in great deals, as this is one of the largest wholesale markets of India.
What is the Best Time to Visit Kolkatta?
Like much of India, Kolkatta has a tropical climate. That makes the Summer, hotter and Autumn to Spring the pleasant months to visit. Kolkatta enjoys a good monsoon and that rules out the months June to September. October to March are the busiest months in Kolkatta's social calendar with Durga pooja, Laxmi Pooja and Kali Pooja occurring one after another. If you are visiting in Winter, be sure to pack light woollen clothes, for the evenings can turn colder. Be sure to align your visit with Diwali or New Year Celebrations or Durga Puja. The city is ablaze with lights and fireworks and the top 3 festivals celebrated in the city.