Also known as the city of joy, Kolkata, was once the intellectual and cultural capital of India. Kolkata has a special old world charm and peaceful living. Its contrasting lifestyle is what differentiates Kolkata from the other metropolitans of India. Located at the banks of river Hooghly, it originated as a trading hub of British India. One can witness the influence of the Britishers even today when they learn about the places to visit in Kolkata. From Victorian-era buildings to slow paced trams Kolkata has successfully retained the age-old traditions. Even though the city did not become the capital of India after the British Raj, it continued to set an epitome of cultural creativity in the country.
Additionally, the city has established a recognizable performing arts venture. The Bengal film Industry remains one of the top-ranked cinemas around the world. Satyajit Ray a local auteur even went on to win an Oscar. Furthermore, the city has given birth to many other notable people such as Saint Teresa and Rabindranath Tagore. The city of joy is known so because of its diverse culture and wonders.
Aside from what Kolkata has to offer, the people here are friendly. Locals here mostly speak Bengali and have their own twist to English wordings. However, the city makes for one with a high literacy rate. Also the localities, commonly referred to as Bengalis love passing their time reading or listening to music. This is one reason why the city boasts many renowned singers and famed poets. Once you step into the city you will feel like you have entered a black and white movie. This is because the surroundings are casual and the life here moves at a slow pace. Everything is calming and the city succeeds in spreading peace.
One of India’s most well known metropolitan cities Kolkata resides in eastern India. Spreads across the Hooghly river, having an elevation of 17 feet. Moreover, the city remains bordered by the Sundarbans that separates the city from the Bay of Bengal. To know the exact location of the city makes use of the Kolkata Map. The map will highlight fertile soils and the main places to visit in Kolkata. Upon closely looking at the map, one will see some of the main water resources of the city as well. Also on the left bottom of the map, many symbols show the many terrains and important structure of the city. These symbols help you access hospitals, hotels, water sources, Rail lines etc.
Also Read: Places to visit in Mumbai
Best time to visit Kolkata
Due to the city’s location, it witnesses a typical tropical climate. Thus, October to March marking the autumn season makes the region a habitable one because of its pleasant environment. This also remains the time of many Bengali festivities. One of the main festivals of Kolkata, The Durga Pujo lights up the city like never before. This is probably the only time the city gets out of its black and white phase and enters a colourful and exciting mode. During the Pujo, Kolkata becomes a foodies paradise as many locally acclaimed restaurants establish food stalls. These months are the most favoured months to visit Kolkata.
However, during the winters the temperature begins to fall. Kolkata witnesses winter during the months of December and January. If you wish to visit the city during these months we suggest you carry your woollen clothing. The city also receives occasional rainfalls making the weather pleasant and cool. This remains the best time to celebrate an anniversary or honeymoon for the young couples in Kolkata. Furthermore, the hottest months in the city exist between April and May. If you wish to pay a visit to Kolkata during the summers do not forget your cotton clothing and a good pair of sunglasses. Try keeping yourself hydrated because the climate remains highly humid. It’s best to stay indoors or travel seldom around the city during these months.
The famed monsoons of Kolkata arrive during the months June to September. This is when the city receives heavy rainfall and the temperature comes down with a contrasting humidity level. Also, August remains the wettest month and September is when the rains slow down leaving the evenings cool. While you plan a trip to Bengal’s capital make sure you sight all the mentioned places to visit in Kolkata.
Places to visit in Kolkata
When one says Kolkata, the only picture that pops in one’s head is that of a city with an ancient outlook. The picture may also comprise of repleting buildings, heavily invaded bazaars and a slow-paced tram in the 21st century. A blend of both old and new, Kolkata with its eclectic combination of colonialism and urban universality, remains one of the best tourist places in India. Furthermore, its historical and architectural spectacles make the city worth visiting for the tourists. What’s most striking about the city of joy is its passion. Kolkatans are passionate about everything be it sports, food or arts. Kolkata is noted for its wide range of tourist attractions just like its diverse population. Places to visit in Kolkata include Churches, bridges, Monuments, Memorials, Gardens and Bazaars. All of the mentioned will help you enjoy the cultural flavour of the city.
One of the most important places to visit in Kolkata stands on the Hooghly River. The Bridge is also known by the locals as the Gateway of Kolkata. The majestic Bridge was constructed between 1943 and 1947. The bridge is also often called the Rabindra Sethu named of the renowned Bengali literate Rabindranath Tagore, exists as one of the busiest bridges in the world. The best way to marvel at the engineering wonder is to watch it at night when the bridge gleams with the street lights, thus adding to its charm.
The bridge primarily got its name because it connects the cities of Howrah and Kolkata. Moreover, the bridge stands at a massive height of 270 odd feet high on two strong pillars. This bridge is unique as it remains one that was built without any nuts or bolts. However, earlier the bridge had a tram rail but today it serves as a road bridge. Furthermore, this bridge also consists of two smaller bridges namely, Vidyasagar Sethu and Vivekananda Setha that sit at two different points over the Hooghly. Thus the bridge dominates most of the attractions in Kolkata and is often the most preferred tourist spot in the evenings.
The bridge holds many different facts that visitors would love to hear about or read. One of the marvelling facts is that the bridge carries over 1 lakh vehicles and probably more than one lakh fifty thousand passersby. This is what makes it one of the busiest cantilever bridges in the world. What’s interesting is that it has made for a beautiful backdrop for many movies in India. Some of the famed movies shot here are Gunday, Barfi and Kolkata News.
This fabulously built Museum was built in 1921. This hall is a fabulous place that takes its visitors into the history of Indian Independence. Here one can view the pictures of many famed personalities who lead India to its freedom and gave the country its past. Today the Victoria Memorial stands as one of the finest art galleries in India. The 184 feet tall Memorial was initially constructed on 64 acres of land. It also comprises of many breathtaking figures that portray learning, motherhood, and wisdom.
The structure was built in commemoration of Queen Victoria’s 25-year rule in India. A marvellous proof of British architecture in combination with Mughal motifs, the memorial is perhaps one of the best places to visit in Kolkata. The Monument sparkles in the night because of its beautiful white marble. The monument also comprises a sneak peek into the life and lifestyle of the Britishers through the scripts, paintings, and books that date back to the 1800’s. Additionally, statues and sculptures, as well as arms, prove the royal taste of the Britishers. Thus, the memorial makes it to our list of one of the places to visit in Kolkata.
Kalighat Kali Temple
Dedicated to Maa Kaali the goddess, most of the locals worship. It makes for one of the four important shakti peethas in India. The region was initially a ghaat that is believed to be sacred to Kaali. This is also from where Kolkata is said to have derived its name. Initially, the area was located near the Hooghly River, however now the river has moved away may be due to drying up of water. Today the temple resides at the banks of a small canal named Aadhi Ganga that mixes with the river Hooghly.
Usually, Maa Kaali is seen in a horrifying form, she is known as a destroyer and a liberator. Many people worship the goddess in her valuable form. These devotees flock to the temple from all parts of India and the world. The temple thus serves as one of the most important places to visit in Kolkata and makes for an attractive tourist destination. For the followers of Hinduism, the temple is of prime significance. The legends have it that many parts of Sati fell on the surface of the Earth during self-sacrifice. It is also believed that her right toe was found here and this event marked the establishment of the temple. The actual temple was a small hut and today it stands as a majestic place of worship for its visitors.
Alipore Zoological Gardens
Also known as the Calcutta Zoo, the Alipore zoo is regarded as one of the oldest zoological gardens in India. The government first opened the gates of the zoo to the public in the year 1876. It makes for a spectacular tourist attraction in Kolkata. This is also why it lists as one of the important places to visit in Kolkata, West Bengal. The zoo calls out to people from all over the nation and even many foreign nationals. People come here to explore nature at its best and wildlife in their natural habitat. The region is one that is famed for its expired Aldabra tortoise(Adwaita). The Aldabra was one of the oldest tortoises that died in the year 2006.
Furthermore, nature lovers or families with children flock the zoo to witness the country’s unique wildlife at it’s best. The forest boasts creatures like the Royal Bengal Tiger, and Grant’s Zebra. The zoo also offers an exotic Reptile house which only houses reptiles and boasts the Indian Python and Indian Cobra. Also, many attractive birds find a home in the zoo such as Macaws and Lorikeet as well as some pretty birds namely the Swinhoe’s Pheasant, Emu as well as Osterages. Dwelling here during the winter season are a few migratory birds namely the Sarus Crane. The zoo thus remains crowded during the winter seasons.
Additionally, the zoo has risen to fame due to its new and unique features. The popularity increased due to establishments such as aviaries and enclosures made up of glass. Furthermore, the Alipore zoo was built as an Indian Natural History project by Richard Wellesley. During that time many gardens and forests were taking shape in India. This is when the British Government decided to formally announce the Calcutta Zoo as a Zoological Garden.
Visiting Hours: 9 a.m to 5 p.m
Aquarium timing: 10 a.m to 5:30 p.m
Weekly off: Thursdays
Ticket Price: Above 5 years 25 R.s on weekdays and 30 R/s on weekends and government holidays. Visitors below 5 years 10 R/s and aquarium charges remain 5 R/s. You can carry your camera free of any charges.
Sundarban National Park
A confluence formed by the rivers Ganga, Brahmaputra, and Meghana create a delta on which the Sundarban National Park resides. The sanctuary is the world’s biggest estuarine national park. Apart from being a national park the region also serves as a tiger reserve and a UNESCO world heritage site. Moreover, the area is also a biosphere reserve. The National Park extracts its name from the Sundari trees that spread across the sanctuary. The special feature here is the ambush of royal Bengal tigers and a significant number of spotted deer, and eagles. The park attracts many tourists due to the presence of Ridley Sea Turtles. Here one may also find saltwater crocodiles and dolphins.
The Sundarbans remain bordered by islands like Goa Saba, Sandesh Kali and Basanti on the north and the Bay of Bengal to the south. Meanwhile, the eastern parts lie the water sources of Malta and Bidya and to the western side lies the international boundary of Bangladesh. Additionally, the Sundarbans is famed for its well-grown unique plants. The National Park houses mangrove scrubs, a saltwater mixed forest as well as swamp forest. The place also abounds in flowers like Dhundhal, and Garjan. Apart from all of the mentioned plants the region also gathers many mighty Ghoran trees. This is why the national park ranks one among the top places to visit Kolkata.
The Sundarbans house many other separate forests. One of the sanctuaries is the Sajna Khali is famed for its bird population. Some of the species often found here are a kingfisher, plovers, lapwings and occasionally pelicans. the Bhagapathpur Sanctuary hosts some of the biggest estuary crocodiles in the world. Furthermore, the Piyali river regarded as the gateway of the Sundarbans is far off from the city of Kolkata and blends into the Malta river. All of the mentioned comprise of the National Park and these make it one of the main places to visit in Kolkata. The lush greenery and loving nature makes for one of the perfect places to visit in Kolkata.