The very mention of Kolkata conjures up an image of old-world charm, replete with faded colonial buildings, teeming streets, archaic bazaars and spiritual edifices. Motley of both old and new, Kolkata, with its eclectic blend of colonialism and urbane universalism, stands out as one of the best tourist places in India. The historical and architectural background makes Kolkata beautiful as well as inspiring for the visitors. As a tourist, what will strike you most about Kolkata is its passion. Be it festival, football or food, ‘Kolkatans’ are passionate about everything. Just like its diverse population, Kolkata is noted for its wide assortment of tourist attractions. The places of interest in the city include memorials, architectures, museums, gardens and bazaars, which gives you a glimpse of the richness of this city. With its diversity and many constructional feats, Kolkata indeed lives up to its reputation as a city of joy. Explore the article to know more about tourist attractions of Kolkata.
Tourist Attractions In Kolkata
Howrah Bridge, one of the most noted landmarks in Kolkata, is one of the three bridges built over Hooghly River. Popularly known as the gateway of Kolkata, this cantilever bridge was built between 1937 and 1943. This famous bridge, also known as Rabindra Setu, is apparently one of the busiest bridges in the world. One of the best ways to enjoy this engineering marvel is to look at it at night when this bridge looks simply stunning with gleaming lights adding to its magnificence.
Birla Planetarium, located in Kolkata's Eastern metropolitan bypass, is one of the largest museums in Asia. Built in 1962, the credit for instituting this astonishing center of environment, science and communication goes to Birla Education Trust. This planetarium serves as a scientific fairyland, which provides all the necessary information on celestial bodies and outer space. The famous astronomy gallery inside the planetarium houses a wide collection of paintings and celestial models and serves as a source of great interest for the visitors and enthusiasts. The planetarium is open to visitors on all weekdays from 12.30 pm to 6.30 pm.
Marble Palace, located at C.R. Avenue in Chorabagan, is a must visit tourist attraction in Kolkata. Built in 1835, this palatial mansion was the private resident of a wealthy landlord. If you are someone who appreciates art, then this mansion is sure to mesmerize you with its huge collection of western sculptures, magnificent paintings, stunning chandeliers and scintillating artistry. Apart from art and artifacts, this place also houses a zoo that contains rare species of birds and animals. If you happen to be in Kolkata, then don’t forget to visit the exquisite Marble Palace and take a glimpse of its exquisite splendor. The Marble Palace is open to visitors from morning 10 am to 4 pm in the evening.
Kalighat’s Kali Temple
Kali Temple, situated at Kalighat on the banks of Adi Ganga in South Kolkata, is one of the oldest and most popular temples in the city. This holy pilgrimage, venerated as one of the 51 Sakti Peethas, enshrines Devi Kalika and is a revered place of worship for the Sakti cultists. Crowded with devotees from all over the world, this sanctum sanctorum is open to devotees on all weekdays between 5 am and 10.30 pm.
Fort William, located on the banks of river Hooghly, is one of the most sought after tourist destinations in Kolkata. Built during British rule in 1781, this fort was named after King William III of England. Originally built to fortify British strength and prevent Muslim invaders from intruding in, today the fort stands tall as a tourist attraction. The military area inside the fort is worth watching. The lush green surroundings and the wonderful site of river just adds to the beauty of the fort. A visit to this old colonial fort is likely to awe you with its architecture and tranquility.
Eden Gardens Stadium
A trip to Kolkata is incomplete without visiting the historical Eden Gardens. Located in northwestern part of the city, Eden Gardens is one of the oldest, finest and most admired cricket grounds in the world. Affectionately dubbed as “Lord’s Of Asia”, this cricket ground was named after the sister of Auckland. With it colossal score board, floodlights and jam-packed crowd, Eden Gardens just adds to the zing of cricket. If you plan to be in Kolkata during one of India cricket ODI’s, make sure to catch the live excitement right at Eden Gardens.
Indian Museum, located in Chowringhee on Jawaharlal Nehru Road, is apparently the largest museum in India. Founded by Dr Nathaniel Wallich, a Danish botanist in 1814, this museum is the home to a huge collection of antiques, armor, skeletons, fossils, mummies, and Mughal paintings. On your visit to museum, don’t forget to catch a glimpse of the most popular antiques from Mohenjodaro and Harappa. The museum is open to the visitors on all days between 10 am to 5 pm.
BBD Bagh or Dalhousie Square, located near Hooghly River in Central Kolkata, is the seat of power of the Bengal state government. Earlier known as Tank Square, this former administrative hub of British East India Company was renamed as Dalhousie Square in the memory of Lord Dalhousie, the Governor General of India. Today this commercial hub is known as BBD Bagh after three patriotic sons of Bengal- Binoy, Badal and Dinesh. A quick stroll down BBD Bagh will take you down many historical buildings, offices, business centers and banks.
Botanical Gardens, situated on the western banks of river Ganga, is one of the oldest and largest botanical gardens in India. Laid out in 1787, the botanical garden was the brainchild of Colonel Kyd. Today, botanical garden is the home to more than 12,000 living plants and nearly two and a half million dried out plant specimens collected from all over the world. The main attraction of this garden is the huge banyan tree, which is famous for its large canopy. Apart from this, the garden also houses a library, which has a good collection of books on botany. This garden is open to the visitors until late in the afternoon.
Nakhoda Mosque at Jacquaria Street is the largest mosque in Kolkata. Built by Abdar Rahim Osman, a resident of Cutch, this magnificent mosque is extremely popular for its special prayer hall, artistic dome and minarets. Erected out of red sand stone, this glorious structure is one of the most popular heritage sites in India that attracts throngs of visitors every year. However, it is best to visit this mosque during Muslim festivals as the whole area is decked with lights and decoration and makes for a brilliant spectacle.
Writer’s Building situated in the BBD Bagh, is an attractive red building established in 1780. Originally meant to serve as an office for writers of the East India Company, today Writer’s Building acts as the house for a number of departments of West Bengal’s state government. Presently it is one of the attractive places of Kolkata, popularly known for its essence of classical European structure.