15 Best Places to Visit in Kolkata, Tourist Places & Attractions

15 Best Places to Visit in Kolkata, Tourist Places & Attractions

Kolkata, formerly known as Calcutta, is the cultural capital of India. Located on the eastern bank of the Hooghly River, Kolkata is the principal commercial, cultural, and educational center of East India.

The city is known for its literary, artistic, and revolutionary heritage. It’s a city that elegantly embodies the old-world charm with modern sophistication. This article highlights some of the must-visit destinations in Kolkata that beautifully encapsulate the spirit of this vibrant city.

Best Time to Visit Kolkata

Kolkata experiences a tropical wet-and-dry climate that can be broadly categorized into three seasons: summer, monsoon, and winter.

  • Winter (October to February): Winter is considered the best time to visit Kolkata due to its pleasant and enjoyable weather. During these months, the temperature ranges from 12°C to 25°C (54°F – 77°F), making it an ideal time for sightseeing and exploring the city’s cultural heritage. Additionally, various festivals and events such as the Kolkata International Film Festival, and the ‘Poush Mela’ are held during this period.
  • Summer (March to June): Summers in Kolkata are hot and humid with temperatures often reaching up to 40°C (104°F). This heat, combined with high humidity, can make sightseeing and outdoor activities challenging. However, if you don’t mind the heat, you can enjoy the vibrant Holi celebrations in March.
  • Monsoon (June to September): Monsoon in Kolkata brings heavy rainfall due to the southwest monsoon. The rains provide relief from the summer heat, and the city turns lush green, but the heavy rainfall might disrupt travel plans.

To sum up, if you wish to explore the city comfortably, the winter months from October to February would be the best time to visit Kolkata. The pleasant weather during this time is perfect for enjoying all the attractions that the city has to offer.

Best Tourist Attractions in Kolkata

1. Victoria Memorial

Victoria Memorial
Photo: Unsplash/Rohatgi

The Victoria Memorial is one of the most iconic landmarks of Kolkata. Constructed in memory of Queen Victoria, this grand marble building is surrounded by lush gardens spread over 64 acres. The memorial is a splendid example of Indo-Saracenic revivalist architecture, with Mughal elements in its structure.

The memorial houses a museum containing a large collection of memorabilia related to Queen Victoria and the history of Kolkata. The light and sound show in the evening, known as ‘Son et Lumière’, is a popular attraction that brings the history of the city to life. A visit to Victoria Memorial offers a journey into the city’s colonial past and its rich history.

Entry Fee: 20 INR; Location: Check Map
Address: Victoria Memorial Hall, 1, Queens Way, Maidan, Kolkata, West Bengal 700071, India.

2. Dakshineswar Kali Temple

Dakshineswar Kali Temple
Photo: Pexels/Abhishek Kumar

The Dakshineswar Kali Temple, situated on the eastern bank of the Hooghly River, is a significant religious site in Kolkata. The temple is dedicated to Bhavatarini, an aspect of Goddess Kali. It was built in 1855 by Rani Rashmoni, a philanthropist and devotee of Kali.

The temple complex, spread over 25 acres, houses a large courtyard surrounded by twelve smaller temples dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple holds great spiritual significance and is closely associated with Ramakrishna, a mystic of 19th-century Bengal. The tranquility of the temple and its spiritual ambiance provide a peaceful retreat from the city’s hustle and bustle.

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Entry Fee: Free; Location: Check Map
Address: Dakshineswar, Kolkata, West Bengal 700076, India.

3. Babu Ghat

Babu Ghat
Photo: Pexels/Kirkgoz

Babu Ghat, also known as Babughat, is one of the oldest ghats in Kolkata, located on the Hooghly River. The ghat is known for its grand Doric-Greek style architectural gateway built in 1830 by Rani Rashmoni’s husband, Babu Raj Chandra Das.

The ghat is a significant place for cultural and religious activities. Many locals and pilgrims visit Babu Ghat for holy dips, religious ceremonies, and to offer prayers. The sight of numerous boats lined along the ghat, against the backdrop of the setting sun, offers a picturesque view that embodies the quintessential charm of Kolkata.

Entry Fee: Free; Location: Check Map
Address: Strand Rd, B.B.D. Bagh, Kolkata, West Bengal 700021, India.

4. South Park Cemetery

South Park Cemetery
Photo: Facebook/Travel with Tithi

South Park Cemetery, also known as South Park Street Cemetery, is an important historical landmark in Kolkata. Established in 1767, it’s one of the oldest non-church cemeteries in the world and is considered a heritage site.

The cemetery serves as the final resting place for several notable figures from the colonial era. Its unique blend of Gothic and Indo-Saracenic architectural styles, with grand tombs, cenotaphs, and obelisks set amidst lush greenery, lend it an ethereal charm. A walk through the cemetery is like a journey back in time, offering a glimpse into the city’s colonial past.

Entry Fee: Free; Location: Check Map
Address: Park Street, Mullick Bazar, Park Street area, Kolkata, West Bengal, India.

5. Indian Museum

Indian Museum
Photo: Pexels/Rahul Pandit

The Indian Museum in Kolkata, also known as the Imperial Museum, is the largest and oldest museum in India. Established in 1814, the museum is a treasure trove of historical artifacts, art, and natural history.

The museum’s vast collection includes ancient sculptures, paintings, fossils, mummies, coins, and decorative art. Of particular interest is the Egyptian gallery, which houses an authentic mummy. The museum provides valuable insights into India’s rich cultural and natural heritage, making it a must-visit for history and art enthusiasts.

Entry Fee: 20 INR; Location: Check Map
Address: Fire Brigade Head Quarter, New Market Area, Dharmatala, Taltala, Kolkata, West Bengal, India.

6. M.P. Birla Planetarium

M.P. Birla Planetarium
Photo: Facebook/MH Limon

The M.P. Birla Planetarium, located on the Eastern metropolitan bypass of Kolkata, is one of the largest planetariums in Asia. Inaugurated in 1962, the planetarium has been a center for astronomical studies and research.

The planetarium conducts regular shows in different languages, depicting various celestial events and mysteries of the universe. It also holds regular astronomical observation sessions and workshops for students and astronomy enthusiasts. A visit to the planetarium offers an exciting exploration of the cosmos and its wonders.

Entry Fee: 40 INR; Location: Check Map
Address: Jawaharlal Nehru Road, Cathedral Rd, Adjacent To St, Kolkata, West Bengal, India.

7. Alipore Zoo

Alipore Zoo
Photo: Unsplash/Subhadip Kanjilal

Established in 1876, the Alipore Zoo, also known as the Calcutta Zoo, is India’s oldest formally stated zoological park. The zoo is home to a diverse range of fauna, including the Royal Bengal Tiger, Indian Elephant, and Indian Rhinoceros.

The zoo also features a walk-through aviary, a reptile house, and a children’s zoo. One of the main attractions of the zoo used to be the Aldabra Giant Tortoise, Adwaita, who lived well over 150 years. The Alipore Zoo provides an enjoyable and educational experience for children and adults alike.

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Entry Fee: 50 INR; Location: Check Map
Address: 2, Alipore Rd, Alipur Zoological Garden, Alipore, Kolkata, West Bengal, India.

8. Town Hall

Town Hall
Photo: Twitter/Reshmi Dasgupta

Kolkata Town Hall, situated in the heart of the city, is an important historical and architectural landmark. Constructed in 1814, the hall was built in Roman Doric style by architect and engineer Major General John Garstin. The majestic white building was originally used for social gatherings and municipal meetings during the British era.

Today, the Town Hall houses a museum that showcases the history of Kolkata from the pre-British era to the present day. The various artifacts, paintings, and exhibits in the museum provide an interesting insight into the city’s evolution over the centuries.

Entry Fee: 10 INR; Location: Check Map
Address: Esplanade Row W, B.B.D. Bagh, Kolkata, West Bengal 700001, India.

9. Jorasanko Thakur Bari

Jorasanko Thakur Bari
Photo: Twitter/Swarupa Tweets

Jorasanko Thakur Bari, or the House of the Thakurs, is the ancestral residence of the Tagore family. Located in North Kolkata, it’s also the birthplace of Rabindranath Tagore, the first non-European Nobel laureate.

Now converted into a museum, the mansion exhibits a large collection of Tagore’s original paintings, manuscripts, photographs, and his personal belongings. The museum also hosts a light and sound show depicting Tagore’s life and works. The Jorasanko Thakur Bari is a pilgrimage for literature and art lovers, offering a glimpse into the life of one of India’s most revered literary figures.

Entry Fee: 50 INR; Location: Check Map
Address: Rabindra Sarani, Raja Katra, Singhi Bagan, Jorasanko, Kolkata, West Bengal, India.

10. Pareshnath Jain Temple

Pareshnath Jain Temple
Photo: Facebook/Aanan Das

Pareshnath Jain Temple, located in the northeastern part of Kolkata, is one of the most important Jain temples in the city. The temple is dedicated to Pareshnath, the 23rd Jain Tirthankara, and is a significant place of worship for the Jain community.

The temple complex, built in 1867, comprises four temples, the main one being the Sheetalnath Ji Ka Mandir. The temple is known for its exquisite architecture, with intricate mirror work, stained glass windows, and beautiful chandeliers. The lush gardens and fountains in the temple complex add to its tranquility and beauty.

Entry Fee: Free; Location: Check Map
Address: Jiban Krishna Ghosh Rd, Tala, Saktinagar, Belgachia, Kolkata, West Bengal, India.

11. Birla Mandir

Birla Mandir
Photo: Pixabay/Justin Wheeler

Birla Mandir, located in the Ashutosh Chowdhury Avenue of Kolkata, is a magnificent temple dedicated to Lord Krishna and Radha. Built by the industrial Birla family, the temple is an architectural marvel featuring intricate carvings on white marble.

The temple’s exterior is adorned with scenes from the Bhagavad Gita, while the interior houses the deities of Radha-Krishna, Goddess Durga, Lord Shiva, and other Hindu gods. The temple’s peaceful ambiance and stunning architecture make it a popular destination for devotees and tourists alike.

Entry Fee: Free; Location: Check Map
Address: 29, Ashutosh Chowdary Ave, Ballygunge, Kolkata, West Bengal 700019, India.

12. Science City Kolkata

Science City Kolkata
Photo: Facebook/Ìtz Fìrøj

Science City, located in the Eastern Metropolitan Bypass of Kolkata, is the largest science center in the Indian subcontinent. Managed by the National Council of Science Museums, it is a blend of science education and recreational facilities, attracting a large number of visitors.

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The center is divided into two facilities: the Science Center and the Convention Center. The Science Center includes the Space Odyssey, Dynamotion, Evolution Park Theme Tour, Maritime Centre, and a Science Park. The Convention Center comprises the Grand Theatre, Mini Auditorium, and Seminar Building. The varied exhibits and interactive displays make learning fun and engaging, making it an ideal destination for children and adults alike.

Entry Fee: 80 INR; Location: Check Map
Address: JBS Haldane Ave, Mirania Gardens, East Topsia, Topsia, Kolkata, West Bengal, India.

13. New Town Eco Park

New Town Eco Park
Photo: Facebook/Prakaash Roy

New Town Eco Park, also known as Prakriti Tirtha, is an urban park located in Rajarhat, Kolkata. Spread over 480 acres, the park is divided into three major parts: the ecological zones, theme gardens, and recreational areas.

The ecological zones include wetlands, grasslands, and urban forest. The theme gardens feature a formal garden, tropical tree garden, butterfly garden, and a bamboo garden, among others. The park also houses a large lake where visitors can enjoy boating. The Eco Park, with its variety of flora and fauna, provides a refreshing escape from the city’s hustle and bustle.

Entry Fee: 30 INR; Location: Check Map
Address: Major Arterial Road(South-East, Biswa Bangla Sarani, AA II, Newtown, Kolkata, West Bengal 700156, India.

14. St. Paul’s Cathedral

St. Paul’s Cathedral
Photo: Facebook/St. Paul’s Cathedral, Kolkata

St. Paul’s Cathedral is an Anglican cathedral of the Church of North India, known for its Gothic architecture. Built between 1839 and 1847, it’s the first Episcopal Church in Asia. The cathedral is renowned for its beautiful stained glass windows and intricate woodwork.

Inside, the cathedral houses numerous paintings and memorials, offering a glimpse into Kolkata’s colonial past. The tranquil ambiance of the cathedral provides a peaceful retreat. Whether you’re an architecture enthusiast, history buff, or seeking solace, St. Paul’s Cathedral is worth a visit.

Entry Fee: Free; Location: Check Map
Address: 1A, Cathedral Rd, Maidan, New Market Area, Kolkata, West Bengal 700071, India.

15. Belur Math Kolkata

Belur Math Kolkata
Photo: Pixabay/Subarna Mahapatra

Belur Math is the headquarters of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission, founded by Swami Vivekananda. Located on the west bank of the Hooghly River, Belur Math is more than just a religious site; it’s a place that promotes unity among all religions.

The architecture of Belur Math is unique, integrating Hindu, Christian, and Islamic motifs as a symbol of religious harmony. The sprawling complex houses temples dedicated to Sri Ramakrishna, Sri Sarada Devi, and Swami Vivekananda. The peaceful surroundings and the spiritual energy make Belur Math a divine escape from the city’s chaos.

Entry Fee: Free; Location: Check Map
Address: Belur, Howrah, West Bengal 711202, India.

Conclusion

Kolkata, with its rich history, cultural diversity, and intellectual dynamism, offers a variety of attractions that cater to different interests. Each of these places adds to the city’s unique charm and character. Whether you’re a history buff, a science enthusiast, an animal lover, or a culture vulture, Kolkata has something for everyone, ensuring a memorable travel experience.

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