Often associated with poverty, Kolkata is commonly overlooked by travelers when visiting India. With many faded remnants of British rule, Kolkata is a friendly, intellectual, and vibrant city that requires immersion rather than quick sightseeing to really get a feel for, and appreciate the city. Start your vacation with these places to visit in Kolkata to get a glimpse of the Bengali way of life and culture.
The best way to explore Kolkata is to go on a walking tour of the city. But what are all the places to cover? Keep reading to find out!
Formerly renamed Mother Teresa Sarani, Kolkata’s Park Street runs from Chowringhee Road to Park Circus and is popular for its entertainment hubs, chic restaurants, and other prominent historical landmarks. Park Street is an iconic street of Kolkata which was home to India’s first independent nightclub. It was the epicenter of Kolkata’s nightlife since the days of the swinging sixties when all the venues used to overflow with cabaret, jazz, and floor shows.
Built by the British in 1874, New Market is a historic bargain hunter’s paradise and one of the best places to go shopping in Kolkata. New Market has more than 2,000 stalls that are grouped together according to the type of goods sold. Just off Chowringhee Road, the entrance of the market is on Lindsay Street and the opening hours are 10:30 AM to 8:30 PM on weekdays and closes at 7:00 PM on Saturday. On Sunday, the market remains closed. To get your bags from one place to another, there are several coolies in the market that can help you out. They live and breathe the market and can easily point you in the right direction towards the right products for the best price.
Built in 1843 by the British, beside the Hooghly River, Princep Ghat features one of the city's best-known monuments dedicated to English scholar James Princep. As the principal point of embarkation for important visitors to the city, Princep Ghat was made to replace the Chandpal Ghat. Now, people of Kolkata visit Princep Ghat to relax and stroll by the bank of the Hooghly River. It's a 2 kilometers long stretch of landscaped riverfront and you can walk all the way from Princep Ghat to Babu Ghat. It is located right next to Vidyasagar Setu.
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Popular by the name of the Maidan, Kolkata’s massive urban park is where locals go to spend their days playing cricket and other sports, or just relaxing with a picnic basket or scrumptious snacks from one of the food stalls. Bordered by Chowringhee Road and the Hooghly River, the Maidan extends south from the Esplanade. It covers almost 1000 acres of land. Some of the notable structures inside its premises include Fort William, Victoria Memorial, Eden Garden cricket stadium, and Kolkata Race Course. The Dead Memorial, a monument honoring Indian soldiers who were martyred in World War I is at the northeastern edge of the Maidan.
Formerly known as Dalhousie Square after Lord Dalhousie who ruled India from 1848 to 1856, the BBD Bagh central business district is home to many of Kolkata’s notable British-era buildings. These old architectural marvels are 19th century St. Andrew’s Church, 18th century Writer’s Building, Greek-architecture inspired Metcalfe Hall, General Post Office, and the Town Hall. A walk in the white town region gives you an insight into the colonial heritage of the city.
Yes, there is also a place called Black Town in the city! Get yourself familiar with Kolkata’s Bengali heritage by exploring this part of the city. The Black Town was inhabited by Bengalis during the rule of the British and many of them were wealthy merchants and landowners. With a captivating blend of old architecture, Sovabazar is a particular atmospheric neighborhood of this town. If you want to experience living inside one of these buildings, then that too can happen here. A night’s stay in any of these bungalows will make you feel that you are at home away from home. Stroll through the surrounding lanes and you may get your eyes on some amazing street art.
Because of founding the Missionaries of Charity and devoting her life to helping ill and poor people in Kolkata, Mother Teresa has huge respect among locals. The Mother House is home to her tomb, her bedroom, and a small museum dedicated to her life journey. The museum showcases items like her handwritten letters, personal belongings including saris, crucifix and sandals, and spiritual exhortations. It is a place of contemplation and silence. Several visitors meditate there while visiting because it offers serene and uplifting energy. The Mother House is open from 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM.
Now a museum, Victoria Memorial was completed in 1921 and is located at the southern end of the Maidan. Erected in memory of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, Victoria Memorial is home to a historical collection of art and a gallery from the British Colonial period including several eye-catching sculptures, books, and paintings. Surrounded by a vast garden that is an attraction in itself, Victoria Memorial’s exterior is illuminated at night. The museum is open to the public from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM, from Tuesday to Friday, and 10:AM to 8:00 PM, from Saturday and Sunday.
With its leafy streets becoming home to buzzing boutiques and chic cafes, this middle-class residential neighborhood in South Kolkata has transformed into a trendy locality. Travelers can go there to shop for hip handicrafts, pottery, folk art, and textiles. Locals can guide you to some of the popular stores and cafes. Hindustan Park is located about 20 minutes away from the city center.
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