What to see and do in Kolkata (Calcutta)

Kolkata, formerly known as Calcutta is situated on the Eastern part of the country and is the capital of the state West Bengal. It is fondly called ‘The City of Joy’ and was the work place of Mother Teresa, the Saintly Nobel Prize Winner.

Many ask the question what to see in Kolkata? there are plenty of tourist places in Kolkata India of historical importance. Kolkata or Calcutta as it was called before, was the Capital of British India till early 1900s. The British Empire in India took its foothold in Calcutta and from there spread its rule all over India. Thus there are many Calcutta Tourist Places and Kolkata visiting places are a must for all visitors to Kolkata.

You can get around the city with the help of the conducted tours. The Calcutta trams are also a unique mode of transport in the city and are not found anywhere else in the country. Free from pollution, they run on electricity and makes for a leisurely and enjoyable ride. The underground Metro-rail here was the first to be introduced in the country. It covers the entire city from the North to the South in just about 35 minutes compared to the hours it would have taken by taxi for example.

Good hotels in Kolkata at cheap price

There are many hotels in Kolkata, but to find a good reasonable hotel at not very high prices, you will need to use the services of an online specialist hotel reservation site. One of the best hotel booking website for Calcutta is Booking.com's Kolkata hotel booking page.

Best places to visit in Kolkata India

Here are some of the Tourist places around Kolkata and these places to visit Kolkata should not be missed by any tourist to Kolkata.

Victoria Memorial Hall in Kolkata:

This 184 feet tall edifice built in white marble is one of the famous art museums of India. Designed by Sir William Emerson, this magnificent monument was built in memory of Queen Victoria in 1921.

Indian Museum in Kolkata:

is one of the oldest museums in the world and was founded by a Danish botanist called Dr. Nathaniel. It houses several displays art, anthropology, archaeology and zoology. The rare exhibits of a 4000 year old Mummy, fossils of pre-historic creatures and the depiction of stages of evolution of man are not to be missed.

Eden Gardens in Kolkata:

This spectacular cricket stadium in Calcutta with a seating capacity of 90,000 was found in 1864 and is considered one of the biggest stadiums in the world. The gigantic stadium is the home ground of the Bengal Cricket Team.

Shaheed Minar in Kolkata:

Literally meaning ‘The Tower of Martyrs’ is a monument built by Sir David Ochterlony to mark his victory in the Nepal War (1814-1816). One needs to climb 218 steps to reach its summit. This 48 meters (150 feet) tall monument stands high, illuminating the sky of the Maidan area of the city.

Vidyasagar Setu in Kolkata:

Also known as the Second Hooghly Bridge, crosses over the Hooghly River and connects the two cities of Howrah and Calcutta.

Howrah Bridge in Kolkata:

One of the busiest bridges of the world, it handles an unbelievable volume of traffic and pedestrians each day. Connecting the cities of Howrah and Kolkata, this bridge provides a spectacular view of the Hindu Holy river Ganga on both its sides.

Birla Planetarium in Kolkata:

The second largest planetarium in the world was opened in 1962. It is a single-storied circular structure with a dome modeled after the Buddhist Stupe at Sanchi. It conducts regular shows on astronomy with extra shows on holidays. Besides, it also showcases a collection of paintings, celestial models and works of some famous astronomers.

Marble Palace in Kolkata:

This huge Palace was built by Raja Rajendra Mullick in 1835 whose successors still reside here. It is situated in North Kolkata and exhibits a large collection of Western sculpture and Victorian furniture, paintings, and other objects of artistic significance. It also has a zoo adjacent to it.

National Library in Kolkata:

is the largest library in the country and is an “Institution of National Importance’ as declared by the Government of India. It aims to preserve all forms of printed material of national origin, including some ephemera. It houses a massive collection of books and magazines in various languages and is spread over 30 acres in the posh Belvedere Estate of the city.

Botanical Gardens in Kolkata:

Covering an area of more than 273 acres is home to about 12,000 perennial plants and several dried plant specimens collected from around the world. Its main attraction is a massive banyan tree, which is said to have the second largest canopy in the world. An exotic collection of beautiful orchids and other flowers adorn the garden. There is also a library with an impressive stock of books on botany.

Zoological Gardens in Kolkata:

One of the oldest and largest zoos in India, it was established in 1876 by the Prince of Wales. It has several species of flora and fauna. There is a reptile house and a snake house inside and also white tigers, tigons (cross between a tiger and a lion) and other rare breeds of various animals. The zoo has migratory birds which come every year.

Jorasanko in Kolkata:

The ancestral house of the Nobel Laureate and world renowned poet Rabindranath Tagore. The museum here conducts a light and sound show depicting the life of Tagore and his family and their influence on the society.

Academy of Fine Arts in Kolkata:

One of the oldest of its kind in India, the Academy of Fine Arts is the prime hub of the intellectuals of the city. It exhibits works of artists throughout the year. One of its main attractions is the ‘Rabindra Gallery’ where works of Rabindranath Tagore are showcased. There is also an artists’ studio run by the Academy personnel.

Picnic Spots near Kolkata

Some of the best picnic spots in Kolkata are as follows:

Aquatica Water Theme Park & Resort

Aquatica Water Theme Park in Kolkata is the largest water amusement park in Kolkata. They have a good Hotel Resort known as the Aquatica Water Resort inside this nice water park in Kolkatta and you can book rooms online at the Aquatica Water Resort, Kolkatta.

Nicco Park Kolkata

Nicco Park Kolkata is Kolkata's best Amusement Park and one of the largest in India. It is a great fun place to spend the day with the kids. For more visit their Nicco Park website

Wet 'O' Wild Kolkata

Wet 'O' Wild Kolkata is the newest water theme park in Kolkata situated near Nicco Park.

Sanhati Park Kolkata

Sanhati Park Kolkata located at Ashokenagar is a regular picnic spot with an amusement park. There is a toy train for children to enjoy themselves, a museum for the elders and a Restaurant. There is a lake where boating is available. Sanhati Park is open all days from 8 am to 9 PM except Monday when it is closed.

Diamond Harbour Kolkata

Diamond Harbour Kolkata is 15 km from Raichak near Kolkatta is a good picnic spot. There are ruins of an old Portuguese fort, an old light house and a Statue of Buddha.

Vedic Village Rajarhat Megacity

Vedic Village Rajarhat Megacity which is about a 45 minute drive from Kolkata City centre is a place for relaxation and a good picnic spot. Health Spas, Horse riding and boating facilities are available.

Nearby tourist places from Kolkata

These are some of the best tourist places near Kolkata India and these places can be visited using Kolkata as a base

How to reach Darjeeling from Kolkata using the Toy Train

Darjeeling known popularly as ‘The Queen of the Hills’, is a serene hill station and is a perfect feast for the eyes. The Tea gardens are among the best in the world. The best way to travel to Darjeeling from Kolkata is by train. The final leg of this Kolkata Darjeelin train ride will be on the famous 'Toy Train' as described below.

The ‘Toy Train’ is the nickname of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway line from Siliguri to Darjeeling run by the Indian Railways. It was built between 1879 and 1881 and is about 86 kilometers (53 miles) long. The elevation level is from about 100 meters (328 ft) at Siliguri to about 2,200 meters (7,218 ft) at Darjeeling. It is still powered by a steam engine. This train has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site under 'Mountain Railways' of India and described thus on their site as

"The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway was the first, and is still the most outstanding, example of a hill passenger railway. Opened in 1881, its design applies bold and ingenious engineering solutions to the problem of establishing an effective rail link across a mountainous terrain of great beauty"

Sundarbans National Park

The Sundarbans National Park is another UNESCO world Heritage site in West Bengal and is described thus on the UNESCO site

"The Sundarbans covers 10,000 km2 of land and water (more than half of it in India, the rest in Bangladesh) in the Ganges delta. It contains the world's largest area of mangrove forests. A number of rare or endangered species live in the park, including tigers, aquatic mammals, birds and reptiles."

North East India tour packages from Kolkata

Kolkata is the best place for travel to the North Eastern States of India namely Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura. There are many interesting tour packages starting from Kolkata to the NE States of India. The North East States of India are almost virgin unexplored areas with many tourist attractions like wild life sanctuaries, adventure tourism, famous Buddhist Monasteries etc.

Andaman tour package from Kolkata by ship, Andaman tour package including airfare from Kolkata

Andaman and Nicobar Islands are a bunch of tiny islands in the Bay of Bengal Sea and are a part of the Union Territory of India. The best time to visit the Andaman & Nicobar Islands is between the months of November and April. You can travel to Andaman and Nicobar Islands either by ship or by air. There are many tour packages available from Kolkata to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Foreign tourists require a permit from the Indian immigration authorities to visit Andaman Islands. These formalities will be done by the Tour Company with whom you choose to travel. The tour companies have both Air and by ship tours of of Andaman Islands, but since the sailing time to Andamans is pretty long and since the accommodation on the ships are not that classy, most opt for Andaman tour package including airfare from Kolkata.

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