Kolkata formerly known as Calcutta is the capital city of West Bengal. Situated along the eastern bank of river Hooghly Kolkata is a historical significant place. Kolkata is the largest metropolitan city in West Bengal and has houses the oldest operating port of India. Prior in British Raj Kolkata was entitled as the capital of India. The Victorian style architecture and rich artistic culture of Kolkata has attracted many travelers from far and wide. The name Kolkata is said to have been derived from the Bengali word “Kolikata” the name of one of three villages that predated the arrival of the British.
Often referred as the “City of Joy”, Kolkata has become the hub of naturalist and historian with its nearby excavating sites. With its own air, bus, and railway terminal Kolkata is an easily accessible destination. Etched with the essence of regal Mughal Empire, Kolkata shows a fine blend of history and modernization. There are many points of interests in Kolkata which showcase the beauty and artistic skill of ancient era. Along with astounding monuments there are many sacred destinations in and around Kolkata which has made it a pilgrimage centre. Devotees travel from far and wide towards Kolkata during auspicious days like Durga Puja. The sightseeing in Kolkata ranges from heritage monuments to pilgrimage sites and from fancy malls to bustling roadside market.
Hovering over river Hooghly is a propped cantilever bridge named Howrah. Also known as Rabindra Setu, Howrah Bridge is an iconic landmark of Kolkata and West Bengal. Howrah Bridge is one of the busiest cantilever bridge and also the sixth-longest bridge of its kind in the world. It is maintained by the Kolkata Post Trust (KoPT).
Founded in 1814 is Indian Museum of Kolkata or also known as Jadu Ghar, the largest and oldest museum in India. Indian Museum is located at a 10 minutes walking distance from Park Street. The 35 galleries of Indian Museum house the rarest collections of antiques, armor, and ornament. The prime attraction of Indian Museum is an ancient Egyptian Mummy. Tourists have to pay a nominal entry fee to visit the Indian Museum.
Located at a distance of 2km from Park Street is St Paul’s Cathedral Church the most famous church of Kolkata. Built in 1800’s St Paul’s Cathedral Church was the first cathedral built in a foreign territory during British Empire. It is well noted for its Indo-Gothic Architectural Style.
Victoria Memorial Hall is a grandiose marble building of Kolkata built in the memory of Queen Victoria. Completed in 1921, Victoria Memorial with 25 galleries is one of the finest art museums in West Bengal. The Indo- Saracenic architectural style of the memorial hall has left many travelers in awe.
Located in the northern side of Kolkata is Jorasanko Thakur Bari, the ancestral home of Tagore Family. Turned into a museum, visitors in Jorasanko can see the style of living during that era. The 217yr old building of Jorasanko Thakur Bari is till date well preserved and showcase some original portraits and photograph of Tagore Family.
Saheed Minar of Kolkata is a memorial monument built in 1828 to commemorate the success of Major-general Sir David Ochterlony. It is located in the central Kolkata. Entitled as the “Cloud Kissing Monument” by Mark Twain, Saheed Minar is a 48 meter high monument based on a fine blend of Egyptian, Turkish, and Syrian architectural style. Visitors need special permission from the KPD (Kolkata Police Department) if the wish to climb the steps of Saheed Minar. Offering a bird eye’s view Saheed Minar is one of the must visit destination of Kolkata.
Situated on the eastern bank of sacred river Ganga is Dakshineswar Kali Temple, a revered temple of Kolkata. Dedicated to Goddess Kali Dakshineswar was built in 1855 by Rani Rashmoni in traditional Nava-Ratna Bengali architectural style. Devotees from far and wide travel towards Kolkata to worship goddess Kali idolized in Dakshineswar.
Princep Ghat is the oldest recreational spot in Kolkata. It is located along the Kolkata bank of River Hoogly. Built in 1841 during British Era, Princep Ghat showcases a fine blend of Greek, and Gothic inlays. One of the major attractions of Princep Ghat is the Palladian Porch which was built in the memory of eminent James Princep. Visitors can take a stroll along the river bank or avail boating facility while visiting Princep Ghat.
Situated midst the green lawn on the Northern Side of Kolkata is grandiose mansion called Marble Palace. The Marble Palace was built in 1835 by a French architect under the commandment of Raja Rajendra Mullick. With special permission tourist take a tour of this luxuriant mansion. Nearby the Marble Palace is the first zoo of India, but now it primarily serves as an aviary where visitors can observe exquisite birds like peacock, hornbill, pelican and cranes.
The Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Indian Botanic Garden or famously known as Botanical Garden is a must visit destination in Kolkata for Botany enthusiast. Founded in 1787, the Botanical Garden is located in Shibpur on the river bank of Hooghly. It is the largest Botanical Garden in Asia with the second largest canopy of Banyan tree in the world.
The Alipore Zoological Garden, famously known as Kolkata Zoo is the oldest formally stated zoological park in India. Built in 1876, Kolkata Zoo is one of the prime attractions of the City of Joy. The zoological park is located at a distance of 5 km Park Street. There are many animals and birds like Asiatic Lion, Royal Bengal Tiger, Pelican, and Zebra which are kept in their semi natural habitat in Kolkata Zoo.
Best time to visit Kolkata: Being located in the East Indian coast, Kolkata is endowed with tropical climate. The ideal time to visit and relish the beauty of Victorian style architecture of Kolkata is during autumn and winter seasons (October to March).