Ultimate Guide To Exploring Kolkata!

Kolkata is the capital city of West Bengal, which is fondly known as the “City of Joy’ all over the world. It was initially named as Calcutta, since it was established by the East India Company with three villages in the late 17th century. This prime metropolitan city was renamed as Kolkata in 2001 after ‘Kolikata’, which was one of the villages that constituted this city more than 300 years ago. Now this third highest populated city is also considered to be the cultural capital of India, due to its rich contribution in all fields of Indian art and culture. However, it is also a popular tourist destination, due to the presence of several places of historical and national importance in and around this wonderful city. 

Historical places to visit in Kolkata 

  • Victoria Memorial – This landmark monument of Kolkata was built in memory of Queen Victoria. It was made of white Makrana marbles, combining Mughal and British architectural styles. Now it exhibits numerous historical artefacts, sculptures and beautiful paintings.
  • Indian Museum – This is the largest museum of India that houses the biggest collection of historical artefacts, like ornaments and armours of famous personalities, old paintings, relics from ancient archaeological sites, mummies from Egyptian pyramids and sculptures. 
  • Marble Palace – This magnificent palace was made by Raja Rajendra Mullick in 1835. Apart from the grand architecture of white marble, here the visitors can see the paintings and sculptures created by many world-famous artists. 
  • Howrah Bridge – This huge 1500 feet long bridge over Hooghly River is now known as Rabindra Setu. This entire steel structure was made without any nut and bolt, joined only with rivets and now is the busiest bridge of the city.Howrah Bridge
  • Jorasanko Thakur Bari – It is the ancestral home of Nobel laureate Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore, which is now open as a museum. It showcases plenty of paintings, manuscripts and other belongings of the poet in three galleries.
  • Netaji Bhawan – It is the ancestral home of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, from where this great patriot left the country in disguise in 1941. 
  • Kalighat Temple – It is an iconic landmark of the city and an ancient temple dedicated to Goddess Kali, thronged by the devotees since ages. 
  • Dakshineshwar Kali Temple – This temple was built by Rani Rasmoni in 1855 and became famous for the religious preaching of Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa. Thus, it has both religious and historical values. 
  • Belur Math – It is the headquarters of Ramakrishna Mission and was established by Swami Vivekananda on the west bank of Hooghly River. The structure of this monument combines the artistic styles of Hindu, Muslim and Christian architectures. 

Few top attractions in Kolkata 

  • Science City – It is a recent addition to the list of tourist attractions of Kolkata, where people enjoy numbers of scientific shows in various sections. The kids receive knowledge on all scientific aspects in funny and interesting way in this huge science museum, located on EM Bypass. 
  • Birla Planetarium – This large building, also called Taramandal was created in the style of a Buddhist monastery in 1963. The visitors can attend the shows on various interesting astronomical features. 
  • Eco Tourism Park – It is a huge park that is actually an island in the middle of a large water body. People love the wonderful landscape and many attractive features that are created for the amusement of the visitors. 
  • Alipore Zoological Garden – It is a vast zoo that houses numerous exotic animals, birds and reptiles in safe enclosures. Many creatures are provided natural habitats so that visitors can enjoy their enthusiastic movements. 
  • Eden Gardens – Basically, it is actually a beautiful garden with many large trees and a Burmese Pagoda. However, it is mainly known as the famous cricket stadium with the capacity of over 66,000 seats. 

Nightlife in Kolkata

Being the state capital, Kolkata is a vibrant city where plenty of entertainments are available after sunset. There are some renowned nightclubs that remain open well after midnight.  These pubs offer refreshments to the visitors, so that they can party with dance and music. Tantra in Park Hotel, Shisha in Camac Street, Roxy Bar in Park Street, The Bridge in Floatel Hotel, and Underground in Hotel Hindustan International are a few places where the party-lovers enjoy to full extent. 

Culture and lifestyle in Kolkata 

The typical Bengali culture is widely seen everywhere in Kolkata, though people from all parts of India reside here for professional reasons. The intellectual Bengalis prefer to visit Indian Coffee House, National Library, Academy of Fine Arts, Asiatic Society of India, and Birla Academy of Art and Culture, which are favourite destinations of many tourists as well. Kolkata is the residence of many famous writers, lyricists, singers and actors, depicting the rich culture of this city. There are some famous theatre halls or auditoriums, among which Rabindra Sadan, Girish Mancha, Nandan, Kala Mandir, G.D. Birla Sabhaghar, Mahajati Sadan and Gorky Sadan are the notable ones.  

Delicious Kolkata foods 

Kolkata is a heaven for food lovers, with numerous famous delicacies and various types of mouth-watering street foods, among which only a few are mentioned here.

  • Rasogolla is the most famous Bengali sweet that is available in all the sweet shops of this city. However, nothing can match the spongy Rasogollas made by K.C. Das, the pioneer of this sweet.
  • Sandesh is another Bengali sweet that is available in various tastes and flavours in all sweet shops of Kolkata. Bheem Nag, Nakur Nandy and Mouchak are the places to find most innovative varieties of Sandesh.
  • Misti Doi is actually the sweet yogurt that is very thick and mostly reddish in colour. Now it is also available in other flavours, among which mango flavour is most popular.
  • Kabiraji is a special fried snack of Kolkata that may be made of fish, chicken or mutton, with an outer layer of fried egg, as served in Mitra Cafe or Dilkhush. 
  • Kathi Rolls are the universally favourite street food in Kolkata, which may be made of vegetables, paneer, egg, chicken or mutton. 

How to travel to Kolkata?

Kolkata is well connected to all parts of the world by numerous flights, which run from Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport at Dumdum. The tourists can easily take a taxi or Volvo buses to any part of the city. There are many train routes connecting almost all the major cities of India to Howrah Junction Station or Sealdah Railway Station, which are the main railway stations of Kolkata. There are National Highways that serve as bus routes connecting to the faraway towns of West Bengal and the cities of other nearby states.  

Where to stay in Kolkata?

Kolkata is a prime metropolitan city with plenty of hotels and guest houses all over the city. There are many renowned 3 Star, 4 Star and 5 Star hotels in Kolkata that the tourists can book online before starting with their trips to this city. All these hotels and holiday resorts take best care of the comfort of their guests, as well as provide sightseeing facilities if asked. So now it is very easy to search online for the best accommodations in Kolkata, according to the budget and tastes of the tourists. 

Written by guest author, Santos Bhekare

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