Main Places to visit and things to do in Kolkata, West Bengal (India)

I was super excited when we planned a 4 days trip to Kolkata. It was a official trip for Vibha and I planned to explore the city on my own. As heard on various platforms, Kolkata is a very different city as compared to other Indian cities. Kolkata has strong history, great heritage, religious importance and unique culture. This posts shares some of the must do things in Kolkata City and main places to explore/visit.

Victoria Memorial – A cliché, but must visit. Victoria Memorial compound is very interesting and this campus makes you think about the British Era. 

This building was one of the most important british buildings before independence. Very well maintained campus which has green lawns, water bodies and colorful birds all around. Lot of local folks come here for morning & evening walks. You would find Victoria Memorial in most of the lists of top 10 places to visit in Kolkata. 

Kumartuli – Another Cliché (especially amongst Photographers’ community). It’s a place where you find all artists who make Durga Idols. 

Fortunately we were there just before the pujo, so we got to see some of the brilliant idols which were being made for international clients. If you intend to do photography at Kumartuli, ensure that you buy a ticket from community office. This is one of the most popular places of interest in Kolkata amongst artists and photographers. 

Walking around Princep Ghat - There are various ghats across ganges in Kolkata and Princep is one, which is closest to Vidyasagar Setu. This ghat is very close to the road on other side. There is a local train station nearby. Early in the morning, lot of boats get ready for ferries around Princep Ghat. This place has something very different which makes it special. Early in the morning, it's peaceful around these ghats and lot of folks start coming towards these ghats for religious rituals.

Night ride over Howrah Bridge and Vidyasagar Setu -

Taking a night ride around the city can be a very different experience. Like most of the cities, Kolkata looks different in the night. Especially take a ride around Howrah bridge and Vidyasagar Setu. Especially Vidyasagar setu looks awesome in night. While coming back from Vidyasagar Setu, you can take a detour around Eaden Garden and some of the historical buildings around this area. Kolkata has some of the beautiful british architecture. 

Park Street -

Park street has some of the popular pubs and restaurants. This is main shopping area of Kolkata town. Almost every night we visited Park street to try different restaurants & food, although we had only 4 days there :). Oxford book store in awesome on park street. Just ensure that you visit the store and pick few books & art pieces. I loved the sketches of Kolkata sold at the store. These can be good souvenirs for your friends & family. There are few interesting bakeries and pastry shops around Park Street. I am sure that Park Street would have much more than what I could explore and share. 

When in Bengal, it's must to try local food and try to eat local in all the meals :). We wanted to do so, but couldn't. Everyday, we ensured that we try 2 meals in local restaurants and eat bengali cuisine. Apart from the famous Kolkata Biryani, I loved mutton & prawn dishes served in different restaurants. Check out detailed posts on food served by different restaurants around Park Street. And we loved Mutton Kosha of Koshe Kosha, Hatibagan.

Jorashanko Thakurbari -

If you have interest in Art, Literature or want to know about Rabindra Nath Tagore, this is must visit place. This is a very well maintained place and shares about Tagore's interests in art, literature & cultures. He was well travelled man and
Jorashanko Thakurbari tell that specifically through various rooms dedicated to cultures of different countries.

Indian Museum - Kolkata has oldest museum in the country which has variety of things preserved. It's recommended to Indian Museum when you have enough time to explore the place in best way. It needs time to properly explore different galleries of Indian Museum.

Ferry on Hoogli River - There are different types of ferries available around Hoogli river and the bigger ones start from Millennium park. I didn't try but it looked like fun, especially if kids are accompanying you. 

Ride in India's oldest Metro -

Only few of the Indian cities have Metro but Kolkata is first city which got Metro access and still it's one of the popular medium to commute in the city. While you are in city and moving from one place to another, make sure that you know if place is accessible through Metro line. If yes, Metro should be your first preference to commute in Kolkata - It saves lot of time and money as well. Yellow taxies are also cheap but Kolkata traffic is very unpredictable. Kolkata Metro is reasonably maintained and good way to commute. 

Doodh-Fanta - Does is sound weird? Yes, I felt the same when one of my friend recommended me to try Doodh Fanta and believe me, it's not what we imagine :). It's quite different. I would not say that it's a very interesting drink but definitely much better that other milk beverages available in the market. 

Check out detailed story on Doodh-Fanta and know more about the way this drink is served.

Ride on Kolkata Tram - Here I need not say much. Kolkata is only city with Trams now, so if you are in the city, don't miss to take a ride. Trams operate in North part of the city. These are slow but who cares when you don't have a specific agenda and timeline in mind. It's about exploring the city through it's own mediums and know the heritage. I was extremely happy to see these trams running and still maintained.

Street-side Tea in bhat - Tea in Kolkata streets is served very differently. 

We noticed these small earthen cups, which are used to sell tea for 3 rs. It's are extremely small with their own charm. We loved sipping tea around the street in these earthen cups called 'bhat' in Kolkata. Try tea in these and have some local namkeen. There is high probability of finding authentic bengali namkeen around tea shops in Kolkata. 

Hand Pulled Rickshaws - 

When I saw these hand pulled rickshaws in the city, I was not comfortable with the thought of sitting on this rickshaw which would be pulled by a human being. But later I realized that my thought is just doing loss to their business. These folks are happy doing this work and we should appreciate that. These Hand pulled Rickshaws definitely make Kolkata different from other cities of India. Finally I took a ride and it was worth an experience. It's bit costly as compared to other mode of commuting in Kolkata, but it's not fair to compare. 

Kolkata Biryani at Zeeshan -

If you don't have time to explore places I mentioned in this post, then it's fine. But don't miss Zeeshan Biryani. You definitely need to eat while in the city, so why not have the best briyani in the city. It's near Park Circus. Check out the detailed post about Zeeshan and I am sure that you would not be able to resist it. If you are a vegeterian and don't like seeing non-veg preparations, please avoid the place. 

Explore the city in Yellow Taxis -

Ohh, I loved these yellow beauties of Kolkata city. They are awesome and pocket friendly. Most of them run on meter, so no scope of cheating. Just be confident and just say the name of place where you want to go. Most of the drivers won't say no, unless the place is very remote. 

Kolkata has much more than what I have tried to share in this post and since this is based on my personal experience, I am sure many of you would be able to add more to it. So please drop a comment in this post with your recommendations and tips to explore the city in best way.


Maniparna Sengupta Majumder said...

You have covered much of Kolkata, I must say. The pi ctures are just wonderful!

rupam sarma said...

Amazing photos from Kolkata. Great post.

Andy said...

City full of life... very interesting..

VJ Sharma said...

Maniparna - Coming from you on this post is awesome. I loved the fact that you liked the post about your city. Thanks!

Rupam - Thanks !

Andy - Yes, it is. Thanks !

Kalpanaa M said...

Mmmm - makes me nostalgic for Kolkata. Love the photo of the tram.

VJ Sharma said...

Thanks Kalpana. Happy that you liked the post and it helped you revisit the city virtually :)

Roy said...

Nice photographs VJ. You guys must visit to explore more in the East.


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