Kolkata Travel Blog– Kolkata (which is consistently said in Bengali) is often called Calcutta (by the British).
It is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal. According to some, the city’s name comes from the city’s first settlement being on the bank of a canal (Khal).
As an outsider stepping foot into the vibrant city of Kolkata, I found myself instantly captivated by its rich history, artistic treasures.
Known as the cultural capital of India, Kolkata boasts a unique blend of old-world charm and contemporary vibrancy.
Join me on a virtual journey as I explore the enchanting streets, indulge in delectable cuisine, and immerse myself in the cultural tapestry of this remarkable city.
Table of Contents
- Who founded Kolkata?
- A Brief History of Kolkata
- Where is Kolkata located? How to reach?
- Why Kolkata?
- Places in Kolkata that one should always visit:
- Places Near Kolkata to Explore
- Shopping in Kolkata:
- Art & Culture in Kolkata
- Fares & Festivals in Kolkata
- Food & Drink in Kolkata
- Kolkata, where the love for art and literature never fades.
- Join Our Exclusive Travel Community!
Who founded Kolkata?
Kolkata was first known as Calcutta, although Job Charnock, an English administrator for the East India Company, is generally credited as its creator. In 1698, the city was established.
A Brief History of Kolkata
From the 14th to the 16th centuries, Kolkata was governed by the Bengal Sultanate. It was used as British India’s capital up until 1911. Kolkata has been its name since 2001.
Bengali, the city’s primary language, is its official state tongue. The language utilized the most is English. Hindi and English are also spoken in a few areas of Kolkata.
Where is Kolkata located? How to reach?
The city is located on the Hooghly River’s east bank, once the Ganges River’s primary channel, approximately 154 km upstream of the Bay of Bengal’s head.
Kolkata is well-connected with all the major cities in India through a network of roads. Trains and flights are also readily available from many parts of India to Kolkata.
India’s seventh most populated city is Kolkata. Greater Kolkata is another name for Kolkata in the metro area.
It is renowned for many things, including its food, literature, history, and culture. Kolkata is known for several well-known items, from sports, food, shopping, history, architecture, religion, spiritualism, and even politics.
The “City of Joy” is another name for Kolkata. We have an exclusive coverage of Kolkata Travel Guide for your reference.
Places in Kolkata that one should always visit:
Located in the city’s center, Victoria Memorial or Victoria Palace in Kolkata is much more than a famous landmark or important city structure.
It was constructed between 1906 and 1921 as a tribute to the British Empress Queen Victoria. White marble is used to build the Victoria Memorial.
Victoria Memorial Hall, 1, Queen’s Way, Kolkata
Phone: 033 2223 1890
Tuesday to Sunday: 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Closed on all Mondays and Public Holidays
Entry Fee & Ticket:
For Indians: Rs.30/-
For Foreigners: Rs.500/-
For Foreigners (SAARC Countries): Rs.100/-
For students, differently abled visitors, and army personnel: Free
Projection-Mapping Show: Rs.100/-
For more info: https://www.victoriamemorial-cal.org/
Most people, who are asked about Kolkata, mention Rasgulla, Misti Doi & the Howrah Bridge.
The Howrah Bridge is one of the significance that Kolkata is often renowned for. The “Pride of Kolkata” is another name for it.
It is one of India’s busiest bridges that connects Kolkata and Howrah. The steel used to build this bridge, built in 1936, weighs 26,500 tonnes.
When this suspension-type balanced cantilever bridge was built, it was the first of its kind in India and the third of its kind in the entire globe. Now, nearly 79 years later, the bridge still maintains its heritage.
What inspired the creation of this Bridge?
Howrah and Kolkata were once connected by a pontoon bridge across the Hooghly River before the Howrah Bridge was built. A pontoon bridge is a floating bridge for pedestrians and light vehicles.
One Mr. Walton of M/s. Rendel, Palmer & Triton created this bridge. The span length of this bridge is 705m. A foundation of the Caisson type was used to construct this bridge. Typically, a concrete-filled hollow chamber is driven into the ground.
The approximate cost of this project was Rs.2.5 crore; at the current inflation rate, that sum would be equivalent to almost Rs.1800 crore. Although the bridge can hold 85,000 vehicles, every day, around 150,000 people and 100,000 vehicles cross it.
The Second Hooghly Bridge, also known as the Vidyasagar Setu, was built in 1992 to relieve congestion on this bridge. It was renamed Rabindra Setu on June 14, 1965, in honor of the poet Rabindranath Tagore, even though it is often referred to as the Howrah Bridge.
The Indian Museum, the largest museum in India and the ninth-oldest museum in the world is situated in Kolkata, the city of joy. Art, Archaeology, Anthropology, Geology, Zoology, and Economic Botany are the six areas represented by the museum’s 35 galleries.
Leading hotels close to museums are ITC Royal Bengal, The Oberoi Grand, Vivanta Kolkata, Fab Hotel Aayash, ITC Sonar, etc.
Along with these, the Indian Museum is home to some of the most exquisite collections of jewelry, fossils, skeletons, antiques, armor, and breathtaking Mughal paintings.
27, Jawaharlal Nehru Road, Park Street Area, Kolkata
Phone: 033 2252 1790
Tuesday to Sunday: 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Closed on all Mondays and Public Holidays
Entry Fee & Ticket:
For Adults: Rs.50/-
For Below 18 Years: Rs.20/-
For Foreign Nationals: Rs.500/-
Photography with Smart Phone Camera: Rs.50/-
Book Tickets Online: https://indianmuseumkolkata.org/book-a-ticket/
For more info: https://indianmuseumkolkata.org/
Cricket is played at The Eden Gardens in Kolkata. It is one of the largest sporting venues and has a special place in Indian cricket history. In 1864, this stadium was built. The first Test was played between India and England in 1934. Initially able to accommodate more than one lakh people, the stadium underwent renovations before the 2011 World Cup, which reduced capacity to just over 66,000.
India has hosted 15 Cricket World Cup games in all formats and for both men’s and women’s cricket at Eden Gardens. The Eden Gardens recorded a crowd 110,564 in the 1996 India VS Sri Lanka Cricket World Cup Semi-Final.
The Science City in Kolkata was opened on July 1st, 1997, and is the first in India. Your trip will be worthwhile thanks to Science City, which will provide you, your friends, and your family with a fantastic experience.
The aquatic environment is covered in its area, where you may discover every detail about the many fish and insects that inhabit it. The science city is the ideal fusion of learning and entertainment. These aquariums include some of the most unusual fish.
JBS Haldane Avenue, East Topsia, Kolkata
Phone: 033 2285 4343
10:00 AM to 7:00 PM
Entry Fee & Ticket:
For adults: Rs.65/-
Road Train: Rs.25/-
Time Machine: Rs.40/-
Panorama Show: Rs.60/-
Concessional rates are available for groups, students, BPL card holders.
Book Tickets Online: https://sciencecitykolkataonline.org.in/
For more info: https://sciencecitykolkata.org.in/
James Prinsep Ghat
There are several reasons why Prinsep Ghat is a famous spot in the city, but its historical significance is undoubtedly the most important. It was constructed in 1841.
Prinsep Ghat is among the best locations to escape the mundane. It is a short gateway from home without the stress of a long trip because it is located along the banks of the river Ganges. All ages can go there and feel comfortable.
In meteorology, Indian texts, archaeology, etc., James Prinsep produced outstanding contributions. This is primarily because you can do so many activities, including boating.
You may rent boats for a set amount of time to sail over the Ganges, and they cost about Rs.500 per hour.
One such temple, Birla Mandir in Kolkata, was created to satiate the spiritual aspirations of people from far locations. Shri Krishna Temple is another name for this Hindu temple.
Other deities such as Lord Ganesha, Lord Vishnu, and Lord Hanuman are also worshipped in the temple. The temple is primarily dedicated to the gods Krishna and his beloved Radha.
29, Ashutosh Chowdhury Avenue, Ballygunge, Kolkata
Phone: 033 2461 5717
Monday to Sunday: 5:30 AM to 11:00 AM & 4:30 PM to 9:00 PM
St. Paul’s Cathedral
One of Kolkata’s most stunning buildings, St. Paul’s Cathedral is a must-see during the Christmas season because it is well-known for its Christmas midnight service.
For trade and other reasons, people worldwide have come to Kolkata and settled there, resulting in a soft blending of various cultures.
The cathedral is situated close by across the street from Victoria Memorial. The cathedral is reminiscent of the Norwich Cathedral in England and was created by London architect Sir Arthur William Bloomfield.
Cathedral Road, Maidan, Kolkata
Phone: 033 2223 0127
Monday to Saturday: 9:00 AM to 12:00 Noon & 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Sunday: 7:30 AM to 6:00 PM
The Ramakrishna Math and Mission is based in Kolkata at Belur Math. Hindu, Christian, and Islamic features are combined in the temple’s unusual construction to represent the harmony of all world religions.
The temple, which Swami Vivekananda, Ramakrishna Paramahansa’s principal disciple, founded, is the centre of the Ramakrishna Movement. A museum and several other connected educational institutes are also included within the temple complex.
PO Belur Math, Howrah
Phone: 033 2654 5700
Morning: 6:30 AM to 11:30 AM
Evening: Apr to Sep: 4:00 PM to 9:00 PM, Oct to Mar: 3:30 PM to 8:30 PM
Closed on all Mondays and Public Holidays
For more info: https://belurmath.org/
One is meant to sit and meditate during the Aarti, which differs from other devotion sites. Flowers and sweets are not offered, nor is any religious sacrifice made.
Mother Teresa was interred in the tomb inside the Mother House, making it her final resting place. Visitors to this location pay their respects and make prayers, and they also use it for meditation because it is a peaceful location infused with good energy.
In more than 133 countries, The Missionaries of Charity has a family of over 4500 individuals.
Headquarter of Missionaries of Charity, 54A, Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Road (formerly 54A, Lower Circular Road), Kolkata
Phone: 0833 589 2277
Monday to Wednesday, Friday & Saturday: 8:00 AM to 12:00 Noon & 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Every Friday, Holy Mass & Blessing: 4:30 PM
For more info: https://missionariesofcharity.org/
Places Near Kolkata to Explore
If you are planning to spend good number of days in Kolkata, I would suggest you also to explore these places near Kolkata. We have selected the places based on their relevance in culture, tradition, historical importance etc.
Shopping in Kolkata:
Shopping can be done in various ways, including online, offline, and in-person. It is typically a fun activity. Kolkata is renowned for its shopping destinations, shops, party shopping, local shopping, and window shopping. Below is the brief on Kolkata’s market:
Sir Stuart Hogg Market’s predecessor, The New Market, has a certain allure. The building is located next to Free School Street on Lindsay Street.
One of the first shopping zones, it is a shoppers’ paradise. In New Market, many shops sell candies, clothing, and accessories. Products ranging from shoes, sarees, unusual flowers, and rare cheese are available.
Number of services and stores: 2000+
Monday to Friday: 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM, Saturday: 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM
The Gariahat Market, often known as the Triangular Park, is one of the biggest markets. It is situated in South Kolkata at the intersection of Gariahat Road and Rashbehari Avenue.
A unique retail shopping area with upscale stores and roadside booths selling almost everything. From gold jewellery to an inexpensive handbag knockoff; from stunning ethnic sarees to regular plastic bowls. In Gariahat, you can find anything.
Monday to Saturday: 11:00 AM to 9:00 PM
The best-known feature of Rashbehari Avenue is its seafood selection. A few of the stores are situated here, which is close to the Gariahat Market.
Several stores are selling Indian sarees and other things like electronics and ready-to-wear clothing. The top stores in Kolkata’s Rashbehari Avenue include Benarasi Kuthi, India Silk House, and Mabesha.
Additionally, there are numerous eateries and food stands so one can sneak in and grab a quick snack between shopping excursions.
The University of Calcutta, Sanskrit College, Presidency University, and the Medical College of Kolkata are just a few of the academic institutions that line College Street, as the name suggests.
The most extensive book market in India is located in Kolkata’s historic college street, earning it the affectionate moniker Boi Para means “Book Town.” It is a 1.5km long street in the Indian state of West Bengal’s capital city, Kolkata.
A few of College Street’s well-known bookshops include:
- Chuckervertty Chatterjee
- Bani Library
- Das Gupta & Company Pvt. Ltd.
- National Bookstore
- Sri Aurobindo Pathamandir
Monday to Saturday: 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM
Visiting Hatibagan, one of Kolkata’s oldest traditional markets is worthwhile. This enormous market, opposite to Shyambazar, has hundreds of businesses, movie theatres, and historic theatres.
To have traditional Bengali cuisine, visit the Hatibagan Market restaurants. The market sells various goods, including jewellery, clothing, footwear, and home appliances. The market’s must-have items include Bengali silk and cotton sarees.
Travel Advice for Hatibagan Market:
- Pay attention to pickpockets.
- Before purchasing, make sure you haggle for the best possible price.
Monday to Saturday: 10:00 AM to 8:30 PM
Sunrise to Sunset on Sundays
North of Kolkata is home to Barabazar, the largest wholesale market in all of India. Under the British era, it was a market for yarn and textiles. In Kolkata’s wholesale market of clothes, Barabazar Market is an essential component.
You can purchase Sarees, Kurtis, skirts, dresses, ready-made clothing, jeans, tees, and a variety of other clothing items. In Barabazar Market, you may also buy a variety of fabrics from fabric wholesalers.
Famous Fabrics include pure silk, Benarasi silk, cotton, chiffon, linen, rayon, and other well-known textiles are used here. All different kinds of textile items are made using these materials.
One of Kolkata’s well-known landmarks, Barabazar Market, is in Jorasanko North.
Monday to Saturday: 10:00 AM to 9:00 PM
Several Malls in Kolkata:
South City Mall:
The largest mall in Kolkata, South City Mall, features the best restaurants, shopping, movie theatres, and entertainment areas. It is located at Prince Anwar Shah Road, South City Complex, Jadavpur, in Kolkata.
- Quest Mall:
One of Kolkata’s most prominent malls is called Quest. It is near Beck Bag an, Park Circus, on Syed Amir Ali Avenue.
Clothing for men and women is available from retailers carrying labels including Gucci, Burberry, and Ritu Kumar.
- City Centre Mall:
The shopping center that has managed to win over people’s hearts is City Centre Salt Lake. Street cuisine, quality retail alternatives, theatres, excellent restaurants and standalone pop-ups are all nearby. It is located at Block DC, Sector 1, Salt Lake City.
Art & Culture in Kolkata
The literary and cultural endeavors of Kolkatans have a long history. Numerous museums in Greater Kolkata offer a wide range of exhibits. The oldest museum in India is the Indian Museum, established in 1814.
Perhaps India’s most significant cultural hub is Kolkata. The Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, the Asiatic Society of Bengal, the Bengal Literary Society (Bangiya Sahitya Parishad), the Academy of Fine Arts, the Birla Academy of Art and Culture, and the Maha Bodhi Society are a few of these organizations.
Fares & Festivals in Kolkata
Below is the list of all the major festivals that are held in Kolkata each year:
- International History & Heritage Exhibition
- National Theatre Festival
- Kolkata International Film Festival
- International Kolkata Book Fair
- Dover Lane Music Conference
- Bhai Phota Festival
- Kali Puja Festival
- Lakshmi Puja Festival
- Durga Puja Festival
- Jamai Shoshti Festival
- Poila Baishakh Festival
- Basanti Puja Festival
- Saraswati Puja Festival
Food & Drink in Kolkata
Some of the best restaurants in Kolkata are:
- Social Kitchen
- Blue Sky Café
- Kusum Rolls
Top street foods of Kolkata are:
- Dilipda’s Phuchkas in Vivekananda Park
- Hot Kati Rolls at Park Street Area
- Luchi & Alu Dom at Fairlie Place and Stock Exchange BBD Bag
- Dragon Chicken at Lord’s More
The foodie in you will live the best of life in Kolkata, this city never disappoints the street food lovers.
Kolkata, where the love for art and literature never fades.
The best way to discover Kolkata is to not miss something interesting in the city of joy. Kolkata boasts over a dozen picture-perfect spots, from lakes to gardens to bridges to cozy restaurants and age-old monuments.
With its many heritage sites and monuments, Kolkata is well known for its culture and diversity.
This is not all! Kolkata has much more for couples too, and it is impossible to talk about everything about the city in just one blog.
If you are planning to visit Kolkata and need help making itineraries, we at TravelEscape welcome you on board to customize a perfect tour.
I recommend you explore/bookmark our official website for additional information you will need for your upcoming trips.
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