Kolkata Tourism
City

Kolkata Tourism

Kolkata Info

  • State: West Bengal
  • Famous for/as: City
  • Altitude: 2 m
  • Pincode: 700001
  • District: Kolkata
  • Language: Bengali,Hindi
  • STD code: 033
  • Weather: Summer 25 to 35°C, Winter 14 to 30°C
The capital of West Bengal and cultural capital of India - Kolkata is the gateway to the mountains of the northeast and marshlands of Sunderbans. Situated on the banks of River Hooghly, it is the heart and soul of the Bengali ‘bhadralokh’ intelligentsia.

History
Kolkata traces its roots to three villages - Sutanuti, Govindapur & Kolkata -  founded by Job Charnock. The city was the seat of the British Empire and capital of India till 1911. Even today, Kolkata boasts of numerous landmarks, reminiscent of the colonial era.

People & Culture
Bengalis are food lovers. Fish and rice form their staple diet. They enjoy evening chitchats over tea and ‘jhalmuri’. Theatre and music, especially Rabindra Sangeet and Nazrul Geeti, form an integral part of recreation.

Things to Do
Kolkata has a number of sights and sounds travellers can explore. Begin your Kolkata ‘darshan’ with a walk along River Hooghly near Eden Garden or a visit to Millennium Park. The city has a vibrant cultural scene.  Travellers must visit the Kolkata Book Fair held every year in January or February. To add to it, a visit to Nadan and Rabindra Sadan and a tram ride on Red Road should be experienced. Football fans must watch the football derby between Mohun Bagan and East Bengal Club.

Of the many sights and sounds of Kolkata, attractions that every traveller must experience include Howrah Bridge, also known as Rabindra Setu and the longest cantilever bridge in the world, Vidyasagar Setu, Writers’ Building and Victoria Memorial, which houses a fantastic collection of rare memorabilia brought to Kolkata by the British. Botanical Gardens where the main attraction is a 200-year-old Banyan Tree, Dakshineswar Temple on the banks of Hooghly, Belur Math, Kalighat - 0ne of the 51 Shakti Peeth,  where, according to a legend, one of Sati’s fingers fell - and St Paul’s Cathedral built in Gothic style with stained glass windows and two Florentine frescoes are also great places to explore.

For geeks or history lovers, must-visit sightseeing places in Kolkata are Birla Planetarium, Indian Museum, which houses a varied collection of unique fossils, Buddhist Gandhara art and an Egyptian mummy, Tagore House at Jorasanko and Science City. In Science City, travellers must see the time machine, space theatre and the space flight simulator.  

Food & shopping
Kolkata is renowned for its variety of street food and snacks. Right from the alur chop, samosa and beguni’s, to the mughlai paratha, egg, mutton, chicken rolls and fish kobiraji, these dishes will definitely tantalise any travellers’ taste buds. Dalhousie and Esplanade in Central Kolkata are dotted with many such roadside stalls.

Jhalmuri and fuchka are two other must-try snacks. Fuchka, the Kolkata avatar of paani-puri, has a potato stuffing and tasty tamarind water to go with it. A trip to Kolkata will be incomplete without dipping into roshogolla, roshomalai, langcha, sondesh and misti doi at K.C. Das, Bhim Nag, Sen Mahasoy or Gangurams. For fine dining, Esplanade and Park Street offer a wide choice of multi cuisine restaurants. Flury’s, Peter Cat and Moulin Rouge are some noteworthy addresses in Park Street. Mughlai dishes can be tried at Nizam's in New Market and Aminiya opposite Kolkata Corporation. For authentic Bengali cuisine, travellers can try 6 Ballygunge Place, Bhojohori Manna, Bhooter Raja DiloBor or Aaheli at Peerless Inn that offers exquisite Bengali dishes. China Town in Tangra off EM Bypass offers authentic Chinese cuisine at reasonable prices.

A stay in Kolkata is incomplete without a trip to local markets for buying handicrafts produced in Bengal - teracotta horse of Bankura, Shantiniketan sarees and earthen artifacts from Krishnagar. Gariahat, Dakhsinapan and College Street market have a wide array of shops to buy cotton, tant and silk sarees. The New Market has a fantastic collection of all types of clothing and toys. However, travellers need to haggle to get the best price. 

Travelling to Kolkata

Kolkata has three train stations – Howrah, Sealdah, Chitpur and is well connected to all major cities. All major national and international carriers fly to NSC Bose International airport, Kolkata. October to March is the best time to visit the city. Kolkata is very pleasant during winter.

Travelling within Kolkata
For travelling within the city, options are plenty – Metro rail, suburban trains, circular rail, private and public buses (including AC Volvos on some routes), trams, auto rickshaws, hand-pulled rickshaws, taxis and ferry services on the river front.

​  Contributed by: Smita, HolidayIQ.com Traveller
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Kolkata Traveller Reviews

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Read 189 destination reviews
with average rating of 5.6/7, 1
out of 4112 Kolkata reviews 189
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Samriddha Roy
  • Samriddha Roy
  • Lives in Kolkata
  • 75 photos
  • 11 Reviews

"A city of joy, culture, food and passion that welcomes almost everyone!" new review

  • 6/7
  • Posted 5 days ago
Being a true blue Kolkattan & insider, I hope to present an actual picture, essence of the city and suggest some do's & don'ts for the visitors so that they can catch up with the culture of the city and enjoy their stay to the utmost. The 'culture' is has always been a vital factor here - which is an amalgamation of old & new, the influence of British Raj and renaissance, juxtaposing with typical bengali middle class households and also aristocrats and later on the influence of mixed culture of various people from adjacent states of bihar, orissa etc and impact from outside like the old chinese colony & other influences & now the fast changing scenario of the city (keeping in pace with other metropolitan cities of india). But this city has something different to offer - behind the glamor of a mega city, here is a homely love bounded atmosphere never to be missed.

As the saying goes, kolkata (earlier Calcutta) is the cultural capital of India and a hub of many activities. So here you can enjoy recitation, tune in slow melodious Rabindra sangeet or enjoy such other events in any evening, play football in maidan (which is kolkata famous of), go for a boat ride in ganga from Princep ghat & Bagbazar ghat and get hold of the sight of beautiful sunset. Though Calcutta is a very crowded (over populated) ever growing city, but there is something relaxed and indolent about it's going.

As said here you get to see impact of many races and cultures and people (irrespective of their religious preference or origin) making livelihood here. The cab drivers (taxi-walas mostly from bihar) can take you to any nook and corner of the city. The yellow black taxis provide a prompt service here other than buses, trains, metro & local, auto rickshaw etc as public transport and one thing though the traffics are slow, the mode of transport is very cheap here (unlike most cities of india). Here in calcutta, you can plunge into the narrow alleys of north kolkata in a slow vintage tram ride and explore the vintage world of babu-culture and bengal renaissance to unwind many untold stories of this city of joy. Or you can walk in to the Chinatown(popularly known as China potti ) to dig in some authentic chinese delicacies (in which also calcutta leads)

Talking about calcutta and not about food, is an unforgivable offense. If not calcutta, where can you find the crispy non veg fries and snacks ruling the food list from 19th century? From the old cabins to modern cafes all serve some super delicious fish-fry, fish kaviraj, chicken cutlets and mutton afghanis. Along these today you can find the cafes and fast-food centres of KFC & CCDs in any malls and anywhere around. But definitely not to miss is the lip-smacking street foods - (though basically north indian junk foods but they appeared something splendid getting a local twist) - from jhal muris to vel-puris to flavored kachoris - everything is just hot here. But what tops the list is our very own flavored fuchkas (of distinct taste i bet), just gulp one and you will know. The calcutta katti-rolls is another calcutta specialty. I can proudly claim that calcuttans have given the south-indian dosas an altogether new twist which you gonna love & also the mughlai dishes - of which biryani (the most aromatic) is the best.

Of all foods the best is yet to come & that is the bengali cuisines - mild and tasty served with love which you will miss when back in home - from mocha ghanto, kopta dalna, aloo dum, aloo posto (the most famous one) are some of veg dishes while there are simple macher jhol/jhal/ korma/ kaliya/ shorshe and the list goes on - but the dab chingri, chingri malai-curry, gandhoraj vetki or ilish vaape rock. And there are some renowned fine dinning restaurants to indulge you with these. Last but not the least is the desserts or sweets here. Calcutta would not disappoint you in this also, as it serves some soft mouth-melting sweets (sandesh) and whites spongy wonders (rasgullas) and yes the sweet version of creamy yoghurt (misti-doi for which calcutta stands). So calcutta better be called a city of food, food and food and i can assure you that you will put on much weight by the time you leave this holiday destination.

If you are to go for sightseeing, i will suggest you to plan your visit day wise - if day one and two are dedicated for the north-calcutta (the old kolkata that bears the traces of heritage) to visit the heritage buildings, monuments and sites -starting from jorasanko thakurbari, then to sobabazar rajbari to the jain-temple to the unique college street area (wrapped with universities and the alleys heaped with book stalls which can provide you with some rarest as well as update books) to shyambazar & so on, day three can be for the central 'white-city' (covering parkstreet, esplanade area) to visit victoria memorial, museum, st Paul's cathedral and such others. Finally day four or five should be kept for southern part of kolkata (developed much later but can bring you all that you expect in a mega city) and the saltlake city - from shopping malls (namely south-city mall to city center), the kalighat temple, alipoor zoo, birla planetariumn nandon etc.

I would like to add that calcutta is a sultry city and weather is always humid with a little high temperature. Winter is the best time to arrive here and you need to carry an umbrella and your water along with your essentials. People here, are in general very congenial and ready to assist, everything here is pocket friendly and offers a great deal of variety. So comfort and some good foods are ahead when you take a trip to kolkata/Calcutta - so come with time and enjoy.
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  • 4 votes

Ravi Jaiswal
  • Ravi Jaiswal
  • Lives in Jamshedpur
  • 4 Reviews

"Kolkata best shopping and travelling ever." new review

  • 6.5/7
  • Posted 1 week ago
This place is an awesome one to discover the past India and the India during the British era. The places to visit are 'Victoria memorial', 'alipore zoo', ''science city', 'aquatica' and some historical temples. Last but not the least howrah bridge. The local and the ethnic food is cheap and best available in the country. I spent most of the time roaming all over the places, shopping and also a boat ride. I would advice the travellers to come once and explore 'the city of joy'.
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  • 6 votes

Abhay Patwar
  • Abhay Patwar
  • Lives in Kolkata
  • 1 Review

"Amazing Kolkata with good shopping markets" new review

  • 5/7
  • Posted 1 week ago
Kolkata is really a city of joy. Here you can shop at cheapest rate. In kolkata you can find howrah bridge. Eden garden where you can see matches and enjoy. The ganga river. There are so many shopping malls and excellent. Then the metro station are nice and very cheap. Living and fooding in Kolkata is very cheap.
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  • 5 votes

Tanujit Mitra
  • Tanujit Mitra
  • 2 Reviews

"Awesome kolkata" new review

  • 6/7
  • Posted 1 week ago
Its a wonderful place to stay. A weekend in Kolkata is absolutely amazing. I am from Kolkata and just love the cheerful people over here, the stunning food and the lovely nature. If you are looking for a place to spend the time. Kolkata is absolutely an awesome choice.
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  • 5 votes

Sanjay Kumar
  • Sanjay Kumar
  • Lives in New Delhi
  • 1 Review

"City of joy, happiness, contentment and slow pace" new review

  • 5/7
  • Posted 2 weeks ago
A marvellous mix of joy happiness and contentment comes automatically when you are on the bank of Hoogly river. The natural beauty coupled with simple, untangled and satisfying experience of Rabindermath Tagore land, full of love, music and positive vibes, makes the inner self jubilant. A must experience of at least a week to become an eternal part of Kolkata where love is in air everywhere.
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  • 9 votes

Koushik Sarkar
  • Koushik Sarkar
  • Lives in Bangalore
  • 2 Reviews

"Kolkata - City of Joy" new review

  • 5/7
  • Posted 3 weeks ago
I had relocated from West Bengal around 12 years back with my entire family and rarely visit Kolkata. This year I had to visit Silchar, Assam to attend a relative's marriage and decide to stop over in Kolkata for 2 days. I was happy to see the greenery in the once barren maidan area. They seem to have developed the city a little too much.

The natural beauty of Kolkata ( of older days) seems to be lost and it seemed like a bursting metropolis ( with narrow streets always full of traffic) with too many people (hawkers mostly). The other major chance was the change from RED to BLUE. It's truly amazing why this change was initiated. The tourist spots were cleaner and more enjoyable. the food was out of the world. People visiting the city should try the Kolkata Biryani (preferably from Arsalan).

Now I can really call Kolkata (Calcutta) the city of joy.
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  • 9 votes

Payel Sen
  • Payel Sen
  • Lives in Alipurduar
  • 2 Reviews

"For vacation its a beautiful destination" new review

  • 7/7
  • Posted 4 weeks ago
It is a very beautiful place for vacation, and I visited many beautiful sites like Victoria Memorial, Birla Planetarium, Nikko Park, Science City. In kolkata the street food was awesome. I had a great time in Kolkata with my lovely girlfriend. I hope we will come here very soon for revisiting.
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  • 12 votes

Bishal Shaw
  • Bishal Shaw
  • Lives in Kolkata
  • 8 Reviews

"Beautiful old world charm" new review

  • 7/7
  • Posted 4 weeks ago
Great place to visit and stay. Many things to see and many many places to visit. People are very friendly, and the food is out-of-this-world. Nightlife is probably the best in India, although many are unaware of it. Traffic is a nightmare, as are the cops, and the streets are in general, dirty. But the people more than make up for these shortcomings and it is a challenge not to fall in love with this old-world city.
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  • 10 votes

Sarvesh Tewari
  • Sarvesh Tewari
  • Lives in Delhi
  • 1 Review

"Visit only for best food" new review

  • 6/7
  • Posted 4 weeks ago
The food was awesome, especially the road side stalls of puchka(pani puri), chats(various types), and other dishes. The Food taste of Kolkata is superb, you just can't stop yourself from craving to the sweet dishes which are very famous here. Like rasgullas, misti dahi etc.

Places to visit is the Birla Planetarium, Howrah Bridge, Eden Gardens, Salt Lake City, Jawaharlal Nehru Museum, Victoria Memorial. The list of places continue. And for sure don't miss the tram rides in Kolkata which are very famous.
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  • 9 votes

Bichitra Panda
  • Bichitra Panda
  • Lives in Dibrugarh
  • 6 photos
  • 2 Reviews

"A must visit place"

  • 7/7
  • Posted 1 month ago
Very nice city to visit. Kali mata mandir is a famous temple. Holy river ganga is there. Howrah bridge to be seen. Party can be done in the cruise. Sanctuary may be visited. Hotel is cost convenient to stay. Taxi is easily available.. From there odisha is just 700 km & puri konark sun temple can be visited...
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  • 13 votes

Kalandi charan behera Shila Shila Sandeep Kalandi charan behera, Shila, Shila and 6764 other people have been to Kolkata.
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