“Calcutta is not for everyone.
You want your city clean and green, stick to Delhi.
You want your city rich and impersonal, go to Bombay.
You want them hi-tech and full of draught beer, Bangalore’s your place.
But if you want a city with a soul, come to Calcutta”- Vir Sanghvi
The “City of Joy”, Kolkata is a city of contradictions. The erstwhile British imperial capital city of India, is now the capital of Indian state of West Bengal. Cacophonous, chaotic and contradictory, Kolkata is a city with a dynamic soul. The old and the new, the exotic and the everyday travails of a cosmopolitan city; all play a major role in forming Kolkata’s heart and soul. Music, films, arts, sports and intellectual discussions are equally followed with an unmatched passion.
Political agitations and frequent bandhs are part and parcel of the city’s culture. One of the greatest football rivalries in the world (East Bengal vs Mohun Bagan) continues to divide the city’s football obsessed locals. Here, sweets and snacks are very much part of the local cuisine and incorporates the elements of layered course meals with subtle tastes. The annual 5-day festival of Durga Puja showcases the true essence of Kolkata, a city which is diverse, challenging and yet friendly and rewarding. Kolkata is an interesting city to visit and is an easy place to aces from the Middle East. Several flights are available weekly on the Dubai – Kolkata flight routes.
Check out the 10 interesting tourist attraction of Kolkata that are truly special and are the true icons of “City of Joy”.
Howrah Bridge is the iconic cantilever bridge across the Hooghly River. Commissioned in 1943, the bridge links the twin city of Howrah and Kolkata. The symbol of Kolkata, Howrah Bridge has featured in several Bollywood films as well. One of the most photographed landmark of Kolkata, the Howrah Bridge sees a daily traffic of 100,000 vehicles and 150,000 pedestrians approximately. Howrah Bridge is one of key points of interest in Kolkata.
The beautiful Victoria Memorial lies in the sprawling ground of Maidan along the bank of the Hooghly River. Dedicated to Queen Victoria of United Kingdom, this grand memorial is constructed of marble and hosts several exhibitions, paintings and historical artefacts. The Victoria Memorial statue is one of the finest examples of Indo-Saracenic Revival architecture. Victoria Memorial is also one of the must visit places to see in Kolkata.
Belur Math is the headquarters of Ramakrishna Movement and was set-up by Swami Vivekananda after his return from Chicago. Designed in Indian architectural style incorporating the elements of Hindu, Christian and Islamic symbols, Belur Math is a peaceful place to visit in Kolkata. Located on the West bank of River Hooghly, Belur Math is one of the premier cultural institutions of Kolkata.
Princep Ghat is one of the most popular, highly photographed beachfront locations in Kolkata. Built in the honour of the eminent Anglo-Indian scholar and antique collector James Prinsep, its stylish Palladium porch is one of the oldest recreation spots in Kolkata. A visit to Princep Ghat is mandatory and is certainly among the top attractions in Kolkata.
Marble Palace is a 19th century palatial mansion of a wealthy merchant, Raja Rajendra Mullick. His descendants still use the palace till date. However, limited number of passes are issued by government kiosks which allows you to have a glimpse into this wonderful marble palace and check out its art collections and arteacts. Marble Palace highlights the rich architecture of the city and is among the top places to visit in Kolkata.
The Indian Museum is now operated under the patronage of Ministry of Culture and Tourism. This heritage building was initially funded and constructed by Asiatic Society of Bengal. Today, it houses six important section related to art, archaeology, anthropology, geology, zoology, and economic botany. The oldest museum of India has undergone a major facelift and is now ready to welcome visitors. Indian Museum is one of the top attractions in Kolkata
The National Library is the largest library in India in terms of volume and India’s literary records. Maintained by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, the library is located in the beautiful Belvedere Estate. One can register with the National Library portal and obtain a reading pass to see this important library which boasts of a rich record of Indian publishing history along with several important publications and editions of several important books and literary resources.
Science City Kolkata is the largest science centre in Indian subcontinent. Under the patronage of Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Science City is spread over a large area and features plenty of interactive exhibits. Science City has several world class theatres catering to various themes in 3D and 4D pictures and documentaries. Science City is among the best places to visit in Kolkata.
The Birla Planetarium is the largest planetarium in Asia and the second largest in the world. The Planetarium is designed in the style of Buddhist stupa of Sanchi. Popularly referred to as “Taramandal”, the planetarium also has an electronics laboratory and shows projections of over 100 astronomical projects that highlight the various facets of astronomy, astro-physics, space science, etc.
Alipore Zoological Gardens
The Alipore Zoological Gardens is the country’s oldest zoological park in the country that was established in 1876. One of the most popular attractions of Kolkata, Alipore Zoological Gardens host several species of flora and fauna some of them are in the list of endangered species. Alipore Zoological Gardens is a peaceful paradise and one of the top attractions in Kolkata.