Best Things To Do In Kolkata (Calcutta), India - Updated 2024

things to do in kolkata (calcutta) india
Heena
Heena 
Updated
| 4 min read
Shalmolee Mukherjee
Endorsed by a Kolkata Local Expert
|
Shalmolee Mukherjee
Anupama Passary
Endorsed by a Kolkata Local Expert
|
Anupama Passary
Sreeparna Chaudhury
Endorsed by a Kolkata Local Expert
|
Sreeparna Chaudhury
Rituparna Pal
Endorsed by a Kolkata Local Expert
|
Rituparna Pal

Kolkata - the city of palaces and joy is located on the east bank of the Hooghly River and is sometimes lovingly referred to as the “Paris of the East.” Kolkata boasts a rich culture, with delicious local food, lovely temples, historical monuments, and bustling bazaars. It is one of the largest cities in India and is densely populated. Because of its multiple attractions and fun environment, there is plenty to do and see, here.

Here is a list of the top 10 things you must do if you are in Kolkata.

1. Kalighat Kali Temple


Kalighat Kali Temple is one of the most visited and sacred sites in Kolkata and is dedicated to the Hindu goddess, Kali. While walking towards the temple, you will pass through a street that’s packed on both sides with religious items you can purchase. Do note that the queue to get to the actual temple to see the idol of Goddess Kali is sometimes quite long. Kalighat Kali Temple attracts thousands of pilgrims and devotees. To enter the temple, you must remove your shoes outside.

Kalighat Kali Temple

Address: Anami Sangha, Kalighat, Kolkata

Website: Kalighat Kali Temple

Opening hours: 24 hours

Tip from Trip101 local expert

We visit the Kalighat Temple on special occasions, especially when somebody in the family has their birthday! Although this centuries-old temple is densely crowded even on weekdays, it doesn't deter pilgrims from visiting and paying their homage, including me. This Kali Temple is one of the most famous Shakti piths in the whole of India, and if you are a devotee of the Goddess like many of my family members are, you must include it in your itinerary when you visit Kolkata. The evening time when there is a smell of incense and flowers in the air and the priest worships the Goddess with a diya (lamp) is my favorite moment.

Tip from Trip101 local expert

Rituparna

Rituparna
Kolkata

Several neighborhoods around the Kali Temple host their public puja during the annual Kali Puja that comes about 20 days after Kolkata's famous Durga Puja. You will get to see themed pandals and different iterations of the idol at these pujas. The one I find most awe-inspiring is the Kali puja held at Keoratala Burning Ghat, about a 15-minute walk from the temple. This is one of the two illustrious crematoriums of Kolkata. The ebony-black, towering idol at this puja is Shoshan Kali, the form of the goddess who rules over the horrors of crematoriums.

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2. Victoria Memorial

Victoria Memorial Kolkata panorama
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user View more used under CC BY-SA 2.5

The Victoria Memorial is one of the largest marble buildings in Kolkata. When you visit the attraction, you will feel like you are in Europe. This iconic structure is dedicated to Queen Victoria, who was also referred to as the “Empress of India”. With its British and European touches, the hall also includes some Mughal Indian design elements. This memorial is 103 meters (338 feet) in length, 69 meters (226.4 feet) wide, and 56 meters (183.7 feet) high. If you stay here until 7 PM, you can enjoy the musical fountain show held here.

Victoria Memorial

Address: Maidan, Victoria Memorial Hall, 1, Queens Way, Kolkata

Website: Victoria Memorial

Opening hours: Main museum - 10am - 5pm (daily); Musical fountain - 6pm - 9pm (daily)

Tip from Trip101 local expert

Anupama

Anupama
Kolkata

If you come in the evening, ride on a horse-drawn carriage near Victoria Memorial to experience the charm of Kolkata. 

Tip from Trip101 local expert

Rituparna

Rituparna
Kolkata

The ground around Victoria Memorial is one of the most popular dating spots in Kolkata. While I have been here only with my friends, the romantic charm of the greenery hasn't been lost on me. I would completely recommend this place for lovers looking to have a quiet time away from prying eyes.

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3. Writers' Building

things to do in kolkata (calcutta) india | writers' building
Source: instagram

Writers’ Building is referred to as Kolkata’s first three-storied building and is located in the northern part of BBD Bagh. The place is called so because it once housed the clerical and administrative staff of the East India Company. Today it houses the office of the Chief Minister and the main state secretariat. This beautiful building was designed by Thomas Lyon, in 1777 and it has undergone several extensions and changes over the years. Writers’ Building is one of the major landmarks of the City of Joy and a must-see place in Kolkata.

Writers' Building

Address: BBD Bag N, Lal Dighi, BBD Bagh, Kolkata

Website: Writers’ Building

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4. Marble Palace

Marble Palace Kolkata
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user en:User:Mjanich used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Marble Palace is a splendid building, full of breathtaking examples of lavishness that throw light upon the over-the-top, luxurious lifestyle that the Rajas of Kolkata once had. The palace is located in the northern part of Kolkata and is close to the residence of Rabindranath Tagore. You will be amazed to know that the entire gallery at Marble Palace has a collection of artwork amassed by one individual. Here, you can find exclusive paintings of Reynolds, Rembrandt, Van Goyen, and Rubens.

Marble Palace

Address: 46 Mukteram Babu Street, Kolkata, 700007

Opening hours: Fri - Sun, Tue & Wed: 10am - 4pm (Closed on Mon & Thu)

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Kolkata Tour Guide

Nibedita Sen

Nibedita Sen

A hearty WELCOME to our page Happiness Activist. We are here to solve the problems of foreigners who come to explore India. Firstly, we suggest them to stop visiting the wonders and mundanes of social media advertisements about overrated traveling. We provide them the basic needs and guidelines that the audience requires when they first step into an unknown land which we have already explored. Secondly, we are not like any other travel guides. If you are here to explore the museum, zoo, or places that you can easily google about Kolkata then Sorry, we are not the right one to help you. Our USP is to guide those travellers who are offbeat and craze for the undiscovered and less travelled places in India, Egypt and Israel. Through our eyes, 'WE WILL MAKE YOU FALL IN LOVE WITH YOURSELF'

Tours by Nibedita

5. Indian Museum

Indian Museum - Kolkata 2012-11-16 2078
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Biswarup Ganguly used under CC BY 3.0

Indian Museum makes for a fascinating visit due to its unique exhibits and artifacts. This museum is said to be the first museum in India and it is also the largest multipurpose museum not only on the Indian subcontinent but all of Asia. The museum hosts huge collections and galleries covering many different subjects, including archaeology, art, geology, and even Egyptology. It tends to get very busy, so visit as soon as it opens to avoid the crowds.

Indian Museum

Address: 27, Jawaharlal Nehru Rd, Colootola, New Market Area, Dharmatala, Taltala, Kolkata

Website: Indian Museum

Opening hours: Tue - Sun: 10am - 5pm (Closed on Mon)

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6. Nicco Park

Nicco Park Cyclone...... ;) :D

Posted by Kolkata Calling on Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Are you in Kolkata and missing Disneyland? No worries, Nicco Park is the place for you. This amusement park is a place where not just kids but even adults can let their hair down and have a fun day. With well-maintained rides and slides, the park offers a gamut of fun activities for amusement park enthusiasts. You can spend hours here, admiring the beautiful lake and exploring the big food courts. This is truly a great place to spend a whole day with family and friends.

Nicco Park

Address: Jheel Meel, Sector IV, Salt Lake City, Kolkata

Website: Nicco Park

Opening hours: 10:30am - 7:30pm (daily)

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7. Indian Botanical Garden

things to do in kolkata (calcutta) india | indian botanical garden
Source: instagram

If you are done visiting historical monuments, take a relaxing trip to the Indian Botanical Garden. This garden is full of lush flora and the shades of green will soothe and relax your tired mind. It has a cactus house, river overlook, palm collection, and a boating lake with splendid Amazonian lily pads. This place is like a natural encyclopedia for almost every plant in the world.

Indian Botanical Garden

Address: Shibpur, Howrah, West Bengal

Website: Indian Botanical Garden

Opening hours: For morning walks - 5am - 7am (daily); for visitors - 9am - 5pm (daily)

Tip from Trip101 local expert

Anupama

Anupama
Kolkata

Make sure you take a picture with The Great Banyan Tree, which is more than 250 years old and is said to be the widest Banyan Tree in the world.

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8. Belur Math

2013-Kolkata-Belur-Math
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Wiki-uk used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Belur Math is a clean, safe, and peaceful place to relax. It is located on the banks of the Hooghly River and was founded by Swami Vivekananda, in 1898. This place is well known for its architectural elegance, sacred associations, clean environs, and spiritual atmosphere. It incorporates the motifs of various religions, symbolizing the harmony taught by Sri Ramakrishna. You can also choose to walk around the gardens, but you’ll need to capture its beauty with your mind, as photography is strictly prohibited.

Belur Math

Address: Belur, Howrah, West Bengal

Website: Belur Math

Opening hours: 6:30am - 11:30 am, 4pm - 9 pm (daily)

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9. Terreti Market

things to do in kolkata (calcutta) india | terreti market
Source: instagram

Are you up early in the morning and craving delicious Tibetan food? Head to Terreti Market. This is a popular local bazaar known for its sumptuous breakfast offerings, and it often attracts hungry visitors who have just enjoyed a night of partying. You can relish mouthwatering pork dumplings, Chinese baozi, and soup noodles here.

Terreti Market

Address: Tangra, Kolkata, West Bengal

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 10am - 8:30pm; Sun: 2pm - 8:30pm

Tip from Trip101 local expert

For somebody like me who dearly loves Chinese cuisine, a visit to Kolkata's Chinatown, Terreti Bazaar, is a must. This place will teleport me to China in my mind while I sit and dig into dim sums and mushrooms in a quaint shop on the busy streets. I also pick up Chinese spices and sauces along with tea whenever I am here. An added attraction for me is the Chinese temple of Toong On, which once housed the famous Nanking Restaurant on the ground floor.

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10. Howrah Bridge

Howrah Bridge
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Ssray23 used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

Howrah Bridge is one of the oldest bridges in India, crossed by a huge number of cars and trucks daily as it is also one of the busiest places in Kolkata. The bridge is built on the Hooghly River and provides spectacular sunrise and sunset views over the water. The construction of the bridge started back in 1935! It is also known as Rabindra Setu Bridge, but locals prefer to call it Howrah Bridge.

Howrah Bridge

Address: Howrah, West Bengal

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Journey through the Paris of the East

There are many places to visit in Kolkata, from historic monuments to fun parks. Kolkata has grown rapidly in the last few years and it is growing more modern each day; however, it still exudes a rich cultural ambiance. Enjoy a wonderful journey to Kolkata by creating a flawless itinerary with the help of this article!

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Park Street

Contributed by Trip101 Local Expert, Rituparna Pal

If you want to partake in the joyous vibe of Kolkata, Mother Teresa Sarani, more commonly known by its former name, Park Street, is a must-visit. Named after a deer park owned by Elijah Impey, an English judge, this street carries traces from Kolkata’s colonial history. Fun fact, before it came to be known as Park Street, this vibrant area used to be called Burial Ground Road as it led to the 18th-century cemetery, known as South Park Street Cemetery today.

In the ‘70s and '80s, this area became the entertainment hub of the city, with a number of jazz bars and restaurants lining the street. Today, many of these remain, albeit without the glamour of the cabaret performances. Restaurants such as Moulin Rouge, Trincas, and Peter Cat continue to serve delectable continental fares while keeping the charm of vintage hospitality alive.

Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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This article has been endorsed by Kolkata local expert Diya Sen and 4 other(s)

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Hailing from India, Heena explores the world through information and people's preferences. She sees beauty in every place and excels as a storyteller and expressive writer. Moreover she is an...Read more

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