If you are traveling Kolkata, you cannot miss the majestic St. Paul’s Cathedral. Standing tall at 247 feet (75.3 meters) high, it looks surreal in appearance. This white-colored cathedral is the first in India, and is rich in history, culture, and religious relevance. Being one of the landmarks of Kolkata for more than one and a half-century, it is also the most excellent example of Gothic Revival-style of architecture, which has withstood two earthquakes so far. This colossal building, with its central tower inspired by Canterbury Cathedral’s Bell Harry Tower, reminds you of the colonial times. It also resembles the Norwich Cathedral with three Gothic stained glass windows, along with two frescoes in Florentine Renaissance-style, built over eight years and opened in 1847. For more information, check out our guide to St. Paul’s Cathedral, Kolkata, India.
Things to do / Highlights
This first Episcopalian cathedral in Asia, will not only awe you with its magnificent exteriors, but also with the ambiance inside. The cathedral has a serene atmosphere and a sense of calm that pervades every corner, drifting you away from the worldly worries or chaotic noises. With this peaceful mindset taking you back to more than seventeen decades of history, there are many things to do, which are listed below.
With a special meditation point where great and common people have meditated for more than one and half a century, it provides the right stillness for you to meditate and make your mind free.
Marvel at the rare books
Bishop Wilson did not only stand firm in building the cathedral, but also donated his collection of rare books to it. The library with all his books is above the western porch, along with a marble bust of the Bishop.
Relax in the lawn
After marveling at the Gothic architecture of the cathedral, you can relax in the well-maintained lovely lawns all around the cathedral.
Check out the splendid sculptures
Check many memorials and sculptures inside the cathedral, including the “Episcopal Throne”, reredos or an ornament wall, and others.
Learn about the life and times of Saint Paul
There are many things in the cathedral that portray the holy deeds of Saint Paul. It includes the pictures, posters, documents, and the reredos with carvings depicting the life and times of Saint Paul.
Enjoy the paintings
Centuries-old paintings are always a delight even if you are not an art lover. Sir Arthur Blomfield’s paintings are a treat for the eyes, including the Annunciation, the Adoration of the Magi, and the Flight into Egypt.
The magic of Christmas
Built to accommodate the increasing Christians from Britain during the 1700s, when they first landed on the shores of the Bay of Bengal in Kolkata, as there was no cathedral in India at the time. It is the first cathedral in India, which was a gift to thousands of Christians in the country. Hence the Christmas here is special and the entire cathedral, its garden and surrounding streets are bathed in dazzling lights. Watching the cathedral from most parts of Kolkata at Christmas is a wonderful site. Also, the midnight mass during Christmas and New Year is magical!
Best time to visit
Early morning when the cathedral opens at 7:30am on Sundays, it is the best time to enjoy the stillness and the ambiance inside the cathedral. Also, during winter - especially days before Christmas - it is a spectacle to watch. However, it greets thousands of visitors from all over the world, making the cathedral crowded during this time of the year.
There is no entry fee and you can explore the cathedral for free.
Without getting prior written permission from the Vicar of the cathedral, photography inside the cathedral is not allowed.
Rules to follow
Being a historical, religious place, though there is no rule, it is a moral obligation to maintain silence and not disturb others who are praying and meditating in the cathedral. Also, while in the well-maintained garden, it is essential not to damage it in any way.
How to get there
Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport is 17 km (10.5 miles) from St. Paul’s Cathedral. Since it is in the heart of the “City of Joy”, it is easy to access from the airport. Also, adjacent to it are other Kolkata landmarks like Victoria Memorial and Birla Planetarium.
By cab or app-based taxi service
The quickest way from the airport to reach the cathedral is the cab service, which takes 30 to 40 minutes, depending on traffic. You can take a local taxi or an Ola or Uber to reach the cathedral without any hassle.
You can easily reach the cathedral via a bus, which ply frequently and are cheap.
You can drive down to the cathedral easily, but finding a parking spot may be tedious.
The Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation operates metro train services to St. Paul’s Cathedral every 10 minutes. The Maidan Metro Station is the closest to the cathedral, from here you can walk down easily in under five minutes.
You might be interested in these Airbnbs!
St. Paul's Cathedral information
St. Paul's Cathedral
Address: Cathedral Rd, Maidan, Kolkata, West Bengal 700071
Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 9am - 12pm, 3pm - 6pm: Sun: 7:30am - 6pm
Department of tourism: West Bengal Tourism
News & updates for St. Paul’s Cathedral: St.Paul’s Cathedral Pre-Christmas Concerts | Kolkata’s Most Popular Church
Get Trip101 in your inbox
Create an account to bookmark our articles, like local expert tips, receive great stories in your inbox, and follow writers and topics that you love.Log in with Facebook Log in with Twitter Log in with Google ×