Things to do in Kolkata

Top 4 Things To Do in Kolkata (2024)

Discover the top 4 things to do in Kolkata! Uncover hidden gems, local favourites, and iconic landmarks that showcase this bustling city’s vibrant culture and rich history. Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, or an adventure seeker, Kolkata has something for everyone. Explore iconic attractions, savour delectable street food, immerse yourself in cultural experiences, and embark on unforgettable adventures in the City of Joy.

Kolkata holds a special place in my heart as one of my favourite cities in India. I’ve had the pleasure of visiting twice, each time leaving with cherished memories that linger long after departure. With its unique charm, the city invokes the feeling of a slow-motion film, where life unfolds at its unhurried rhythm. Kolkata offers a diverse array of experiences, ensuring there’s something for every type of traveller to enjoy.

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About Kolkata

Formerly recognized as Calcutta, Kolkata is the proud capital of West Bengal state in India. With its rich history and significance as the oldest operational port in the country, Kolkata holds a prominent place in India’s maritime heritage. Renowned as the Cultural Capital of India, the city boasts a vibrant tapestry of arts, literature, and traditions.

Its name, Kolkata, is believed to stem from the Bengali term Kolikata, a probable adaptation of Kalikkhetro, signifying the domain of Kali, the revered goddess.

Top 4 Things To Do in Kolkata

Kolkata presents abundant activities catering to all visitors’ diverse interests. From stunning landmarks to historic ghats, the city offers an array of attractions worth exploring. Yet, for those with limited time, here are Kolkata’s top places to visit.

Attend the Durga Puja

The Durga Puja marks the annual Hindu festival honouring the triumph of Goddess Durga over the demon Mahishasur, symbolizing the victory of good over evil. Spanning ten days, this revered festival typically occurs in September or October.

Fun fact: In December 2021, the Durga Puja celebrations in Kolkata were officially recognized as UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage!

Durga puja in Kolkata
Durga Puja

Visit the Museums

Kolkata has over 20 museums showcasing various historical artifacts, art pieces, and tributes to freedom fighters and scientific achievements. I was pleasantly astonished by the abundance of these cultural institutions during my time in the city. Among the notable museums I had the opportunity to explore were the Mother House, Indian Museum, and Subhas Chandra Bose Museum. Each offered a unique and enriching experience, providing fascinating insights into history and culture.

Mother House

Situated on Ripon Street at AJC Bose Road, the Mother House serves as the final abode of Mother Teresa. Within its premises lies a modest museum paying homage to her life, characterized by its simplicity. Visitors can explore her handwritten letters and spiritual teachings, offering glimpses into her profound legacy.

Also, read – Kumartuli, a potter’s town in Kolkata.

  • Operating hours are from 8 AM to 12 PM and 3 PM to 6 PM, with no admission fee required for entry.
  • Please note that photography is generally prohibited within the Mother House premises.
Mother house (Kolkata)
Mother House

Indian Museum

Established in 1814 under the auspices of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, the Indian Museum is the world’s ninth-oldest museum. Boasting a rich repository of artifacts, the museum houses an extensive collection of coins, fossils, antiques, paintings, and archaeological treasures.

  • Operating hours are from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10 AM to 5:30 PM.
  • Admission fees are INR 50 per adult for Indian nationals and INR 500 for foreign nationals.
  • Photography is permitted within the premises, albeit with nominal fees: INR 50 for mobile devices and INR 100 for DSLRs. Group photography, however, is restricted.
artefact at Indian museum
Artefact at Indian Museum

Subhash Chandra Bose Museum

The former residence of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, now transformed into a museum, offers a poignant glimpse into the final moments preceding his escape. It was constructed in 1909 by Netaji’s father; the Netaji Research Bureau presently oversees the house. Within its walls, visitors encounter a compelling collection of photographs, letters, and the visionary ideals of this revered freedom fighter.

  • Operating hours are from Tuesday to Sunday, from 11 AM to 4:30 PM, with ticket sales concluding at 4:15 PM.
  • Admission fees are INR 10 per adult.
  • While exploring the museum, please note that photography is strictly prohibited.
Subash Chandra Bose museum in Kolkata
Subash Chandra Bose Museum

Take a Drive in a Yellow Taxi

No exploration of Kolkata would be complete without experiencing a ride in one of the iconic yellow taxis that grace the city’s streets. These distinctive vehicles are emblematic of Kolkata’s charm, although their numbers have dwindled in recent years with the rise of other taxi services across India. Nonetheless, they remain a familiar sight on Kolkata’s roads.

Notably, these yellow taxis typically lack meters, so it’s essential to agree upon the fare with the driver before embarking on your journey. Payment is usually accepted in cash only.

Ever wondered why Kolkata’s taxis are painted yellow? The tradition dates back to 1907 when John Hertz, a car salesman and businessman, established a taxi business. Opting for a striking colour to ensure visibility, Hertz settled on yellow, thus setting a precedent for all taxis in Kolkata to sport this vibrant hue.

Yellow taxi in Kolkata
Yellow taxi

Cherish the Bengali Cuisine

A visit to Kolkata would be incomplete without indulging in the rich and flavorful Bengali cuisine, renowned for its delectable seafood dishes and irresistible sweets. The culinary journey through Kolkata promises a delightful experience, served with generous portions of love and tradition.

For an authentic taste of Kolkata’s street food scene, sample the iconic puchka (pani puri) from a local vendor. Additionally, savour the crispy perfection of fish fry from esteemed Bengali restaurants like 6 Ballygunge Place or Oh! Calcutta. To satisfy your sweet tooth, treat yourself to the heavenly delights of cakes from Flurys, a beloved institution in Kolkata’s confectionery landscape.

Is Kolkata Safe for Solo Female Travellers?

Kolkata was a reassuringly safe destination for solo female travellers like myself. Throughout my solo journey in the city, I encountered no troubles whatsoever. The locals generally kept to themselves, paying little attention to me or anyone else. However, as with any destination, exercising caution, particularly at night, is advisable.

If you’re new to solo travel or have questions about embarking on your adventures, delve into frequently asked questions (FAQ) on solo travelling to gain valuable insights and tips for a memorable and fulfilling experience.

Closing Notes

Kolkata holds a special place in my heart, having left a lasting impression during my visits. The city’s allure is undeniable, drawing me back with a longing to immerse myself in its vibrant streets and engage with its welcoming locals. While I can’t overlook the city’s visible challenges with cleanliness, an undeniable warmth and beauty captivate me.

I highly recommend adding Kolkata to your itinerary if you have a few days to spare in India. It’s a city that seems frozen in time, exuding an enchanting charm that’s hard to resist.

During your visit, consider exploring more of Kolkata’s cultural and historical landmarks, such as the Victoria Memorial, Howrah Bridge, and the vibrant markets of New Market and College Street. Additionally, indulge in the city’s rich culinary scene, savouring authentic Bengali cuisine and sampling its famous street food offerings. And don’t forget to take leisurely walks along the Hooghly River, soaking in the city’s unique atmosphere and observing daily life along its bustling ghats.

Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a foodie, or simply seeking an authentic cultural experience, Kolkata has something to offer every traveller. It’s a destination that truly captures the essence of India’s past and present, making it a must-visit for anyone exploring the diverse landscapes of this captivating country.

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Top 4 Things To Do in Kolkata (2024)
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    PIN for later reference – Top 4 Things To Do in Kolkata

    PIN for later reference - 4 things to do in Kolkata
    PIN for later reference – Top 4 Things To Do in Kolkata