Durga puja in Kolkata

Top 10 Places to See in Kolkata (2024)

Uncover hidden gems like the iconic Victoria Memorial, a mesmerizing symbol of the city’s colonial past. Immerse yourself in the bustling streets of New Market, where the scent of spices and the buzz of commerce create an unforgettable sensory experience. Explore the serene beauty of the Botanical Gardens, home to many exotic flora worldwide. Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, or an avid adventurer, there are many places to see in Kolkata that offer many sights and sounds to explore and cherish. Plan your unforgettable journey today!

Kolkata is more than just a city; it’s an emotion, an experience frozen in time. Stepping into its streets feels like entering a nostalgic scene from a bygone era reminiscent of a slow-motion movie set in the 80s. Kolkata holds a special place in my heart, where I’ve crafted cherished memories that linger fondly.

In this post, I’ll unveil the top 10 places that make Kolkata a must-visit destination. Each of these destinations encapsulates the essence of Kolkata, weaving a tapestry of history, culture, and spirituality. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a foodie, or a seeker of soul-stirring experiences, Kolkata promises to captivate your senses and leave an indelible mark on your heart.

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About Kolkata

Kolkata, the vibrant capital city of West Bengal in India, resonates with the legacy of Rabindranath Tagore. Formerly known as Calcutta, it sits between the Hooghly River and Bangladesh, steeped in a rich tapestry of art and culture. Renowned for its Pattachitra Paintings and diverse cultural heritage, Kolkata beckons travellers with its myriad attractions.

The optimal time to explore Kolkata is from October to March, when the weather is delightful. Summers, spanning April to May, can be sweltering, with temperatures soaring up to 40 degrees Celsius. Monsoons, from June to September, bring heavy rainfall to the city.

While immersing oneself in Kolkata’s charm for an extended period is enticing, a 4 to 5-day vacation allows ample time to delve into its myriad offerings. However, even a brief 3-day itinerary of Kolkata promises an enriching experience.

Are you short on time? Read four things to do in Kolkata.

10 Places to See in Kolkata

Kalighat Temple

The Kalighat temple, dedicated to Goddess Kali, holds a sacred position as one of the 51 Shakti Peethas. Legend states that Kalighat marks where Sati’s right foot toes fell during Lord Shiva’s cosmic dance of destruction. While references to the temple date back to the 15th century, its current form emerged only two centuries ago.

What sets the Kalighat temple apart is its distinctive depiction of Goddess Kali. The present idol, revered by devotees, was sculpted by the revered saints Atmaram Brahmachari and Brahmananda Giri. Interestingly, the name “Kolkata” is believed to have originated from “Kalikata devi” of the Kalighat temple, underscoring the profound influence and significance of this divine abode in shaping the city’s identity.

Among the revered Shakti Peethas is the Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple, nestled in Tamil Nadu. This temple holds a special place in my heart as it stands out as an absolute gem, radiating stunning beauty and divine significance.

  • The Kalighat temple operates from 5 AM to 2 PM and reopens from 5 PM to 10:30 PM, offering devotees ample time for worship and reflection.
  • However, visiting this sacred site often entails navigating through bustling crowds. Despite opting for the special darshan by paying INR 100 per person to the local priests, devotees frequently find themselves entangled in tightly packed queues, enduring the jostling and pushing of fellow pilgrims.
  • Being financially prepared is essential as devotees may be compelled to spend significant money. The priests stationed at the main garbagruha, where the deity resides, are known to solicit offerings from visitors. They often position themselves before the goddess, necessitating a donation of at least INR 100 for a glimpse of the divine.
  • It’s worth noting that photography is strictly prohibited within the temple premises, respecting the sanctity of the religious space.
  • Additionally, visitors should be aware that the temple accommodates animal sacrifice rituals. This aspect of the temple’s practices can be disconcerting for some individuals, and it’s advisable to mentally prepare for such observations before visiting.
Kalighat temple in Kolkata
Kalighat Temple

Mother House

The Mother House is the central hub of the Missionaries of Charity, a beacon of compassion and service to the needy. Established in 1950, its mission is to extend selfless aid to underprivileged and impoverished communities. This sacred space also serves as the final resting place of Mother Teresa, her tomb nestled within its walls, inviting visitors to offer prayers and reverence.

  • Moreover, the house features a modest museum dedicated to Mother Teresa’s minimalist lifestyle and her remarkable journey of compassion.
  • Entrance to the Mother House is graciously free of charge, welcoming all who seek solace and inspiration.
  • Visiting hours extend from 8 AM to 12 PM and from 3 PM to 6 PM daily, ensuring ample opportunity for devotees and admirers to pay their respects.
  • While exploring this hallowed ground, it’s important to note that photography is restricted in most areas, respecting the sanctity and privacy of the space.
Mother house (Kolkata)
Mother House

Subash Chandra Bose Museum

Netaji Bhawan stands as a testament to the legacy of Subhas Chandra Bose, housing the revered Subhas Chandra Bose Museum, a memorial, and a research centre dedicated to the life and contributions of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. Initially constructed in 1909 by Bose’s father, the household’s historical significance is where Bose orchestrated his escape from house arrest in 1941, eventually fleeing to Berlin.

  • The museum within Netaji Bhawan proudly showcases artifacts and personal belongings belonging to Netaji, offering visitors a glimpse into his extraordinary life and achievements.
  • Admission to the museum is priced at INR 10 per adult for Indian nationals, making it accessible to all who wish to pay their respects to this great leader.
  • Visiting hours are from Tuesday to Sunday, from 11 AM to 4:30 PM. It’s essential to note that the ticket counter closes at 4:15 PM, so visitors should plan their visit accordingly.
  • Furthermore, photography is prohibited within the confines of the house, preserving the sanctity and integrity of the exhibits.
Subash Chandra Bose museum in Kolkata
Subash Chandra Bose Museum

Victoria Memorial

Constructed between 1906 and 1921, the Victoria Memorial is a grand marble edifice honouring Queen Victoria’s memory. Evolving into a museum with 25 galleries offers visitors a profound journey through history and art. Notably, one of these galleries showcases a renowned Raja Ravi Varma masterpiece featuring Raja Sri Thanjavore Madhava Rao.

  • Surrounding the memorial lies a sprawling 64-acre garden, a picturesque haven perfect for witnessing the enchanting hues of the sunset.
  • For entry, visitors can opt for either the garden or the museum, each with its respective fee. The museum’s admission is INR 50 per adult for Indian nationals, granting access to many exhibits.
  • The garden welcomes visitors daily from 6 AM to 6 PM, while the museum opens its doors from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10 AM to 6 PM, ensuring ample opportunity for exploration.
  • Photography enthusiasts will delight in the freedom to capture the beauty of the memorial and its surroundings, immortalizing their visit through the lens.
Victoria Memorial in Kolkata
Victoria Memorial

Howrah Bridge

Commissioned in 1943, the Howrah Bridge stands proudly over the River Hooghly, serving as a vital link connecting Kolkata to its neighbouring areas. As one of the four bridges spanning the River Hooghly, it stretches an impressive 5.75 kilometres, making it a monumental engineering feat. In fact, as of 2013, the Howrah Bridge ranked as the sixth longest cantilever bridge globally.

  • Not only does the bridge facilitate transportation, but it also symbolizes the gateway to Kolkata, welcoming travellers with its iconic silhouette.
  • Visitors will be pleased to know that there is no entrance fee to access the bridge, making it accessible to all who wish to traverse its length.
  • The bridge remains open for exploration every day, allowing visitors the freedom to experience its magnificence at their convenience.
  • Photography enthusiasts will find ample opportunities to capture stunning images of this architectural marvel, as photography is permitted on the bridge.

James Princep Ghat

Situated along the serene banks of the River Hooghly, the James Princep Ghat stands as a testament to Kolkata’s rich history. Constructed in 1841 during the British Raj, this ghat pays homage to the esteemed Anglo-Indian scholar James Princep. Adorned with intricate Greek and Gothic inlays, the monument exudes timeless elegance.

  • Beyond its historical significance, the James Princep Ghat has also evolved into one of Kolkata’s oldest recreational spots, offering visitors a tranquil escape from the bustle of city life.
  • Entrance to the ghat is free of charge, inviting all to explore its beauty and immerse themselves in its historical ambience. Whether it’s the soft light of dawn or the mesmerizing hues of sunset, any time of day is perfect for a visit with enchanting sunsets.
  • Photography enthusiasts will delight in capturing the picturesque scenery of the ghat, as photography is permitted on the premises.
  • Visitors can also indulge in the vibrant atmosphere surrounding the ghat, as numerous street vendors offer an array of local delicacies and trinkets, adding to the charm of the experience.

Did you know that one of the songs from Parineeta (Bollywood movie) was shot on the ghats?

James Princep ghat in Kolkata
James Princep ghat

Indian Museum

Among the treasures of Kolkata lies the Indian Museum, a personal favourite of mine. Founded in 1814 by the Asiatic Society of Bengal, it is the ninth oldest museum globally and the oldest in India. Stepping into its hallowed halls is like embarking on a journey through time, with artifacts dating back to the 1st and 2nd centuries CE.

The museum boasts an impressive collection, including relics from diverse civilizations. Each exhibit offers a glimpse into humanity’s rich tapestry of history and culture, from a mummy hailing from ancient Egypt to coins spanning various epochs and cultures.

  • Admission to this venerable institution is INR 50 per adult for Indian nationals and INR 500 for foreign nationals, ensuring access to knowledge and wonder.
  • Visiting hours are from Tuesday to Sunday, welcoming visitors between 10 AM and 5:30 PM, providing ample time to explore its treasures.
  • Photography enthusiasts will rejoice in the opportunity to capture the museum’s splendour, albeit for a nominal fee. Mobile photography costs INR 50, while DSLR usage is priced at INR 100. However, please note that group photography is prohibited within the museum premises.
  • With its rich history and diverse exhibits, the Indian Museum promises an enriching experience for visitors of all ages and backgrounds.

Dakshineshwar Kali Temple

Constructed in 1855 under the patronage of Rani Rashmoni, the Dakshineswar Kali Temple stands as a magnificent testament to devotion and architectural prowess. At its heart lies the sanctum sanctorum, dedicated to Kali in her form as Bhavatarini depicted standing upon the chest of Shiva. Additionally, the temple complex encompasses twelve shrines devoted to Lord Shiva, enriching its spiritual ambience.

Adhering to the traditional navaratna (nine-spired) style of Bengali architecture, the Dakshineswar Kali Temple exudes a timeless charm, drawing pilgrims and devotees from far and wide.

  • Entry to this sacred site is graciously free of charge, welcoming all who seek solace and spiritual fulfilment.
  • The temple welcomes visitors daily from 6 AM to 12:30 PM and again from 3:30 PM to 8:30 PM, ensuring ample opportunity for devotees to pay their respects and seek blessings.
  • While visitors are encouraged to soak in the divine atmosphere, it’s important to note that photography is prohibited within the temple premises, preserving the sanctity and reverence of the religious space.

Eden Gardens

Established in 1864, Eden Gardens is a monumental cricket icon in Kolkata. This historic stadium, nestled in the city’s heart, holds the esteemed title of being India’s oldest and second-largest cricket stadium. Spanning over 50 acres, it boasts a seating capacity of over 60,000 spectators, creating an electrifying atmosphere during matches.

However, access to Eden Gardens is restricted to match days, and entry is granted only to ticket holders. If you aspire to experience the grandeur of Eden Gardens on non-match days, prior permission from the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) is imperative. This ensures visitors can witness the stadium’s splendour and learn about its illustrious history firsthand.


Kumortuli, or Kumartuli, nestled in the northern reaches of Kolkata, stands as a vibrant hub for pottery and craftsmanship. Renowned for its production of clay statues and pots, this quaint town plays an integral role in the cultural fabric of Kolkata. Every festival season, Kumartuli comes alive with the creative energy of its skilled artisans, who meticulously craft the iconic statues adorning Kolkata’s streets.

Visitors to Kumartuli are invited to stroll through its charming streets, witnessing firsthand the artistry and dedication of the potters at work. The bustling ambience and intricate creations offer a captivating glimpse into the town’s rich heritage and traditions.

  • Entrance to Kumartuli is open to all, free of charge. However, during the festive fervour of Durga Puja, potters may approach visitors requesting a nominal fee for photography and exploration of the streets.
  • While Kumartuli welcomes visitors throughout the day, mornings offer the best opportunity to witness the artisans in action as they begin their day’s work with enthusiasm and vigour.
  • Photography enthusiasts will find ample inspiration in Kumartuli, as photography allows visitors to capture the essence of this vibrant town and its rich cultural heritage.

3-Day Itinerary in Kolkata

Here’s a curated itinerary to make the most of your time in the City of Joy:

Day 1: Begin your journey with a visit to the iconic Victoria Memorial, an architectural marvel reminiscent of the colonial era. Delve into Kolkata’s history at the Indian Museum, showcasing a treasure trove of artifacts. Indulge in authentic Bengali cuisine at local eateries like Oh! Calcutta or 6 Ballygunge Place.

Day 2: Explore the cultural heart of Kolkata with a stroll along Park Street, dotted with cafes, restaurants, and boutiques. Pay homage to Mother Teresa at the Missionaries of Charity’s Mother House. Experience the vibrant ambience of New Market, a bustling shopping destination offering various goods.

Day 3: Venture to the historic Howrah Bridge, an iconic symbol of Kolkata’s engineering prowess. Wander through the narrow alleys of Kumartuli, where artisans craft intricate idols. Conclude your trip with a serene boat ride along the Hooghly River, soaking in the city’s picturesque skyline.

With its blend of history, art, and culinary delights, Kolkata promises an unforgettable rendezvous for travellers seeking an authentic Indian experience.

Where to Stay in Kolkata?

When considering where to stay in Kolkata, several factors include budget, preferred location, and amenities. Here are some popular areas and accommodations in Kolkata:

  1. Park Street: Known for its vibrant nightlife, shopping, and dining options, Park Street is a bustling area in central Kolkata. It offers a range of hotels, from budget to luxury, catering to various preferences and budgets.
  2. Salt Lake City (Bidhannagar): This planned satellite city has many upscale hotels and business accommodations. It’s an excellent choice for those seeking a quieter, more modern environment, with easy access to the city centre.
  3. Ballygunge: Located in South Kolkata, Ballygunge is known for its upscale residential neighbourhoods and boutique hotels. It offers a more serene ambience while close to popular attractions and shopping areas.
  4. Esplanade: Situated in the heart of Kolkata, Esplanade is a bustling commercial and shopping district. It offers a mix of budget and mid-range hotels, making it a convenient choice for travellers exploring the city’s cultural and historical landmarks.
  5. New Town: This rapidly developing area in the eastern part of Kolkata offers modern accommodations and amenities. It’s a good option for those seeking a quieter stay away from the city centre, with easy access to the airport and significant IT hubs.

Some popular hotels in Kolkata include The Oberoi Grand, Taj Bengal, Hyatt Regency Kolkata, The Lalit Great Eastern Kolkata, and The Park Kolkata.

Review of The Sonnet Hotel

Nestled within Salt Lake City, The Sonnet Hotel is a beacon of comfort and luxury, offering a delightful retreat for discerning travellers. This esteemed 4-star hotel prides itself on providing exceptional hospitality, ensuring a memorable stay for its guests.

Conveniently situated in the city centre, adjacent to a metro station, The Sonnet Hotel boasts a desirable location, allowing guests easy access to Kolkata’s vibrant attractions and business districts.

The hotel’s spacious and immaculately clean rooms provide a tranquil sanctuary for relaxation after a day of exploration or business meetings. Each room is thoughtfully appointed with modern amenities to cater to the needs of every guest, ensuring a comfortable and rejuvenating stay.

Indulge your palate at the hotel’s in-house restaurant, where culinary delights await. From sumptuous local delicacies to international favourites, the restaurant tantalizes taste buds with a delectable array of dishes from skilled chefs.

Whether travelling for business or leisure, The Sonnet Hotel promises an unforgettable experience characterized by unparalleled comfort, impeccable service, and gastronomic delights.

How to Get to Kolkata?

By Air

Kolkata boasts the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport, serving as a vital gateway with extensive domestic and international connectivity. This bustling airport offers flights to major cities across India and abroad, facilitating seamless travel for both business and leisure.

For domestic travel within India, budget-conscious travellers often opt for airlines like SpiceJet and Indigo Airways. These carriers offer affordable fares without compromising quality, making them popular choices for those seeking economical options for air travel within the country.

By Public Transport

Kolkata boasts excellent connectivity via trains and buses to cities and towns across India. The city is a central transportation hub, offering travellers convenient options for reaching their destinations.

For train travel, the Indian Railways network provides extensive coverage, with Kolkata serving as a critical junction. Travelers can access up-to-date information about train schedules, availability, and bookings through the official website of the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) website.

If you have more time and want to visit one of the places around Kolkata, you can consider ISKCON at Mayapur.

Additionally, Kolkata offers robust bus connectivity, with state-run and private bus operators serving various routes across the country. Buses provide comfortable and affordable transportation, Whether within West Bengal or on a journey to neighbouring states.

With its comprehensive transportation infrastructure, Kolkata ensures that travellers can easily access various options for reaching their desired destinations efficiently and conveniently.

Is Kolkata Safe for Solo Female Travellers?

In my experience, Kolkata is a safe destination for solo female travellers. Throughout my solo journeys in the city, I found that people generally minded their business, and I encountered no issues. However, as with any destination, it’s essential to exercise caution, particularly when venturing out at night. By staying vigilant and being mindful of your surroundings, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable experience exploring all that Kolkata offers.

Closing Notes

I have an enduring love for Kolkata, and I find myself repeatedly drawn to its enchanting streets. The city’s allure lies in its timeless beauty, with every corner exuding a cinematic charm that captivates the soul. From the grandeur of its historical monuments to the vibrant chaos of its bustling markets, Kolkata offers a sensory feast unlike any other.

If you’ve enjoyed visiting Kolkata, I’d love to hear about your experiences and what you found most captivating about the city. Share your thoughts by writing to me at Solopassport@gmail.com.

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Top 10 Places to See in Kolkata (2024)
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    PIN for later reference – Places to See in Kolkata

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