Formerly known as Calcutta, is Kolkata the capital city of West Bengal. Flanked on the eastern bank of river Hooghly, Kolkata is the second largest city in India. Under British Raj Kolkata was founded as an East India trading post. Kolkata is often referred as the ‘City of Joy’. This City of Joy, Kolkata is considered to be inhabited for more than two thousand years. This metropolitan city is famous for its rich artistic culture and Victorian style architecture. At present day Kolkata is the prime hub of commercial and financial activities for East and North East India. It is also the center of the industrial revolution in India and the place of origin of modern Indian cultural, artistic, poetic, and literary movement in between the 19th and the early 20th centuries. Kolkata is well connected with other states and cities of India with railway routes and well paved roads. It has its own junction station and International Air-terminal which has made it easily accessible by the travelers. There are many places to visit in Kolkata which lets the tourists explore about the Victorian and Colonial era.
Suspended over the Hooghly River in the West Bengal is the iconic Howrah Bridge. Founded in 1874 Howrah Bridge in 1965 was renamed as Rabindra Setu. It was named after the great Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore. Kolkata’s Howrah Bridge is a cantilever truss bridge that was constructed without using any nuts and bolts.
Located in the northern side of Kolkata is Jorasanko Thakur Bari, the ancestral home of Tagore family. Built in 1784, Jorasanko Thakur Bari now houses the Rabindra Bharati Museum. Visitors can get detailed information about the Tagore Family and their involvement with the Bengal Renaissance and the Brahmo Samaj.
It is the most prominent attraction of Kolkata. Also known as ‘Food Street’ or ‘The Street which never sleeps’, Park Street with its fancy restaurant, colonial era buildings and shopping mart is an popular hangout spot. Always bustling with life it is a must to visit Park Street to feel the lively spirit of this historic significant city.
It is the oldest and largest museum in India. Indian Museum of Kolkata houses a large collection of antiques, armors, and ornaments from medieval era. Popularly known as the Jadughar, the Indian Museum was established in 1854 and founded by Asiatic Society of Bengal. The building of Indian Museum showcases astounding Italian style architecture. It is the only museum in India which houses and displays an original 4000yr old Egyptian Mummy. Indian Museum has 6 sections with a total of 35 galleries.
Sited amidst the well manicured garden is Victoria Memorial of Kolkata, a grandiose marble building. Built in 1906-1921 to commemorate Queen Victoria, Victoria Memorial was designed in the Indo-Saracenic revivalist style. Visitor can see the glimpse of regal past and has 25 galleries which include the royal gallery, the national leaders’ gallery, the portrait gallery, central hall, the sculpture gallery, the arms and armory gallery, and the newer Calcutta gallery.
It is a Hindu Temple located in the Asutosh Chowdhury Avenue. Birla Temple also known as Lakshmi Narayan Temple was built by the industrialist Birla Family. Adorned with marble slabs depicting the teaching of Lord Krishna, and festooned with colorful lights the entire structure of Birla Temple took 26years to be completed. The iconic temple is idolized with deities’ statues of Krishna and Radha along with goddess Durga, the Hindu goddess of Shakti and Shiva in meditation mode. Birla Temple with its creative architecture and serene ambiance has become one of the prominent landmarks of Kolkata.
Built in 1820, Kolkata Racecourse is the largest horse race venue in India. Founded by the British, it also has a Polo Ground attached, which is considered to be the best in the country. At present time Kolkata Racecourse is maintained by Royal Turf Club of Calcutta RTCC.
Located at the Northern side of Kolkata near Chorbagan is the magnificent Marble Palace Mansion. Sited amidst the green patch of land the Marble Palace Mansion was built in 1835 under the commandment of Raja Rajendra Mallick. It is considered as one of India’s well-preserved royal homes. Visitors can see the interior of mansion is finely crafted with 126 colorful Italian marbles. The grandiose structure and lavishly furnished halls of Marble Palace Mansion has made it a must visit destination of Kolkata.
Located on the western bank of sacred river Ganga in Shibpur is the most verdant land of Kolkata, The Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Indian Botanic Garden. Commonly known as Kolkata Botanical Garden the garden showcases a vast collection of exotic flora making it a paradise for botany enthusiast. The Kolkata Botanical Garden is the largest botanic garden of Asia. The prime attraction of Kolkata Botanical Garden is the 250years old Great Banyan Tree whose branches are spread across the most parts of garden.
Established in 1876 is Alipore Zoological Park, India’s first formerly stated zoological park. Formerly known as Calcutta Zoological Park, Alipore Zoological Park is the famous winter destination of Kolkata. Along with the vast collection of avifauna and reptiles visitors can observe wild animals like Royal Bengal Tiger, African lion, Asiatic lion, jaguar, hippopotamus, great Indian one-horned rhinoceros, reticulated giraffe, Grant's zebra, emu, and Indian elephant in there semi-natural habitat in Alipore Zoological Park.
Autumn and winter seasons (October to March) are considered the best time to visit Kolkata. These are the seasons when weather is soothing and less humid. Apart from weather it is also the festive season, Durga Puja being the prime festival of Kolkata.