Kolkata or the ‘City of Joy’ was earlier known as Calcutta. It is the capital city of the Eastern state of West Bengal. It is a true personification of ‘East meets West’, where modern meets traditional, the rich co-exist with the poor, and the old meets the new. Kolkata is known for its rich cultural heritage, it’s deep intellectual roots and artistic development. It has served as home to a number of famous personalities like Mother Theresa, Amartya Sen and of course, the Guru of literature, Rabindranath Tagore. These and many other reasons make Kolkata a popular tourist hub. There are a number of places to visit in Kolkata that make it extremely popular among Indians as well as foreigners.
The Victoria Memorial is a marvellous marble monument dedicated to Queen Victoria. It was built between 1906 to 1921. The monument is an excellent example of the Indo-Saracenic revivalist style of architecture. It is now a museum and a very popular tourist spot. It has a remarkable collection of paintings, weapons, artefacts, textiles, coins and some personal possessions of the Queen. It also has some beautiful statues of Queen Victoria, Curzon, Dalhousie and Hastings, etc. It also holds a light and sound show regularly. When lit up in the evening, the Victoria Memorial looks even more beautiful.
The Howrah Bridge, now renamed as Rabindra Setu, is perhaps the most recognised symbol of Kolkata. It is located between the twin cities of Howrah and Kolkata. It is probably the busiest cantilever bridge in the world, carrying a daily traffic of 1,00,000 vehicles and more than 1,50,000 pedestrians. It is truly an iconic structure, and you must pay this magnificent structure a visit when in Kolkata.
The Dakshineshwar Kali temple is located on the eastern bank of the Hooghly River. The temple was built in 1855 by a devotee of Kali. It is a beautifully constructed monument, dedicated to the goddess. The atmosphere of the temple is calm and serene, and this is a must-visit place for all who want to seek the blessings of Goddess Kali. This temple is one of the best places to visit in Kolkata, as while here, you get to experience the real culture and religious beliefs of Bengali people.
Apart from the Howrah Bridge, the other famous symbol of Kolkata is Mother Teresa. Kolkata is notorious for its poverty, which is why Mother Teresa chose to set up her ‘Missionaries of Charity’ here, for she wanted to help the poor and the needy. The Mother House is where the tomb of Mother Teresa is. You can also see her bedroom here. Mother House has a small museum dedicated to Mother Teresa, showcasing her simple life and some of her personal belongings, such as her saris, crucifix and sandals. Mother House has a very calm and positive vibe. You can come here to pay homage this great personality as well as to meditate quietly.
Belur Math is the headquarters of the Ramakrishna Mission founded by Swami Vivekananda, the chief disciple of Ramakrishna Paramhansa. Belur Math is a place of pilgrimage for people from all over the world following different religions and faiths. The architecture fuses various styles, such as Christian, Hindu and Islamic motifs, defining the unity of all religions. It is a beautifully constructed monument, and many come here just to admire the architecture. It also has a museum on the premises, which houses artefacts used by Ramakrishna, Swami Vivekananda and Sarada Devi. The Belur Math is a popular spot for pilgrims as well as tourists.
The Mullik Ghat Flower Market is a true representation of Kolkata in its chaos, and the flowers symbolise the beauty within the disorder. This flower market is a 125-year-old market with generations of thousands of flower sellers coming here every day. It is dominated largely by marigolds in different shades of yellow and orange, which truly becomes a sight to behold. This market is a photographer’s delight, and even if you don’t want to buy the flowers, come here just for the experience.
The Vedic Village Spa Resort is located just 20 minutes (16 km) away from the Kolkata International Airport. It is a quiet retreat away from the hustle-bustle of the city. If you’re done with all the places to visit in Kolkata, then you should spend a couple of days at this Vedic Village Spa Resort. Constructed in the typical style of Bengali architecture, it offers some amazing waterfront views. Meant to rejuvenate your mind and body, it offers various yoga classes, along with a world-class spa. It also features some cottages made from mud just to give you a natural, traditional feel.
Kolkata is a unique city. While here, you get a chance to search for beauty within the chaos. But once you fall in love with this city, you will keep coming back for more things to do in Kolkata. Kolkata is often referred to as the ‘Paris of the East’ for its beautiful culture and heritage. Plan your next holiday here with family or friends, for there is so much to do and see here.