Kolkata, the ‘Cultural Capital of India’ is the most unique metropolis of the country. Vibrant and ideal, modern yet traditional, Kolkata intriguingly juxtaposes itself and the Hooghly River slowly ebbs and flows to match its rhythm to the city. Once the capital of British India, Kolkata is where the rich Indian culture manifests itself wholly. Its traditional heritage fuses seamlessly with the remnants of its colonial past, adding a nostalgic charm to the city. This idiosyncrasy of Kolkata coupled with ancient landmarks, museums, shopping streets and delectable cuisine has a magnetic pull over travel enthusiasts who visit the city to experience its vibrant culture.
Best Time to Visit
The months between October and February are the best time to visit Kolkata. The weather during this period is mild and extremely pleasant. It is also during this period that the city drowns itself in a festive mood; colors, music and bright lights overwhelm the city’s ambience.
Average annual temperature: 24 °C
The month of May is the hottest in Kolkata. The temperature soars to a high of 33°C during this month. January is the coldest month with temperature dropping to a low of 19°C.
Places to Visit
Places to Visit in Kolkata: Owing to its vast heritage and colonial past, Kolkata has an abundance of striking monuments, landmarks, religious shrines and ancient relics. The city is also incredibly blessed with natural beauty. Your itinerary will have no place for boredom while visiting the ‘City of Joy’.
Museums and Landmarks
(i) An ancient remnant of the bygone era, the Victoria Memorial is a famous site of attraction in Kolkata. Made entirely of white marble, the exquisite beauty of Victoria Memorial will have you spellbound. The memorial’s architecture has a subtle Indo-Saracenic revivalist era influence. The memorial boasts of an impressive collection of paintings dating back to the colonial era. The lush gardens flanking the memorial are adorned with many sculptures and statues. A must visit site; the memorial exudes rich Victorian era essence.
(ii) Built in 1784, the Tagore House in Kolkata is a shrine like museum of poet Rabindranath Tagore. The museum is the home Tagore, decked with a gallery of several paintings and exhibits. A visit to the museum offers an insight into the philosophies and lifestyle of the poet.
(ii) Built in 1835, the Marble Palace is another ancient architectural masterpiece. The well preserved royal home is flaunts marbled halls adorned with statues, Belgian glassware and fine paintings including works of Murillo, Joshua Reynolds and Rubens
(iv) Indian Museum, the oldest museum of the country is another popular site in Kolkata. The old school architecture and structure of the museum makes a stark contrast with the lush lawn. Housed in the multiple galleries of the museum are 2nd century B.C. sculptures, Egyptian mummies, Mohenjo-daro and Harappa relics and intriguing 37 types of opium.
Belur Math Museum and Birla Industrial and Technological Museum are other significant museums in Kolkata
Also, you may interested to know the 18 historical places in kolkata
(i) Built in 1847, the Kali Temple in the heart of Dakshineshwar in Kolkata is a highly revered site of spirituality. The temple walls are colored red and cream. The periphery of the temple courtyard has a a number of sanctums and shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva.
(ii) Tucked away from the city chaos, the Armenian Church of Nazareth built in 1707 is the oldest place of Christian worship in Kolkata. The church courtyard is engraved with old gravestones inscribed with centuries old Armenian scriptures.
(iii) Built in 1839-1847, the St. Paul’s Cathedral in Kolkata is a stunning example of Gothic architecture of the period. The crenellated tower in the centre of the cathedral complex cuts an impressive profile against Kolkata’s skyline. The main highlight of the cathedral is the stained-glass west window made by Sir Edward Burne-Jones. The cathedral is full of festive joy around Christmas time. Locals and visitors flock in huge numbers to attend the midnight mass.
Kalighat Temple, St. John’s Church, Ramakrishna Mandir, St. Thomas Church and St. Andrews Church are other important sites of worship in Kolkata.
Parks and Gardens
(i) Established in the late 18th century, the Botanical Garden was initially used by the British to cultivate and produce tea imported from China. At present the garden is home to more than 12,000 exotic and rare florals including palms and Amazonian lilies. A lake within the garden offers a boat ride to visitors to explore the garden.
(ii) The Horticulture Garden is a hidden treasure of Kolkata boasting of orchards and well-maintained Japanese garden.
What to Eat
Kolkata is famous for its rich Bengali cuisine. Rice and meat, predominantly fish are the fundamental dishes of Kolkata and find a place in the menu of every eating joint and restaurant of the city. Don’t leave the city without trying the lip smacking popular dishes like Luchi, Cholaar, Kochuri and alurdom, Chop-cutlet and Telebhaja
- Arsalan Restaurant in Ballygunge
- Peter Cat in Park Street
- Oh! Calcutta in Bhowanipore
- Aaheli in New Market Area
Kolkata’s Lively Nightlife
In sync with the city’s contrasting character, the nightlife in Kolkata includes a wide array of options. From loud EDM blasting dance clubs to the mild and ambient jazz houses and reggae clubs, you can follow your mood to make your choice. Park Street and Salt City are the major nightlife hubs in Kolkata.
Where to Shop
(i) Hogg’s Market: for silk saris, crystal showpieces and flowers
Timings: 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
(ii) Hatibhagan Market: for Bengal silk, cotton saris and jewelry.
Timings: 6:00 a.m. to 10 p.m.
(iii) Swambhumi Market: for Madhubani paintings of Bihar, terracotta showpieces and figurines, ethnic jewellery and indigenous handicrafts of West Bengal.
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