Kolkata (Calcutta)

Sights

Top ChoiceHistoric Building in Kolkata (Calcutta)

Victoria Memorial

Victoria Memorial

The incredible Victoria Memorial is a vast, beautifully proportioned festival of white marble: think US Capitol meets Taj Mahal. Had it been built for a beautiful Indian princess rather than a colonial queen,...

Top ChoicePark in Kolkata (Calcutta)

Botanical Gardens

Botanical Gardens

Despite being an awkward journey by public transport, Kolkata’s lovely 109-hectare Botanical Gardens makes for a great place to escape from the city’s frazzling sounds and smells. Founded in 1786, the gardens –...

Top ChoiceReligious Site in Kolkata (Calcutta)

Belur Math

Belur Math

Set very attractively amid palms and manicured lawns, this large religious centre is the headquarters of the Ramakrishna Mission, inspired by 19th-century Indian sage Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, who preached the...

Top ChoiceMuseum in Kolkata (Calcutta)

Marble Palace

Built in 1835 by a raja from the prosperous Mallick family, this resplendent mansion is as grand as it is curious. Its marble-draped halls are overstuffed with dusty statues of thinkers and dancing girls, much...

Top ChoiceArea in Kolkata (Calcutta)

Kumartuli Idol-makers

Kumartuli Idol-makers

Countless clay effigies of deities and demons immersed in the Hooghly during Kolkata’s colourful pujas (offering or prayers) are created in specialist kumar (sculptor) workshops in this enthralling district,...

Top ChoiceMuseum in Kolkata (Calcutta)

Tagore’s House

The stately 1784 family mansion of Rabindranath Tagore has become a shrine-like museum to India’s greatest modern poet. Even if his personal effects don’t inspire you, some of the well-chosen quotations might...

Top ChoiceMuseum in Kolkata (Calcutta)

Indian Museum

India's biggest and oldest major museum celebrated its bicentenary in February 2014. It's mostly a lovably old-fashioned place that fills a large colonnaded palace ranged around a central lawn. Extensive exhibits...

Park in Kolkata (Calcutta)

Maidan

A vast expanse of green in the heart of the city's brick-and-mortar matrix, the Maidan is where Kolkata's residents congregate for walks, spirited cricket and football matches, family outings, dates, tonga...

Market in Kolkata (Calcutta)

New Market

Marked by a distinctive red-brick clocktower, this enormous warren of market halls dates to 1874, but was substantially rebuilt after a 1980s fire. By day, handicraft touts can be a minor annoyance, and the...

Landmark in Kolkata (Calcutta)

Howrah Bridge

Howrah Bridge is a 705m-long abstraction of shiny steel cantilevers and rivets, which serves as a carriageway of nonstop human and motorised traffic across the Hooghly River. Built during WWII, it’s one of the...

Church in Kolkata (Calcutta)

St John’s Church

This stone-spired 1787 church is ringed by columns and contains a small, portrait-draped room once used as an office by Warren Hastings, India’s first British governor-general. It's on the right as you enter...

Park in Kolkata (Calcutta)

Rabindra Sarovar

The lakes here prettily reflect hazy sunrises, while middle-class Kolkatans jog, row and meditate around the tree-shaded parkland that was once the site of an Allied Forces medical camp during WWII. Some form...

Church in Kolkata (Calcutta)

St Paul’s Cathedral

Arguably Kolkata's most iconic Gothic superstructure, decorated with a central crenellated tower, St Paul’s would look quite at home in Cambridgeshire but cuts an equally impressive profile against Kolkata's...

Cemetery in Kolkata (Calcutta)

South Park Street Cemetery

Active from 1767 to about 1840, this historic cemetery remains a wonderful oasis of calm, featuring surreal mossy Raj-era graves from rotundas to soaring pyramids, all jostling for space in an unkempt jungle....

Park in Kolkata (Calcutta)

Horticultural Gardens

A hidden island of tranquillity in the heart of Kolkata, this delightful garden complex offers visitors an opportunity to acquaint themselves with tropical plant species, even while feasting their eyes on its...

Market in Kolkata (Calcutta)

Mullik Ghat Flower Market

Near the southeast end of Howrah Bridge, this flower market is fascinatingly colourful virtually 24 hours a day. However, if you visit at daybreak, you'll see wholesalers arrive with huge consignments of flowers...

Hindu Temple in Kolkata (Calcutta)

Ramakrishna Mandir

The centrepiece of the Ramakrishna Mission complex at Belur Math is the huge 1938 Ramakrishna Mandir, which somehow manages to look like a cathedral, Indian palace and Istanbul's Aya Sofya all at the same time....

Hindu Temple in Kolkata (Calcutta)

Kalighat Temple

Kalighat Temple

This ancient Kali temple is Kolkata’s holiest spot for Hindus, and possibly the source of the city’s name. Today’s version is the 1809 rebuild, with floral- and peacock-motif tiles that look more Victorian than...

Synagogue in Kolkata (Calcutta)

BethEl Synagogue

Literally meaning 'House of God', this atmospheric synagogue's front facade looks a little like a 1930s cinema. Within the building (dating back to 1856), there's an impressive colonnaded interior and some...

Zoo in Kolkata (Calcutta)

Alipore Zoo

Kolkata’s 16-hectare zoo opened its doors in 1875 as one of British India's showpiece zoological gardens, but has gradually dropped in stature and standards over the years. The spacious lawns and lakeside...