Facade of a Planetarium, B.M. Birla Planetarium, Kolkata, West Bengal, India

UIG via Getty Images

Birla Planetarium

Kolkata (Calcutta)

Loosely styled on Sanchi’s iconic Buddhist stupa, this 1962 planetarium presents slow-moving, half-hour audiovisual programs on the wonders of the universe and mysteries of deep space. It's quite convenient as an air-conditioned rest stop in between your day's explorations of nearby sights, and the shows are quite fine in their execution and presentation (the baritone voice-over is particularly dramatic). Recommended for those travelling with children.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Kolkata (Calcutta) attractions

1. Indira Gandhi Statue

0.04 MILES

This statue of India's first (and so far, only) female prime minister is one of many statues located around the Maidan that were set up to occupy plinths …

2. St Paul’s Cathedral

0.11 MILES

Arguably Kolkata's most iconic Gothic superstructure, decorated with a central crenellated tower, St Paul’s would look quite at home in Cambridgeshire but…

3. Sri Aurobindo Bhawan

0.13 MILES

Revolutionary nationalist-turned-guru Sri Aurobindo – who later went on to establish the famous ashram at Auroville near Pondicherry – was born in…

4. VM East Gate

0.17 MILES

By day you can exit the Victoria Memorial park from the east gate but not enter this way. From 5pm, a ticket booth here starts issuing tickets for the…

5. Academy of Fine Arts

0.21 MILES

Several bright, ground-floor gallery rooms in this 1933 building feature changing exhibitions by local artists. It's a good place to check out young-and…

6. Maidan

0.29 MILES

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…

7. VM North Gate


Day-time entry tickets to the park and Victoria Memorial museum are sold here, but there's no access to the sound and light show.

8. Victoria Memorial

0.31 MILES

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…