Kolkata (Calcutta)

The heart of this vibrant riverside complex is the cream-and-red, multiturreted 1847 Kali Temple shaped like the Sacré-Cœur. The site is where the Bengali mystic Ramakrishna started his remarkable spiritual journey, and his small room in the outer northwest corner of the temple precinct is now a place of special meditative reverence. No photos, and you'll have to deposit your shoes outside the complex. The periphery of the temple courtyard has a string of sanctums consecrated to Hindu god Shiva.

Several daily suburban trains from Sealdah run to Dakshineswar train station (₹10, 30 minutes), 400m south of the temple. Hourly ferries from a pier almost under the old Dakshineswar Bridge run to Belur Math (₹5).