With a population of over fifteen million people, Kolkata (formerly known as Calcutta) is considered the cultural capital of India for the pool of multi-generational creative talents making up the locals. Take home fond memories as you traverse Kolkata’s many attractions, or set forth on a spiritually enlightening journey with the city’s many cultural and religious sites. With so much to do, no wonder millions of tourists from all over the globe trot to this vibrant city!
Best of Kolkata
1. Gurusaday Museum
A national treasure, Gurusaday Museum encompasses the folk and tribal arts and crafts of the Bengal and India regions. Start off your Kolkata adventure by immersing yourself in the museum’s over 3,000 artefacts, including archaeological objects, manuscripts, masks, musical instruments, paintings, textiles and woodwork that are so unique, no duplicates can ever be found in any part of the world!
2. Jawahar Shishu Bhawan – Nehru Children’s Museum
A paradise for kids, Jawahar Shishu Bhawan or Nehru Children’s Museum presents a myriad of dolls and toys from all over the world. Spread over 4 floors, the museum offers a platform for children to expand their artistic and historical knowledge through its many amazing doll and toy collections, including Ramayana and Mahabharata clay models, and toys of oriental and western origins.
3. Science City
The largest science centre in the subcontinent of India, Science City is divided into two parts: Science Centre and Convention Centre. Keep your brain juice pumping and be marvelled at the Science Centre area, home to many amazing sectors such as Dynamotion, Evolution Theme Park, Maritime Centre and Science Park. Another big attraction is Space Odyssey, where it houses India’s first Large Format Film Theatre, Time Machine, 3-D Vision Theatre, Mirror Magic and many other cool exhibitions.
4. Sabarna Sangrahashala
One does not simply walk into the streets of Kolkata without divulging in its exciting history of the Sabarna Roy Choudhury family! The only family museum in Kolkata, this place holds a massive array of books, coins, rare stamps, artefacts and other important documents, including a huge earthen rice pot dating back to 1840, a metal hookah from circa 1878, a metal candle stand from circa 1795, and grinding wheels dating back to 1845.
5. Birla Mandir Temple
Opens from 5.30am to 11.00am and resuming later in the evening at 4.30pm to 9.00pm, this 20th century temple took 26 years to complete. The place is most crowded during Janmashtami (the birth of Krishna), where followers from across the globe flock to pay their respect to the deities. This huge Lakshmi Narayan temple complex houses statues of Krishna and Radha, goddess Durga, the Hindu goddess of Shakti and Shiva in meditation, as well as pictorial scriptures of Bhagavad Gita in stone engravings.
6. Victoria Memorial
Dedicated to the memory of Queen Victoria (1819–1901), the building was handsomely built with white Makrana marble, with a fusion of British and Mughal elements as well as Venetian, Egyptian, Deccani and Islamic architectural components. Some of the structures resemble the famous Taj Mahal palace such as the four subsidiaries, octagonal domed chattris, high portals, terrace and domed corner towers.
7. Dakshineswar Kali Temple
Situated on the eastern bank of Hooghly River, this Hindu temple was created by a philanthropist and a believer of Kali. This was where Ramakrishna spent a sizeable part of his life in the ‘Nahavat-Khana’ chamber. The temple has a stretchable courtyard, with twelve shrines devoted to Kali’s companion, Shiva, along the riverfront. There is also a bathing ghat on the river and a shrine dedicated to Rani Rashmoni.