Kolkata's Pocket-Friendly Colonial Charm


Credit: Maciej Dakowicz

Photo of Kolkata's Pocket-Friendly Colonial Charm by Ayushee Chaudhary

Yellow taxis honk on bustling streets the pavements of which are crowded with street vendors doling out puchkas and other finger-licking varieties of street food. A creaky tram tinkles slowly, passing by at a glacial pace, as you make your way towards the rush of the iconic Howrah bridge or the glistening white dome of Victoria Memorial. The sweetness of the famous rosshogolla permeates the surroundings and its people. The literary heritage, the colonial architecture and all of the above mentioned unique components are all synonymous with India's city of joy, Kolkata.

The city is also easy on your pocket and there's a lot you can get in a few bucks. Here we lay out a list of (almost) free things you can do in Kolkata to understand the city better.

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Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Ayushee Chaudhary

Step into a spiritual sojourn

Saint Mother Teresa's life's work resides in the heart of Kolkata. As a fitting tribute, her tomb resides in her former home and charity house. A small museum on the campus has some of her personal belongings on display. Kolkata is known for its many cathedrals and churches. The Armenian Church of the Holy Nazareth, which is one of the oldest surviving churches in Kolkata and the Nam Soon Church in Damzen Lane, used by the city's Chinese-Indian gentry speaks volumes about Kolkata's architecture, history and culture.

Credit: thebunker43

Photo of The Mother House of the Missionaries of Charity, Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Road, Ripon Street, Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Ayushee Chaudhary

Address: Mother Teresa House, 54A, Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Road, Ripon Street, Kolkata

Entry: Free

Revive your religious roots

Kolkata is well known for its mesmerising Durga Pujo celebrations which encompasses the entire city in its splendour and gaiety. The ample number of temples present throughout the city also confirms the significance of religion there. Dakshineswar and Kalighat Temple are two of the most prominent Hindu temples in Kolkata. While Dakshineswar is located on the eastern banks of Hooghly River, Kalighat adorns the suburbs of Anami Sangha. The deity of both these temples is the fierce Hindu goddess Kali.

(c) Sen

Photo of Kalighat Temple, Kali Temple Road, Kalighat, Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Ayushee Chaudhary

Address: Dakshineshwar Temple - Dakshineswar, Kolkata

Kalighat Kali Temple - Anami Sangha, Kalighat, Kolkata

Entry: Free

Catch a glimpse of Kolkata's rich legacy

Constructed between 1906 and 1921, the iconic Victoria Memorial is a huge marble building that has been turned into a museum. Built in the Indo-Saracenic revival architectural style, the memorial is dedicated to Queen Victoria. Visit this magnificent museum for its architectural splendour and historical significance.

(c) Debojit Deb

Photo of Victoria Memorial, Kolkata, West Bengal by Ayushee Chaudhary

Location: Victoria Memorial Hall, 1, Queens Way, Maidan, Kolkata

Timings: 10.00 am to 5.00 pm

Entry: Rs 10

Marvel at the city's architectural wonders

Take a walk on the engineering marvel known as the Howrah Bridge; the sixth-longest cantilever bridge in the world and yet another iconic attraction in Kolkata, Howrah Bridge is a must-visit spot on your list of things to do in this city.

Next to the old Howrah bridge is another portent bridge over Hooghly River, Vidyasagar Setu, also called the second Hooghly Bridge. You can also visit to the Mallick Ghat Flower Market to experience the colorful market at the foot of the Howrah Bridge, bustling with activity from 5 am till late at night.

(c) Mithun Biswas

Photo of Howrah Bridge, Howrah, West Bengal, India by Ayushee Chaudhary

Location: Howrah, West Bengal

Do boating down the Hooghly River

Offering one of the best views of River Ganges, Princep Ghat which is situated near the banks of Hooghly River, is the oldest ghats in the city. You can watch the sun set with a copy of tea while you ride on a boat along the rivers. You will also find several eateries here.

(C) Tamal Mitra

Photo of Princep Ghat, Strand Road, Fort William, Hastings, Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Ayushee Chaudhary

Location: Fort William, Hastings, Kolkata

Feel the Gothic hush subtly down your spine

Well the city of joy is not just all about heritage and art but also offers some unique experiences that will leave you with a Gothic thrill. Stroll through the largest 19th century Christian cemetery outside Europe or the United States of America in the quietness. While South Park Street Cemetery may not be the most obvious destination, it is certainly a unique experience and provides an interesting insight into the history and culture that the city has imbibed for decades.

Credit: FabIndia

Photo of South Park Street Cemetery, Mullick Bazar, Park Street area, Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Ayushee Chaudhary

Entry: Free

Click a picture with some famous figures

The Mother's Wax Museum has been a famous tourist attraction of the city since it was established in 2014. Filled with a range of statues of several great personalities carved out of wax. The realistic look of these statutes will make you feel like you are meeting the personality in real.

Credit: Mother's Wax Museum

Photo of Mother's Wax Museum, International Finalcial Hub(CBD), Newtown, Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Ayushee Chaudhary

Location: No. 69 -1111, HIDCO Tower, CBD-1, New Town, Kolkata

Timings: 12 noon to 7:30 PM

Entry: Rs 200

Brush up your brain

For centuries, Kolkata has stood as a symbol of knowledge and intellect and the presence of the largest science centre, the Science City, in the Indian subcontinent only seconds that belief. This Eco-friendly space makes sup for an ideal location to pay a visit with your family.

Credit: Saadat Shahidi

Photo of Science City, East Topsia, Topsia, Kolkata, West Bengal by Ayushee Chaudhary

Location: J.B.S Haldane Avenue, Kolkata, West Bengal

Timings: 9.00 am to 7.00 pm

Entry: Rs 50 per person

Comprehend evolution and more relics

If you are a history buff, you will find your paradise towers in the state archaeological gallery of Kolkata. Established in 1962, the gallery boats of a collection of rare artefacts, early stone tools, and antiques from several palaeolithic, Mesolithic and neolithic sites. If you are an artist, do visit the Academy of fine arts, that's a cultural hub of the city.

(C) Museums of India

Photo of State Archaeological Museum, Satyen Roy Road, Auddy Bagan Basti, Behala, Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Ayushee Chaudhary

Location: State Archaeological Gallery, 1, Satyen Roy Rd, Auddy Bagan Basti, Behala, Kolkata

Timings: 11.00 am to 4.30 pm

Entry: Rs 2 (adult) and free for children up to 15 years

Location: Academy of fine arts, 2, Cathedral Road, Maidan, Kolkata

Timings: 3.00 pm to 9.00 pm

Spend your day gazing at stars, comets and the whole universe

If looking at the night sky full of stars is your fancy but the city lights don't let you experience it often, head to the Birla Planetarium in Kolkata. Constructed in the Indian architectural style, the observatory offers a visual delight with daily astronomy shows in multiple languages where you can see the whole universe at your vicinity.

Location: Cathedral Road, near Victoria Memorial, Kolkata

Timings: 12:30 AM to 6:30 PM

Entry: ₹40

Ditch the malls for your family picnic day

Providing a friendly environment, Nicco Park is a good sight for both entertainment, adventure rides as well as the educational buff. The New Town Eco Park is another such spot which boasts to be the biggest urban park in India. Among the ideal choice for recreational activities, the park offers delicious food around.

Credit: Lalit Mishra

Photo of Nicco Park, HM Block, Sector IV, Salt Lake City, Bidhannagar, West Bengal by Ayushee Chaudhary

Location: Nicco Park, Jheel Meel, Sector IV, Salt Lake City, Kolkata, West Bengal

Timings: 10.30 am to 7.30 pm

Entry: Rs 150

Location: The New Town Eco Park, Major Arterial Road (South-East) Action Area II, New Town Kolkata

Timings: 12.00 noon to 8.oo pm

Entry: Rs 20

Gaze around the white beauty

You can also visit the Marble Palace just for a simple quite day, glancing at one of the oldest and well-preserved 19th century Neoclassical mansion in North Kolkata. The Marble Palace is also home to many animals that you can interact with.

(C) FabIndia

Photo of Marble Palace, Raja Katra, Jorasanko, Kolkata, West Bengal by Ayushee Chaudhary

Location: 46, Opp Ram Mandir, Muktaram Babu Street, Jorasanko, Kolkata

Timings: 10.30 am to 4.30 pm

Entry: Free

Behold the rare relics

Witness the collection of some of the rarest artefacts, armour and ornaments, fossils, skeletons, mummies, Mughal paintings right in front of your eyes. The Indian Museum is in short a paradise for all those history buffs who go weak in the knees at the sight of antique entities and like to transit to the past every now and then.

(C) Museums of India

Photo of Indian Museum, Jawaharlal Nehru Road, Colootola, New Market Area, Dharmatala, Taltala, Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Ayushee Chaudhary

Location: 27, Jawaharlal Nehru Rd, Colootola, New Market Area, Dharmatala, Taltala, Kolkata

Timings: 10.00 am to 5.00 pm

Entry: Rs 20

Tour the old city in the classical tram

If metro has grown indicative for Delhi and the local train signifies Mumbai, the tram stands symbolic for Kolkata. Experience the charm of old Kolkata in Asia's oldest tram network, an episode you can not live in any other part of India but Kolkata. Introduced in 1902, the electric tram is equipped with a television, FM and AC. Carrying up to 24 passengers, the tram runs four rides daily to the north and south of the city.

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Photo of Kolkata's Pocket-Friendly Colonial Charm by Ayushee Chaudhary

Location: Kalighat, Kolkata

Entry: Rs 260 per person (including snacks)

Let your taste-buds transcend to heaven

Bengali cuisine has been known as a foodie's pleasure, more so if you have a sweet tooth. From the famous puchkas to telebhaja, kathi rolls, churmur, luchi aloor dum, the street food of Kolkata will awake all your taste goblets. While sweets like roshogullas, sandesh and mishti doi will soothe your tongue like magic, and the delectable dishes prepared out of sea food especially fish dipped in mustard gravy will only leave you hungry for more in restaurants or in any household. Also known as Teretti Bazaar, Kolkata's historic Chinatown (the only one in India) is a must visit not only for its rich cultural Chinese-Indian community reference but also the delicious momos (dumplings), sausages or rolls.

Some of the best Restaurants In Kolkata: Kewpie’s, Flurys, Mocambo, Oh! Calcutta, Aaheli, and Yauatcha Kolkata

Hail the Bollywood Shehenshah

If you are a die hard fan of Bollywood's Shehenshah and have not been able to get his glimpse in Mumbai; there's an alternative for you. This Kolkata temple is dedicated to the acting Legend, Amitabh Bachchan. There's a pair of shoes worn by the actor in his hit film, Agneepath (1990), alongside his portrait and montages of stills from many of his movies.

(C) Indiatimes

Photo of Kolkata's Pocket-Friendly Colonial Charm by Ayushee Chaudhary

Admire the divine display of artists in the potters' colony

Lined with narrow lanes of artists working on sculptures of Hindu Gods and Goddesses. The walk through the lanes of this potters' colony of Kolkata, Kumortuli, will leave you with the most divine feeling as you witness the details of the intricate work of these local artists

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Photo of Kolkata's Pocket-Friendly Colonial Charm by Ayushee Chaudhary

Grab a copy of your favourite read

Known well for it's love for literature, Kolkata also houses the second largest book market of its kind in the world. Holding the collection of a lot of rare books or first edition dating as long back as to the 19th and 20th centuries, College Street is a book lover's bliss.

Go for a shopping spree

Binge on shopping at Park Street with some of Kolkata's best buy including sweets, jute craft items, books, terracotta structures, traditional sarees, tea, paper mâché masks, Dokra, and more. Apart from shopping, Park Street is also known for its grand Christmas celebrations.

(C) Bibhas Chandra Debnath

Photo of Park Street area, Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Ayushee Chaudhary

Location: Park Street, Kolkata

Spend time at the epochal stadium

While the price of it may not go by the list, we cannot not include the Eden Gardens. Capture the panorama of the place and revisit the most iconic moments of your favourite cricketers in the boundaries of this stadium. Established in 1864 in Kolkata, this famous tourist spot is the oldest cricket stadium in India and the largest in Asia.

(C) Mashrik Faiyaz

Photo of Eden Gardens, Gostho Paul Sarani, BBD Bagh, Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Ayushee Chaudhary

Location: BBD Bagh, Kolkata, West Bengal

Timings: 5.00 am to 11.00 pm

Entry: Ticket prices vary depending on the match scheduled

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