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.
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.
Address: Mother Teresa House, 54A, Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Road, Ripon Street, Kolkata
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.
Address: Dakshineshwar Temple - Dakshineswar, Kolkata
Kalighat Kali Temple - Anami Sangha, Kalighat, Kolkata
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Location: 46, Opp Ram Mandir, Muktaram Babu Street, Jorasanko, Kolkata
Timings: 10.30 am to 4.30 pm
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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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