Kolkata has always held the place of the ‘Cultural Capital of India’ and it welcomes visitors with an undeniable charm. The city boasts of stunning architecture, delectable cuisine, a thriving art scene, natural wonders, and ‘intellectual’ locals. The city envelops you in its quintessential magnetism each time you visit and stays true to its title of ‘the city of joy’. Here’s our list of top 17 places to visit in Kolkata in a day.
Architectural and Cultural Marvels
1. Victoria Memorial Hall
A mammoth marble structure built in the early 20th century in the style of Taj Mahal, Victoria Memorial Hall is the country’s foremost period museum to check out grand works of art, including paintings, manuscripts, lithographs, rare photographs & books, arms and armories.
The building is constructed with the architectural amalgam of Venetian, Egyptian, Deccani and Islamic styles. The gardens are perfectly manicured and provide a scenic respite during summers.
Location: 1 Queen’s Way
2. Indian Museum
Visit this interesting museum which showcases relics and exhibits in art, archaeology, zoology, anthropology and geology. Its famous exhibits are animal fossils and Egyptian mummies.
It houses a rare collection of fossils, skeletons,statues and Mughal paintings. Popularly known as Jadu Ghar, and the Imperial Museum, this is the oldest and the biggest museum in India, therefore a must-visit on your trip to Kolkata. It has a collection of 102,646 artifacts!
Location: Jawaharlal Nehru Road
3. Marble Palace
Built by King Rajendra Mullick, the palace gets its name due to its exquisite collection of marble artefacts and relics. The palace exhibits artwork from renowned artists such as Rembrandt, Reuben, Reynolds and Van Gogh. It is an opulent and palatial mansion with a beautiful courtyard, gardens, valuable statues, chandeliers, clocks, mirrors, ming vases and Victorian and Belgian glassware.
To find such a display of exquisite under one roof is phenomenal so don’t miss out on visiting this top attraction of Kolkata.
Urban landmarks & points of interest
4. Howrah Bridge
Kolkata’s most famous landmark needs no introduction. Visit Howrah Bridge over Hoogly river for its astonishing engineering and stunning sights. It is a cantilever bridge in which no nuts and bolts are used, instead the construction is made by riveting the whole structure.
One of the best places to visit in Kolkata for a day, it is the sixth longest type of this bridge in the whole world and the busiest in the world! Its mechanical design is still sturdy and carries tons of traffic and goods to and from Kolkata.
Location: Strand Road
5. Kolkata Tram
A major piece of Kolkata’s heritage, the Kolkata trams are famous for various reasons. A 19th century wonder, the trams now ply on limited routes. But this is the only city in India where they do. A tram ride takes one back to the nostalgia of old India and is a rare experience.
Passing through the crowded streets of Kolkata in its unique vehicle of heritage is a must-do on your visit to Kolkata. Get the AC tram ticket for a comfortable ride.
Location: Esplanade Metro Rail Station
6. Belur Math
The headquarters of Ramakrishna Mission, Belur Math is a spectacle to admire. It is a globally recognised pilgrimage centre for spiritual seekers from all religions. This holy site houses the remains of Ramkrishna Paramhans.
You can check out the old room of Swami Vivekananda where he resided during his time in Kolkata, and visit the many shrines of direct disciples of Swami Ramakrishna. Devotees have described its ambience as utterly peaceful and divine.
Location: Belur Road, Howrah
7. Tagore House
Tagore House is a shrine/museum in honour of one of India’s greatest poets, Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore. It is also known as ‘Jorasanko Thakurbari’. A mesmerising place, each room tells a story about the life and times of the poet.
This is his ancestral house which also exhibits his artwork, photographs and describes his life journey as a poet and an intellectual. This will make a highly informative and educational visit on the literary heritage of India.
Location: Dwarkanath Tagore Lane
8. Eden Gardens
Cricket fans, this is going to be among your favourite places to visit in Kolkata for a day. The largest, the oldest cricket stadium in India and the most famous, Eden Gardens is a must-visit for anyone who is a fan of cricket.
The city’s iconic landmark and a Mecca for cricket fans, Eden Gardens currently has the capacity to seat 66,000 people and was once even bigger than Melbourne Stadium. Visit if for one reason – cricket mania.
Location: Eden Garden Road
Nature and parks
9. Botanical Gardens
Officially known as Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Indian Botanic Garden, the Kolkata Botanical Gardens are the oldest of all the botanical gardens in India. It is home to over 14,000 species of trees and over 13,000 species of plants out of which 500 species are considered rare. The Gardens are also famous for the humongous banyan tree said to have the largest canopy in the world. The garden is a holy ground for nature and botany enthusiasts.
Location: Shibpur, Howrah
10. Eco Tourism Park
Curiously enough, so many of the biggest, oldest places happen to be located in Kolkata. Yet another one on the list is Eco Tourism Park, which is the biggest urban park in India.
Thematically, it houses Artist’s Cottage, Bamboo Garden, Butterfly Garden, Children’s Park, Eco Island, Fruits Garden, Mask Garden, among others. Activities to do here are cycling, bird watching, ice skating, archery, high speed boating, kayaking, paintballing, land zorbing, etc.
Location: Action Area II
11. Rabindra Sarovar
A quiet respite from the hectic city vibe, Rabindra Sarovar is an artificial lake, surrounded by rowing clubs. It is a great place to go boating, strolling and watching the sun go down. Also a good place to visit with family. You can also visit a Japanese Buddhist temple at the southern end of the lake.
Location: Dhakuria, Lake Gardens
Religious and Spiritual Places
12. Mother House
An important pilgrimage place for Christians, Mother House was established by Mother Teresa to perform selfless service for humankind. This place serves as a memorial and tomb to Mother Teresa, and also houses a little museum that displays her worn sandals, saree, crucifix, rosary, etc.
Location: A J C Bose Road
13. St. Paul’s Cathedral
Exuding old world charm, acknowledged as the first Episcopal Church of the Eastern World, St. Paul’s Cathedral is a magnificent sight to behold. It is built in a Gothic Revival Style and has beautifully carved wooden worship area in the main hall which also has excellent floral wall designs. It is a gorgeous sight during Christmas celebrations. Visitors and devotees admire its peaceful and divine ambience.
Location: Cathedral Road
14. Dakshineswar Kali Temple
Located on the coast of Hoogly river, this Hindu place of worship is one of the top tourist attractions of Kolkata. The temple is built in the Bengali style of nine-spires. In the Garbha Griha House, the main idol of Kali is depicted standing on the chest of Lord Shiva. It is said that at this temple, Ramakrishna Paramhansa received his spiritual enlightenment. It is a massive structure that houses many smaller temples dedicated to Lord Shiva. During the Kali Puja, the temple is adorned beautifully.
Location: Near Bali Bridge
15. Birla Temple
Built by the Birla family, the Birla Temple is a well-maintained, stunning marble temple which was constructed over a period of 25 years. The temple is built in intricate Rajasthani architectural style with marble carvings depicting tales from Bhagavad Gita. Temple ceilings are decorated with lavish chandeliers. The temple must be visited during evening aarti time to enjoy its divine and holy ambience.
Location: Ashutosh Choudhary Road, Ballygunge
16. Chowringhee Market
To immerse in the essential feel of Kolkata and to experience its pulsating energy, visit this bustling market in Chowringhee. The market is ideal for people watching, delicious street food and street shopping. Indulge in bargain hunting and souvenir shopping here.
Location: S N Banerjee Road, Taltala
Buy curios, knick knacks, jewellery, sarees and a whole lot of bargain buys at this chaotic market in Kolkata. The market is famous for affordable specialty textiles and fashion jewellery. It is an essential experience to enjoy the true heart of city. If you’re tired from mad shopping, enjoy eating the famous puchkas and chicken rolls at street food outlets here.
Location: Gariahat crossing
Next time you’re spending a day in Kolkata, make sure to visit as many places as you can from our list of visit-worthy Kolkata attractions. If you have questions or comments, please use the comment box below.