First-time visit in Kolkata? Don’t miss these 9 places

Erstwhile Calcutta, Kolkata has a lot to offer other than the sweet dish of Rosogolla. Enthusiastic, frantic, jovial and cultured are some of the selected adjectives that best describe the ‘City of Joy’. Nevertheless, if you are a first-time traveler to the ‘City of Joy’, here is a list of must-visit places in Kolkata.

Victoria Memorial

The silvery monument that has become a fair synonym of Kolkata is the Victoria Memorial. One of the most beautiful places to visit in Kolkata was built by Lord Curzon in fond memory of Queen Victoria. Set amidst a sprawling lawn, the colonial architecture bears a proud heritage of the Indo-Saracenic style. The wide galleries of the monument showcase some of the rarest collections that include oil paintings, armaments, apparels, sculptures and stamps. A light and sound show is also conducted every evening that reflects the culture and history of Kolkata.

Time: 10 AM to 5 PM (Open all days except Monday and National holidays)

Ticket: 30 INR

Birla Planetarium

The largest planetarium of Asia was inaugurated by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru in 1963. Standing at a crossroad to the Victoria Memorial, it’s one of the three planetariums present in India. The place is a perfect Kolkata destination for nomads having a geek interest in science and space. Regular shows in Hindi, English and Bengali are organized at the planetarium that elaborates the planetary movements, celestial occurrences and astronomical phenomena. There is also a sleek gallery within the building that displays photographs of famous astronauts and celestial bodies.

Time: 12.30 PM to 6.30 PM (Open all days except Monday and National holidays)

Ticket: 60 INR

St. Paul’s Cathedral

Just outside the walls of Birla Planetarium, stands the grey Indo-Gothic structure of the 18th century, the St. Paul’s Cathedral. This massive chapel was erected with the sole motive to cater to the emerging European population in Calcutta in the early 18th century. It is believed to be the largest cathedral in Kolkata. It is located very close to the cultural complex of Rabindra Sadan and Nandan. This complex ground is yet another touristy hub in Kolkata that up brings the culture of Bengal through films and festivals.

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Time: 10 AM to 6.00 PM (Open all days)

Ticket: Nil

Indian Museum

Walk a distance of 2 km from Victoria Memorial and you will find yourself gawking at the white pillars of the Indian museum. Built-in 1814, it is one of the largest and oldest museums in India. Its tagline reads ‘It’s not a museum, its place of ideas’. The halls of Bronze Gallery, Coin Gallery, Bharhut Gallery showcases some of the timeless collections of fossils, sculptures, mummies, rare artifacts, and paintings. Currently, the museum homes 35 galleries along with a library and a book shop on its premises.

Time: 10 AM to 5 PM (Open all days except Monday and National holidays)

Ticket: 20 INR

Science City

Another Kolkata point of interest for the science-loving nomad is the Science City. Then fun-filled touristy space is spread over a few acres of lush green lawn and gathers a heavy crowd during peak seasons. Tornado, Ocean Wave, Time Machine and Quicksand are some of the interesting activities here. Its special attractions list a giant animated globe that illustrates planetary movements, a thrilling ride to the Jurassic world and a digital show of human evolution. Apart from these, there are also several fun games for the children and a cable car ride inside the premises.

Time: 9 AM to 7 PM (Open all days except Monday and National holidays)

Ticket: 40 INR (it’s only the entry fee excluding the rides and shows)

Howrah Bride (and the second Howrah Bridge or Vidyasagar Setu)

Another synonymous expression with Calcutta is the Howrah Bridge. And Calcutta has two of them! Both are steel bridges over the Hoogly River (or the Ganga River) and connect two ends of the state viz. Kolkata and Howrah. The old one is the 705 m long Howrah Bridge or the Hoogly Bridge. Whereas, the relatively new one with 823 m long span is the second Hoogly Bridge or the Vidyasagar Setu. Some of the best views of the bridges can be grabbed from Princep Ghat, Millenium Park, Howrah Station, and at any of the river banks. A cruise at the Hoogly River also fetches some marvelous views of the same.

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Maidan or The Gawrer Math

Well, you can say that this swanky green field at the heart of the city acts as ‘lungs of Calcutta’. The Eastern High Command of the Indian Army (earlier was of the British) is positioned at the Fort Williams and Maidan was originally designed as a parade ground of the soldiers (from this derived its name as Gawrer math; Gawr means Fort and Math refer to the ground). Gradually, a part of this place accommodated some big playgrounds, stadiums, clubhouses, and racecourses. Away from the swarming lanes of the city, this place is a moment of break and relief amidst nature. People also congregate here for morning and evening walks. You can enjoy a horse ride, run a few hundred meters, or simply lie down gazing at the sky.

Ticket: Nil

This was only a meager list of visiting places in Kolkata. But if you are a first-timer, these places are enough to give you a tang of the ‘City of Joy’.


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