There are a number of places to see and visit in and around the city of Kolkata.
Amongst the must visit places of Kolkata is the Victoria Memorial. It is a huge white-marble structure and the most enduring of remains of the British Raj in India. The structure, which is now floodlit in the night, gives a fascinating site. It has been now converted in a museum that houses the most impressive collection of memorabilia's from the days of Raj.
Then there is the Indian Museum of Calcutta that was built in 1874. , The museum is a place to see for its beautiful structure. The oldest museum in India, it has one of the rare collections of archeological. The entrance to the museum houses an original Lion Capitol, the national symbol of India.
While in Calcutta you must visit the Eden Gardens. The gardens are located in the northwest corner of the Kolkata, is a small and pleasantly laid-out garden. The place also houses the renowned cricket ground by the same name.
Birla Planetarium is one of the largest of its kind in the world, and a good place to visit while in Kolkata. Regular shows in Hindi and English are held here.
Howrah Bridge is another place to be seen in Calcutta. It is excellent example of engineering techniques of the early 20th century. The whole bridge is 450 m long without any pylon in the river. The bridge also has the distinction of being the busiest bridge in the world catering to around 100,000 vehicles and innumerable pedestrians.
While in Calcutta you must visit the Kali Mandir. The temple is dedicated to Goddess Kali, the goddess of destruction. This is the temple from which the old village Kalikata took its name, which, in turn, also gave the city its name.
Belur Math, the headquarters of Ramakrishna Mission is another tourist attraction of Calcutta. The place was founded in 1899 and houses a structure that was designed to be a church, temple, and mosque all in one.
Other important sites that can be visited are Fort William, Maidan, BBD Bagh, Dakshineshwar Kali Temple, Botanical Garden, Marble Palace, Tagore House, Church of St John, Nakhoda Mosque, Raj Bhawan, Town Hall, and St. Paul's Cathedral.
There are several places of interest around Calcutta. These places near by make excellent weekend trip and excursion options.
The most popular place to visit around Calcutta is Shanti Niketan. Situated 136 km northwest of the city, this is the place where Rabindranath Tagore lived and established a university.
Bishnupur, 100 km northwest of Calcutta, is yet another exciting and hitherto unexplored excursion for Kolkata. Bishnupur houses unique terracotta temples, each more beautifully embellished than the other. Bishnupur is renowned for its crafts such as intricate Balucheri saris, the rare ganijifa (circular Indian playing card), delicate carving on shells and bell metal artifacts.
Another place to visit around Calcutta is Chandernagar, 35 km from Kolkata. It is the former French settlement that still abounds in buildings from that period of history. The important places to visit are the Quai Dupleix, Eglise Du Sacre, and image of Joan of Arc.
Events And Festivals
To know and understand Calcutta in its eternity, one is invited to the city during Durga Puja-a time when Calcutta becomes unforgettable. Every year, for four days, Calcutta forgets its worries and yields to a paroxysm of celebration and worship. This special time of the year comes just before the full moon in late September or October. This is a special occasion because of the transcendent place Goddess Durga holds in the Bengali imagination.
Saraswati Puja is the celebration of Saraswati, the goddess of learning. The festival is celebrated in Kolkata just before the coming of spring in the months of January or February.
Calcutta Book Fair is the largest in Asia and provides ample opportunities to the bibliophiles to explore the fascinating world of books. The event is held every year in the month of January or February in Calcutta.
Poush Mela is celebrated in the Shanti Niketan usually on the 22nd or 23rd of December. The three-day function marks the foundation of Shanti Niketan near Kolkata.
Other important festivals celebrated in Calcutta are Kali Puja, Diwali, and Holi.