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World Travel Guide > Guides > Asia > India > Kolkata (Calcutta)

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Things to see in Kolkata (Calcutta)

Tourist Offices

West Bengal Tourism Centre

Address: , 3/2 B.B.D Bag, Kolkata, 700001
Telephone: +91 33 22436440.
Opening times:

 Mon-Fri 1000-1700

Website: http://www.wbtourism.gov.in

Attractions

Indian Museum

The city's main museum has an enthralling (and huge) range of artefacts spread over several galleries devoted to archaeology, art, anthropology, geology, zoology and botany. Highlights include a prized collection of Buddhist art, rare paintings, an Egyptian mummy, and a reproduction of the Barhut Gateway, dating back to second century BC. Indeed, the museum itself is a piece of history, with the building dating back to 1875.

Address: Chowringhee, 27 Jawaharlal Nehru Road (corner of Sudder Street), Kolkata, 700016
Telephone: +91 33 2286 1699
Opening times:

Tue-Sun 1000-1700 (March-Nov); 1000-1630 (Dec-Feb).

Website: http://www.indianmuseumkolkata.org
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: No
UNESCO: No

Kali Temple

An important pilgrimage centre for Hindus, the original temple is supposed to have been built 350 years ago; this one dates back to 1809. Legend says that when the corpse of Sati, wife of Lord Shiva, was cut into pieces by Sidarshan Chakra, one of her toes fell here. Believed to be the original temple from the village of Kolikata, from where Kolkata took its name, this is a mind-stirring, if rather grim place; goats are regularly slaughtered here to honour the destroyer goddess Kali.

Address: Kalighat, Kalighat Road, Kolkata, 700026
Telephone: +91 33 2243 6440
Opening times:

Daily 0500-1400, 1700-2230.

Website: http://kalighat.jagaddhatri.com
Admission Fees:

No.

Disabled Access: No
UNESCO: No

Victoria Memorial

Built from white marble and situated at the south end of the Maidan, this huge domed colonial building blends a combination of classical European architecture with Mughul influences to create one of the city's greatest landmarks. It is home to thousands of artefacts relating to the British Raj and other chapters of Indian history.

Address: , Queen's Way, Kolkata, 700071
Telephone: +91 33 2223 1890
Opening times:

Tues-Sun 1000-1700.

Website: http://victoriamemorial-cal.org
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: No
UNESCO: No

Ramakrishna Temple, Belur Math

The headquarters of the Ramakrishna Mission (named after the 19th-century Indian philosopher Ramakrishnan, preacher of unity of all religions), this centre synthesises the architectural styles of Christianity, Islam and Hinduism to create a peaceful and meditative atmosphere. The complex was consecrated in 1898 by one of his disciples.

Address: North of the city, Belur Math, DT. Howrath, On the western banks of the Hooghly, 711202
Telephone: +91 33 2654 1144
Opening times:

Daily 0600-1200 and 1600-2000 (Apr-Sep); 0630–1130 and 1530–1830 (Oct-Mar).

Website: http://www.belurmath.org
Admission Fees:

No

Disabled Access: No
UNESCO: No

Dakshineshwar Temple

On the banks opposite Belur Math (a boat links the two) to the north of the city lies the spot where Ramakrishna achieved a spiritual vision of equality of all religions. Dedicated to the Hindu goddess Kali, the temple was built in 1847, and also contains 12 smaller temples in the courtyard dedicated to Shiva, Radha and Krishna. It's usually crowded.

Address: On the northeastern banks of the Hooghly River, Dakshineshwar, Kolkata, 700076
Telephone: +91 33 2564 5222
Opening times:

Daily 0600-1230 and 1500-2030 (Oct-Mar); 0600-1230 and 1530-2100 (Apr-Sep).

Website: http://www.dakshineswarkalitemple.org
Admission Fees:

No

Disabled Access: No
UNESCO: No

BBD Bagh

A riveting glimpse of colonial history and architecture is on display in this area, once known as Dalhousie Square but renamed Benoy Badal Dinesh Bagh after three freedom fighters, the martyrs of Bengal. When Queen Victoria took over the administration of India from the East India Company, Kolkata became the capital of British India.

On the north side is the huge Writers' Building, housing the Secretariat of the Government of West Bengal and on the south side is Raj Bhavan, residence of the Governor of West Bengal.

Address: , , Kolkata, 70000
Telephone:
Opening times: Website:
Admission Fees:

No

Disabled Access: No
UNESCO: No

The Maidan

This is one of the world's largest city parks, the 'lungs' of Kolkata, and home to the Victoria Memorial, Fort William and Eden Gardens. Also inside is the international cricket stadium, Ranji Stadium, home to the nation's greatest sporting passion. Eden Gardens contains a small lake and a pagoda purchased from Myanmar in 1856.

Address: , The Maidan, Kolkata, 700021
Telephone:
Opening times:

Dawn til dusk.

Website:
Admission Fees:

No

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

St Paul's Cathedral

Kolkata's principal place of Christian worship, and one of the most important in India, St Paul's was originally constructed between 1839 and 1847, but has been rebuilt several times due to damage caused by earthquakes. Modelled on St Martin-in-the-Fields, London, it is chiefly noted for its impressive stained-glass windows.

Address: , Cathedral Road (Southern end of Maidan), Kolkata, 700071
Telephone: +91 33 2223 2802
Opening times:

Daily 1000-1800.

Website:
Admission Fees:

No

Disabled Access: No
UNESCO: No

Marble Palace

Once a private home, this extraordinary building has a wonderful collection of statues, paintings and antiquities from the private collection of Raja Rajendra Mullick, including paintings by Rubens and Joshua Reynolds. Famous for its marble walls and floors, this striking mansion was constructed in the mid 19th century and sports some impressive architecture. To visit, a permit is required from the West Bengal Tourism Centre.

Address: Off Chittaranjan Avenue, 46 Muktaram Babu Street, Kolkata, 700007
Telephone: +91 33 2239 3310
Opening times:

Tues-Sun 1000-1600.

Website:
Admission Fees:

No

Disabled Access: No
UNESCO: No

Park Street Cemetery

This peaceful place was first opened in 1767, when burials took place after dark with the aid of lit torches and sometimes included the pageantry of a military funeral, mainly to accommodate the large number of British who died serving their country. The cemetery is tranquil, lush, and deserted, with huge obelisks, pyramids and classical mausoleums of all shapes and sizes, set amidst gracious gardens. Job Charnock, the city's founder, is buried here and the cemetery is also home to a memorial dedicated to those who lost their lives in the 'Black Hole'.

Address: , Park Street, Kolkata, 700017
Telephone: +91 33 2284 7685
Opening times:

Dawn til dusk.

Website: http://christianburialboardkolkata.com
Admission Fees:

No

Disabled Access: No
UNESCO: No

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The Park

A great location in the heart of Park Street, this upmarket property is a member of the Design Hotels of the World. Standard doubles are very comfortable with soothing warm tones and there are also more opulent suites and larger 'Luxury rooms'. It's stylish, well run and home to the trendy Tantra nightclub as well as some commendable restaurants. Other treats include an inviting swimming pool, gym and spa (which offers traditional Ayurvedic treatments and heavenly body scrubs).

Hotel Lindsay

The Lindsay offers a degree of comfort that belies the price. A nice feature is the rooftop restaurant, which affords good views of the teeming city below. It also has Wi-Fi in the rooms, and all the usual 'mod cons' expected from a modern hotel.

ITC Sonar

Spreading over 6.5 hectares (16 acres), this deluxe hotel has a gloriously tranquil ambience. Its top-class rooms surround a huge pool and are tastefully minimalist, with contemporary designs and fresh tones. Each room comes with Internet access, personalised vaults and 24-hour butler service. Guests can enjoy the health spa and beauty salon, with a variety of massage treatments, gym and collection of fine restaurants including delicious Dum Pukht.

Lytton Hotel

A comfortable, friendly, hotel in the heart of busy Sudder Street, the Lytton has pleasing rooms, all with air conditioning, fridge, Wi-Fi access, television and writing desk, making it a good value (for Kolkata) hotel for business travellers and tourists alike. It has a business centre, a good restaurant and a cosy bar – and it's just around the corner from the Indian Museum.

The Oberoi Grand

Set back from the chaos of Chowringee, this elegant Victorian structure has long been one of Kolkata's (and the subcontinent's) finest, and indeed most historic, hotels. Its courtyard is filled with columns and plants; the exquisitely restored hotel has beautifully decorated rooms (including sumptuous suites with grand four-poster beds and teak wood floors) in addition to a handful of superb restaurants, a tea lounge, spa, fitness centre and pool.

Fairlawn Hotel

A living part of the city's history, this small-scale property harks back to the late 18th century and has retained a creaky charm, and the charming, eccentric octogenarian owner is proud to talk about the interesting photos lining the walls. Extensively renovated in 2010, the hotel is crammed with bric-a-brac, old wicker furniture and Raj-era memorabilia. Rooms aren't flash but are comfortable enough, with some bathrooms featuring great old free-standing bath tubs.