The Top 10 Things To Do And See In Kolkata

Photo of Ritu Poojari
9 February 2017

Kolkata, formerly known as Calcutta, is the educational, commercial and cultural centre of the Eastern part of India, and is the third most populous metropolitan city of India. Kolkata is a pioneer in the field of drama, arts, theatre and literature with several nobel laureates contributing to the Kolkata culture. Here, we explore the best local and cultural sights and activities.

Kolkata | © ilumove/Flickr

The Marble Palace

The Marble Palace was built by a Bengali merchant Raja Rajendra Mullick, whose family members still reside here. With a Neoclassical style, this incredible building is made up of 26 varieties of Italian marbles. This mansion is one of the most elegant and best conserved houses in Kolkata. Although the interior of the Marble Palace consists of Victorian furniture and western modifications, the outdoor decor stays true to its Bengali roots, with the traditional open courtyards and a place of worship that is strictly accessed by family members only. In addition to the palace, visitors can enjoy the garden with lawns, a rock garden, a lake and a small zoo as well.

Price: Free

Opening Hours: 10:00 am – 8:00 pm

Watch out for: A 24-hour prior permit to enter the Marble Palace

Address: 645, James Long Sarani, Das Para Road, Thakurpukur, Kolkata +91 98315 14462

Science City

“One is never too old to learn” should be the motto of the Science City of Kolkata, one of the finest and largest science centres in India, established by the National Council of Science Museum. Science City encourages learning in the most entertaining manner; with interactive exhibits, 3D theatre experiences and a hi-tech motion stimulator, Science City is one of the most frequently visited sites in Kolkata and a favourite place for people of all ages.

Price: Budget

Opening Hours: 9:00 am – 8:00 pm

Watch out for: Space Odyssey

Address: J.B.S Haldane Avenue, Kolkata, West Bengal +91-33-22851572

Wildlife Trek in Sundarbans

The Sundarban National Park is a treat for travelers who love adventure and wildlife. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Sundarbans is the world’s largest mangrove belt, translating to ‘beautiful forest’ in Bengali. Visitors get to witness the sensational wonders of local flora and fauna, including royal white Bengal tigers, salt-water crocodiles and colorful breed of birds and reptiles and many other endangered species that have made the Sunderban Forests their home. With a skilful and knowledgeable guide, Sundarban trekking gives travelers one of the most memorable times of their lives, closely connected them to the natural habitat of the untamed.

Price: Mid-range

Opening Hours: Check with organisation

Watch out for: The mudflats in low tides (Aquatic fauna)

Address: Sundarban National Park, Dayapur, Gosaba, West Bengal +91 3218 255 280

Mother Teresa House

“Hearts to love and hands to serve,” said Mother Teresa, and to this day people from all around the world visit the Missionaries of Charity to give love with nothing in return but a peaceful mind and a happy heart. The Mother Teresa House is a must-visit for learning the ideologies and taking a closer look at how Mother Teresa lived. Adjacent to the large tomb of Mother Teresa is a museum that displays the sandals and the drape she wore, the bowl she ate in and also consists of a room display of the place where Mother Teresa worked and slept, left in the same state it was when she was alive.

Price: Free

Opening Hours: 10:00 am – 9:00 pm

Watch out for: The unique insight into Mother Teresa’s life

Address: 54A, A.J.C. Bose Road, Kolkata, West Bengal +91 33 2217 5267

South Park Street Cemetery

Cemetery, Park
Map View
As peculiar as it might sound, the South Park Street Cemetery, is a burial ground well known for being a pleasant spot for a relaxing stroll. Although at times a little eerie, with grand Gothic-style tombs adorned with pillars, and facades of burial tombs engraved with Hindu symbols, Park Street Cemetery offers beautiful scenery and a sense of history and intrigue, perfect for spending a unique afternoon.

Price: Free

Opening Hours: Open all day

Watch out for: The tombs of numerous famous figures

Terreti Morning Market

Market, Chinese, Asian, Fast Food
Map View
Until 9am, all that the streets of Kolkata normally have to offer are morning birds migrating across the pastel sky, bright yellow cabs crawling along, and cats purring away. However, tucked away in a picturesque corner of Kolkata is the Terreti Market, a bustling, lively spot, even in the early hours. The market is a hidden treasure of Kolkata, and is best known for its extraordinary street food, in particular its Chinese dishes. One of the most memorable moments for any traveller in Kolkata is doubtless roaming from stall to stall, exploring all the different delicacies on offer.

Free: Budget

Opening Hours: 6am – 9pm

Watch out for: Bengali fish


Kumortuli is an incredible destination for the artistically and culturally inclined. Traditionally Kolkata’s pottery district, today the craft still thrives, with the area not only providing the majority of the clay idols depicting Hindu gods and goddesses to the surrounding areas, but also to numerous countries around the world. The workshops are fascinating, with idols made from scratch out of clay, before being painted beautiful, jewel-bright colours. Look out for shops where the products are on sale – they make excellent and unique souvenirs.

Price: Free

Opening Hours: Open all day

Watch out for: Festive occasions

Address: Kumartuli, Hatkhola, Kolkata, West Bengal, India

Howrah Bridge

Map View
Howrah Panorama 2
Howrah Panorama 2 | © Arko Sen /Flickr
Looking upward towards the sky from your vehicle, Howrah Bridge looks like the outline of a brilliantly cut diamond. Howrah Bridge is constructed without any nuts and bolts, and is one of the busiest bridges globally, as well as the third longest cantilever bridge in the world. It connects Hawrah and Kolkata. On visiting Kolkata, driving across the Howrah Bridge over the Hooghly River is an enjoyable ride and a great way of enjoying this remarkable feat of engineering.

Price: Free

Opening Hours: Open all day

Watch out for: Enjoying the scenic view of the Hoogli river

Shaheed Minar

The tall, white tower of Shaheed Minar is hard to miss amidst the bright-green Brigade ground, otherwise known as Shaheed Minar Maidan. Shaheed Minar was initially built as a tribute for Major General Sir David Ochterlony, commander of the British East India Company in 1804, however, it was rededicated in the memory of the martyrs of the Indian freedom movement in 1969. Its new name, Shaheed Maidan, translates to ‘Martyrs Monument’. The monument is a mix of architectural styles, with its foundation being Egyptian, the column Syrian, and the dome Turkish. It has a balcony, which gives a panoramic view of the charming city of Kolkata.

Price: Free

Opening hours: Always open

Watch out for: the awe-inspiring views from the balcony

Address: Dufferin Rd, Maidan, Kolkata

A Tram Ride

The most charming sight to come across when traveling through Kolkata are the dainty trams. Many are charmingly rusty, while even the new ones still maintain that vintage essence that makes the tram the signature icon of Kolkata. A leisurely ride on a street car through the time-honored city is must-do before leaving Kolkata.

Price: Budget

Opening hours: Always open

Watch out for: The pretty views of hidden corners of the city

Address: All over Kolkata

during a tram ride. | © Soumyaroop Chatterjee /Flickr