Kolkata is one of the most cosmopolitan cities of India that needs to be included in your bucket list of Indian cities to visit. Kolkata, the bustling capital of the eastern state of West Bengal in India is best known among tourists for the great engineering marvel-Howrah Bridge that connects the twin cities of Howrah and Kolkata.
The Howrah Bridge is undeniably the numero uno of all the attractions in Kolkata but there is so much more to Kolkata than just the Howrah Bridge. Have your eyes glued to our little travel guide to Kolkata to gain a good insight into the city of joy, covering aspects like the best landmarks to visit, best restaurants for fine dining, and other useful travel information related to Kolkata.
What is Kolkata best known for?
Besides the Howrah Bridge, Kolkata is famous on the international radar for its delectable Bengali cuisine, Bengali sweets, Bengali Sarees, and most revered personalities including Rabindranath Tagore, Mother Teresa and the noble laureate Amartya Sen. The slogan of Kolkata Tourism is “City of Joy” and it truly lives up to it.
Historical facts about Kolkata, India
Interestingly, some of the historical facts about Kolkata are also the lesser known facts of Kolkata and are sure to amaze you- The British made Kolkata the center for the colonial rule in India that lasted for 200 years, Kolkata was the capital of India between the years 1772 to 1911 under the British rule and was also the capital of Bangladesh between the years 1912 to 1947.
There are plenty of things to do in Kolkata. From the popular Tram rides to sacred landmarks like Dakshineshwar Kali Temple to street food vendors selling authentic Bengali food, there is no dearth of attractions in the city of joy. Here’s our list of things to do in Kolkata.
- The Howrah Bridge over West Bengal’s Hooghly River is the pride of Kolkata and no trip to Kolkata is complete without exploring the Howrah Bridge
- The Victoria Memorial Palace, built in the honor of the iconic Queen Victoria is worth gazing at for its beautiful architecture
- Mother Teresa House is something that can’t be missed during a Kolkata tour. The tomb draws huge crowds every month and one can even get to see the bed used by the famous personality
- The Indian Museum is India’s first and largest museum and is worth touring for getting glimpses of the rich antiques that speak about the culture and history of India from the pre-historic period
- Tram rides on the roads of Kolkata are truly fascinating. Explore the city of joy using a tram for a different Kolkata experience.
- Birla Planetarium tops the list of attractions for kids in Kolkata. Spend some quality time with family at the planetarium to gaze at the artificial video simulations of the night sky along with the stars and other heavenly bodies of the universe
- Dakshineshwar Kali Temple is the oldest Hindu temple in the city of joy dedicated to Goddess Kali. Take a temple tour of this renowned holy site to seek the blessings of Kali
- Princep Ghat is a must-visit for getting gorgeous sights of the sunsets during the dusk
Gastronomy in Kolkata
There is no better way to experience a new place than tasting its delicious local foods. The Bengali cuisine is characterized by a sweet taste through the use of sweet spices like dry fruits and this is strong a Persian influence from the Mughal kings who once ruled Kolkata. The Delish local foods of Kolkata are endless but the must-tastes are
- Kathi roll of Kolkata- a flattened dough made of wheat that is heated on both sides with some oil on a pan and rolled with a stuffing of either cooked vegetables or cooked diced chicken along with some freshly prepared seasoning
- Rasagulla- a signature-style desert from Kolkata.
Our top picks for the best Bengali and Indian food joints are Kusum Rolls, Bhojohori Manna, and Sher-e-Punjab. For street food in Kolkata, we suggest visiting Deckers Lane and New Market which are filled with street stalls selling all kinds of Bengali delicacies at throw-away prices. No trip to Kolkata is complete without tasting the local foods of Bengal.
While there are many ways to reach Kolkata for the locales including the popular bus, train and private car modes, we highly recommend taking a flight to Kolkata which simplifies the accessibility of Kolkata for people from far-off places. International travellers from the United States can have their cheap flights to Kolkata booked on Indian Eagle. If you are flying to Kolkata, you will be landing at Netaji Subash Chandra Bose International Airport (CCU) located at Dum Dum in West Bengal, about 17 km from the city center of Kolkata.
Suggested Read: Best Time to Visit Kolkata: The Cultural Capital of India
How to get around Kolkata
Kolkata has good road connectivity backed by excellent public transportation modes of bus, taxi, metro, autos, and trams. You could also hire a private car or a bicycle to get around the city to bring out the adventurer in you. We highly recommend using a combination of all the modes for getting the best of everything. Taxis in Kolkata are the classic Ambassador cars like in Mumbai city and they are all metered-taxis and usually, in most cases, the taxi drivers in Kolkata very rarely turn the meters on and they try to charge customers exorbitant amounts for the rides. A better alternative to taxis is using the Ola and Uber cab rides which are a lot cheaper and can only be pre-booked from the respective Apps through the mobile phones linked to a local number.
Now that you have read our travel guide to Kolkata, it’s about time you planned for a trip to Kolkata to get mesmerized by its attractions. Just in case you have an emergency travel plan to Kolkata, don’t fret, Indian Eagle also offers cheap last-minute flights to Kolkata at affordable fares.