‘The city of joy’
Home to Asia’s largest book market
Birth-place of renowned poet and Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore
The cultural capital of India.
A giant city mostly popular for its rich cultural heritage and old colonial charm. Welcome to Kolkata or Calcutta. The only city in India where you can see a huge difference in culture and lifestyle while you go from north to south. In north Kolkata mostly you will notice Bengali traditional culture and lifestyle; whereas in south Kolkata you will mostly see modern shopping malls, amusement parks and lifestyle. Here we will share a 6 days tour guide to this beautiful city with a tour to the world’s largest delta Sunderban- the land of royal Bengal Tigers and mangroves including the places to visit, where to stay, what to eat, and the budget.
How to Reach
Being a major Indian city Kolkata has its own international airport Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose international airport within the city’s premises. This airport is well connected to other Indian airports and other major countries.
By train you can reach the city from all other parts of the country. By road also it is well-connected to the rest of India.
On 1st day visit the northern side of the city.
On this day, start your city tour by visiting one of the most prominent pilgrimage sites of Kolkata Dakshineswar Temple. It is a temple dedicated to Goddess Kali and is situated on the eastern bank of Hoogly River. This temple was constructed in the year 1855 by Rani Rashmoni and was once the residing place of the Hindu mystic Sri Ramkrishna Paramhansa Dev. Other than its spiritual significance, the temple is an architectural marvel. From the back of this temple complex you can get a gorgeous view of holy river Ganges. You can also enjoy a boat ride on river Ganges at this place.
There is no entry fee here. If you wish to offer puja, then you can purchase the offerings from the ‘Dala arcade’ inside the temple complex. The price of this offerings are ranging from 100 to few thousands of rupees.
Inside the temple complex there are some small stall which sell souvenirs.
The temple complex is clean and well maintained and is open from 5Am to 8Pm.
From Dakshineswar Temple go to visit nearby Belur Math. Situated on the banks of Hoogly River and founded by Swami Vivekananda, it is the headquarters of Ramkrishna Math and Mission. The excellent architecture and spiritual ambience of the place attracts thousands of visitors every year irrespective of religious belief. The place is open from 6Am to 11.30 Am and from 4Pm to 7Pm
From Belur Math go to visit the Jain Temple of Kolkata. It will take around 45 minutes to an hour to reach the Jain Temple from Belur Math by taxi or car. The Jain temple is dedicated to four Jain Teerthankars. The temple is mostly popular for its marvellous architecture. You can see beautiful fountains and decorated garden in this temple complex.
From here go to visit another beautiful location of North Kolkata Marble palace. By car it will take approximately 20-30 mins to reach marble palace from Jain temple. It is the place where you can see some stunning sculpture of marble. Entry fee here is Rs15 per person.
Next visit the birthplace of Rabindranath Tagore, Jorasanko Thakur Bari. It is located in close proximity to marble palace. Currently, it is the campus of Rabindra Bharatai University.
After visiting this place go to visit Asia’s largest book market in College Street. If you are a book lover then it is a must visit place for you. Here you will find a huge collection of book both popular and rare. Other than this, you can see most of the notable schools and colleges like Kolkata Medical College, Presidency University, prestigious Hindu School, Sanskrit Collegiate School and Hare School on this road.
Not only books and school colleges, it is also a prominent location where you will find some of the most popular eateries of Kolkata like Indian Coffee House. Don’t miss the famous coffee and egg sandwich of this place.
On 2nd day of your tour go to visit the southern part of Kolkata. On this day start your tour by visiting the famous Birla Mandir. Birla Mandir is located in Ballygunge. The stunning architecture of the temple needs a special mention. The temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna and Goddess Radha.
From this place go to visit one of the most visited temples in India, Kalighat temple. It will take around 30 mins to reach Kalighat Temple from Birla Mandir by car. It is one of the 51 Shakti Pithas of India. As per legend, Devi Sati’s toes of the right foot fell here during Lord Shiva’s Tandava Dance. At the entrance of this temple you will see lots of small roadside stalls. You can buy the puja offerings from here. While purchasing anything from here, do remember to negotiate the price before any purchase.
After Kalighat Temple, visit south Park Street cemetery. It will take around 45 Mins to reach there by car. The time may vary depending on the traffic condition. The entry fee to the cemetery is Rs20 per person and the camera charge is Rs 50. The place is open from 9 Am to 5 Pm. It is a non-church cemetery of the 18th century and one of the earliest of its kind in the world. Currently, it is a heritage site maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India. It is the final resting place of famous poet and teacher Henry Louis Vivian Derozio. You can see his tomb inside this cemetery.
Next, visit the Indian Museum. Indian Museum of Kolkata is the 9th oldest museum in the world and the largest in India. It has 35 galleries showcasing art, archaeology, anthropology, geology, zoology and economic botany. The entry fee to this place is Rs 20 per head. The place is open from 10 am to 5 PM.
From here go to visit Rabindra Sadan and Nandan- prime location for Bengali theatre and Kolkata film festival. It is the main cultural centre of Kolkata.
After Rabindra Sadan visit St. Paul’s Cathedral which is just a few minutes’ walk from Rabindra Sadan complex. It is said to be the largest church in Kolkata and the first Anglican cathedral in Asia. The church is noted for its stunning Gothic architecture.
In front of St. Paul’s Cathedral you will find Birla Planetarium. It is the largest planetarium in Asia and the second largest of the world. Try to watch a show here. The entry fee to the place is Rs40 per person. It is open from 12Am to 6.30 pm.
On the opposite side of the road, visit the citizens’ park or Mohor Kunja, a well-decorated garden situated in the Maidan premises. The place is open from 5Am to 9Am and from 3 Pm to 8 Pm.
Next go to Victoria Memorial which is just 5 minutes’ walk from this place. The stunning white marble architecture is one of the most prominent tourist places of Kolkata and is a landmark of the city. It was built in the memory of Queen Victoria to celebrate here 25 years rule over India. The building is enclosed by a well maintained garden that has several beautiful statues. In the vening you can enjoy light and sound show here. The garden area is open from 5.30Am to 6.15 Pm and the museum is open from 10am to 5 PM. The entry fee to the garden is Rs20 per head and the museum entry fee is Rs 40 per head for Indian tourists and Rs200 per head for foreigners.
After visiting Victoria Memorial, go to Princep Ghat. Built on the Hoogly River this is the ideal place to enjoy a stunning sunset over river Ganges. You can also sit and relax for a while in the well-decorated park area here and can enjoy Kolkata’s famous street food. Moreover, here you can enjoy a boat ride on River Ganges.
On 3rd day of your Kolkata tour, go to visit Eco Park. Eco park of Kolkata is located in New Town rajarhat and it is so far the biggest urban park in India. The park is situated on an area of around 480 acres and it is surrounded by a 104 acres waterbody with an island in the middle of it.
The entry fee to the park is Rs30 per person. From 1st November to 28th February the park is open from 12noon to 7.30 Pm on weekdays and on Sundays and holidays it is open from 11am to 7.30 Pm. During summer, i.e, from 1st March to 31st December it is open from 2.30PM to 8.30PM on weekdays and on Sundays and holidays it is open from12noon to 8.30 Pm. The park is closed on Monday.
The prime attractions of this park are:
Butterfly garden: where you can see lots of butterflies and many rare flowers.
Mask garden: Displays various types of masks from all over the world.
Sculpture garden: It houses different sculptures that depict important social events of India.
Tea garden: a model tea garden
Children’s play area
Formal garden: A well decorated garden area where you can sit and walk for a while.
Mist garden: an area which is covered with artificial mist
7 wonders of the world- where you can see replica of the 7 wonders of the world. It has a separate entry fee of Rs30 per head
You can enjoy toy train ride here. A non ac coach costs Rs150 per person and an Ac coach costs Rs 250 per person.
You may also ride a speed boat and take a tour of the water-body and it costs Rs100 per head.
Also, if you love cycling then you can also hire a duo cycle with Rs 150 for 30 mins or Rs300 for an hour and enjoy riding inside the park.
Other than these there are plenty of other entertainment facilities available here.
After completing this tour you can visit the Mother’s wax museum on the opposite side of the road. The entry fee here is Rs250 per head. Here you can see beautiful wax sculptures.
On your way back, visit Science City. It is one of the largest science and technology museum in the world. It has both indoor galleries and an outdoor science park where you can find many attractive things to enjoy. You may also enjoy an audiovisual show in the space theatre here. The entry fee here is Rs60 per person. The space theatre has a separate ticket of Rs80 per person. The place is open from 10 am to 6 Pm
On 4th day of the tour go for a 3-day long tour to Sunderban, the largest delta of the world. Sunderbans is now an UNESCO world heritage site where you can see mangrove forest- which is also the world’s largest, mudflats, and some barren lands. The place is the home of Royal Bengal Tigers.
This Sunderbans tour from Kolkata is a separate package tour which costs around Rs 4500 including transport, food, accommodation and sightseeing.
On this day first you will reach at Godkhali jetty from Kolkata and then will take a ferry ride to go deep inside Sunderbans. It will take around 2 and a half to 3 hours to reach Godkhali jetty from Kolkata depending on the traffic condition.
From Godkhali first stop at Gosaba. It will take around 30mins to reach there by boat. At Gosaba visit Rabindranath Tagore’s bungalow which is just beside the jetty. The renowned poet visited here for some days and stayed at this place.
Next go to see Sir Hamilton’s bungalow which is a 10 mins walk from this Tagore’s bungalow.
It will take around an hour to complete the tour of these two bungalows.
After this tour, go to Pakhirala for night stay. It will take around 3 hours to reach there. In the evening you can enjoy tribal dance show.
On this day, early in the morning after breakfast, go to visit Sudhanyakhali Tiger camp. It will take around 2 hours to reach Sudhanyakhali tiger camp through the backwaters of Sunderbans. The journey itself is a remarkable one. On both sides of the river you can see vast mangrove forests.
From the watchtower of Sudhanyakhali Tiger camp, you can also get a closer view to this unique forests. Spend an hour here.
Next move towards another Tiger camp at Do Banki following the backwaters trails.
In this place you can see dense mangrove forests and mudflats. The view from the top viewpoint is awesome.
In the evening, take a stroll to the Pakhirala market.
On 6th day, first go to visit Jharkali Animal Park. Enjoy a walk around this huge park and witness the forest and its water bodies from close proximity. It is the place where you can see lots of monkeys playing in their natural habitat. Moreover, near one of the water bodies, we spotted a crocodile taking a nap in bright sunlight.
After visiting the place for around an hour move towards Kolkata with a memory that lasts lifelong.
On 7th day head back to airport or railway station for departure.
Shopping and Food
Kolkata is a popular shopper’s paradise. In this city, you can get literally anything of any budget range. It is the place where in one shop you can find exclusive products from different global brands which may cost few thousands of rupees and on the other hand you can find large variety of good quality products in roadside stalls which will cost within 100 rupees.
Right now, you can find giant shopping malls at every side of the city from where you can purchase varieties of branded and exclusive products. Whereas, if you want something cheap and durable the roadside stalls are best option for you. You can get lots of such stalls in Gariahat, Hatibagan, and Esplanade or New Market region. The products here are ranging from house-hold items to clothing and accessories.
Next, we will talk about food. Again, Kolkata is popular for its mouth-watering Bengali cuisine, especially sweets like Rosogolla and misti doi. Other than this, there are lots of fine dining restaurants available in Kolkata where you can get good continental food. Currently, you can find such restaurants in all big shopping malls. The food for two-person will cost approximately Rs500 to 1500. While talking about Kolkata’s street food, you will get the best of it in Park Street, in the alleys of New Market. There are plenty of options available here ranging from fruit juice, Kolkata special phuchka or Pani puri, egg roll, sandwiches, Mughlai paratha, momos and chowmein, or dhosa. Other than these, the best place to taste the traditional Bengali sweets and Kachauri Sabji is in the alleys of north Kolkata. All of the above varieties will costs between Rs50 to 70.
For local transport and sightseeing, Kolkata metro railway is the cheapest option. You can purchase a smartcard for Rs200 and can avail metro rides whenever it is possible until your smartcard has money in it. For the locations where metro is not available, you can get Uber service or local taxis. Other than this you can also avail local bus services which is pretty regular. A reserved car for whole day-long sightseeing in Kolkata can cost around Rs1500