India – 5 things to do in Kolkata
India – 5 things to do in Kolkata
I’ve been visiting Kolkata (formerly known as Calcutta) since I was a child. During the British Raj in India, Calcutta was the capital city, so much of the architecture and historical points of interest are in fact quintessentially English.
It’s where my parents grew up, met and fell in love. This month I visited the vibrant city with them both as my guide, so who better to show me the best sites and sounds in the city than Mama and Papa Rakhit.
Here’s my Style Traveller guide to the top 5 things to do in Kolkata, India…
In at number one is Calcutta’s most famous historical site left over from the British Raj era, The Victoria Memorial. This imposing edifice was built to commemorate the death of Queen Victoria (1819-1901).
The stunning marble construction took 15 years to build and boast over 57 acres of beautiful park land. It’s currently a museum with a permanent collection of rare photographs, manuscripts and statues, it also exhibits seasonal local art exhibitions. With an entry fee of 10 rupees, which is around 10 pence, it would be rude not to visit!
Embellished horse carriages line the streets outside the Victoria memorial waiting for wide eyed tourists. (Like me :)
2 Kumartuli (Sculptors Quarter)
Perhaps my favourite of all the areas in Kolkata is Kumartuli, which literally translates to sculptors (kumar) quarter (tuli). Wander around tiny, squalid back streets and spy on hundreds of artists, sculptors and dressers creating thousand of replica deity statues. It can be quite surreal and eerie at times. Visit before a Hindu festival and the streets are a hoi poloi of colours, fabrics, sights and sounds.
Above: a sculptor at work creating a Goddess Swaraswati statue from clay and plaster.
3 Kali Ghat and Dakshineswar Temple
Kolkata is filled with shrines, temples and places of worship, two of the most famous are Kali Ghat and Dakshineswar. The latter of which, pictured above and below is perhaps my favourite, as it sits on the banks of the holy River Ganges. You’ll see pilgrims bathing in the waters, it’s beautiful to photograph but I do not recommend joining them for a dip.
My Ma and I, outside the temple with a floral offering to Ma Kali, the Goddess of Chaos and Destruction.
A Hindu blessing tree.
Throwing the blessed petals into the river is a sign of worship.
The Kolkata Indian Museum is the earliest and largest multi purpose museum not only in the Indian subcontinent, but also in the Asia-Pacific region of the world. Surely that’s reason enough for a visit :)
5 The River Ganges
The Ganges is the most sacred river to Hindus, worshipped as the Goddess Ganga, it acts as a lifeline to millions of people who depend on it’s water in daily life. Starting clean and clear, up in the Himalayas, by the time it reaches its end here in West Bengal the waters aren’t quite so pure. But take a visit to one of it’s many ghats, especially at sunset or sunrise and you’ll see a glimmer of her magic, or maybe it’s just the pollution.
Bye bye Kolkata.
Next stop London for London Fashion Week!!
For more on Bonnie’s Indian adventure click here for The Grand Oberoi hotel review and 363° restaurant review.
Wonderful photos and so colorful. I have traveled to India but not to Kolkata. The Victoria Memorial looks beautiful and I love the Hindu blessing tree.
The blessing tree looks just divine and so beautiful with the bright colours x
I would love to go and see the Victoria Memorial, especially because I am a big fan of history. Love the beautiful images as well!
Oh my goodness .. it looks like such a magical place. I couldn’t stop looking at the Hindu blessing tree. Thank-you so much for sharing it wish us
It looks amazing – I love all the red and yellow everywhere. Seems like a very spiritual place with the temples, blessing tree and the flower petals. And you look incredible in that blue dress. Absolutely stunning!
I think it’s awesome to be able to see the sculptures being made! Those people have such talented hands. Just look at the details!
I’ve traveled to all the metro cities in India but never got the chance to visit Kolkatta! Glad to know that you had an amazing time there!
I’ve never been to India but desperately want to go. Something about it seems so….other worldly. I’m not sure that’s the best description, but I don’t have any better words to describe it.
I grew up in Orissa and lived closed to Kolkata all my life but sadly never visited. Visiting WB during Durga puja is my travel list!
Kolkata sounds so very interesting. I would love to go one day. It looks beautiful. Kali Ghat and Dakshineswar look like amazing places to go!
You are looking so pretty and India is beautiful country carrying rich heritage and culture. Love the photographs.
Those sculptures are so fascinating. So is that tree.
I would love to see what’s inside of the Indian Museum. I hope you can take us there and wishing that I can visit ittoo.
It looks like I need to add this to my bucket list. I’d love to start at the Victoria Memorial and visit each of these places. I love all of your photos.
Visiting India is definitely on my bucket list and the culture never ceases to amaze me! The temples and Hindu traditions alone are enough to make me want to jump on a plane.
the place looks very interesting to visit! i love to travel! this will be added to my bucket list!
Your photos are so beautiful. These all look like a fun options. I would love to visit there.
Wow! Gorgeous! I would love to stay for a couples weeks just to soak in everything! I love traveling and I will have to travel there soon!
India looks like such a beautiful place to visit. And the photographs just make me feel like I’m right there with you. Absolutely amazing!
Sounds like a beautiful place to visit! I want to travel and love to visit there someday, I’ll add this on my list
Looks an interesting place to visit, I love all your photos and it looks fun to visit there, I wish I could have a chance to go there
I think I would like to get lost in the Sculptors Quarter. That looks like such a mesmerizing place to explore.
Oh wow Kolkata looks like the most amazing place to visit. There’s so much to see! xxx
Hi, Awesome page. I am keen to read a lot more of your site.