What is Kolkata like?

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What is Kolkata like?

Kolkata, formerly known as Calcutta, is the third largest city in India and the capital of West Bengal. It is a bustling, vibrant metropolitan city which has been shaped by numerous influences. From its colonial past to its modern present, it has grown to be a well-known cultural hub in the country. Kolkata spreads across a large expanse and as such there is much to explore.

In terms of geography, Kolkata is located on the bank of the Hooghly River in eastern India, close to the borders of Bangladesh. The city encompasses two districts – Kolkata Urban Agglomeration and Kolkata Suburban District – that together form the entire city. To give an estimate, Kolkata covers an area of over 200 sq km.

Kolkata is one of the most populous cities in India and has a population of over 14 million. It is therefore one of the most densely populated cities in India, with a density of almost 10,000 people per sq km. The population of the city reflects its rich cultural heritage, with large numbers of people from all over India having come to settle there in recent years.

What Is There to Do In Kolkata?

Kolkata packs a lot of activities for tourists, whether it’s the diverse cultural offerings such as music and theater performances or the historical monuments dotting the city. Popular tourist attractions in Kolkata include:

  • Victoria Memorial: Built in 1921 as a tribute to Queen Victoria, this grand building is now a museum.
  • Howrah Bridge: This iconic structure over the Hooghly River is a marvel of engineering.
  • Indian Museum: The oldest and largest museum in India, it features rare exhibits from throughout the country.
  • Dalhousie Square: This historic square has many colonial-era buildings including St Andrew’s Church.
  • Dakshineswar Kali Temple: Located on the banks of the Hooghly River, this religious site is also a famous tourist spot.
  • Eden Gardens: Home to popular cricket and football matches, this stadium is also a major attraction in Kolkata.

What Are Some Popular Souvenirs from Kolkata?

Kolkata is known for many unique gift items. Some of the most popular souvenirs from Kolkata include handmade jute and cotton products from Kumortuli, terracotta jewellery from Jorasanko, spices and tea from Chandni Chowk Market, sarees from Tantuja, sandesh from Bengali Sweets Shop, sweets from Mishti Dohai, and books from College Street. You can also buy handcrafted leather goods like bags and wallets from Leather Emporium.

Besides these handcrafted gift items, some other souvenirs that you can bring back with you are replicas of landmarks such as Victoria Memorial or Howrah Bridge, keychains and refrigerator magnets depicting famous Kolkata sights, handmade paper items, traditional Kalighat paintings depicting Hindu gods, shawls and stoles with intricate embroidery, and other traditional artefacts.


Kolkata is a vibrant and lively city full of interesting sights and activities. There’s something special about this place that draws in tourists and locals alike. With its colonial architecture, bustling bazaars, awesome street food, ample cultural offerings and diverse souvenirs, Kolkata truly has something for everyone. For more information about Kolkata, visit Kolkata.org.

H2: An Insider’s Guide to Kolkata

Kolkata, formerly known as Calcutta, is the cultural capital of India and the capital city of West Bengal. It is a city that is steeped in history, known for its colonial architecture, art, literature, and delicious cuisine. Kolkata is a sensory explosion with its bustling streets, vibrant markets, and the Holy Ganges River that runs through its heart. This insider’s guide to Kolkata will help you discover the city’s hidden gems and experience the best of what this historic city has to offer.

H2: Local Attractions

Kolkata is a city that has an abundance of cultural and historical landmarks. Start your exploration by visiting Victoria Memorial, a beautiful white marble museum that houses an eclectic collection of paintings, artifacts, and manuscripts. Another must-see attraction is the Howrah Bridge, one of the busiest bridges in the world, that is known for its unique design and majestic view. Additionally, Kalighat Temple, a Hindu temple dedicated to goddess Kali and Dakshineswar Kali Temple are worth a visit. Dakshineswar Kali Temple is a beautiful temple complex known for its historical and religious significance.

H2: Dining Spots

Kolkata is the food capital of India, and its cuisine reflects its rich cultural heritage. Head to Flurys, an iconic tea room, for a traditional English breakfast or afternoon tea. For a taste of Kolkata’s street food, visit Tiretti Bazaar early morning to taste the famous Chinese breakfast. The bazaar also features some of the best Chinese food in the city, including steamed and fried momos. Moreover, the city is famous for its sweets, and no visit to Kolkata is complete without indulging in the mouth-watering roshogollas, sandesh, and mishti doi.

H2: Cultural Experiences

Kolkata has a rich literary and artistic heritage. It was once home to the great poet Rabindranath Tagore, and his residence, Jorasanko Thakur Bari, has been converted into a museum and cultural center. Furthermore, the Indian Museum, the largest museum in India, features an extensive collection of art and artifacts that offer insights into the country’s history and culture. For an immersive experience, attend a local theater performance or a musical concert that showcases the city’s vibrant cultural scene.

H2: Local History

Kolkata has a fascinating colonial past that is reflected in its architecture and historical landmarks. Take a walk down the cobblestone streets of the old town and admire the impressive colonial buildings such as the St. Paul’s Cathedral and the Writers’ Building. A visit to the Marble Palace, a 19th-century mansion with a collection of paintings and statues, will give you an idea of the lavish lifestyle of the city’s aristocrats in the past.

H2: Off the Beaten Path Suggestions

Kolkata has its share of hidden gems that are not often on tourists’ radar. Take a stroll in the South Park Street Cemetery, a colonial cemetery with ornate graves and monuments that offer a glimpse into Kolkata’s past. Also, visit the Kumartuli area, where the city’s artisans create beautiful clay idols of gods and goddesses. For a quiet escape from the bustle of the city, head to the serene Rabindra Sarovar Lake, a beautiful green lung in the heart of the city.

Kolkata is a city that is alive with its energy, history, and culture, preserving India’s rich heritage. Whether you want to explore the city’s attractions, indulge in delicious cuisine, or experience its unique cultural scene, Kolkata has something to offer.

What is Kolkata like?

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