Kolkata (Calcutta)

Kolkata and Howrah (also written as Haora) straddle the Hooghly River, with Kolkata on the east side, and Howrah on the west. Across the Hooghly from Kolkata's old quarter, the Howrah district—which holds Kolkata's massive train station—is a constantly expanding suburb. On the eastern side of town is Salt Lake City, a planned, upscale residential community.

In Kolkata itself, the Howrah Bridge spills into Burra Bazaar, the vibrant wholesale-market area that anchors the city's commerce. North Kolkata includes Burra Bazaar and Kolkata University and extends to the distant neighborhood of Chitpur and the Jain Temple in Tala. The heart of Central Kolkata remains B. B. D. Bagh (Binoy Badal Dinesh Bagh, formerly Dalhousie Square), where commerce and government have been concentrated since British times. Central Kolkata also holds the expansive Maidan park, the crowded bazaar at New Market, and the upmarket shops and restaurants on Park Street. At the south end of the Maidan are the Victoria Memorial and Kolkata's racecourse. South Kolkata has the Kali Temple and the late Mother Teresa's hospice in Kalighat and the National Library and zoo in Alipore, a posh residential community. To the east of the city is the Eastern Metropolitan Bypass (known simply as "the bypass"), which links south Kolkata to the north. The expanding city now stretches well beyond the bypass, which is now lined with five-star hotels, exclusive condominiums, malls, and parks that overlook vast stretches of agricultural lands and fisheries. The Chinese settlement in Tangra, famed for its Indo-Chinese cuisine, is a popular dining destination.

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  • 1. Kumartuli

    North Kolkata | Neighborhood/Street

    Home to hundreds of clay artists, this neighborhood is the most famous producer of idols of popular deities in the Hindu pantheon. The skilled...Read More

  • 2. Marble Palace

    North Kolkata | Castle/Palace/Chateau

    One of the strangest buildings in Kolkata was the inspiration of Raja Rajendra Mullick Bahadur, a member of Bengal's landed gentry. Mullick...Read More

  • 3. Victoria Memorial

    Central Kolkata | Memorial/Monument/Tomb

    This massive, white marble monument was conceived in 1901 by Lord Curzon and built over a 20-year period. Designed in a mixture of Italian...Read More

  • 4. B. B. D. Bagh

    Central Kolkata | Plaza/Square/Piazza

    With wide, buzzing streets lined with late-Victorian buildings and pavements taken over by vendors selling rice-based meals, snacks, fruits...Read More

  • 5. Belur Math Shrine

    Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    This is the headquarters of the Ramakrishna Mission, a reform movement inspired by the mystic Ramakrishna Paramahansa, who died in 1886. Having...Read More

  • 6. Chowringhee

    Central Kolkata | Commercial District

    North Kolkata may be the city's intellectual heart, but the slick commercial area east of the Maidan is the city's spinal cord. Now technically...Read More

  • 7. College Street

    North Kolkata | Educational Institution

    This erudite destination smells of old books and history. This was the hotbed of the Bengal Renaissance movement, and it eventally became a...Read More

  • 8. Dakshineshwar Kali Temple

    Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    Far north along the Hooghly, this 19th-century complex with 13 temples is a major pilgrimage site for devotees of Kali, as well as other deities...Read More

  • 9. Fort William

    Central Kolkata | Military Site

    The irregular heptagon south of the Eden Gardens in the Maidan is surrounded by a moat almost 50 feet wide. Begun in 1757 after Robert Clive...Read More

  • 10. General Post Office

    Central Kolkata | Museum/Gallery

    Built in 1864 and still in use as Kolkata's main post office, this building's massive white Corinthian columns rest on the site of the original...Read More

  • 11. Howrah Bridge

    Bridge/Tunnel

    One of the most enduring icons of the city, the Howrah Bridge was commissioned and built by the British between 1936 and 1943. The tall cantilevered...Read More

  • 12. Indian Botanical Gardens

    Garden/Arboretum

    Across the Second Hooghly Bridge (Vivekananda Setu) in Howrah are these sprawling botanical gardens, first opened in 1786. Darjeeling and Assam...Read More

  • 13. Indian Museum

    Central Kolkata | Museum/Gallery

    India's oldest museum has one of the largest and most comprehensive collections in Asia, including one of the best natural-history collections...Read More

  • 14. Kalighat Kali Temple

    South Kolkata | Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    Built in 1809, the Kali temple is one of the most significant pilgrimage sites in India, with shrines to Shiva, Krishna, and Kali, the patron...Read More

  • 15. Missionaries of Charity

    South Kolkata | Information Center

    Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 and beatified in 2003, Mother Teresa founded the Missionaries of Charity in Kokata in 1950. Today the...Read More

  • 16. Nakhoda Mosque

    North Kolkata | Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    This massive red sandstone mosque, which can hold 10,000 worshippers, was built in 1926 by the Sunni Muslim community as a copy of Akbar's tomb...Read More

  • 17. National Library

    South Kolkata | Library/Archive

    Once the house of the lieutenant governor of Calcutta, this hefty neo-Renaissance building has miles of books and pleasant reading rooms. The...Read More

  • 18. Nirmal Hriday

    South Kolkata | Hospital–Sight

    Mother Teresa's first home for the dying is now one of 300 affiliated organizations worldwide that care for people in the most dire need. Mother...Read More

  • 19. Ochterlony Monument

    Central Kolkata | Memorial/Monument/Tomb

    On the north end of the Maidan stands a 148-foot pillar commemorating Sir David Ochterlony's military victories over the Nepalese in the border...Read More

  • 20. Pareshnath Temple

    North Kolkata | Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    Built in 1867 and dedicated to Pareshnathji, the 23rd of the 24 Jain tirthankaras ("perfect souls," meaning sages who have achieved Nirvana...Read More

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