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12 Historical Places To Visit In Kolkata (West Bengal)

Kolkata as a city has a long history. You can track it back way even before the British rule. Every street and alley of the City of Joy gives a genuine rustic feeling of the bygone days.

With time several places and monuments in the city became attractions with historical significance. Several fascinating locations are there that are worth the exploration.

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In this article, you will get to know about the following historical locations in Kolkata,

  1. Prinsep Ghat
  2. Victoria Memorial
  3. Indian Museum
  4. Jorasanko Thakur Bari
  5. Tipu Sultan Mosque
  6. Howrah Bridge
  7. Belur Math
  8. Marble palace
  9. St. Paul Cathedral
  10. Writers Building
  11. Shaheed Minar
  12. Dakshineshwar Kali Temple

Let us see each of these places in detail.

1. Prinsep Ghat

princep ghat kolkata
Prinsep Ghat, Kolkata

Prinsep Ghat is a popular historical landmark in Kolkata that you can visit. This elegant white building was built in memory of an Anglo-Indian historian James Princep in 1841, and the adjacent ghat of Ganga was named Princep Ghat.

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A closer look at the history reveals that Princep Ghat was one of the oldest historical sites in Kolkata built on the banks of the Hooghly River. It is a magnificent building known for its Greek and Gothic design. The memorial is situated at the center of a square, with Ionian columns supporting its 40-foot-long white roof. 

You can visit here with your family and friends, relax amidst nature, stroll along the gardens, lawns and, the ghats of Ganga.

2. Victoria Memorial

Victoria Memorial, Kolkata

The Victoria Memorial, located in the heart of Kolkata, is an iconic historical landmark. This place is a must-visit for anyone visiting Kolkata.

It is a white-marbled palatial structure that was built by Lord Curzon in memory of Queen Victoria of England. The memorial is surrounded by a lush green and well-maintained garden that spans 64 acres and contains numerous statues and sculptures.

At the top of the memorial, a sixteen-foot-tall bronze statue of victory is mounted on ball bearings which adds to the overall charm and beauty of the complex. It also has antique collections of manuscripts, photographs, paintings, etc.

The Victoria Memorial looks stunning especially at night when it is illuminated and many visitors come here to enjoy the light and sound shows. (Click to see timings and other details)

3. Indian Museum

Indian Museum

The Indian Museum is one of the oldest museums in the world and the largest in India. It is among Kolkata’s most popular museums.

Dr. Nathaniel Wallich, a famous Danish botanist, founded the Indian Museum in the Asiatic Society Building. Since then, it has been a prime center of multidisciplinary activities.

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The Indian Museum is popularly known as ‘Jadughar,’ and houses the best collection of contemporary paintings, sacred Buddha relics, Egyptian mummies, and ancient sculptures. It also has some of the most exquisite collections of souvenirs, ornaments, fossils, skeletons, antique collections, armors, and exquisite Mughal paintings.

4. Jorasanko Thakur Bari

Jorasanko Thakur Bari, Kolkata (Kinjal bose 78, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Jorasanko Thakur Bari is one of Kolkata’s most exquisite heritage structures. This beautiful house is the birthplace of the Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore and the place where he spent his early and later years. 

The Thakur Bari has been converted into a museum and has many kinds of literature and artworks of Rabindranath Tagore that have been displayed in the galleries. It is also the campus of Rabindra Bharati University, a hub for quality education and Indian Classical Fine Arts.

The founders of the Bengal School of Art, Gaganendranath and Abanindranath Tagore, also lived at Thakur Bari.

5. Tipu Sultan Mosque

The Tipu Sultan Mosque, which is 180 years old, is well-known for its religious significance. It has a remarkable history that connects it to Tipu Sultan, the ruler of Mysore. This mosque in Kolkata was constructed in Tipu Sultan’s memory by his youngest son, Prince Ghulam Mohammed.

The architecture of the Tipu Sultan Shahi Mosque looks stunning. It has 16 domes and four minarets that are colored dark green. The external walls are light green. The minarets of the mosque seem to be piercing the sky, representing a special legacy.

6. Howrah Bridge

howrah bridge
Howrah Bridge, Kolkata

Howrah Bridge is an iconic symbol of Kolkata and represents the City of Joy. The bridge, which is the sixth-longest suspended span cantilever bridge in the world, is one of Bengal’s earliest engineering and architectural marvels. The bridge is 705 meters long and has 8 lanes that are all 97 meters wide.

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This suspension bridge on the Hooghly River has been standing without any pillar support for the past 76 years and has witnessed many historical events, including World War II. It connects two important districts of West Bengal, Kolkata and Howrah, and is a symbol of Bengal’s regal past and present. 

Howrah Bridge serves as Kolkata’s entrance. You need to cross this bridge if you want to enter Kolkata from Howrah station.

During the evening, you can enjoy the stunning views of the illuminated Howrah Bridge and the sparkling River Ganges.

7. Belur Math

Belur Math

Belur Math the main office of Ramakrishna Math and Mission is a symbol of one universal faith. It is located in north Kolkata on the west bank of the Hooghly River.

The Math is situated on 40 acres and is encircled by lush landscaping and palm trees. It was built by Swami Vivekananda along with his monk brothers. Along with the main monastery, the site houses individual temples with relics devoted to Swami Vivekananda, Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi, and Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa.

Belur Math is one of the most significant places that visitors must-see because of its fascinating history, stunning architecture, and status as a monastery of the highest spiritual significance.

8. Marble Palace

Front of Marble Palace (Souvik pal, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

The beautiful Marble Palace was built in 1835 by a wealthy Bengali merchant named Raja Rajendra Mullick. It is an architectural marvel that combines neoclassical elements with traditional Bengali elements and touches on the Chinese style of architecture.

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This grand mansion was built with premium quality Italian marble, giving the entire structure a majestic appearance. With lawns, gardens, a lake, a rock garden, and a zoo nearby, this three-story building stands out among other historical monuments. 

The Marble Palace also has an extensive collection of priceless paintings and artwork that attracts many history buffs every day.

9. St. Paul Cathedral

St. Paul Cathedral, Kolkata

Anglican Cathedral St. Paul’s is operated by the Church of North India (CNI). It is a must-see destination for tourists looking for educational, historical, and architectural delights. This monument is also one of Kolkata’s most famous churches.

Bishop Wilson orchestrated the building of St. Paul’s Cathedral, which was built by Major William Nairn Forbes and C.K. Robinson.

This enormous building in the heart of the city transports you back to colonial days.

The framework of the Indo-Gothic-style building is complete with a tall spire, colorfully tinted windows, and a cascading white edifice. Its interior features an enormous nave, a magnificent altar, and a chancel, as well as carvings and paintings that reflect significant moments and events in Christian history.

10. Writers Building

The Writers Building was the previous headquarters of the West Bengal State Government. It is a 242-year-old heritage building. It was designed by Thomas Lyon and was erected in 1777 to house the East India Company, which operated under the Bengal Province of the Mughal Empire.

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The building is distinguishable even from a distance due to its striking red brick. It is situated in the BBD Bagh neighborhood to the north of Lal Dighi Lake and provides stunning views of the lake.

The Writer’s building, constructed in a neo-classical style with majestic Corinthian columns, was the very first three-story structure in former Calcutta.

11. Shaheed Minar

The Shaheed Minar, also known as the Martyrs’ Monument, was originally built in Sir David Ochterlonys’ honor. Previously it was known as The Ochterlony Monument. Later in 1969, it was rededicated to the martyrs who fought for India’s independence.

The Minar is situated near the Brigade Grounds at the northernmost end of Maidan in the Esplanade neighborhood of Kolkata, India. It rises to a height of 48 meters (157 feet) and was called the “Cloud Kissing Monument” by Mark Twain.

The fixed column features a Syrian top portion and a Turkish dome, while the foundation is based on Egyptian architectural forms. A classical fluted column with two balconies on top is a unique feature of the design. There are 223 steps in total on the staircase leading to the top floor.

12. Dakshineshwar Kali Temple

dakhineshwar kali temple
Dakhineshwar Temple, Kolkata

The small sub-urban area of Dakshineshwar is located north of Kolkata. It is home to the popular Hindu temple, known as the Dakshineshwar Kali Temple, situated on the Hooghly Rivers’ eastern bank. This temple is one of the most popular Maa Kali temples in West Bengal.

The Kali Temple, built by Rani Rashmoni of Bengal, was constructed two years before the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857 (also referred to as India’s first war of independence).

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While the mystic sage and reformer Ramakrishna Paramahansa and his wife Sarada Devi were the main figures associated with the spiritual history of this temple, the socio-political history connected to the temple is also highly fascinating. Even the temple’s construction adds a historical feel to it because it was designed in the traditional “Nava-Ratna” or “nine spires” Bengal School of Architecture style.

These are some of the popular historical places to visit in Kolkata.

So, if you are already dreaming about the places, why not drop by them? A few days of vacation can always be joyous. The charms and essence of the city will make you fall in love with it.

Winters are the best time to traverse all the spots with comfort. Walk the streets, be on the age-old yellow taxis, and cross the Howrah Bridge. The long-standing culture and tradition of these historic monuments convey the deepest and richest secrets of Indian history.

Engross in every other thing the way the locals do; all the happiness hides in there.


Other places to visit in West Bengal



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