The City of Joy will never seize to amaze you. With lots of wonderful sights and idyllic beauty, you can do so many things in Kolkata for free! Here are 10 free things to do in Kolkata to get you started to know this city well without breaking your bank.
Visit Kolkata’s pride and joy – the Rabindra Setu or famously know as Howrah Bridge. This suspended bridge has recently celebrated its 76th anniversary. Walking on the bridge that carries all the traffic to the two sides of river Hooghly on the eastern side and Howrah district on the western side, is a great experience for the visitors.
There’s no place offering an uninterrupted view of the Howrah Bridge than the Hooghly River above which it stands.
Where: Howrah, West Bengal 700001
A stroll through a cemetery may not be the usual way to get to know a new place, but Kolkata’s South Park Street Cemetery, with its 18th and 19th century monolithic tombs gives visitors a unique insight into the city’s interesting history and culture. Built-in 1767 for the early East India Company pioneers and their attendants, this latter-day cemetery is packed with huge mausoleums of different types: pyramids, colonnaded temples, oversized urns, rotunda, obelisks and sarcophagi. Much of the cemetery is overgrown, and many of the tombs are decaying but the pathways are reasonably clear.
Where: 52, Park Street, Opp Assembly Of God Church, Kolkata, West Bengal 700017
On the east side, follow the river south from the Howrah Bridge for a few kilometers and you will pass Armenian Ghat, Fairlie Ghat, Babu Ghat, Outram Ghat and Prinsep Ghat. Sit peacefully on the benches lining the Ghats and watch an amazing sunset. To make your evening more memorable, you can also take boat rides. You could also take a leisurely stroll down to Babu Ghat through the park.
Where: (Prinsep Ghat) Fort William, Hastings, Kolkata, West Bengal 700021
To savor a silent haven in Kolkata, look no further than the oldest surviving 17th century Armenian Church, a legacy of Kolkata’s once flourishing Armenian community. The church opened its doors to worshippers in 1724. It was built to replace the original Armenian Church built in 1688 that was destroyed by fire. It is a refreshing change from the busy bylanes of Kolkata which can be overwhelming for some.
Where: 2, Armenian St, Bortola, Barabazar Market, Kolkata, West Bengal 700001
The Maidan is known as the lungs of Kolkata, but this vast semi-wild “field” is also its heart. It’s a magnet for old as well as young Kolkatans who walk, run and play here. You can see people playing here, families enjoying hearty picnics, couples talking, kids riding ponies and Tanga (horse carriage) riders resting after day’s work. You can also sit here and enjoy the spectacular view of Victoria Memorial.
Where: Maidan, Kolkata
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Kumartuli is the potters’ district of Kolkata, named by the British in the 18th century from the Hindi terms Kumar (potter) and Tuli (neighbourhood). The local inhabitants have been creating idols of every shape and size from straws and clays for many generations now. All patiently made by hand, some of the larger figures can take up to weeks to complete. You can see semi-finished idols in lanes of Kumartuli during the of time annual festival of Durga Puja, some of which goes overseas to meet its worshippers.
Where: Kumortuli, Kolkata
Start your journey into the history and heritage of Kolkata by visiting the final resting abode of Mother Teresa, The Mother House and explore old stories associated with it. This place has importance archaeologically & religiously. You could also visit and admire the architectural beauty of the Indian Museum, which is a delight of every history buffs.
Where: 54A, Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Rd, Ripon Street, Kolkata, West Bengal 700016
A visit to the Mallick Ghat Flower Market is a unique experience for the visitors. This colorful market at the foot of the Howrah Bridge is lively with activity from 5 AM till late at night. Whether you are here just to people-watch or to buy flowers, you’ll be enamored.
This is a great place to capture some amazing street photos reflecting the soul of the market area.
Where: P222, 1, Strand Bank Rd, Fairley Place, BBD Bagh, Kolkata, West Bengal 700001
Kolkata’s historic Chinatown, the oldest in India, is one of the not to be missed things to do in Kolkata. Known as Teretti Bazaar, this is one of the few places in the country where you can experience the rich cultural heritage of the Chinese-Indian community. While you are there, grab a hearty street breakfast of dumplings, sausages or rolls to set you up for a day’s sightseeing.
The best time to visit Chinatown is during Chinese New Year when the entire town would be decked up in Red and Golden colors and see the traditional Lion dance.
Where: Tangra, Tiretti
As Kolkata was under a stronghold of British, it was the main center for Indian Army operations after independence. The majestic Fort William was constructed in the honor of King William IIIin 1781. Situated on the scenic banks of the Hooghly, it stands tall as a testament to all the suffering, downfalls and triumphs of the past. Built in an octagonal shape the fort houses the famous St. Peter’s Church in addition to army quarters, offices, recreation and training facilities including a swimming pool, a movie hall, a boxing stadium and a firing range.
Where: Fort William, Hastings, Kolkata, West Bengal 70002
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Author Bio –
Anwesha Guha – I am a travel blogger at Going Places with Anwesha. I have a full time day job but I love to travel and capture my journeys through my lenses. My blog is mostly about my journey in India and its neighboring countries. It’s a medium for me to encourage and inspire others like me to shed their inhibitions and travel to their hearts’ content.