Weekend on Wheels: Explore Historical Sites In and Around Kolkata
The British called it their capital leaving behind colonial treasures, the Indians claim it to be their cultural centre, and the traders know it as a source for business — Kolkata is certainly a prominent city of India. And this limelight is not something that it got recently, but it’s been associated with Kolkata for centuries. That is why you’ll see lots of culturally blessed places and heritage sites still very much prevalent in and around Kolkata. You should definitely try and visit these locations to sneak and peek into the rich and wonderful history and heritage of India. Well, a road trip to explore these destinations sounds good during this weekend, doesn’t it?
Essential pointers to keep in mind while traveling in and around Kolkata
For history lovers like you visiting Kolkata and having hindrances in your journey won’t be good. That is why you should keep these pointers in mind when planning for road trips in and around Kolkata.
Best time to visit Kolkata — The best time to visit in and around Kolkata is from October to March
Things to do in and around Kolkata — You’ll get a lot of options for the things to do in and around Kolkata like:
- Wildlife exploration
- Adventurous tours
- Religious trips
- Heritage tours
Best historical places to visit in and around Kolkata
- Victoria Memorial
- Fort William
- Belur Math
- Birla Temple
- Shaheed Minar
- Indian Museum
- Tagore’s House
- Marble Palace
- Howrah Bridge
- Bamunpukur, Nadia
- Karnagarh near Midnapore Town
You can expect a lot of stories and innumerable remnants of the past when you visit the historical places in and around Kolkata. And if you are looking for the best ones to visit, then we have listed some choicest ones. You’ll also get to know about the entry fee and opening time of these places so that you can plan your trip accordingly.
1. Victoria Memorial
One of the places to visit in Kolkata is the grand and majestic Victoria Memorial. Spread across 57 acres of land, having 21 gardens, 28,394 artefacts, and around 3,900 paintings, it was created to celebrate the 25 years of British rule in India. Visit this monument to see the classy blend of Mughal and British architecture done well by the English in India.
- Timings — 10:00am -5:00 pm
- Entry fees — 20 INR
2. Fort William
One of the finest tourist attractions in Kolkata and also a historical site, Fort William was built in the year 1696 by the British. The marvellous stonework on this fort speaks of the finest choice and excellent architecture of the builders. Now owned by the Indian army, this fort is worth visiting while you’re around Kolkata.
- Timings — 10:00 am — 5:30 pm
- Entry fees — free
3. Belur Math
One of the historical and religiously important places in Kolkata is Belur Math. Headquarters of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission, it was started by Swami Vivekananda years back. Spread across 40 acres of land around the Hooghly River, the exclusive architecture of this temple and wonderful natural and landscaped beauty around it makes it one of the finest locations to visit around Kolkata.
Timings — 6:00 am — 7:00 pm
4. Birla Temple
One of the most alluring historical sites in Kolkata is the Birla Temple. Constructed in the course of 26 years, the completely white but eye-catching architecture of this temple with its intricate sculptures is truly an epitome of excellence in this city. It’s dedicated to Lord Lakshmi Narayana — so you can pay homage to this deity as well when you visit this temple to explore.
5. Shaheed Minar
When you travel in a car rental in Kolkata, you’ll easily reach Dufferin Road where the grand monument of Shaheed Minar can be seen. It’s a 48 meters tall minar erected in the 18th century.
6. Indian Museum
The 9th oldest museum of the world and the largest in India – the Indian Museum — is a monument that you should definitely visit while you’re exploring places in and around Kolkata. Having innumerable Indian and international prehistoric artefacts on display, the museum boasts of having some of the most magnificent pieces of history.
7. Tagore’s House
Visiting West Bengal and not heading to Tagore’s House is not possible. The old house of the great poet-polymath Rabindranath Tagore is now converted into a museum, where you’ll find around 700 paintings exhibited apart from his scripts, books, and belongings as well.
8. Marble Palace
Just as the name suggests, the palace having dazzling marble and sophisticated glasses and exclusive sculpture in it is the Marble Palace in North Kolkata. Built in the 19th century by the British, this palace is one of the famous historical destinations to head to in Kolkata even today.
9. Howrah Bridge
We just couldn’t forget the greatest historical blessing – the Howrah Bridge — while in Kolkata. The 1500 feet long and 71 feet wide bridge created over the Hooghly River is one of the busiest points of Kolkata and definitely a renowned historical destination to view.
When you have a self-drive car rental in Kolkata from Revv, do travel to Bishnupur near the city. The history of this place dates back to the 4th century and has some very interesting terracotta temples to lure art and history lovers. While you are here, do not miss visiting the ancient Dal Madal Cannon. Another interesting remnant of history is the artificial lake in Bishnupur by the name of Laal Bandh. This lake is said to be haunted and was dug by the great Malla King Raghunath Singha for his wife. Apart from this mysterious past, even the beauty around this lake is super impressive and worth visiting.
Just travel for five hours from Kolkata to reach the famous Shantiniketan, the destination that lets you reminisce about the great teachings and life of Tagore. Apart from a museum, you shall be able to view manuscripts, paintings, books, and various other valuables from an era gone by.
12. Bamunpukur, Nadia
Nadia is very important for the lovers of the Bengal renaissance period for it is the birthplace of Sri Chaitanya. About 3 kms drive from Kolkata, and situated near Mayapur, this place found prominence when ruins from the Sen Dynasty were excavated.
13. Karnagarh near Midnapore Town
About 150kms and 3.5hrs drive from Kolkata is this rural place that is believed to be mythologically related to the times of the Mahabharata. Historically, there is a fort, now in ruins, that is believed to have sheltered the Pandavas. Apart from that, there are beautiful specimens of 16th century architecture in the form of temples, among which the Dandeshwar Temple and the Mahamaya Temples are renowned.
These are some of the most famous and interesting historical destinations in and around Kolkata. But if you are still curious to know more, then you can always visit the admirable Princep Ghat, the sensational Eden Gardens, the amazing Writer’s Building – all within the perimeters of Kolkata.