Trip to Kolkata - A Perfect 2 Day Tour Guide - The Humble World

Trip to Kolkata - A Perfect 2 Day Tour Guide

A vintage divine in the aura, the bright yellow taxis running across the streets

That elegant Howrah Bridge, the trams operating from ancient times, the art, and that chaos on every street.

The smell of Fish -Rice, Kosha Mangsho, and Rasgulla, available on every other alley

This is the city of Durga Puja, the city of Joy, and the city of Tagore, Ganguly.

Kolkata, Khoob Bhaalo!

Are you visiting Kolkata for the first time? Are you nervous to plan your trip to Kolkata because you don't know much about the place? Well, then you just have to read this blog, we have got you covered. :)

Trust me, I was a bit timid to visit Kolkata earlier until I had to visit for a friend's marriage and this turns out to be one of my favorite trips till now especially because of Jol-Bhara Sandesh (very famous sweet) and that Kesar chai (special Saffron Tea).

If you get a chance, do visit Kolkata, at least once in a lifetime. I am sharing our experiences and itinerary to help you plan your trip. Starting with the brief information about Kolkata.

About Kolkata

Kolkata, also known as Calcutta, is the second-largest city in India and is the capital of West Bengal. In fact, the city was the colonial capital of India back in 1773, during the British Raj. This chaotic city is famous for its tradition, culture, and rich heritage. The city of Joy, Kolkata is flourishing with its impressive and intelligent people day by day.

The Britishers explored and well organized the city in their times. The trams, the colonial-era architecture, the buildings built by the Britishers are the center of attraction of the city. 

Kolkata is full of places to visit and explore. Beautiful Temples, built in the adorable and appealing architectural design and the tradition followed is worth knowing and visiting. The Durga Pooja of Kolkata is very famous across the country, especially during the Navratri (9 days of the goddess).

The street food, special sweets like Mishti Doi, dishes like Fish curry, Bengali Sarees, Book Market, and the Old Museum are some other specialties of Kolkata, that will attract you.

Majestic Vidyasagar Setu on Hoogly River, Kolkata
Majestic Vidyasagar Setu on Hoogly River, Kolkata

The Kolkata trip was like a complimentary trip to us, as we went to attend a friend's wedding. We stayed back for 2 extra days which turns out wonderfully.

We began our journey from the Bangalore morning flight and reached our stay in Kolkata by afternoon. We attended the wedding functions that entire day. I must say we were blessed to attend a Bengali traditional wedding and experience Bengali culture and food.

Let me give you a brief idea of how you can reach Kolkata.

How to reach Kolkata?

Air: You can directly take a flight to Kolkata from your location, the easier and the fastest way to reach Kolkata. There is an International airport, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport, which is very well connected to almost every major city of the country.

Train: The second option that you can opt for is the railway, which may take time depending on your starting location. But the train would be cheaper than the flight, (that too depends if you book your flight early and use a few coupons, it may cost almost the same). There are three important railway stations in Kolkata, Howrah station, Kolkata Terminus, and Sealdah Station. All three stations are well connected to the entire country.

Bus: The last option is by Bus, but if you are traveling from a nearby place then only buses are available to reach Kolkata. Also, I would not suggest going by bus if you are traveling from a far distance.

What is the mode of transport in Kolkata?

Once you reach Kolkata, you have to keep in mind how to travel around in Kolkata. Traveling in Kolkata is very cheap and at the same time easier also. You will get the option like - 

Metro: Indeed metros are the best to travel to, but metro stations are not available in every part of Kolkata, they are only available in a few places. But still, if you see a metro station in your source and destination location, you can travel in the metro. They are cheaper, cleaner, and the faster way to move around.

Yellow Taxi: You will flatter by seeing the number of yellow taxis running on the roads like we were, and Kolkata is especially famous for these yellow Ambassador taxis. You will get these taxis very easily on the roads. Make sure to go by meter because they may try to charge you more after knowing you are not a local.

Cabs - Ola/ Uber: The most convenient option that we found was booking a cab from Ola or Uber. They are available everywhere in Kolkata and will charge you wisely.

Hand-Pulling Rikshaws: You will also notice, that hand-pulled rickshaws are still running in some parts of the city. We have not opted for one but for a shorter distance, you can try in a crowded place like New Market.

Hand-pulled Rickshaw in New Market, Kolkata
Hand-pulled Rickshaw in New Market, Kolkata

What is the best time to visit Kolkata?

Kolkata has a tropical climate with a hot temperature for almost the whole year. The most pleasing time to visit Kolkata is from October to March. We visited in the month of November and we're lucky to explore Kolkata in such beautiful and captivating weather. It was not so cold and we kind of enjoyed the noons under the shining sun.

The favorable climatic conditions of visiting any place cause the trip 60% more successful and more joyful.

The summer season ( April to May) will be much hotter along with humid. This season is not quite a favorable time to explore the city.

Monsson (June to September) will be full of humidity and hot. Again not a good time to visit as rain can spoil your day. Still, if you are eager, you can put on your raincoat and visit the city. As we say a traveler can explore and relish their holidays anytime. You just need enough intrepidity to initiate your journey.

Where to Stay in Kolkata?

There are many good choices to stay in Kolkata. Good Hotels, Villas, and Airbnb options are available in all ranges. You can choose any hotel in the city center like near Jawaharlal Nehru Road, Bhawanipur, and Park Street area. 

If money is not a concern you can do your booking in luxury 5-start hotels like JW Marriott, the Oberoi Grand, or Taj Bengal.

Since we went to a wedding, and we were a group of friends, we had booked our stay in one of the properties of Airbnb Home Away from Home. It will cost you around 4500/-per night for 6 guests. The place was very nice, comfortable, and clean. It was hygienic and luxurious also. We enjoyed our stay there.

Note: Check the reviews and ratings from google before booking and try to book in advance to check in without worrying.

Places to visit in Kolkata in 2 Days

Day 1: Breakfast at Flurys Cafe --> Victoria Memorial --> Attractions near Maidan --> Sunset at Prinsep Ghat --> Shopping if time permits --> Reach hotel

Day 2:  Visit Kalighat Temple --> Explore Indian Museum --> Lunch --> BBD Bagh (if time permits) --> Howrah Bridge --> Mallick Ghat Flower Market --> Street shopping in New Market --> Dinner --> Back to Hotel

Day 3: Check out from Hotel 

Two days will not be sufficient to cover many places in Kolkata as there is a lot to explore.

Day 1 Itinerary

  • Breakfast at Flury's Cafe

Starting your day in Kolkata, the city famous for its food, should be a happy breakfast. Flury's cafe is quite renowned and is located right at the center of Park Street in Kolkata. It is famous for especially English breakfast, cookies, and amazing pastries. People come to this cafe to spend some quality Tea or Coffee time in the morning and evening. 

We left our place around 8.30 and reached directly here. We had English breakfast and tried pastry, which was super delicious. The cafe and service were satisfactory, we enjoyed our time here. Though I must say, it was a bit costlier, but at the same time worthy to spend.

Timing: 7.30 AM to 11 PM

Costs for 2: 1000-1500 INR

Famous for: Flury's English breakfast, Darjeeling Tea, Pastries for your favorite choice.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Breakfast at Flurys Cafe, Kolkata
Breakfast at Flury's Cafe, Kolkata

  • Victoria Memorial

One of the most renowned monuments, situated at the center of Kolkata is Victoria Memorial. Victoria Memorial is the most elegant and grand marble structure, with a museum. This beautiful piece of architecture was built from the year 1906 to 1921, in memory of Empress Victoria, and is the World's largest remembrance devoted to a royal. 

The interior design of the Victoria Memorial is a mix of British and Mughal art with a touch of Egyptian architectural elements. The complete building is made of Makrana marble. 

This grand stunning building has a museum with multiple galleries of freedom fighters, containing antiques and art and a beautiful well-maintained garden. Being so recognized, this is one of the most visited places in Kolkata and indeed famous among the visitors. 

The museum is filled with great freedom fighters like Subhash Chandra Bose
The museum is filled with great freedom fighters like Subhash Chandra Bose

We reached here directly after Flury's cafe. The Victoria Memorial is very beautiful, exotic, and captivating. The beautiful garden area, where tourists were sitting and enjoying their time. As we move forward, we glimpsed the complete memorial, the open museum, the architectural work, everything was very impressive. It was such a great experience. There were so many visitors along with us, relaxing in the lawn area. 

Museum Timings: Opens from 10 AM to 5 PM, closed on Mondays and National holidays.

Garden Timings: Opens from 5.30 AM to 6.15 PM

Museum Entry Fees: 30 INR for Indians, 500 INR for Foreigners

Garden Entry Fees: 20 INR per person

Rating: We enjoyed our time here. It was worth visiting, one of the significant architectural creations of the Britishers. And to add to, the garden, the huge water reservoir in the lawn area added the attractiveness and beauty overall.  The rating from us - 9 out of 10.

Victoria Memorial, Kolkata
Victoria Memorial, Kolkata

  • Attractions near Maidan

After exploring and spending enough time in the Victoria Memorial, you can troll the Maidan area just in front of the memorial. Maidan is also known as the Brigade Parade Ground, located just at the center of Kolkata. Expanded in a very large area of around 1000 acres, this is Asia's largest park area, covering a football stadium, many sporting grounds, cricketing ground. 

You can do a tram ride, check out several statues in the Maidan area. It is a very pleasant and lovely place to spend time.

Don't forget to have lunch in between. There are many places nearby to grab authentic Bengali lunch. We had some local street munching instead, so we skipped our lunch (we were actually more than full when we came out of Flury's). 

Rating: Rating from us - 9 out of 10.

Maidan, Kolkata
Maidan, Kolkata

  • Prinsep Ghat

Prinsep Ghat is one of the most romantic spots in Kolkata, with the beautiful Hoogly River on one side. This stunning and attractive Ghat was built under British Raj, revealing the exquisite colonial architectural design. The riverfront white structure capturing the attractive bridge background gives an incredible view and a perfect place to view. 

There is a huge lawn area covering the monument. You can settle down for some time and spend some quality moments here. The sunset view over the Hoogly River is just amazing. Boat riding in the Hoogly River is also a great experience to have here. There are so many local stalls and eateries here. You can try and taste the local snacks.

Rating: The rating is 8 out of 10. We spent a great time here. Actually, we reached during the perfect timing of sunset and captured a marvelous sunset view over the Hoogly River and the bridge over it just looked amazing. Also, I must say, the place is very much romantic, we could see a whole lot of couples sitting and spending quality time here.

After spending some time here, we left towards Park Street, witnessed the lighting and the night vibe of the area. Had some food and returned to our Airbnb home.

Prinsep Ghat, Kolkata
Prinsep Ghat, Kolkata 

Day 2 Itinerary

  • Kalighat Kali Temple

Kalighat Kali Temple is a very famous and known temple in Kolkata as the people believe and have faith in the goddess Kali. Dedicated to the goddess Kali, this temple is around 200 years old. This historical temple is very renowned because of the belief that one of the 51 Shakti Peethas falls here. 

In the beginning, there was a sacred ghat of Hoogly River, known by the name Adi Ganga. But now over the time the river moved away, only a small canal is remaining, which connects with the river Hoogly. This is considered the origin of River Hoogly. 

Interesting Fact #1: The name Kolkata is taken from Kalikata Devi of the Temple Kalighat. 

Interesting Fact #2: It is believed that there are four major Shakti Peethas, meaning the body parts of Goddess Sati, fell on earth and those are now known as the below temples:

Kalighat Temple in Kolkata - Head

Tara Tarini Temple in Berhampur, Orissa  - Chest

Kamakhya Temple in Guwahati - Yoni

Bimala Temple in Puri - Feet

The temple is one of the top historical places in the country. If you are in Kolkata, you should visit this temple. You can directly take a metro from Maidan to Kalighat.

Timing: 5 AM to 2 PM, 5PM to 10.30 PM

Entry Fees: No entry fees

Rating: 8 out of 10.

  • Indian Museum 

Indian Museum is the most extensive and the most geriatric museum in India. The museum is located at the center of Kolkata. The Indian museum was founded in the year 1814 and is the ninth oldest museum in the World. This is a must-visit place in Kolkata.

There are a total of 35 galleries of different fortes like cultural, scientific, architectural, fossils collection, antiques, paintings, art, and many more. 

If you have a keen interest to know the history and check out the leftovers and the rear collections from the old era, you should definitely check out this great museum. 

Timing:  10 AM to 5 PM, Closed on Public Holidays.

Entry Fees: 50/- for Adult, 20/- for Children above 5 years, 500/- for Foreign visitors

Photography Charges:  50/- for Camera on Smart Phone, 100/- for Digital Camera, 2000/- for Video Camera

Rating: 8 out of 10. You can have lunch after the Indian Museum. There are many good restaurants like SOI - The Asian Kitchen, The Bhoj Company, Blue Sky Cafe.

If time permits, and if you are eager to explore more, you can visit B B D Bagh, around 15 minutes from the Indian Museum.

  • B B D Bagh

B B D Bagh is also known as Dalhousie Square or Tank Square. To check out the architectural work of the Britishers, the old forts built in the colonial period, and the beauty of government official buildings you can visit this amazing area situated in the western part of Central Kolkata, near Hoogly River.

We had not visited this place. But if you have time, you can explore this part of Kolkata.

  • Howrah Bridge

The most recognized and remarkable landmark of Kolkata is Howrah Bridge. This iconic bridge is built on the Hoogly river connecting two cities Kolkata and Howrah. This Cantilever bridge was built in the year 1943, bearing traffic of around 100,000 vehicles, making it the busiest bridge in the World. 

The bridge constructed without bolts and nuts is definitely a wonderful example of Engineering strength, 

It's a beautiful bridge to witness and hold beautiful memories of Kolkata.

We checked out the bridge and just below the bridge is a huge and loud chaotic flower market, Mullick Ghat Flower Market. This is the largest flower market in Kolkata. The lovely and delighting smell of flowers will attract you to take a round of this colorful market. 

Rating: 8 out of 10

Iconic Howrah Bridge, Kolkata
Iconic Howrah Bridge, Kolkata

  • Street Shopping in the New Market

New Market is very popular for its amazing collections of clothes, fashionable Jewelry, purse and bags, footwear, sarees, and many more household items. It s like one place for everything with of course a reasonable price. We have seen many flea markets, but this one was really big and impressive.

I couldn't stop myself from buying a few antiques, and jewelry sets.  Also since Bengali sarees are quite famous, and we might never get a chance to get the authentic Bengali sarees, we took two traditional and unique beautiful sarees.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Tip: While shopping, keep in mind to bargain for the price. 

After shopping and spending time in the New Market, we had dinner and left for our homestay.

New Market, Kolkata
New Market, Kolkata

  • Sweet Shop

Kolkata is famous for one more item, which you can't miss if you are visiting here and that is Bengali Sweets. Whether you like eating sweets or not, I am recommending you to at least try Baked Rasgullas, I am sure you will just love it, and then you can thank me later in the comment section.

We did some research on the sweet shops and directly reached out to try some sweets in the shop Balaram Mullick & Radharaman Mullick sweet shop near the Parkstreet area. They are inheritance sweet makers for many years. Sweets with impressive names like Jal Bhari Shondesh, Mishtoi Doi, Roshogulla, and many more tasted so yum. We actually purchased 1-2 kg of sweets, a mix of all.

Park Street, Kolkata
Park Street, Kolkata

Points to keep in Mind

1. Have your COVID Vaccination certificate handy. If you have not taken the vaccine yet, then carry the RTPCR report with you for not more than 72 hours.

2. Try to prefer cabs - uber/ola instead of a yellow taxi, as they will charge you extra. 

3. Also be aware of traffic and plan accordingly. You might get stuck in traffic.

4. The climate of Kolkata is hot and moderate, try not to wear double-layered clothes.

5. Carry your water bottle with you.

6. Try to bargain as much as you can if you are purchasing anything from the local market.

7. And lastly, keep your surroundings clean.

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