No doubt Kolkata is called the cultural capital of the country, with its rich history in literature, music, performing arts, etc. When you add “culture” to anything we make up our mind that it wouldn’t be interesting or fun. Well everyone in life has misconceptions and they have to be cleared by someone or the other, right? So if you’ve ever thought that visiting Kolkata wouldn’t be that interesting and dropped the idea then think about it again because today your misconceptions are about to be cleared. Have a look at the 10 fun things to do while visiting Kolkata so that after landing in the City of Joy you can enjoy a perfect balance between the smell of heritage and loads of fun.
1. A Day Full of Activities at Eco Park
Eco Park was functional from 2013, since then the multifunctional park has been visited by more than 75 lakh people already and the count just keeps increasing with time. The park features not just various activities but a lot more. All you nature lovers can take a walk through the rose garden, have a close look at the tea garden, not miss the tropical tree garden and the butterfly garden. If you’re a fan of cruising on water then you should definitely try out the cruise which takes you around the 104-acre water body. If you are looking for some more adventure then you can try the speed boat and for the people who like to take things slowly, you won’t feel left out because Eco Park offers the paddle boating just for you.
Pro Tip: You can check out these gardens just before dawn and then try out the activities offered. If possible then try them all. We can understand that doing all of them at once is a daunting task but there are a few activities you should definitely not miss,
- Water Zorbing: Rs. 150 for 30 minutes per person
- Kayaking : Rs. 150 for 30 minutes per person
- Duo Cycling : Rs. 100 for 20 minutes
- Bird Watching : Rs. 10
- Butterfly Release : Rs. 50
- Archery : Rs. 50 for 5 arrows
Apart from all these activities you need to check out the musical fountain show that takes place in the evening.
2. Hop on the Tram
One of the iconic things that you’ll find nowhere else in the country other than Kolkata is the tram. Kolkata was the first city to run the tram, back in 1873. The tram in the city is the oldest operating electric tram in Asia as well. A visit to Kolkata without being on the tram is totally incomplete and thus you should definitely give it a try. The fun part isn’t just sitting on it but trying out some adventurous things. Getting up on a still tram is no fun hence you should hop onto a running tram and feel the adventure. Other than this, you would also have fun while you go through the goli’s (narrow lanes). Being on the tram gives you an added advantage than other transportations, due to it’s slow pace you’ll be able to enjoy and experience every place you cross on a tram. The tram is impressive due to the fun in it and also because you get witness a heritage of Kolkata once you’re on the tram.
Pro Tip: To get the best experience on the tram, try out these routes which take you through the greenery and colonial parts of Kolkata.
Shyambazar – Hatibagan – College Street – Chitpur – Esplanade
Esplanade – Maidan – Race course – Kidderpore
3. Cemetery Visits
This heritage site which is protected by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is an irony to the area of Park Street, which is known as the pub hub of the city. The South Park Street Cemetery lies on the previously known Burial Ground Road. The Cemetery is known for it’s tombs which are done in a gothic style. With 1600 graves, which have been there for more than 200 years, the South Park Street Cemetery is the perfect place for fun and adventure. The fun here is not within any loud DJ night but the eerie afternoons. People say that at times certain weird feelings have been felt by them and they have even felt the presence of something around them. Don’t believe me? Why don’t you go and check it out on your next visit to Kolkata? If you want to have the same experience but want to live in the present with the cemetery then I would recommend you to try out the Bhowanipore cemetery which is still active and you can get the eerie feel as well as the real connection.
4. Nightlife at Park Street
You haven’t really experienced Kolkata if you haven’t spent your time on Park Street at night. Also, if you’re planning to visit during the New Year, then that’s even better! Park Street’s nightlife keeps Kolkata alive. You’ll find all the happening nightclubs and eateries there. From iconic eateries like Mocambo and Peter Cat to nightclubs like Tantra, Roxy, and the Myx- Park Street has everything to make your night a memorable one. And if you’re in town during New Year’s Eve, then you’re in luck. You’ll be able to witness hundreds of people thronging to Park Street to witness the grandest celebration, and welcoming the new year with a new zeal!
5. A Ferry Ride on the Ganges
The ferry ride in Kolkata is one of the several cheapest forms of ride that one can hop on to. These ferry rides are not only fun but also takes you under the busiest cantilever bridge in the world, the Howrah Bridge. If we talk about fun then I would say the fun starts from the exact time you’re about to hop on the ferry. You need to jump onto the ferry which is not stable due to the currents of the Ganges and that itself turns out to be great fun. You’ll find different people coming on the ferry, from Folk singers to different kind of performers who are fun to watch and if you really love it then they would be more than happy to welcome you to join them.
Pro Tip: You’ll see many boys in the river who surround the ferries. These boys will go up the ferry and then give a dubki (dip) from the top of the ferry, at this time you can either save yourself from the splashes of water or enjoy getting wet. Munch on some Jhal Muri (spicy rice puffs) while in Kolkata.
6. Enjoy the Rich Cultural Performances at the Academy of Fine Arts
The Academy of Fine Arts opened up in the year 1933 and was established by Ranu Mukherjee. In the 1950s the Academy was shifted from it’s previous one room location to the current location. You’ll get to see some famous paintings here like the Shiva with Ganesha by Jamini Roy. Academy of Fine Arts has a theatre auditorium which has always been the favourite for the performers and also the audience. The auditorium has weekly theatre shows which is pretty famous in the entire city and you are definitely in for a fun time while you enjoy yourself at the Academy of Fine Arts. Do take a note of this, in the Rabindra Sarobar area you might see people performing street plays or various street performances by namely people of the city. So after or before your show at the Academy of Fine Arts, do hope you get lucky to see some spectacular street plays.
Pro Tip: Book your seats early because sadly the in-house shows need pre booking and at the Academy of Fine Arts the seats fill up really really fast.
7. A Thrilling Match at India’s Biggest Cricket Ground
Kolkata is famous for housing India’s largest cricket ground, the Eden Gardens. The Eden has always been a mecca for cricket lovers and this place has witnessed some great matches of all times, like the India vs Australia test of 2001. Kolkata never fails to show love to the teams playing at Eden Gardens and hence whenever you go there, you’ll always find a packed Eden. When you sit down at the Eden Gardens to watch a match, it isn’t just fun but a celebration, a celebration of the entire city which can be seen at one place. Do not miss out on a match if you have the opportunity to see one because if you do then you’ll be missing an emotion of the city.
Pro Tip: Do not forget to enjoy the Mexican Waves at the Eden, they are really fun to be a part of. Keep your tickets ready beforehand so that you get a seat to watch the match. Try to buy tickets in the Block F to get the best views of the match.
8. A Day at Science City
Science City, also known to be the largest science centre in India has provided a perfect blend of education and entertainment, since it’s inception in 1997. The Science City offers a really great convention centre which consists 2 auditoriums, a seminar hall complex and a lot more to offer. The convention centre witnesses a huge number of conferences, cultural programmes, etc. Finding the fun? That lies in the heart of Science City, the science centre. The science centre can keep you entertained for an entire day, from it’s Space Odyssey to the Maritime Centre, everything has it’s own fun and thrills to offer. You can enjoy the feels of a planetarium in the Space Odyssey which runs a 40 minute show at different time intervals. Science itself is very fascinating and what could be more fun than experiencing all of that….
If you do not like science and have been thinking this place would be of no good to you? Do not worry, Science City offers some great rides like the cable car which always is fun to be on. You can also check out the Evolution Park Theme Tour which is a 15 to 20 minute tour that takes you through the evolution of dinosaurs, you do get the Jurassic Park feels here.
Pro Tip: Remember to be informed about the recent developments at Science City because a lot of times many parts are under renovation, due to which you might just miss out some of the best places.
10. Take a Stroll in Maidan
Maidan is also known to the city as the Brigade Parade Ground. It is home to a lot of Cricket and Football grounds. It is in close vicinity to the Eden Gardens and the Kolkata Race Course. The Maidan is also termed as the Lungs of Kolkata. You will get guaranteed fun because of the surroundings and the aura of the place. Either go in the morning or during the evening, all you’ll see is people of different age groups playing or walking or doing something else of their own interest. This makes Maidan a place you would love to be at, the fresh air, the chirping bird and the peaceful environment which everyone craves for.
So we hope you have been able to make up your mind regarding visiting Kolkata. It’s a place where the old and the new get together seamlessly, and that can be witnessed in the day-to-day activities here. Visit Kolkata if you’re looking for a city with a soul. Happy travelling!
Contributor: Arkoprabho Hazra.