If you are the kind of traveller who prefers to travel like a local and enjoys offbeat more than the beaten track—then Kolkata has some of the best options for you. Pray at the pagodas at India’s only existing Chinatown in Tangra, marvel at the creations and stories of the idol makers of Kumortuli and spare some moments of solitude at Mother House—Kolkata’s offbeat attractions will leave you coming back for more. Admire the cenotaphs and epitaphs at Kolkata’s heritage Christian cemetery, visit the historical Lal Dighi and do stopover at Belvedere Road to admire India’s largest library, the National Library.
Apart from all the historic buildings, temples and museums, there are several other interesting places to visit in Kolkata.
A large enough water body, spanning across 25 acres of land, Lal Dighi (literally translates into the Red Pond) is a lesser-known wonder of Kolkata that can have a charming effect on you. Earlier it was known as Dalhousie Square or Tank Square. The water body or tank is of historical significance because the surrounding area was also the place where the Battle of Lal Dighi was fought between Siraj-ud-Daulah and the British East India Company in 1756.
NATIONAL LIBRARY OF INDIA
The foundation of the National Library of India dates back to 1836 with the formation of the Calcutta Public Library. In 1903, it was merged with the Imperial Library for public use by Lord Curzon, former Governor General of India. After independence, it was renamed the National Library of India and opened to the public in 1953.
SOUTH PARK STREET CEMETERY
A significant Kolkata heritage, the South Park Street Cemetery definitely calls for a visit if you want to experience something truly unique in the City of Joy. The cemetery is famed for being one of the non-church cemeteries in the world and also for being the largest Christian burial ground outside America and Europe in the 19th century.
The Mother House is the erstwhile residence of probably the most renowned and inspirational female figures in Indian History—Mother Teresa. If you are searching for something more meaningful, more awe inspiring, do not forget to visit this landmark. The house was built by Mother Teresa in 1950 with the motive of selfless service to humankind and also to uplift humanity and take it towards salvation.
Durga Puja comes to an end. Most of these idols have been created by idol makers, locally referred to as kumors. In what is a famous locality of Kolkata, the lanes of Kumortuli comes to life in the months preceding the Durga Puja (mainly August and September). If you want to experience a completely different Kolkata and want to interact with real artisans, take a walk in the narrow alleys of Kumortuli.
Hidden between the narrow alleys of Tangra, lies Kolkata’s very own (and India’s only existing) Chinatown. The area is a landmark for the City of Joy. Though not frequented by too many tourists, the area has its own charm. If you want to experience a completely different aspect of the city and of course have some delectable Chinese delicacies—then remember to include Chinatown in your itinerary.