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How to Spend 3 Days in Kolkata

How to Spend 3 Days in Kolkata

Home to 14 million people and the capital of West Bengal state, Kolkata—formerly known as Calcutta—marries a rich array of British colonial-era monuments with the teeming cultural milieu of old and modern India. From its hectic markets and Raj mansions to ventures farther afield, here’s how to get the best out of three days in Kolkata.

Day 1: Colonial and Modern

Your first day in Kolkata is ideal for viewing the city’s major sights, from its Victorian architecture—remnants of its time as capital of the British Raj—to its contemporary landmarks.

Trace the city’s colonial past on a half-day walk around imperial-era buildings including the Victoria Memorial, Governor’s House, and Writer’s Building—all constructed during British rule. Many of these colonial-themed tours include lunch at a local restaurant, letting you sample the city’s rich Bengali cuisine during a breather from sightseeing.

Alternatively, choose a more comprehensive, full-day tour covering both colonial and modern Kolkata. Unpick the city’s faiths at the Parshwanath Jain Temple and Magen David Synagogue, and visit Mother Teresa’s Mother House. Once home to the 20th-century Catholic nun who devoted her life to Kolkata’s poor—work that still continues today—it also houses her tomb.

Day 2: Temples, Tigers, and the Taj

Use today to take a wider look at India’s West Bengal province. Perhaps ride a ferry to the temples of Ganga Sagar, an important Hindu pilgrimage and humanitarian center on Sagar Island in the Ganges river delta. Or head for Mayapur, a sacred Ganges city and headquarters of the Hare Krishna movement.

History buffs, meanwhile, might fancy exploring Bishnupur’s 17th-century terracotta temples and sculptures. If you’re keen to see wildlife, though, take a day trip to Sundarban National Park, west of Kolkata. This coastal mangrove reserve has an educational center on the mangrove ecosystem, as well as watchtowers for spotting its elusive Bengal tigers together with water monitors, crocodiles, wild boar, and other species.

Alternatively, if you’ve never seen Agra’s Taj Mahal, use Kolkata as a base for visiting this glorious mausoleum. Private day trips to Agra include round-trip Kolkata-Delhi flights, round-trip Delhi-Agra transport, and a guided Taj tour.

Day 3: Deeper Dive into Kolkata

Kolkata’s urban poor are known for their friendliness—hence the nickname City of Joy. Get a sense of this spirit on a guided slum walk, exploring areas not usually visited by tourists, to see firsthand the challenges faced by its inhabitants.

Another option today is to tour Kolkata’s morning markets—experiencing the incredible commotion of the flower market, Burra Bazaar (Burrabazar), and more. Other ideas include neighborhood tours that showcase Kolkata’s multicultural and arts heritage. Explore Black Town, whose mansions are associated with wealthy Bengali residents, or stroll College Street—aka Book Street—whose literary stalls draw the city’s intellectuals.

Finish your time in Kolkata with a Hooghly River cruise or evening food tour, sampling popular street snacks and dishes to truly feel like a local. Or end your day by dining in a Kolkata home, enjoying a traditional Bengali dinner prepared by your host and chatting about city life.

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6 Tours and Activities | All Kolkata Tours

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Taj Mahal and Agra Day-Trip from Kolkata with Commercial Return Flights

Taj Mahal and Agra Day-Trip from Kolkata with Commercial Return Flights

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A hassle-free day trip for travelers to Kolkata who want to see India’s greatest monument to love, the Taj Mahal, which is on the other side of the country. Relax on this full day trip as flights, road transfers, and a sightseeing itinerary are arranged for you. In Agra, enjoy the iconic Taj as well as the UNESCO-listed Agra Fort, and maybe some shopping, before returning to Kolkata.
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  • 18 hours
  • Taking safety measures
From
$412.00
From
$412.00
Taking safety measures

Evening Excursion: Sailing towards the Goddess Through Sunset River Cruise

Evening Excursion: Sailing towards the Goddess Through Sunset River Cruise

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Take a chilled-out evening cruise along the Hooghly River at sunset and enjoy seeing the city of Kolkata from a different angle. This ticket saves you the time and hassle of lining up to buy a ferry ticket. Kolkata is a big, busy city; leave all that behind as you cruise down the river, spotting the silhouettes of temples and grand colonial-era buildings along its banks. Receive a welcome drink and evening snacks, too.
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  • 3 hours
From
$48.61
Price varies by group size
From
$48.61
Price varies by group size

Private Full Day Trip to Mayapur from Kolkata with Guide

Private Full Day Trip to Mayapur from Kolkata with Guide

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Spend the full day exploring Mayapur on this private tour from Kolkata. With a dedicated guide for just you and your party, you'll get a customized itinerary and undivided personal attention. Round-trip private transportation means a relaxing journey where you can focus on the scenery. Highlights in Mayapur include Yoga Peeth, Ma Anandamayee Ashram, Sri Chaitanya Math, ISKCON, and Sri Mayapur Chandrodaya Mandir.
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  • 14 hours
From
$138.88
Price varies by group size
From
$138.88
Price varies by group size

British Raj Walk in Kolkata

British Raj Walk in Kolkata

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Kolkata is filled with buildings that reflect its time as the British Raj’s capital during the 18th and 19th centuries. On this walking tour, view the sights as you retrace the history of the British in the city. See the Governor’s House, Victoria Memorial, and more; and hear stories about the Raj and India’s independence struggle you might miss otherwise. If you wish, upgrade to include hotel pickup and drop-off.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$71.80
Price varies by group size
From
$71.80
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Slum Tour: A Different Side To The 'City Of Joy'

Slum Tour: A Different Side To The 'City Of Joy'

Looking beyond Kolkata’s tourist sights into its slum areas is best done with a guide to provide background and ensure you don't get lost. This shared walking tour steps up: with a guide to lead you around one of these districts. See how the inhabitants live, discover their hardships in ensuring life’s necessities, and leave with a better understanding of Kolkata’s slum communities than you might if on your own.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$69.99
Price varies by group size
From
$69.99
Price varies by group size

Stroll Through The Popular Book Street

Stroll Through The Popular Book Street

Stroll along the pathways of the largest book market in India at College Street, aka Boi Para (Book Street), a prominent centre of Kolkata’s literary crowd. It is the largest pre-owned book market in the world. It is said, if you do not find a book in College street, then it probably never existed.
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$69.99
Price varies by group size
From
$69.99
Price varies by group size