Sunday, August 26, 2012

12 free things to do in Kolkata

Kolkata (or for that matter in India) many things are free, unlike many places like Indonesia or Laos or Cambodia or Thailand. Generally you don't need to pay to go to a temple or toilet or musical programme etc.

I am listing out many free things you can do or go in Kolkata, which are my favourites:

1Jain temple and Parasnath Temple in North Kolkata (Belgachia Metro station) - either it is free or almost free at Rs 5 

2Metcalfe Hall, Town Hall , Governor's House, High court, GPO , Job Charnock's mausoleum,Writer's building (Esplanade Metro)(Town hall is almost free -at Rs 5 - there is a nice museum) 


3. Marble Palace (Mahatma Gandhi Metro station) - but you need to take permission from Indian tourism office near Birla Planetarium on Shakespeare Sarani or West bengal Tourism office near Writer's building - Stephen house- opposite Minibus stand)

4. St. Paul's Cathedral and Nandan complex - art galleries in Nandan (Rabindra Sadan Metro station), most of musical programmes held in Rabindra Sadan is free. However movies or Theatres are NOT free. But sometimes many documentaries or movie festivals are free.

5. Tipu Sultan Mosque (Esplanade Metro station) at Esplanade is free

6Kumartuli and Sovabazar Rajbari (Sutanuti Metro station) - potters colony is free -

7Maidan - walk around Maidan and go to the famous clubs like East Bengal or Mohun Bagan (equivalent to ManU or Arsenal of India) - where footballers practice in the morning are free

8Armenidan Church and Synagogue (Esplanade Metro station )

9Victoria Memorial (Maidan Metro station or Rabindra Sadan Metro station): It is not a free, but if make a full circle around it (around 15 minutes), you can see everything from outside, without entering it.

10Jorasanko Thakur Bari (get down at one metro station before Sovabazar/Sutanuti Metro station - if you are coming from Park Street)

11. Calcutta School of Music - If you are a Western classical Music aficionado then most,if not all, of the programmes held here free. I have never paid to watch classical music programme there. They also hold Indian classical music programs. It is 12 minutes walking from Garihat or 3-4 minutes by auto rickshaw towards Park circus maidan. Ask people " which side is Park circus ". Gariahat is 10 minutes by auto from Kalighat metro or Take an auto rickshaw from Jatindas Metro to go to Ballygunge Phari ("Ask how to go to Ballygunge Phari by auto rickshaw") . Address:

6B, Sunny Park70001924765394

££ Calcutta School of Music established in 1915 by Phillpe Sandre is one of the premier institutions of India

12. Art Galleries : There are numerous art galleries in Kolkata and all of them are free

Some of my favourites are  Akar Prakar  - Hindustan Park, opposite Basanti Devi College,  Birla Academy of Art and Culture (beside Lake Kali bari),CIMA Gallery,Ganges Art Gallery ( at the junction of Sarat Bose Road and Jatin Das Road (near Sarat Bose Road and Deshapriya Park crossing)

PS: I am leaving out National Library, Belur Math & Dakshineswar Temple (How to go to Belur - however the best option according to me is Share auto rickshaw from the (Digha going) bus stand beside Howrah station @ Rs 15 - time 30 minutes...however one can take train from Howrah station or Mini Bus or 54 No. Bus from Esplanade opposite Metro Cinema), Birla temple (bad copy of Khajuraho - not my favourite ) as they are not in the metro route and relatively difficult to go without car. [Though National library is not very far from Rabindra Sadan Metro station]. I am also leaving out Kalighat Temple, though very near to Kalighat Metro route because I find it shady ). Indian Museum or Birla Planetarium is not free and Museum has exorbitant price for foreigners - around Rs 100 , I think - which is however cheaper than South East Asian standards, never the less. But it is ill maintained.

PS: For armchair travellers of Kolkata

5. Hotel Galaxy - one of the best

7. Afridi Guest House,88.353984&spn=0.001375,0.002642&ctz=-330&t=m&z=19

8. Hotel Paragon

9. Hotel Pushpak

Hotel Pushpak International , 10 Kyd Street, Kyd Street, Park Street , AC dormitory 350/-
2226 5841 / 2227 0803 / 0778

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