10 best places to enjoy your Christmas holidays in Kolkata

Planning to visit Kolkata during the Christmas holidays. Not just culture, music, street food and the legacy of British Raj, but the city is also famous for its various tourist spots. Some of them are especially popular during Christmas and New Year. Let's learn here ten such places.

The City of Joy Kolkata is famous for its various charms. It has sprawling gardens, British Raj-era buildings, monuments, religious structures and engineering marvels like the Howrah Bridge and Vidyasagar Setu. Many famous poets, writers, educators, scientists, political activists and filmmakers made Kolkata their home. Most of the Noble Prize winners from India have been some or the other way associated with the city. No wonder the city is also known as the cultural capital of India.

Bengalis are well known for their love for travel. It is something that is ingrained in them. When it comes to travel, they leave no place in the city, state or the country left unseen. Any vacation and they are sure to leave for some place or the other. Especially during the Christmas and New Year holidays, it is simply irresistible for them not to set foot outside the comforts of the four walls of their home. The whole of the city's population during this time seems to have taken off for one or the other destination. Some of these places or destinations have special attraction during this time. Let us learn them here.

  • Park Street

    Park Street is one popular place in the city of Kolkata, especially so during Christmas and New Year. During the Christmas week, the entire stretch of Park Street gets a makeover with lights and decorations. It becomes the most happening place in the city. There is a unique festive atmosphere about it. It becomes a must visit place, especially for the young generation. There is a flurry of activities and people come in great numbers to take a stroll, enjoy the sights and eat to their fill in the numerous restaurants that dot Park Street. Some of the famous food outlets here are the McDonalds, Flurys, Barb'Q and many more. They even set up food stalls on the pavements and make brisk sales. The Chinese, Parsis and the sizeable community of Anglo Indians even sell homemade delicacies to the sea of people visiting the place. During this time, the traffic is restricted so that the revellers can have the best of their time strolling, shopping, eating, sightseeing and simply merrymaking. It is kind of a carnival here during Christmas and New Year. No doubt, Park Street is the king of the streets during this time of the year in Kolkata.

  • Alipore Zoo

    A must visit place for most, Alipore Zoo is the oldest zoological park in India and is very popular with the residents of Kolkata. Many families reserve this time of the year to visit this popular spot. As a result, an unusually large crowd comes to visit the place during the Christmas-New Year week. However, the maximum footfalls can be seen on Christmas Day. With the range of animals that the zoo has, it is a worthwhile visit for the whole family. There are a few food outlets inside the zoo complex, where you can get some wholesome food. The zoo remains open on all days except Thursday. The timings are from 9 AM to 5 PM. Tickets cost rupees 25 for adults and 10 for children. Located on the Alipore Road, one can reach the place by taking a bus, cab or a taxi.

  • Victoria Memorial

    Built way back in early 20th century in the memory of Queen Victoria, the Victoria memorial is now an important tourist destination in the city of Kolkata. Young and old, the place is popular with everyone. During the winter holidays, visitors throng this place in great numbers. The architectural wonder, made of the same marble that the Taj Mahal is made up of, has many similarities with the latter. The greenery and the open spaces by the poolside are a big attraction for families and couples to lazily sit around for long hours. Victoria Memorial is a big-time hit with most tourists the whole year round. Entry timings are from 10 AM to 5 PM. It remains open on all days except Monday and on national holidays. Located in the central part of Kolkata, near to Maidan, the place can be easily reached by buses, taxis and cabs.

  • Birla Planetarium

    Located very close to Victoria Memorial is the Birla Planetarium. Anyone who visits the memorial also makes it a point to visit the planetarium. Children and adults alike simply love it as they get to experience the wonders of the universe from such close quarters. The planetarium is the biggest and oldest of all planetariums in India. It is the largest in Asia and second largest in the world. Entry timings are from 12 PM until 6:30 PM. The programs are in Hindi, English and Bengali.

  • Nicco Park

    Located in the eastern part of the city, Nicco Park is one fun place to spend your entire day. An amusement park that attracts visitors from far off places has plenty of rides in the main park and the water park. There is a toy train, cable car, paddleboats and a gaming zone as special attractions. Food outlets offer you a variety of food. Entry tickets are priced at rupees 200 that includes 12 free rides as well. Paying an additional 450 rupees gives you the access to all the rides in the main park and the water park. Located near to the Chingrighata crossing in the Eastern Metropolitan (EM) Bypass, the place can be reached by taking buses, taxis and cabs.

  • Eco Park

    Eco Park is a recent phenomenon that came up in the year 2011 in the Newtown area of Kolkata. It is one of the largest of its kind in India and is growing up in stature as a popular destination for visitors especially during the winter months. There is a big lake with an island in the middle and with facilities for boating. A good many cultural activities and programs are organized inside Eco Park during this time of the year drawing huge crowd. There is ample space for parking, so no hassle coming by private vehicles. You can otherwise reach the place by taking a bus, taxi or a cab. The park remains open on all days except Mondays. Timings are from 2:30 PM to 8:30 PM.

  • St. Paul's Cathedral

    It is during this time of the year that people from all communities throng in large numbers to visit this popular church and even take part in the midnight mass. A massive structure that can accommodate a large number of people at the same time, it is located near to the Birla Planetarium. Other churches, such as the St. James Church and the Bandel Church with a Portuguese legacy too are popular visiting spots during this time of the year. There are dedicated bus tours from WBTDC (West Bengal Tourism Development Corporation) that cover the popular churches in and around the city during the Christmas festival. The costs per person come to around rupees 1,050 to 1,250 depending upon the tour.

  • Dakshineswar Temple

    One very famous landmark in the City of Joy is the Dakshineswar Kali Temple. It is located in the eastern bank of the river Hooghly. Set up by Rani Rashmoni of Jaanbazaar in the 19th century, the temple is a must visit place for many. Even though pilgrims visit the temple the whole year round, it is during the winter vacation and the year-end that the number of believers visiting the Temple and having a darshan of the deities rises manifolds. Belur Math located on the opposite bank of the river is also a very popular place to visit.

  • Boat ride on the river Hooghly

    To visit Kolkata and not to take a boat ride in the river Hooghly! Simply not done. During the holidays and winter months in general, a good many numbers of people visit the riverbanks to take a short ride on the river. The riverbanks are decked up beautifully and there is a kind of festive atmosphere around them. In the evenings, as you travel up or down the river you get a glimpse of the city skyline. You also get a close view of the Howrah Bridge and the Vidyasagar Setu, the two spectacular bridges that span the river. The Millennium Park is one such fun place where one can have a good time on the bank itself or take a tour of the river.

  • Tram ride in picturesque Maidan

    A tour to Kolkata is incomplete in case you do not ride a tram. Kolkata is the only place in the country where trams still run. Even here, they are no longer the most popular mode of transport, but from the heritage point of view, they are simply incomparable. Therefore, taking a tram ride along the Maidan, the city's lungs, and getting a feel of this picturesque place in Central Kolkata is one of the most satisfying of experiences. You can enjoy the scenery all around you, as the tram travels at a slow pace through the vast stretches of open space, which includes numerous playgrounds, the famed Eden Garden Stadium, football stadiums and the Race Course. In fact, the journey makes you feel part of the city's rich heritage.

Article by Dhruv
Dhruv is an electrical engineer by profession. Apart from liking his job, he has a special love for writing and has often dabbled in writing scripts for skits and short plays. As a Content Developer at ISC, Dhruv is having a whale of a time, showcasing his writing skills.

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