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Complete Guide on North Kolkata – Best Places to Visit and Things to Do

Published By: Kamalika De on February 15, 2024

Kolkata is not just another metropolitan of India, it is a city with a soul. Perfectly named the city of joy, Kolkata has a blend of history, culture, art, colonial architecture, enthusiasm, and incredible sweet delicacies.  Here modernity connects to traditional roots, defining opulence.

There are countless reasons that can make you feel mesmerized by the charm and energy of this city. With every street of the city having some stories to tell, from North to South, here in Kolkata you can find unity in diversity, an embodiment of both ancient and contemporary feel. Whereas North Kolkata depicts the older version of the city dominated by narrow lanes, crowded streets, and ancient architecture, South Kolkata portrays the modern and stylish version of the city with high-rises, large shopping malls, and wider roads.

We have already covered weekend getaways from Kolkata and also published a detailed guide on exploring south Kolkata in our previous blog posts.

In today’s post, I am going to discuss the best things that the North part of Kolkata has to offer you. So, without further ado, let’s start.

I will start my discussion by mentioning the 5 best places to visit in North Kolkata. Let’s have a look:

Best Places to Visit in North Kolkata

There are many places and things to do in North Kolkata but the list here is purely based on my personal interest and its popularity among tourists. The list starts with my favorite place College Street.

1. College Street

College Street in Kolkata

College Street, also known as Boi Para (Colony of Books), is an almost 1.5 km long street surrounded by colleges, ancient buildings, and institutions. So what does make it visit-worthy? Considered as the largest book market in India, here you can find numerous small and big bookstores and publishing houses. The stores range from usual brick and mortar ones to small makeshift stalls made of metal, bamboo and even canvas. All these stores have countless books. You can even find some rare books at cheap prices.

History: David Hare, a Scottish watchmaker, and philanthropist, founded Hindu College in Bengal with 20 scholars in 1817. Therefore under the Governorship of Lord Wellesley, the street, where this college is, started to be known as College Street.

Timing: Monday to Saturday 11 am to 7 pm (time may differ for a few stores)

2. Marble Palace

Marble Palace in Kolkata
Image source: Wikimedia

This is an ancient edifice of Kolkata, well known for its wonderful architecture and sculptures by Indian and European artists, paintings by renowned Western artists and furnishings from the Victorian era. If you love cherishing art and architecture, there is no reason to miss this palatial mansion during your visit in Kolkata.

History: In 1835, Raja Rajendra Mullick, an Indian art lover and philanthropist, built Marble Palace to collect and create an exquisite collection of art pieces. Because of the wide variety of marble, used on the mansion’s floor and walls, the name of this place is “Marble Palace”.

Timing: From 10 am to 3 pm, all days a week except for Monday and Thursday.

3. Jorasanko Thakurbari

Jorasanko Thakurbari
Image source: Wikimedia

A trip to Kolkata will be incomplete if you do not pay a visit to Jorasanko Thakurbari, the ancestral house of Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore. Currently being turned into a museum, this place offers glimpses of the artwork and literature by Rabindranath Tagore and his family, handwritten letters, their photographs, and many other incredibly valuable things. You will also find historical details about the involvement of the Tagore family with the Brahmo Samaj and Bengali Renaissance.

History: In the 18th Century, this house was built on the land, donated by the Setts, the oldest known businessman in northern India, to Dwarkanath Tagore. Here Rabindranath Tagore was born, spent his childhood days and took his last breath.

Timing: Tuesday to Sunday from 10.30 am to 5 pm.

4. Sovabazar Rajbari

Sovabazar Rajbari
Image Source: Wikimedia

This is another heritage place in Kolkata. The best time to visit this place is during Durga Puja. This royal house celebrates Durga Puja with vigor and maintains ancient Bengal tradition. The wide courtyard, multifoliate arches, large pillars, etc. make this palace a true embodiment of West Bengal’s royal past.

History: Maharaja Nabakrishna Deb built Sovabazar Rajbari in the middle of 1700. He was a close confidant of Robert Clive, the first British Governor of the Bengal Presidency. He started Durga Puja in 1757 in Sovabazar Rajbari when British culture used to dominate Bengal. Since then this festival continued being celebrated with grandeur. During his lifetime, many honorable people glorified Sovabazar Rajbari. Some of them are Lord Clive, Warren Hastings, Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Sri Ramakrishna, Sadhak Ramprasad, Swami Vivekananda, Sister Nivedita, Debendra Nath Tagore, Rabindra Nath Tagore and many more.

Timing: Though the Rajbari opens 24 hours, its official timing is from 4 pm to 5 pm. During Durga Puja, people can visit at any time of the day.

5. Kumartuli

Kumartuli in North Kolkata
Image source: Wikipedia

Do you want to experience how the goddesses come alive by the touch of true artisans? Then come to Kumartuli once. Here you can see how artisans handicraft all the idols of Gods and Goddesses with clay, bamboo, straw and other materials. When you enter this place and start walking through narrow lanes, you will find rows of idols here and there. Numerous artisans throughout a year work hard and put life into every idol with their skill and creativity for every festival. If you are an art lover, Kumartuli can give you a wonderful dose of culture in its raw form.

History: In the early days of 1760, British East India Company allotted neighborhoods according to the workers. At that time Kumartuli was allotted as the place for potters. The potters from various towns of Bengal started living here and managed to survive by making clay pots and other daily life items. Things change from 1757 when DurgaPuja started being celebrated in Shobhabazar Rajbari, and after that, other aristocrats of Kolkata began organizing Durga Pujas in their mansions to showcase the wealth and drive attention. The popularity of clay idols was increasing and the potters from Kumartuli used to get invitations from mansions for staying and sculpting idols. Later on, when the number of pujas started growing throughout the city, artisans stayed back in Kumartuli for finishing the orders.

Timings: The best time to visit the place is from June to January at any time of the day.

Best Dining Spots in North Kolkata

When it comes to food, you can find plenty of options to have delicious food in North Kolkata. I will start the list with my favorite place.

1. Indian Coffee House

Indian Coffee House
Image source: Wikimedia

Large wooden doors, high ceilings, unpretentious walls adorned with old paintings and food available within a shoestring budget are the highlights of Kolkata’s another heritage place – the Indian Coffee House. Located in College Street, this place has a great historical background. The building, where the Coffee House has been functioning for over 300 years, was the residence of Keshab Chandra Sen, an eminent philosopher and social reformer. Later in 1876, its name became Albert Hall. In 1942, the Coffee Board decided to start a cafe in Albert Hall.

In 1947, the Central Government changed the name of the place into Coffee House. Ever since its establishment, it was a place where various eminent poets, artists, literati, filmmakers, and theater personnel used to meet and spend hours talking and sharing thoughts over coffee. If you want to have a true heritage feel of this city, then you must visit Coffee House once. Though the food options here are not extravagant, the place will surely make you remember the bygone era.

Timing: Sunday to Monday 11:00 am to 8:00 pm.

Must-Try: Coffee, Fish Kabiraji, fish fry

2. Tiretta Bazar(China Town)

Tiretta Bazar is India’s first Chinatown situated in the narrow lanes of Tangra, Chinatown is India’s sole place where a large group of East Asian people still preserve ancient Chinese customs, traditions, and culture very well. This place has its own charm and can never fail to fascinate every single person who comes to visit here. If you want to have a look at a different aspect of this city and enrich your taste buds with authentic Chinese delicacies, you should visit Chinatown once.

Timing: Tiretta Bazar operates every day from 6 am to 9 am. Restaurants have their individual timings.

Must-Try: Some of the awesome restaurants in Chinatown are Big Boss, Golden Joy, Kafulok, Beijing, etc. Tiretta Bazar in Chinatown offers lip-smacking Chinese street food.

3. Mitra Cafe

After Indian Coffee House, Mitra Cafe is another heritage eatery in North Kolkata. Founded in 1920, the name of this cafe “Mitra” means “Friends”, signifying the cafe considers its all customers as friends and it belongs to them. During its starting period, the food options were limited over here. However, the owner never compromised food quality. Therefore its goodwill never stopped emerging. Currently, there are various snack options that can certainly satisfy your hunger pangs.  If you want to enjoy Bengali snacks at pocket-friendly prices, then come visit Mitra Cafe in Sovabazar.

Timing: Every day 3:45 P.M. to 10:00 P.M.

Must-try: Kabiraji (Chicken, Mutton and Fish), Fish fry, Fish Finger, Cutlet (chicken and mutton), Pudding, etc.

4. Nobin Chandra Das & Sons

Nobin Chandra Das & Sons
Image source: Wikimedia

Undoubtedly, love at first bite is possible with Rossogolla (not Rasgulla) from Kolkata. Rossogollas are actually small casein balls dipped in sugar syrup, considered as a tender and spongy sweet with a unique taste. in 1868, Nabin Chandra Das invented this wonderful Bengali sweet. He also invented some other sweets with distinctive tastes, like Abar Khabo, Dedo Sondesh, Baikuntha Bhog, etc. The family’s sweet legacy still continues with the shop Nabin Chandra Das & Sons from Sovabazar.

Must-try: Sponge Rossogolla, Rajbhog, Mango Sandesh

Must-visit Markets of North Kolkata

Not only the heritage places and food, but Kolkata also has a lot to offer to the shopaholics. Below are the best places to visit for shopping in North Kolkata:

1. Burrabazar

Burrabazar in Kolkata
Image source: Wikimedia

Situated in proximity to M.G. Road, Burrabazar is one of the famous wholesale markets of India. During the British era, this place was famous for its textile and yarn market. In its prime time, it was said that one can find everything under the sun over here, from broadcloth fabric to cashmere silk, and even Tibetan cow tails. If you visit this place, you will find specific areas divided for different items, textiles, fabric, garments (especially lehenga, saree, etc.), crockery, stationery items, paper, spices, and many more. Fabrics and dress materials are available here at extremely cheap prices.

2. New Market

New Market in Kolkata
Image source: Wikimedia

Located in Dharmatala, New Market, a century-old market, still draws shoppers, history lover tourists, and bargain hunters. With its large gothic structure, numerous permanent and street-side make-shift shops, and food stalls, this place evokes the charm of nostalgia. One can call it a shoppers’ paradise. Not only the Kolkatans, but tourists from all over the world also come here once on their trip to Kolkata to shop for authentic Bengal sarees, junk jewelry, leather items, decoration items and more. Try your best to bargain and you will be rewarded with wonderful items at cheap prices.

3. Hatibagan Market

Hatibagan Market

This is another old traditional market of Kolkata where you can find old cinema halls along with various shops. There are many permanent and street-side make-shift shops in this market, selling various stuff. Ranging from junk jewelry to home appliances, garments to footwear, you can find many items at one place. Especially saree lovers can visit here to buy a wide variety of Bengal cotton and silk sarees with budget comfort.

Final Thoughts,

Kolkata is a city where ancient culture and heritage speak. Especially the North Kolkata has signs everywhere that evoke its close bond with the colonial past. Dominated by narrow lanes and old buildings, North Kolkata is a place where you can equally enjoy eating, shopping, appreciating arts and culture, and even having just a silent long walk. Come to Kolkata, the cultural hut of India, the city of joy. Have an incredible travel experience wrapped with simplicity and warmth.


1. What is North Kolkata famous for?

North Kolkata is famous for its rich cultural heritage, historical landmarks, and traditional markets. Iconic sites like the Jorasanko Thakurbari, Marble Palace, and Kumartuli make it a hub of cultural significance.

2. Which is better North or South Kolkata?

There is no definitive answer to whether North or South Kolkata is better, as it largely depends on individual preferences. North Kolkata is known for its heritage, while South Kolkata offers modern amenities and vibrant culture.

3. What is the famous food of North Kolkata?

The famous food of Kolkata is “Rossogolla.” A delectable dessert made of soft, small casein balls dipped in sugar syrup (Indian cottage cheese), Rossogolla is an iconic Bengali sweet.

1 thought on “Complete Guide on North Kolkata – Best Places to Visit and Things to Do

  1. Smita chakrabarty

    September 16, 2022 at 7:55 pm

    North kolkata is best place of our country,North kolkata is best part of West Bengal, kolkata is a city where ancient culture,and heritage speak . Especially the north kolkata has sings everytime,that evoke it’s close bond with Colonial past.Dominated by narrow lanes and old buildings ,North kolkata is a place where you can equally enjoy eating , shopping, appreciating arts and culture,and even having just a silent long walk.come to Kolkata cultural Hut of India ,the city of joy.Have an incredible travel experience wrapped with simplicity and warmth, Finally i heartly speaking about north kolkata is my favourite place,north kolkata is always in my heart,i m really proud of North kolkata,and I’m also proud feel,becoz i m Bengali, salute north kolkata


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