Known as India’s cultural capital, Kolkata is located in the far east of the country near the border with Bangladesh. Developed as a base of the East India Company, Kolkata is now a thriving city with a distinct identity of its own.

The biggest reminder of Kolkata’s colonial past is the Victoria memorial. Built to mark the death of Queen Victoria, this beautiful building in pure white marble blends English style with decorative Indian flourishes, with the many domes and turrets evoking other memorials such as the Taj Mahal. Inside is a good exhibition tracing both the positive and negative impacts of the British Empire in India.

A more authentically Indian experience is the Kumartuli district. This part of the city is home to many sculptors who specialise in making idols and deities for Kolkata’s many religious festivals and ceremonies. The artists still use traditional wooden frames which are covered in painted clay to make the many figurines needed for the elaborate offerings. Many of the workshops are open and visitors are free to watch the craftsmen at work.

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Read more on Kolkata below with flight options, current weather, maps, and activities to try while you are there.

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