North Kolkata is the older area of Kolkata, a fascinating district dominated by narrow little lanes and hundreds of century-old buildings. It includes Barabazar, Chitpur Road, Bagbazar, Belgachhia, Shyambazar, Shobhabazar, Maniktala, Jorasanko and the College Street area. Also situated here are the Sealdah station, one of the largest train hubs in India, and the newly built Kolkata station.
The longer roads in Kolkata have a north-south alignment and as such plenty of road transport is available from North Kolkata to other parts of Kolkata. However, road transport slows down during office hour rush.
Metro railway is the fastest and the most convenient way to reach North Kolkata. However, there is only one route which runs along the city from north to south. This means one may have to change to other modes of transport to reach one's destination. Trains run every 10-15 minutes and at Rs 4-12. It runs from 8AM to 9:45PM from Monday to Saturday and 2PM to 9:45PM on Sunday.
The metro runs from Dum Dum in the northern fringes to Kavi Subhas (New Garia) in the south-east. The entire metro route within North Kolkata is underground. The metro stations in North Kolkata are:
- Belgachia metro station.
- Shyambazar metro station.
- Shovabazar Sutanuti metro station.
- Girish Park metro station.
- Mahatma Gandhi Road metro station.
The suburban overground railway tracks pass through the eastern edge of North Kolkata. The circular railway system covers the western and northern edges of North Kolkata. The stations in North Kolkata are:
- Kolkata railway station (Chitpore). Circular railway station.
- Tala railway station. Circular railway station.
- Baghbazar railway station. Circular railway station.
- Sovabazar Ahiritola railway station. Circular railway station.
- Barabazar railway station. Circular railway station.
- Bidhannagar Road railway station.
- Patipukur railway station. Circular railway station.
- Sealdah railway station. Sealdah railway station came up with the laying of the main line of the Eastern Bengal Railway in 1862. It is amongst the busiest railway stations in the country with a huge number of people commuting to the city for work.
- Bose Institute, 93/1 Acharya Prafulla Chandra Rd (Located next to Rajabazar Science College). A scientific research institute founded by Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose in 1917 in what was his residence. It is now the main campus with branches
- Medical College, Kolkata. Established in 1835, it was the first Medical College in Asia.
- Presidency University. Established as Hindu College in 1817, renamed as Presidency College in 1855, and upgraded to a University in 2010.
- Shovabazar Rajbari, 33 & 36 Raja Nabakrishna Deb St. The Rajbari, now partly in shambles, was probably built around or before 1757. The Durga Puja was started in 1757, after the British victory in the Battle of Plassey.
- Star Theater (Near Hatibagan crossing).
- University of Calcutta. India's first western-style university established on 24th January 1857.
The Northern part of Kolkata houses the old buildings belonging to the Zamindars (Landlords), other rich Bengalis who used to trade with the British. It preserves the cultural heritage of Kolkata. The building structures give an impression of the royal folk who occupied them. The area is generally crowded and has some interesting markets including the famous Posta, Burrabazar whole sale markets, College Street book market where one can trace many out of print books with a little patience. While in College Street a visit to the College St Coffee House is a must. Also around the area are the Calcutta Medical College, the Presidency College and Calcutta University, all pioneers in their field in the country.
- Bauddha Dharmankur Sabha, 1 Buddhist Temple St (near the Indian Airways head office), ☎ . A Buddhist monastery established in 1892 and run by the Bengal Buddhist Association. The distinct red building mostly consists of a school and a guest house. There is a very small Buddhist shrine tucked away on the 1st floor.
- Datta Ancestral Home - Birthplace of Vivekananda, 3 Gour Mohan Mukherjee St. The 18th century building was in a dilapidated condition, worsening day by day. The Ramkrishna Mission acquired it, along with an adjacent plot, in May 1999. Ramakrishna Mission restored Swamiji's ancestral house without changing any of its original architectural features. It houses Swamiji's birthplace, meditation hall (first floor) and museum, where some of the articles used by Swamiji, his father, mother and brothers are preserved.
- Kolkata Police Museum, 113 Acharya Prafulla Chandra Rd, ☎ . (Director)Tu-Su 10AM to 5PM. The Museum seeks to collect, preserve and interpret objects related to the history of Kolkata Police. Exhibits includes various items seized during the freedom struggle of the country.
- Mahabodhi Society of India, 4A Bankim Chatterjee St (near College St), ☎ . A small, but interesting Theravedan Buddhist temple located in an historic building. There is a library and shrine room on the second floor. Meditation classes are held every 1st and 3rd Sunday of the month.
- Mahajati Sadan, 166 Chittaranjan Ave. Auditorium and cultural centre planned as part of the independence movement by Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. The foundation stone was laid in 1939 by Rabindranath Tagore, who named it Mahajati Sadan (House of the Nation). It was completed by Dr. B.C.Roy in the early fifties.
- Marble Palace, Chorbagan, 46, Muktaram Babu Street, Jorasanko (Near to Tagore House - Mahatma Gandhi Road Metro Station). 10:00-16:00. At Chorbagan is the Marble Palace, built in 1840 by Raja Rajendra Mullick, now a museum. Spend your afternoon among precious objects d’art including works of Rubens and Sir Joshua Reynolds.When tired, take a tram ride along Red Road with the green expanse of the Maidan around you. The perfect antidote. - The marble palace was the private mansion of Zamindar (Land owner) Raja Rajendro Mullick, who had built this palace in 1835. It is situated on the Muktaram Babu Street in a congested part of the city. A real garden, of may be an acre with a Palladian Mansion set square in the centre. Today this place has an incongruous collection of statues and paintings. There is also a private zoo housing a collection of birds from different corners of the world.
- Parashnath Jain Temple (near the Belgachia metro station).
- Parashnath Jain Temple (at Gouribari). less visited than the Belgachia one
- Rabindra Bharati Museum (Jorasanko Thakur Bari / The House of the Tagores), 6/4 Dwarakanath Tagore Lane, Jorasanko, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. 10:30AM - 5PM (Monday closed). The Jorasanko Thakur Bari is the ancestral home of the Tagore family. Rabindra Bharati University was established here in 1962. Rs. 50; students Rs. 25.
- Raja Rammohan Roy Memorial Museum, 85A, Raja Rammohan Roy Sarani, ☎ . The memorablia in the museum consists of photographs, sketches, paintings and excerpts from the writings of Rammohun and others reproduced, wherever possible, in facsimile. Also period furnitures and diorama representaions designed to recreate the times. Together they not only give us the glimpses of the various facets of one of the greatest personalities of the modern age, but at the same time take us back into a period in history when India was at crossroads, and Rammohun heralded the coming of the modern age.
- Vidyasagar Smriti Mandir, 36 & 36/1 Vidyasagar St (Can approach from Acharya Prafulla Chandra Road or from Raja Rammohan Roy Sarani), ☎ . The erstwhile residential house of Pandit Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, social reformer, language pioneer and a key figure in bringing about the renaissance in Bengal, currently has been converted into a women's college which runs various professional and language courses. The heritage building was renamed ' Vidyasagar Smriti Mandir'. A part of the building has been converted into a museum.
- Burrabazar. Kolkata's wholesale market is spread across Burrabazar and Posta. The place was the old Sutanuti Hat before the British came. With the influx of the Marwaris (a trading class) during British rule from North India, it was transformed in to Burrabazar (big market). The saying goes that if one is willing to pay the price, eveything is available in Burrabazar. The market thrives on selling larger quantities at cheaper prices.
- Hatibagan-Shaymbazar market, Spread along Bidhan Sarani.
- Manicktala market. A big market for varieties of fish.
- Mullick Ghat (Wholesale flower market). At the base of the Howrah bridge, on the Kolkata side, is the city’s bustling wholesale flower market. Flowers are an essential part of life in the city, they are bought not just for temple prayers but also for wedding decorations, events and festivals.
- Orchid Point, 3/1A Upendra Chandra Banerjee Road,Kankurgachhi. It houses most major brands.
- Allen Kitchen (Near Sovabazar Sutanuti Metro Station (40/1, Jatindra Mohan Avenue)). 4PM - 9PM. Famous for its Prawn Cutlet. One of the oldest restaurants of Calcutta, founded in the late 19th century.
- Chinese Breakfast, Sun Yat Sen Street. Behind Poddar Court. (Follow the Chinese people). Early before 8:30 when things start wrapping up. A delicious Kolkata experience, where Chinese fish dumping come steamed, fried or in soup. Follow the Chinese people congregating on the bazaar. all snacks under Rs30.
- Golbari (New Punjabi Hotel), 211, Acharya Prafulla Chandra Road (Shyambazar 5 point crossing). Famous for Kosha Mangsho (spicy goat meat).
- Mitra Cafe (Diagonally opposite Sovabazar Sutanuti Metro Station). Famous for its Brain Chop. Also go for the various chops, cutlets or Afgani.
- New Madras Tiffin, 138, Bidhan Sarani, Hatibagan, ☎ . 10 AM - 10 PM. Good vegetarian South Indian joint. Must try items are Mysore plain dosa, Dahi vada and Kulfi
- Only 4 Chinese Gazab (Gazab), 34C, Shyampukur Street, Hatibagan, ☎ 033 30859011. 12 Noon - 10:30 PM. Quality Indian Chinese and great pork items. Also try their Darsaan with vanilla ice-cream.
- Rupa, 222A, Acharya Prafulla Chandra Rd (Shyambazar 5 point crossing). Quality Bengali Lunch. Famous for Shukto - Bhaat (Bengali bitter gourd dish and rice) and Kosha Mangsho (spicy goat meat).
- Indian Coffee House, 1F, 15 Bankim Chatterjee St (Just off College St), ☎ . A venerable old establishment run by the Indian Coffee Workers Co-op Society. The high ceilings, peeling paintwork, skylights and workers in traditional uniform create an image straight out of a 20 or 30s movie. In addition, the coffee (and the food) is good and cheap.
- Paramount Juices & Shakes, 1D, Bankim Chatterjee Street, College Square, ☎ .
- Ashoka Hotel, 133, Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Rd (Opposite Sealdah Court, across the fly-over), ☎ .
- Raja Guest House Pvt. Ltd., 8/2 Bhawani Dutta Ln (Near Presidency College), ☎ .
- Anand Bhavan, 95 Chittaranjan Ave (Opposite Calcutta Medical College), ☎ .
- AV Hotels Pvt Ltd, 1 Shambhu Mullick Lane, Burrabazar, ☎ . , , , North Indian Vegetarian cuisine
- Hotel Avenue Club, 95A Chittaranjan Ave (Opposite Calcutta Medical College), ☎ . ,
- Hotel De Bengal, 17 Mahatma Gandhi Rd, ☎ .
- Lovely Guest House, 17 Manindra Mitra St (Opposite Surendranath College, just off Mahatma Gandhi Road).
- Mahabodhi Society of India, 4A Bankim Chatterjee Rd (near College St), ☎ . The guesthouse is part of Buddhist Monastery, and although simple has a lot of character. Rs 250 room with private bathroom, Rs 150 for room with communal bathroom; Rs 60 dormitory.
- Padma Hotel, 131 Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Rd (Near Sealdah fly-over), ☎ .
- Palace Hotel, 31/2 Mahatma Gandhi Rd, ☎ .
- Santiniketan Hotel, 16B, Mahatma Gandhi Rd, ☎ .