Located approximately 17km from the city centre of Kolkata, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport (NSBIA) is the largest airport in eastern India. This airport serves as a gateway into Western Bengal. Hop on any domestic flights such as Jetstar Asia, Air India and Air India Express that fly to this charming city daily.
Sightseeing is a rewarding experience in Kolkata, thanks to its dramatic colonial buildings, preserved temples and bridges and its daily festival of human existence. It is in this city where you can find colonial architecture and air-conditioned shopping malls juxtaposed with slums and extreme poverty. It is also a fabulous place to sample Bengali cuisine.
What to see & do
The Indian Museum is one of Kolkata’s main museums housing exhibits dating as far back as 1,000 years. Spend your day exclaiming over centuries-old Hindu sculptures, lumpy minerals and a dangling whale skeleton as well as endless pinned insects. Be sure not to miss the impressive life-size reproduction of the 2nd century BC Barhut Gateway. The Victoria Memorial is one attraction you should not miss when visiting this city. The Victoria Memorial is a vast, beautifully proportioned monument made of white marble. Think US Capito meets Taj Mahal. Have a picnic on the lush green lawns behind the monument. Just a stone’s throw away, the Birla Planetarium is one of the world’s largest. Be sure to visit this attraction when it is lit up.
To escape the chaos of this city, head to Maidan, a vast 3km long park that is to Kolkata what Central Park is to New York. This place is great for watching the sunset and families wanting to spend quality time. Explore narrow streets around the BBD Bagh Area where you will find the fanciful Tipu Sultan’s Mosque hidden behind an array of market stalls. Take tram 6 to the fascinating Kumartuli district. It is here that you will find giant sculptures of deities that will eventually be ritually immersed in the Hooghly Rover. From here, you can take the ferry to Howrah Bridge, one of the world’s busiest bridges. The Mullik Ghat flower market, a short walk away from the Howrah Bridge is a must-visit when you’re in this bustling city. Be prepared for a sensory overload of sights and smells. Alternatively, take the metro to the Marble Palace, an odd place that is filled with statues, fine paintings and Belgian glassware.
The NSBIA Airport is 5km east of Dum Dum and it takes approximately 20 minutes to the heart of the city. The metro is apparently the first underground railway in India. It is the cleanest and most reliable way to the city centre but expect it to be rather crowded. Alternatively, head to the prepaid taxi booths at the airport terminals and hop onto Kolkata’s ubiquitous yellow Ambassador cabs to get to the city centre.
The city’s most stress-free form of public transport is the metro. Most attractions are located near metro stations making them easily accessible. Alternatively, visitors can stop the yellow Ambassador cabs to get from one destination to another. Just make sure the meter is switched on. Also, take note that around 1pm, the one-way system that applies on many major roads reverses direction! Avoid taking the buses in the city as they are usually crammed.
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Airports near Kolkata
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