Unique & Offbeat Kolkata Activities

Kolkata is a colorful mega-city rich in culture, architecture and of course food, but the best part of traveling the “City of Joy” is the sheer unpredictability! You never know what you’ll stumble upon around on the next street corner of what used to be India’s capital.

Although this variety keeps locals and expats entertained, for travelers with only a short time in Kolkata it is important to make the most of it. Make your trip a little more offbeat and memorable by mixing a few of these unique, offbeat Kolkata activities into your itinerary.

One-Of-A-Kind Attractions + Interesting Sights = Offbeat Kolkata

Science City is a museum, planetarium, aquarium, garden, scientific exhibition and technological showcase all combined into a single grandiose permanent educational center -- one of the surprising offbeat Kolkata activities
Quite possibly the most surprising of all the offbeat Kolkata activities

  Can I Have Some Science, Please?

Combine every single museum, planetarium, aquarium, garden, scientific exhibition and technological showcase that you’ve ever experienced into one grand event. This is Science City, one of the world’s largest establishments of its kind. Think of it like those old famous Worlds Fairs of the 1800s only never-ending 😉

Science City is basically a museum, planetarium, aquarium, garden, scientific exhibition and technological showcase all combined into one grand permanent exhibition -- one of the surprising unique and offbeat Kolkata activities
Science City. The name says it all.

Science City has a continually changing line-up of exhibits, events, activities, seminars and interesting attractions that both inspire and educate. Perfect for the entire family but be warned: you may end up getting sucked in and spending longer here than planned.

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  Would You Like Some Books With That?

Famous for its overwhelming assortment of bookstores specializing in everything from new to old to rare, College Street is often referred to as the most intellectual neighborhood in the entire megacity of Kolkata. Avid readers will easily be able to occupy an entire day here, but even if books are not your thing, College Street is still an enjoyable experience.

College Street is one of the unique and offbeat Kolkata things to do
College Street is one of the unique and offbeat Kolkata things to do

  Given this, it should be no surprise that one of the most popular literature gatherings in the entire world is the annual Kolkata Book Fair. Although it only began 40 years ago, now more than 2.5 million people attend every January! And that number continues to rise.

  And A 250 Year Old Tree To Go…I Mean Grow

Modern life can be a bit busy. Sometimes you just need to find a relaxing place to escape and be surrounded by nature. Thankfully right across the river just west of Fort William is Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Indian Botanic Garden, home to one of the world’s largest trees (in terms of area, not height).

From a distance The Great Banyan looks more like a small forest than a single tree. Up close it is possible to get lost within the Banyan’s vertical hanging roots. Before they put up the fence people used to wander into the tree and never return — think of it like a hedge maze in the Bermuda Triangle. Years ago a road was built around the circumference of the tree, allowing visitors an easily accessible 360° view, but The Great Banyan continues to grow and expand beyond it.

The Great Banyan Tree is not the world's largest tree but the second largest -- another one of the unique and offbeat Kolkata activities
The Great Banyan Tree is a mere 0.95% smaller than the world’s largest tree….so close but so far

  Covering nearly 19,000m² and around 250 years old, The Great Banyan is only 200m² smaller than the world’s largest tree — less than 1%! The title of world’s largest tree belongs to Thimmamma Marrimanu, coincidentally located in     Andhra Pradesh   however it is believed to be less than half the age of The Great Banyan Tree.

  Same Same, But Not…

As a long-term traveler, you get used to visiting a Chinatown in not just every country but every major city. Same same, but different — like always. Except in India, obviously. Kolkata is home to the one and only Chinatown in the entire nation, Tiretta Bazaar.

The unquestionable home of the most delicious and authentic Chinese food in not just Kolkata but all of India, every Tiretta Bazaar trip is primarily a culinary experience served with side dishes of sightseeing, shopping and Mahjong. This is no task to be taken lightly, though. If you wish to survive Tiretta Bazaar and be able to walk away on your own two legs, it is best to bring a few friends to help eat your way through everything that smells and/or looks delicious. (Warning: there will be a lot!)

The only Chinatown in all of India is located in Kolkata -- another one of the unique and offbeat things to do in India
Food? I like food.

  Nowadays Tiretta Bazaar is only a fraction of its former size, but if anything that should only be a further encouragement to visit. Help support a minority population struggling to   preserve their cultural heritage

Travel Different. Travel Offbeat.       Offbeat Travel Guides   Incredible India, Incredible Adventures

Holi festival in Kolkata, the most colorful Indian holiday
Holi festival in Kolkata — not exactly offbeat but definitely unique and colorful 😉

  Balance Comfort With Convenience

No one ever said that navigating the streets of Kolkata was easy, not even a hundred years ago. The best solution is to stay at a proper hotel with both a convenient location and helpful transportation options, such as Park Hotel Kolkata. Eden Gardens, Fort William, and St. Paul’s Cathedral are all part of Maidan, the largest urban park in West Bengal, and just a few hundred metres west of Park Hotel Kolkata.

The more time people spend exploring all the offbeat Kolkata sights, activities and things to do, the more hidden hotspots and unique destinations they inevitability discover 😉

  // burhanuddin paulhami tsai

What are some of your Kolkata favorites?

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About Derek Freal

"Some people eat, others try therapy. I travel."   Cultural enthusiast. Adrenaline junkie. Eater of strange foods. Chasing unique and offbeat adventures around the world since 2008. Derek loves going to new destinations where he does not speak a word of the local language and must communicate with hand gestures, or places where he is forced to squat awkwardly to poo -- supposedly its healthier and more efficient. For more information (about Derek, not squat pooing) including popular posts and videos, check out his bio.

2 thoughts on “Unique & Offbeat Kolkata Activities”

  1. The Science Museum looks as neat as heck. Overall, India is just off the charts when it comes to offbeat or flat out eye-popping activities. My fave? The Open Toilet concept introduced to us by our bus driver in south India. You can guess what it involves LOL. Somewhat offbeat.

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