(Kolkata / Calcutta, West Bengal, India)
Museums in Kolkata exhibit everything from Egyptian mummies to Bengali folk art. Exploring the city's museums is a central component to any Kolkata tour, especially for those curious about the complex multiculturalism at work here.
The Indian Museum is one of the best in the country, while also equally noteworthy is the Asiatic Society, the Kolkata Panorama and Tagore House. If you are here as a family with young children, then do consider a visit to either the Birla Industrial and Technology Museum, or the futuristic theme park simply known as Science City.
Address: Chowringhee Road, Kolkata, India, IN
Tel: +91 033 2249 9979
This vast collection of 100,000 exhibits features everything from dinosaur fossils and traditional art displays, to Egyptian mummies and the alleged ashes of Lord Buddha himself. The Indian Museum is located within the Chowringhee neighbourhood and is the oldest of its kind on the Asian continent. This impressive cultural attraction is well worth setting aside plenty of time to visit, as so many of the exhibits are worthy of lingering, such as the plentiful religious sculptures, the life-size replica of the ancient Barhut Gateway, and the wealth of natural history collections.
Open hours: Tuesday to Sunday, March to November - 10:00 to 17:00; December to February - 10:00 to 16:30
Address: 1 Park Street, Kolkata, India, IN
Tel: +91 033 2229 0779
The Asiatic Society was established in the latter part of the 18th century and in 1814, became responsible for founding one of Asia's very first museums. Although a large chunk of the exhibits were later transferred to the Indian Museum, an appealing collection of artefacts remains, with highlights including some important manuscripts, and a letter signed by Shah Jahan - the emperor of the Mughal Empire between 1628 and 1658, as well as a stone inscription by emperor Ashoka, which is thought to date back almost 2,300 years.
Open hours: Monday to Friday - 10:00 to 17:00
Nehru Children's Museum
Address: 94/1 Chowringhee Road, Kolkata, India, IN
Tel: +91 033 2248 3517
Located on the southerly side of the Chowringhee neighbourhood, the Nehru Children's Museum opened in late 1972 and contains some interesting dioramas, which depict Hindu characters and stories, such as the Ramayana and Mahabharata (famous Sanskrit epics). The exhibits are spread over four floors and include dolls from almost 100 different countries, a wealth of toys and various miniature models.
Open hours: Wednesday to Sunday - 11:00 to 19:00, Tuesday - 15:00 to 19:00
Address: Esplanade West, Kolkata, India, IN
Tel: +91 033 2248 3085
The Kolkata Panorama came into being when the buildings once used by the British administration needed to be filled. This is a multimedia museum, where many fascinating stories are shared and documented for future generations. Guided tours last approximately two hours and transport visitors through Bengali history stretching back more than 500 years.
Open hours: Tuesday to Sunday - 11:00 to 18:00
Birla Industrial and Technology Museum
Address: 18A Gurusaday Road, Kolkata, India, IN
Tel: +91 033 2247 7241
This surprisingly enticing attraction certainly appeals to all ages, especially the younger visitors, who enjoy the innumerable interactive exhibits and hands-on fun. The Birla Industrial and Technology Museum was set up in 1959 and also features regular demonstrations of a scientific nature, as well as displays relating to subject matters such as electricity, mining, computers, television and communication.
Open hours: daily - 10:00 to 17:30
Address: Bratacharygram, Joka, Kolkata, India, IN
Tel: +91 033 2453 5972
The Gurusaday Museum collects tribal and folk art from across Bengal. Displayed artefacts include 17th-century scroll paintings, wooden carvings and countless ceramic pieces. One of the most interesting art forms on display is 'patachitras', a mixed-media art form that fuses textiles, pottery and even cow manure.
Open hours: Tuesday to Sunday - 10:00 to 17:00
Address: Rabindra Bharati University, 246D Rabindra Sarani, Kolkata, India, IN
Tel: +91 033 2269 5242
Rabindranath Tagore was an all-purpose poet, painter, novelist, playwright and musician who exerted a profound influence on Bengali culture at the turn of the 20th century.
His house was built in 1784 and is now a shrine honouring his life and work. His personal effects, excerpts of his work and photographs from his life are all on display here, together with some striking contemporary paintings, while between March and October, the sound and light show at 20:00 is another draw card.
Open hours: Tuesday to Sunday - 10:30 to 16:30
Admission: charge, discount for students
Address: JBS Haldane Avenue, Kolkata, India, IN
Tel: +91 033 2285 4343
This is the largest science centre in India
. It operates several interactive exhibits that explore scientific themes in nature, technology and history. One of the most popular attractions is the Time Machine, which whisks riders through the universe in an immersive simulator capsule. Other highlights at Science City include the 3D Vision Theatre, an aviary, a wrap-around cinema, and the planetarium and Space Theatre, as well as the lifelike animatronic dinosaurs within the Evolution Park exhibit. Programmes are in both English and Hindi.
Open hours: daily - 09:00 to 21:00
Admission: charge, discounts for groups