Officially called Jawaharlal Nehru Road, Chowringhee cuts through the heart of Kolkata. Running alongside the Maidan park, this wide avenue is a must for visitors keen to experience the soul of the city through its jumble of colonial-era buildings, shops, markets, and sidewalk stalls.
Sweeping south from the Esplanade to the Lower Circular Road, Chowringhee is the hub of Kolkata life. Lining it are stately colonial buildings such as the 1870s-built Oberoi Grand Hotel, the Indian Museum, and gold-domed Metropolitan Building; all overlooking the Maidan and its Victoria Memorial. In between are boutiques, banks, offices, and restaurants huddled alongside tourist shops, food stalls, and street hawkers. Several Kolkata attractions sit just off Chowringhee, including the New Market bazaar and St. Paul’s Cathedral.
The best way to absorb the sights of Chowringhee is on foot on your own, giving you the time and scope to explore as you wish. That said, almost all Kolkata tour itineraries take in the avenue—transporting you along it to see sights such as the Maidan and Victoria Memorial.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Chowringhee is an essential stop for travelers wanting to experience authentic, everyday Kolkata.
- Wear comfy shoes: walking the full length of the avenue takes around 30 minutes.
- The hawkers on the street can be persistent: be prepared.
- While the sidewalks are generally wheelchair- and stroller-accessible, they can be very crowded.
- For a breather from the commotion, head for the open spaces of the Maidan.
How to Get There
Chowringhee stretches around 1.5 miles (2.5 kilometers) through the center of Kolkata, making it hard to miss on any exploration of the city. See it as part of a private sightseeing tour, or catch a cab or metro train here to stroll, explore, and shop. There are four metro stations along its length: Esplanade, Park Street, Maidan, and Rabindra Sadan.
When to Get There
Chowringhee is busy all day, every day; with traffic and crowds at their peak during the morning and evening rush hours. To experience the street at its quietest and most atmospheric, head out early, when the dawn light casts everything in a sepia glow.
Must-See Sights on Chowringhee
Be sure to explore the streets off Chowringhee to discover lesser-known Kolkata sights. Follow Nellie Sen Gupta Sarani road to New Market—a vast indoor labyrinth of souvenir and clothes stalls. Alternatively, dive down Sudder Street to view the elegant, balcony-fronted Fairlawn Hotel, or follow Park Street to the South Park Cemetery, an 18th-century burial ground stuffed with ornate, overgrown tombs.
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- St Paul's Cathedral
- MP Birla Planetarium
- Victoria Memorial Hall
- Kalighat Kali Temple
- Indian Museum
- Mother House of the Missionaries of Charity
- St. John’s Church
- Howrah Bridge
- Eden Gardens
- College Street
- Nakhoda Mosque (Nakhoda Masjid)
- Marble Palace
- Tagore's House (Jorasanko Thakur Bari)
- Pareshnath Jain Temple (Parasnath Jain Temple)