Top 10 Famous Red Light Areas in Kolkata with Locations Near Me

Kolkata, the City of Joy, conceals within its historical streets and cultural tapestry a lesser-explored facet – the red-light areas. In this exploration, we navigate through the intricate history, evolutionary phases, and present conditions of Kolkata’s top 10 red-light districts. The roots of red-light areas in Kolkata trace back to the colonial era, where regulated districts catered to the needs of British soldiers. Post-independence, districts like Sonagachi emerged, evolving from a residential area into one of Asia’s largest red-light districts. The 1970s and 1980s marked a transformative period with increased activism and the formation of organisations advocating for the rights and dignity of sex workers.

As Kolkata underwent socio-political changes, so did its red-light areas. The 21st century saw the emergence of new districts influenced by globalisation, migration, and shifting societal attitudes. Today, these areas, particularly Sonagachi, stand not only as spaces for adult entertainment but also as communities marked by resilience and support. Nonprofits and government initiatives work towards empowering sex workers, offering healthcare and educational opportunities.

However, the present conditions reveal persistent challenges. The stigma surrounding sex work remains a societal barrier, impeding the integration of sex workers into mainstream society. Economic vulnerabilities and the absence of legal protection further complicate their lives. Our series aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of Kolkata’s red-light areas, from historically significant zones like Sonagachi to emerging districts. Through this exploration, we seek to unveil the stories, complexities, and resilience within the red-light districts of Kolkata, fostering empathy, awareness, and meaningful dialogue. Join us on this journey as we unravel the multifaceted nature of red-light areas in Kolkata!

Everything you need to know about the top 10 red light areas in Kolkata

You will be surprised to know about the top red light areas in Kolkata. These red-light areas have their own history and significance. These red-light areas near me are quite popular and always remain the talk of the town. Hence, we have come up with the complete list of these top 10 red light areas in Kolkata that are worth your notice. Travellers often want to know more about these red-light areas to explore them better. Therefore, let’s explore the list of top red light areas in Kolkata and the conditions of sex workers near me. The list is as follows:


Sonagachi, in North Kolkata, is not just the biggest red-light area in the city but also the largest in all of Asia. It’s like a maze with many small streets where over 21,000 sex workers do their jobs. Sadly, Sonagachi is also known for human trafficking. Because of its huge size, Sonagachi is famous, attracting people from all over the country and even other countries. Around 10,000 sex workers operate here, making it one of the major red-light areas in Asia. What makes Sonagachi even more known is that it’s not as expensive as other red-light areas in India. People can get services for as low as 200 Indian Rupees, which is much less than in other places.

But there’s more to Sonagachi than just its size and affordability. There are organisations like the Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee (DMSC) that are doing important work. Led by sex workers themselves, DMSC provides healthcare, legal help, and job training and fights for the rights of sex workers in Sonagachi. Thanks to these efforts, there’s more awareness about the challenges sex workers face. Steps have been taken to reduce the stigma around their work and improve their lives. Sonagachi is a place with both difficulties and efforts to make things better, showing the many sides of life in this red-light district.


Bowbazar, located in the middle of Kolkata, is a known red-light area that brings a unique aspect to the city. With a history tied to Kolkata’s growth, Bowbazar is now home to about 500 or more sex workers living in many small streets. The reputation of Bowbazar as a red-light district comes from its involvement in illegal prostitution activities. The place has faced police searches in the past, showing the difficulties linked with the world of sex work in this neighborhood.

But Bowbazar is not just about being a red-light area. It has a history that goes way back, starting as a trading hub during the early colonial period. Over time, it turned into a busy neighbourhood with homes and shops. This mix of history and the reality of being a red-light area gives Bowbazar a complex identity. For people visiting, Bowbazar offers more than its reputation. It has old temples, traditional markets, and historical buildings that tell stories of the city’s past. Travellers exploring Kolkata’s different sides might find Bowbazar interesting for its mix of history and the present.


Kalighat, found in South Kolkata, is an important red-light area, making the city diverse. It’s close to the famous Kali Temple and is home to more than 2,000 sex workers. Despite its cultural importance, Kalighat faces a health challenge. There are high rates of HIV and other diseases among the sex workers living here. This makes life tough for them. But there’s good news, too. Some groups are working hard to help.

They provide healthcare services, like testing for HIV, and run campaigns to spread awareness. These efforts aim to make life better for the sex workers in Kalighat and reduce the health risks they face. In Kalighat, you see a mix of religious importance, health challenges, and the real lives of sex workers. The Kali Temple, with its spiritual significance, exists alongside the difficulties of the sex workers in the area. This shows how Kolkata’s city life is a blend of different aspects, where culture and social issues come together in complex ways.


Tollygunge, situated in South Kolkata, is a lesser-known red-light area that adds a distinctive aspect to the city’s landscape. Housing approximately 200 sex workers, Tollygunge is spread across several narrow lanes, creating a unique and challenging environment. The red light area near me has gained notoriety for being associated with illegal prostitution rackets, leading to several police raids conducted in the past.

 These law enforcement actions highlight the complexities and challenges faced by both the authorities and the community of sex workers in Tollygunge. In addition to its red-light identity, Tollygunge has other dimensions that contribute to its character. Historically, Tollygunge has been a significant cultural and film hub in Kolkata, known for the Tollywood film industry. This dual identity, where cultural and entertainment elements coexist with the challenges of the red-light district, paints a nuanced picture of Tollygunge.


Kidderpore stands as yet another red-light area in the city. Hosting approximately 300 sex workers, Kidderpore is spread across various narrow lanes, creating a distinctive presence within the urban landscape. The area has gained notoriety due to its association with illegal prostitution rackets, prompting several police raids in the past.

These law enforcement actions shed light on the challenges faced by both authorities and the community of sex workers in Kidderpore. Beyond its identity as a red-light area, Kidderpore has a rich history that adds depth to its character. The area has witnessed cultural and historical developments over the years, contributing to its unique narrative within the broader context of Kolkata.


Picture Khardah in North Kolkata as a lively neighbourhood that wakes up when the sun goes down. Lit by the city lights, it’s a small but busy red-light area with around 50 sex workers. The area is made up of a bunch of narrow lanes, creating a unique atmosphere. But there’s a side to Khardah that’s not so bright. It’s known for being involved in illegal prostitution rackets, and the police have visited a few times.

This adds a layer of challenges for both the authorities and the people working in Khardah. Even though Khardah is not big, it has its own special place in Kolkata. It’s like a little world where the city’s nightlife meets the stories of the people living there. As the city quiets down, Khardah keeps its stories alive, a quiet echo of lives unfolding in the nighttime.


In the southern reaches of Kolkata lies Khidirpur, a bustling district that reveals its dynamic nature after sunset. This compact area, home to approximately 100 sex workers, weaves through a maze of narrow lanes, creating an intriguing tapestry within the city. Beyond its reputation as a red-light area, Khidirpur is a blend of various elements that add to its vibrancy. Amidst the red glow, the area hosts lively markets, inviting bars, and a mix of activities that define the city’s nightlife.

It becomes a lively hub where the stories of those living in the red-light district converge with the everyday hustle and bustle. As the cityscape transforms with the setting sun, Khidirpur unfolds its dual identity. It is a red-light area with its challenges, but it is also a vibrant space where markets, bars, and the city’s heartbeat converge. Navigating through its narrow lanes, one discovers the complexities that make Khidirpur a distinctive chapter in the urban narrative of Kolkata.

Belilious Road

Step into the nighttime world of Belilious Road in Howrah, where around 50 sex workers bring stories to life along its narrow lanes. This red-light area has its own unique vibe, drawing a high-end crowd into its fold. However, safety for visitors here can be a concern, given its history with illegal activities and police raids.

Belilious Road is more than just red lights; it’s a glimpse into Kolkata’s nightlife. But as you wander through its narrow lanes, you’ll find not only the stories of sex workers but also the mix of a high-end scene against the backdrop of the city’s vibrant yet shadowed night time tales.


Imagine a small corner in Central Kolkata called Beniapukur, where around 100 sex workers create their own stories in the quiet of the night. This place, with its narrow lanes, is like a hidden world with a bit of a shady reputation. In the glow of red lights, Beniapukur becomes a canvas where the lives of these women unfold. They face challenges from illegal activities that cast shadows over this compact area. The past police raids add a touch of suspense to its night time tales.

When the moonlight touches the narrow lanes, Beniapukur becomes a place of both struggle and strength. The women here, despite their seedy reputation, are the heroes of the night, navigating through their own challenges. The red lights, more than just a glow, become symbols in the darkness, marking the silent struggles and untold stories that echo in the intimate spaces of Beniapukur.


Ranaghat is a small town with a unique history. Found in the Nadia district of West Bengal, Ranaghat has been a center for commercial sex work for a long time. Despite its small size, Ranaghat has played a significant role in this aspect of life. The town has stories of both tough times and the strength to face them, painting a picture of the challenges and endurance of those involved in this profession.

Wandering through its quieter lanes, Ranaghat whispers stories of a place that has seen better days. The town’s history echoes in these moments, capturing times of both prosperity and difficulties. As Ranaghat continues to change, its legacy as a red-light area becomes a part of Kolkata’s bigger story, marking the passage of time and the strength of its community.

At the glance

Red light areas and sex work in Kolkata are quite popular. This is the list of the top 10 red light areas in Kolkata. The article discussed how sex workers near me are working in these red-light areas. Though these red-light areas are popular for prostitution and sex services, there is much more to it. The historical significance and present condition of these red light areas have a lot to talk about in terms of their relevance. Therefore, keep explaining these red light areas until we reach their depth.