Small by-lanes lined with aging three-storey houses; groups of friends indulging in an ‘adda’, a gossip session, on street corners over endless cups of ‘cha’ or tea; old women chatting from across their balconies—these are just some of the colorful sights of the real Kolkata. The slowest of all the metros, Kolkata may be growing with its swanky new airport and busy Park Street restaurants, but at heart, it remains a laidback city with high cultural values.
Kolkata is a city steeped in tradition, culture, and history. It’s a city where poets like Rabindranath Tagore found their muses and left behind their marks on degenerating walls; where Saint Ramakrishna helped many discover spirituality, and where his chief disciple, Swami Vivekananda, started the Ramakrishna Mission. Kolkata is in equal parts, old-school and contemporary. Home to pristine monuments from the colonial era, jazz bars that cling to the nostalgia of a golden era, crumbling old buildings, modern architecture, bustling markets and thumping nightclubs, the city has much to offer to those who really set out to explore it.
From shopping and eating, to getting your cultural fix, there’s something for everyone in Kolkata, the City of Joy. While visiting with your family or your friends, head to New Market, Gariahat market or Dakshinapan for some authentic Kolkata bargains, especially for Dhakai saris in the traditional Bengali red and white.
Sample the delectable phuchkas (pani puris) or jhalmuri (a type of chaat) from roadside vendors, or gorge on world-famous Bengali sweets like rossogolla or kheer kodom from a corner shop.
Don’t let the Kolkata summer deter you—head to the city in May and partake in the Rabindra Jayanti Festival, one that marks great poet Rabindranath Tagore’s birthday. The festivities really see the old city come to life, with men and women, young and old, taking to the streets to enact his creations. If you’re on a romantic trip with your partner, catch a play at Nandan, the government-aided arts and cultural centre, or go for a boat ride at Nalban Boating Complex.
Above all else, plan a trip around September-October to witness Durga Puja, whether with family, friends, as backpackers, or even as a solo traveler. The whole city comes alive as it celebrates the arrival of Ma Durga, with pandals full of rejoicing Bengalis set up every few feet. The trick is to relax and let yourself go, and allow the city’s laidback pace to pull you in.
Kolkata’s transport infrastructure may appear to be stretched thin, but it still is extremely efficient and continues to serve its growing population. Take your pick from the bus, metro, local train, taxi, auto-rickshaw and even hand-pulled rickshaws to move around. While the vintage tram has been all but stopped, there are a few lines that remain open for tourists.
On a daily basis there are approximately 327 flights that operate at Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport.IndiGo, SpiceJet and Air India are the most popular airline brands that fly frequently to this airport.
Besides flying you can also reach Kolkata through train.Howrah Jn, Kolkata, Sealdahare some of the most popular train stations in Kolkata.On an average about 200+ trains pass through Kolkata on a daily basis.Barddhaman to Kolkata, Asansol to Kolkata, Durgapur to Kolkataare some of the most popular routes to Kolkata with 387, 314, 271 trains weekly respectively.
By road Kolkata is surrounded by Haora, Bally, Dum Dum which are 4.6 km, 6.59 km, 6.82 km away respectively. These places are ideal spots for people to plan their short weekend break.
Kolkata has a total of 227 hotels.There are 227 hotels in Kolkata with the popular ones being The Oberoi Grand, ITC Sonar Kolkata, Taj Bengal Hotel, The Park Kolkata, Hyatt Regency Kolkata, Swissotel Kolkata etc.
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