Welcome to the land of Sauravda, Sushmita Sen and Satyajiit Ray!
Yes, the Charnock City which for some is nothing beyond rosogollos and football but ‘aamar’ Kolkata is much more. Eccentric by nature and compulsive by habit, the native Bengalis are a delightful community of ‘Bhodrolok’ who are passionate about everything. Rechristened from the erstwhile name Calcutta, Kolkata sightseeing spots are plenty, I would like introduce you to some of it.
Kolkata- some of the must-see places
Kolkata has a lot to offer; check out the Howrah Bridge or the Vidyasagar Setu depending on from which side you make it to the city.
Tourist places in Kolkata are-
- Science City- This newly constructed premise with permanent and temporary exhibits popularize and simplify science for you
- Birla Planetarium- This place gives you a peek into the cosmos through its telescope
- Nicco Park- A child’s escapade with rides both wet and dry; it exhilarates and entertains beyond words.
- Indian Museum for some of the remarkable archaeological remains for history enthusiasts
- Victoria Memorial- The befitting memorial for the queen which is a museum too and the gardens around which is the favorite hotspot for morning walkers
- Alipore Zoo- one of the oldest zoos of the region that has been my childhood haunt
- Kalighat, the must-go temple of Kali
- Dakshineshwar- another Maa Kali temple on the banks of Hoogly
Find your way around the city
There is no dearth of taxis and buses both state run and private which ply round the clock. For some close connecting places, there are autos too which can get you in the minimum amount of time braving the city traffic.
For some delicious food of Kolkata
If you have bucks to splurge, then hit the five star cuisines; the favorite of mine is La Cucina in Hotel Hyatt for Italian spreads but if you are up for modestly expensive food, then try any of the restaurants lining Park Street. Some of the newest malls like Quest and the good old Forum are worth shopping and eating out.
When should you come here?
Anytime is a good time for a visit to Kolkata. But I would strongly recommend avoiding the summer months when it is excruciatingly hot. If you have monsoon in mind, then brace for water logging but it can be fun. Best are the Durga Puja months when it is mad in the streets. Or the winter months when it is carnival time everywhere.
Author’s note– (Could not help and include some of the Bengali eccentrics)
- Not many places in the face of earth would have people coming up for help even for strangers and more so for women; try outraging the modesty of a woman in the roadside and you will not find a place to hide from angry mobs
- Football mania; the roadside chaiwala is the hub of all activity when there is a football match where there is rejoice with every native goal and a mournful sigh with every missed
- Eden Gardens is the heart throb of cricket and Kolkata where the crowds have been known to dictate matches; remember the 1996 World Cup match where Srilanka was declared winner in the face of crowd riots! Although unsporting yet none messes with our sport sentiments.
- The ‘para culture’ and the ‘addas’ where every known topic to a man will have Bengalis debating on it and not just in the form of a friendly banter but in a heavy argumentative discussion.
- And then there are schools and institutions where countless mothers wait for their children to disperse with their lunch boxes and umbrellas ready as if these were not students attending one regular day of school, but fighters returning from tedious wars.
- The lazy afternoon nap of every Bengali when the worldly affairs should stand still till he gets up and resumes.
- Finally, the sweets of Bengal where no trip to Bengal is complete without the ‘misthi doi’ and the ‘rosogollas’ and the tempting Bengali fare with a compulsive meal of ‘bhaat ar maacher jhol’ a.k.a rice and fish curry
You are right! Somewhere stuck between the paradigms of ‘babuism’, bourgeois, nouvea riche cults is the all-so-volatile Bengal.
Simply thrown out of gear by sheer red, marxism or the mere indiscipline of a middle class mentality. Live to eat and shove work for tomorrow. It’s sad to see the sheer intellectual capital get dilapidated by the years.
As a devoted Calcuttan Mr. Ayon, I choose to accept some chosen words of appreciation for my city- ‘volatile’ for its volatility woke India from the slumber of dependency on the British rule and the ‘sheer intellectual capital’ which if not in Bengal shines in other cities like Delhi! We live to eat because our food is worth dying for!
I am sure you would agree to that.