Ideal Duration : 2-4 days Best Time : October to March
"The city of Joy" Kolkata Tourism Kolkata, India's second biggest city, is a perpetually ongoing festival of human existence, concurrently luxurious and squalid, refined and frantic, pointedly futuristic, while beautifully in decay. A vibrant 350-year-old metropolis located on India's Eastern Coast, the capital of West Bengal thrives on contradictions and imposing spectacles; nothing is commonplace in this city. Famously known as the City of Joy, Kolkata is, in every sense, the artistic, cultural and intellectual capital of the country. Kolkata's streets are vivid, hectic, chaotic, and yet, brimming with life and creativity. Driven by the indomitable spirit of the self-made middle class, the city has created a beautiful juxtaposition of the old colonial-era charm with the nascent upcoming hipster culture that thrives amongst the city's millennial residents. Starting from admiring the flourishing art scene in the city to going on rewarding gastronomical explorations to wandering amidst the countless bazaars to sitting by the banks of the Hooghly and enjoying a peaceful sunset, Kolkata is soaked in layers and layers of heritage and culture, and peeling off each layer to look beneath the hood is a very rewarding, once-in-a-lifetime experience. As the famous quote goes, "If you want a city with a soul, come to Calcutta". Formerly the capital of the British empire before the government was shifted to Delhi, Kolkata has a distinct tinge of its royal past lingering in every nook and cranny of the city. If you want to soak in some of the city's regal past, take a walk along the streets of North Kolkata, which houses some of the oldest mansions in the city, swathed with vines and a persistent sense of aristocratic pride. Kolkata is home to Rabindranath Tagore's ancestral house, which has now been converted into a museum and houses a staggering collection of family portraits and paintings. There are plenty of ghats What's Great? Beautiful and majestic. One of the cheapest cities to live in the world. Well connected to the rest of India. Home to a charming culture. Ideal for cultural travelers. What's not so Great? Crowded during the festive seasons. Not ideal in monsoons. For Whom If you're a history buff, you will be pleased to know that Kolkata is home to the country's oldest and largest museum, the Indian Museum. You can spend an entire day browsing through the plethora of galleries in the museum that display fossils, antiques, armours and even Mughal-era paintings. Other buildings of historic significance include the Shaheed Minar, and the Victoria Memorial, which is a mesmerizing building made entirely of white marble, commemorating the memory of Queen Victoria. If you're a photography enthusiast, Kolkata has just the place for you. Kumartuli, in the northern half of the city, is a neighbourhood where hundreds of clay idols of gods and goddesses are created by artists, and you can walk around the multitude of lanes and bylanes which house rows and rows of clay idols, each in a different stage of completion. History of Calcutta The history of Kolkata is intimately related with its invention during the British rule dating back 300 years ago. Earlier known as Calcutta, it originated as a capital of British India in 1960 when East India Company dominated the country. Struggling to develop during Britain?s power war, most of its essential developments took place in the 17th and 18th century. Later in the 19th century, Kolkata become one of the central point of India?s freedom struggle and after the capital shifted to New Delhi in 1911, it became a bustling port and the new cultural capital of India. Read more aboutHistory of Kolkata Understanding regions of Kolkata Flinging yourself through the bus window, you can see how variedly the city is divided into definitive areas, each of them with a significance of their own. The old world charm of the city is diversified into North Kolkata, South Kolkata, Old Kolkata, Central area, Chinatown and Suburbs (Howrah, Nadia, Hoogly etc.) which brings together the flavour of northeast into the city. The North part is the oldest part of Kolkata dotted by narrow little lanes and historic architecture. Calcutta - The Cultural Capital of India Kolkata is not called the 'City of Joy' for nothing. Once the administrative capital of India until 1912, the current capital of West Bengal is unofficially India's cultural capital. The beautiful confluence of both the native and the western culture can be found here, be it in the majestic charm of Fort William and Victoria Memorial, or the aura of places like Dakshineswar Kali Mandir and Kalighat Mandir. Kolkata is equally famous for its cuisines. From the spicy fish curry to the mouth-watering Sandesh and rosogollas, Kolkata is a literal paradise for the foodies residing in India. Snacks like Kathi roll and puchkas (Bengali version of the famous golgappas) are not far behind. However, this is not the end. The obsession for sports, primarily the cricket and soccer, and literature in this city is world famous. No wonder why sleuths like Feluda and Byomkesh Bakshi have their origins in Kolkata, apart from the crowd puller matches at Salt Lake Stadium and Eden Gardens. Kolkata is also popular for its underground metro, the first of its kind in India, and a must-visit if you're in Kolkata. For those, who visit the city at the time of Durga Puja, the cultural heaven just descends here at this time. To sum up, nowhere will the essence of the culture in India seem as magical as in Kolkata. Read aboutFestivals of Kolkata Shopping In Kolkata Being the major metropolitan city in the East, Kolkata has always shared its fair part of the limelight, owing to the rich cultural heritage surrounding the state, and also it is a major port city since the times of the British. Kolkata is also famous for the cheap stuff available owing to its proximity to all the major ports around the globe. Read here to get the best ofShopping Experience In Kolkata. Itinerary Day 1 -Reach Kolkata by morning, and after some rest, go for a tour of the majestic Victoria Memorial. Not very far away from the Memorial is the ancient St. Paul's Cathedral, with Gothic architecture of the pre-1857 era. Not very far from the Memorial is the famous Maidan, which also houses the Market Area, another tourist hotspot of Kolkata. If you're a solid bargainer, you are bound to strike gold here. Don't forget to savor the exquisite Bengali sweets and snacks at KC Das Store, only 600 m. away from the New Market. Day 2 -Start your day with the blessings of Goddess Kali in Kolkata. Whether from Kalighat Temple or the Dakshineswar Mandir. From there, you can visit the holy Belur Math, which also has glimpses of the famous Ramakrishna Mission. In the evening, go for the ferry service between Kolkata and Howrah, where you can witness the beauty of Howrah bridge from the Hooghly river, which glows beautifully in the night.Day 3 -Check out the National Library, which houses over 2 lakh books as per the records, perfect for absolute bookworms. Netaji Bhavan, which was the same home from where Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose escaped the house arrest, is not very far from National Library, a mere 13 min. ride via Belvedere Road. Northwards, after a ride of 23 minutes from the National Library, you will come to the famous University of Calcutta and the College Street, the popular ' adda' for debates and discussions, made extremely famous by the stories of Byomkesh Bakshi. By the time you'll leave Kolkata, you'll take with yourself a nice bag of memories. Restaurants and Local Food in Kolkata Kolkata has been known to start the culture of eating out among Indians. With that to its credit and being a glittering and colourful city, Kolkata offers one more choices than they can ask for. However, the town is best known for local Bengali cuisine that one must indulge in, while here. Most of the Bengali cuisine food revolves around rice and fish, and you will find many version and delicacies of these. Try theMacher Jholand thePhuchka,your very own 'golgappa' or 'panipuri'.Also, the Bengali sweets, popular all across is something you just cannot miss. Find them here in there most authentic and delicious form. Do tryRashogulla, Chamcham, Rasmalai, Shondesh, Cream Chupand other Bengali sweets.Apart from Bengali cuisine, one can also enjoy fine English cuisine, continental, North Indian cuisine, South Indian cuisine, Mexican and Italian cuisine at various restaurants spread across the city. You will also find an instance of Tibetan food, with Momos and Thuppa being quite popular and widespread in the city.Kolkata is also the place where Indian-Chinese cuisine started. Indian Chinese cuisine is basically Indian style preparation of Chinese dishes, typically having a lot of spices and imparted with very strong flavour. Hence, you can enjoy this blend in its very own hometown. Click here to read the list of 20 places to enjoy the Street Food in Kolkata View 12 Restaurants in Kolkata >> Oct-Maris the best time to visit Kolkata Kolkata, with an eastern tropical climate, has light winters and hot, rather humid summers. Summers are the least advisable options for a traveler, and monsoons, although lovely, is not exactly the best season worth a visit. The only season left for a nice visit is the autumn and winter, which starts from October, when the climate is pleasant, and the mood festive. This is the season which witnesses the peak arrival of travelers, especially during Durga Puja. Weather in Kolkata Loading... Kolkata in Winter (October - March) This is the peak season for travelers and the most advisable as well. In the autumn, which begins from October, the climate is pleasant; neither too hot nor too cold. Since Durga Puja falls in the same season, therefore the maximum tourism happens at the same time. Winters, that begin from November onwards, are also mild, compared to the extremely cold climate in the North India, and hence worth a visit, although it is recommended to have light woolens with yourself. Kolkata in Summer (April - June) Summer starts setting in from the end of March, and this is the worst time for a visit to Kolkata. The temperatures go as high as 45°C, and apart from being hot, the climate is extremely humid too. Kolkata in Monsoon (July - September) Monsoon season is well known in Kolkata for heavy showers. Although lovely in terms of the climate, owing to the heavy rains, this is not also the best time for a visit, although budget travelers may try their luck here. The monsoon slows down in September, leading to pleasant evenings. Monthly Weather in Kolkata Month Avg. Minimum (°C) Avg. Maximum (°C) January 14 26 February 19 30 March 22 32 April 27 35 May 26 37 June 27 35 July 27 32 August 27 32 September 27 33 October 25 32 November 20 29 December 16 27 Events in Kolkata Sur Jahan 2nd - 4th February For Sufi lovers, there is nothing better than the Sufi Sutra International Sufi Music Festival. Hosting artists from more than 4 nations this year, it just promises to get bigger and better in its next edition.
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