The air is heavy, the streets are crowded, the sky scrapers obstruct the vision and an array of smells waits around every corner and amid all these a rich culture dwells. Yes, your guess is right; here I am talking about the city of Kolkata, lovingly called ‘Amar Kolkata’ (My Kolkata). The city has a culture and history which is around 300 years old. Riding on the wheels of time, Kolkata has went through many transitions, but this erstwhile capital of British India still has preserved its glory and charm in a beautiful manner. Before the British settlement, this place was only a small village. It was only in 1690 that Job Charnok, an agent of the East India Company realized the potential of the place as a trade center and thus developed a settlement there. Guarded by the Hoogly River on the west, a creek to the north and by salt lakes about two and a half miles to the east, Kolkata showed its potential soon after the settlement and thus in the year 1772 it was declared the capital of British India. Today’s Kolkata is certainly different which keeps its steps forward with the modern era, but at the same time holding the hands of its rich heritage. The fairs and festivals form an integral part of the city culture where the mouthwatering delicacies serve as the brand ambassadors. The most fascinating part of Kolkata is its innate love for music, art and dance; not only nationally, but it has stolen the limelight even in the international sphere with its innovative art forms. With its hues of colors, Kolkata can certainly be called a city of contrasts, paradoxes, joys and constant movements.
State- West Bengal
Area- 1,886.67 km2 (728.45 sq mi)
Population- 1, 41, 12536
Time Zone- IST (UTC+05:30)
Languages Spoken- Bengali, English, Hindi, Urdu
Ethnicity- Bengali, Marwari, Bihari and others
Though the tramways have been vanished from the other parts of India, these can still be seen on the streets of Kolkata. While driving through the streets of Kolkata you can still witness people using this particular mood of transportation for their day to day communication. The Kolkata metro rail service also has an interesting history and was the first such service ever introduced in India. The city is connected to the rest of the world through rail, air and water ways; the Kolkata Port is one of the oldest and the largest ports in India which plays a vital role even in the trade and commercial import-export system of the country.
Kolkata: Major Attractions
Though the modern Kolkata has many shopping malls, gardens, water parks and other places of interest, but the medieval buildings and some areas of the city has magnificent surprises to fulfill the appetite of every traveler. A city to rejoice, to make friends, to get lost in the books, to get engaged in a debate as and where you wish, to taste roshogolla and leisure aside the serene ghats of the Ganges, Kolkata never falls short to amaze the travelers with its never ending charm.
While in a trip to Kolkata, you might not want to miss some places to visit such as Birla Planetarium, Victoria Memorial, Bou Bazar, College Street, Babu Ghat, Indian Museum, Indian Coffee House and Dalhousie Square, the list is probably endless.
Things to do in Kolkata
There are so many things to do in Kolkata that you might feel like extending your stay to some more days. From shopping, eating, enjoying to sightseeing, Kolkata stands tall in every particular aspect.
1. Take Delight of a Delicious Feast- Your Kolkata tour is probably incomplete if you do not savor a grand lunch or dinner in the city restaurants. Though you will find almost every variety of cuisine in this metropolitan city, but it is a humble suggestion not to miss the Bengali cuisines which are rich both in aroma and flavor.
2. Take a Boat Ride on the Ganges- You might have traveled on many luxurious ships and cruises, but enjoying the mild lapping of the Gages while riding on a small boat has its own charm. The local oarsman has their folk songs which they sing during boat rides. Though the language may not be understandable, but these certainly will reach your heart.
6. Answer to the Higher Calling- Dakshineshwar , a temple dedicated to Hindu Goddess Kali is considered to be one of the holiest destinations in India. Early morning make a move to this sacred destination which is just few kilometers from the main city. Though you have to stand in queue to get a look of the idol, but a glimpse of the idol of Goddess Kali will surely exhaust all your fatigue. From Dankshineshwar, you can travel to Belur Math through waterways.
The fantastic tapestry created by the glaring shades of Kolkata makes it a city which has a culture and a soul of its own. Come, see and share the spirit of this ever transforming city in your next holiday trip in India.
Recommended Hotels To stay In Kolkata :-
1. ITC Sonar Kolkata – The ITC Sonar has 238 well maintained rooms equipped with modern facilities. The guests have an array of dining options at the hotel with multi-cuisine and specialty restaurant catering to the gourmet needs of the guests. 8 meeting and conference rooms with best facilities and services, for conferences, as well as corporate and social events.
2. Oberoi Grand Kolkata – The Oberoi Grand is the place to stay if you want to indulge yourself in Kolkata and has a prime central location on Jawaharlal Nehru Road, close to the nightlife of Park Street and shopping in New Market. There are a total of 209 well equipped rooms including suites.