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Kolkata

Kolkata

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Overview

"I don't feel very creative when I'm abroad somehow, I need to be in my chair in Calcutta!" - Satyajit Ray
 

The city that Dominique Lapierre has immortalized as the "The City of Joy" is also one which Rudyard Kipling branded as "The City of Dreadful Night".

Spend time in Calcutta, and you will come to agree with both these points of view. It all depends on when and where in Calcutta you live, work, and play.

You may not have known this, dear readers, but Calcutta was once also dubbed "A City of Palaces" for it was the only city in India at one time that boasted of the highest concentration of great buildings built by the British. Interestingly, some of these structures were replicated in the dwellings of the local gentry.

Calcutta, then, rather like an onion, is made of many layers. Our attempt is to give you a peek beneath the scuffed and grimy upper layers into the real beauty that lies beneath. Each era has left indelible marks on Calcutta; it is these traces we will seek to unearth together on our walks and tours. Do join us on this exciting voyage of discovery!

Rechristened Kolkata some seven years ago, this city, heir to a glorious colonial past, then ravaged by some thirty plus years of willful neglect and decay, is now tantalized by the prospect of a resurgent future. There is no better time to explore the city.
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Places to see

1. Dalhousie Square
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2. Victoria Memorial
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3. Tagore House
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4. Indian Museum
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5. Marble Palace
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6. Kalighat Kali Temple
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7. Mother Teresa's House
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8. Jain Temples
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9. Flower Market
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10. St. John's Church
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Eat and Drink

1. Chelo Kabab at Peter Cat
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2. Rossogolla, Sandesh and Madhupark from Chittaranjan.
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3. Kati Kabab Rolls, if possible from Nizam's, if not from Shenaz or Kusum around Park Street.
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4. Mixed Chowmein at Tangra to get a taste of Calcutta Chinese.
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5. Bhetki Fish Muniere at Mocambo
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6. Bhel Muri at the roadside 'Flavours' in Lansdowne, now known as, Sarat Bose Road.
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7. Biryani at Royal Indian Hotel
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8. Beef Steak with cheap Beer at Olypub.
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9. Chicken Croissant at Flurys
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10. Thali at Kewpie's
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What to do

1. Browse through second-hand books in College Street.
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2. Play football at the Maidan and maybe Cricket too.
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3. Sip hot coffee and indulge in adda at the Coffee House.
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4. Go Pandal Hopping during Durga Puja.
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5. Take a ferry across the Hooghly and walk back on the Howrah Bridge.
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6. Ride a tram along the Maidan.
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7. Volunteer at Mother Teresa's.
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8. Climb the Saheed Miner
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9. Walk around the largest banyan tree in the world at the Botanic Gardens.
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10. Watch an English play.
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11. Watch the races at the Turf Club adjoining the Maidan on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
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Where and what to shop

1. Hand crafted clothes and everything else at FabIndia.
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2. Hand printed clothes at Anokhi, Forum Mall.
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3. New Market for pretty much everything from 'pins to pachyderms'.
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4. Bangles from behind New Market.
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5. Tea from Dolly's Tea Shop.
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6. Books at the Oxford Bookstore, Park Street.
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7. Jute Bags from BallyFabs and Coast.
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8. Tangail Sarees from Gariahat.
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9. Paintings of emerging artists from The Verandah.
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10. Furniture from Cocoon.
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Before you go

1. Prepare to chat long hours over non-topics. In other words 'adda'.
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2. Listen to some Baul music.
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3. Buy earplugs.
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4. Watch Indian Rendezvous - Kolkata Edition from Discovery Travel and Living
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5. Read Gitanjali for which Rabindranath Tagore won the Nobel Prize.
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