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, West Bengal
(Kolkata is also known as Calcutta)
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|On this page: History, Culture, Travel within city, Food, Nightlife, Shopping, Hotels, Articles|
A city of festivals would be the correct synonym for this gorgeous city. Behind the bejeweled doors of each house, incenses hazes, and gleaming flowers wallop with the greenery to herald a flavor of carousing. The air is perfumed with the delicate smell of vermilion, camphor, ghee, the spiky odor of new-fangled clothes and pungent whiff from the kitchen. Thrilled prattle of voices mixes with the timbre of rituals definitely would provide you a great sense of homely feeling.
To the outside world Kolkata, brings forth the sacred remembrance of Mother Teresa whose selfless and kindhearted services through a new life to thousands. This city would be remembered forever as the birth place of some of the illustrious Indians like Rabindranatha Tagore and Sathyajith Ray.
Kolkata’s long association with the British Raj has been highly rewarded in terms of marvelous Victorian style mansions. These proud testimonials of an elegant past have been conserved as national heritage cites. The Victoria Memorials, The Indian Museum, St Pauls Cathedral, Belvedere Estate, Marble Palace, National Library of India, Jorasanko Thakur Bari, Writers' building, Shaheed Minar and Raj Bhavan the city is bestowed with a plethora of spectacles that gives you an unforgettable holidaying.
Kolkata presents a friendly attitude to all that is new and that has gained high dividends to this second populous city in India. Industrial icons like Bata India, ITC Limited, Coal India Limited and Birla Corporation choose the friendly ambiance of the city to be their headquarters.
To some Kolkata is the city of joy and others name it as the city of dreams. Whatever it may be, it is rest assured that this marvelous city would mesmerize you with its narrow galleys, tram journeys and the old world charm. This vibrant city with lots of temples, zoo, museums and science centers still keeps the melancholy charisma of the innate environs and by lanes. So tie your tour bags chart your tour and explore the city that holds effervescent amusements.
If the spectator in you are not satisfied with the ordinary charms and wants to witness something unique, you can definitely choose Kolkata as your dream destination. Perhaps Kolkata would be the sole place where you can have the luxury of a tram ride. The mere glance of the Kolkata railway station and the colossal Howrah Bridge is adequate to quench the thirsty traveler. If a tram ride through boulevard, covered with colonial buildings delights you, if the blend of pastoral and offbeat thrills you, if you are fond of artistic performances, Kolkata would be a perfect location where you are sure to come across with the hodgepodge of all the things that tourists look for.
Must See/Do: Victoria Memorial, Fort William, Howrah Bridge, Marble Palace Mansion
Destinations in this region: Howrah
When you go for currency exchange in Kolkata you have to declare the transaction receipt which is called an encashment certificate, along with showing your passport, writing the passport number, name and signing the letter.
by Madhav Srinivasan on Nov 25, 2011
Well-known as the largest mangrove forest in the world, and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the virgin forests of Sundarbans are a part of the Ganga delta spread over an area of about 10,000 sq km. by Madhav Srinivasan on Oct 03, 2011
Dussehra, one of the most colourful festival in India, and each part of the country has a unique and magnificent way of celebrating this event. Read on to see what this festival has in store for you...
Travel NewsView all
Feb 17, 2012 03:26 PM
Kolkata might be soon painted in blue. But what is the motive behind it? And why is the cash strapped city bent on allocating funds to coloring the whole town? Read on to know more… Jan 09, 2012 11:14 AM
Indian Railways is mulling over the prospects of a new Maitree Express between Bangladesh and India. The train will be called Maitree Express. Read on to know more…
During the 19th century the city was divided in to two, the white and the black town. As the name suggests, the former was the dwelling places of the English men and the poor Indians inhabited the latter. There was wide disparity between these two sectors. But we cannot underestimate the contributions of the English and it was their progressive reforms that helped the city to achieve a rapid growth in the industrial field.
A rapid growth in the fields of industrial, textile and jute sectors cause pave way to a massive investment in infrastructure developments like railroads and telegraph. The English education gave birth to so many illustrious Indians who motivated the people to fight against the foreign rule. Till Independence the Bengalis were the forerunners of Indian freedom movement and their valor and patriotism marks a golden era in the history of Indian Independence movements.
A quick glance of the bygone days of Kolkata reveals before us so many untoward incidents like the black hole tragedy, partition of Bengal and the worst ever famine of 1943. Despite all these, the city has shown a progressive growth in all areas.
History of Kolkata is the history of Indian communist movement. It is amazing to believe that for so many decades the Communist Party of India is ruling the state and that no other political parties in the state was not even able to form a strong opposition on the floor of the legislature. Such is the influence of the leftist ideology on the people. However it is hard to digest that the city, which has been an astound follower of the communist ideology, is an abundant reservoir of marvelous shrines and temples.
Kolkata and Rabindranath Tagore are almost synonymous, so a visit to Shantiniketan, the first of its kind open university and a carriage ride on Chaurangee lane is the best treat for history buffs.
To get a clean picture of the cultural life of the city is to be a part of the local chat session with a Bengali. Festivals and fiestas mark the cultural ambiance of the city. Kolkata is a home to varied film festivals, folk fairs and music conferences. These festivals hold much relevance in the life style of the people.
Renowned for the world class cinematographers, this city is an abode of classic Indian cinema. There is no other Indian like Sathyajit Ray who has gained worldwide accolades for his contribution to the Indian cinema. Apart from this the city serves as a good podium for literary, artistic aspirants.
One among the characteristic features of Kolkata is the neighbourhood or paras, which helps to develop a great sense of community feeling. Renowned for the great literary figures of the 19th century, the city still upholds the rich tradition of literary appreciation and the large scale participation of people in the annual book fair shows the positive attitude of the new generation towards the literature.
As the term Kolkata is a derivative of Kalighat, which means the abode of Goddess Kali, Durga Puja is the most significant and the most fascinating event of all other festivals. Other prominent festivals are, Diwali, Jagaddhatri Puja, Holi, Eid, Christmas, Poila Boishak., Rath Yatra, Saraswati Puja and Poush Parbon.
Travel within city
The cheapest mode of transport in Kolkata is the Metro. Covering a distance 17 kilometers costs a mere Rs 8. India’s first underground railway service was the Metro in Kolkata. It runs through the heart of the city and is accessible to any part of the city. In peak hours the Metro service is available once every eight minutes. Though it is functional from seven in the morning up till ten in the night, visitors must keep in mind that on Sundays the Metro service starts only from two in the afternoon. The people of Kolkata are congenial by nature so it is not uncommon to have someone get up and offer you their seats with a wide smile on their face. Even if you would rather use the other means of transport one ride across the entire 17 stations from Dum Dum to Tollygunge is a must do when in Kolkata.
Buses are the most popular mode of transport in Kolkata when it comes to travelling between the city and the suburbs. Various bus services run in and around Kolkata from government run to privately owned buses. There are also mini buses. The fares range from Rs 10 to 15. Buses are an ideal choice if you plan on travelling a long distance or going to the suburbs or to those places that are not in the vicinity of the Metro stations. Most long distance bus services offer comforts like push back or sleeper seats, video coaches and air conditioning. Local travel tours are arranged by tour operators and luxury buses are offered as part of this service.
The local train service across various city points is another option. The local train network is spread across different points in the city. A total distance of around hundred kilometers is covered by these local trains. Most fares cost less than Rs 10. Cheaper than the metro, it is a good option if you are the kind of a person who likes exploring different options when in a new city.
After landing in Kolkata cabs would be the easiest choice to reach the city from the airport or the railway station. The meters in Kolkata are not standardized so remember to ask for the conversion chart that would indicate the exact payable amount for the number indicated by the meter. The cab fares should ideally be around Rs 15 for the first two kilometers and around Rs 3 for two hundred meters from thereon. Kolkata Cabs is the leading Cab Service and you can book yourself a cab by calling them on 03344333222.
For a night out, cabs are the safest option if you have missed the last metro train or the last bus. The nighttime cab fares are more expensive than daytime fares, but it is a small price to pay for the safety it provides.
Auto Rickshaw / Rickshaw
Rickshaws are of three kinds. The usual three wheeled motor one, one which is pedaled by the rickshaw driver and a third one which is a two-wheeled cart pulled by a rickshaw puller. The motorized three wheeled rickshaws are not like the rickshaws found in other parts of India. They ply on a fixed route and the fare is fixed. So these rickshaws are more like smaller forms of public transport. The two wheeled carts are an experience by themselves. Being taken across the town by the sheer physical strength and manual effort of the rickshaw driver is an experience only Kolkata can offer. Many consider it barbaric and it has been prohibited in most parts of the city. These rickshaws charge from anywhere between Rs 10 - 20 per km.
Kolkata has a local tram facility. Slow moving coaches on tracks that have been laid in the middle of the road. There are 37 different tram routes in Kolkata. Most places of interest from a tourist’s point of view can be accessed by using Kolkata’s tram service. The green traveler would probably like to use the tram service to move about as trams are an eco friendly option. At any rate trams are a unique way to experience the old world charm that Kolkata has to offer.
A ferry service is available to cross the river and this is the best way to avoid the traffic snarl on Howrah Bridge. The ferry service is highly affordable as the minimum fare is Rs 2 and the maximum is Rs 5. The entire distance is covered in a maximum of fifteen minutes.
Nearly all taxis in the city are the good old Ambassador, make sure you a get a fairly good condition one since most of them are rickety. Avoid the peak hour traffic especially in and around the Howrah Bridge since a traffic jam here can take an hour or more to clear on a bad day. Mid day is the best time to get around the city smoothly.
The home food of Bengal is rice, lentils, and fish curry which are locally called as Bhat with macher jhol. Rice is complemented by fried bread (luchi) and tarkari (fried vegetables). Sweets are an inevitable part of Bengali cuisine. Sandesh, Chanar Payesh and Rosogolla are some of the best category of sweets that one should taste while in Kolkata.
Bengalis are considered as very fond of good food and traditional Bengali cuisine is a testimony to their food habit. Each locale in Bengal has an exceptional sweet of its own. Sharbhaja of Krishnanaga, Langcha and mihidana-sitabhog of Bardhaman, chanabora of Murshidabad there is a long list of sweets. To have a taste of exotic Bengali recipe, you have to peep in chosen restaurants like Aheli and Suruchi.
It would be very easy to get food of one’s choice in Kolkata. Thai and Mexican food is the recent strikers in the food chart of the locals. One would find lots of Pizza huts and fast food corners throughout the length and breadth of the city. If you have a good appetite, Kolkata would be the perfect place to dwell in.
When in Kolkata one has to savor the famous Macchi (Fish) curry and Roshogulla.
Kolkata's discos are a great place to chill out in. Of the night activities take a bursting flare at midnight in the nightspots. These nightclubs would help you to shed all your hasty activities of the day and provide you with some good music, excellent dancing floors and fine quality beverages.
Formerly known as the Hogg Market, the New Market area would be the perfect place to roam in. One would get each and everything here at a reasonable rate. Sreeram Arcade and the Treasure Island Market are the popular shopping spots of the natives. Other places worthy for a visit are Camac Street, Russel Street and Shakespeare Sarani. One among the specialty of these shops are one would get everything under a single roof.
In the shopping areas in Kolkata you can find an array of tempting stores with deftly designed handiworks to latest up to date gift articles. Shopping in Kolkata would always be a delightful experience since you would be provided with all branded items of international standard at an affordable price tag. The shops in Kolkata are very keen in selling good quality and stylish products that suits to the latest fashion trends.
Kolkata is known for its Bengal cotton sari's so be sure to grab yourself one! A visit to the city is not complete without exploring its art, artisans and craftsman be it in their tradtional paintings, intricately carved jewelry or beautiful cotton weaves.
You can find 215 hotels in Kolkata under following categories:
|Comments (32)||Questions (123)||Reviews (10)|
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Kolkata has a lot of places to see
Change the main festival Kali Pooja To "Durga Pooja"
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