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Kolkata Tourism And Travel Guide
16° C / 60.8° F
Thunderstorm With Light Rain
October to February
4 to 6 Days
Netaji Subhash Chandra BoseInternational Airport (10 kms)
Howrah (5 kms)
Kolkata is the capital of the eastern Indian state of West Bengal and one of the major cities of the region. It enjoys brilliant connectivity with all parts of the country and makes for a fascinating destination to be explored only during the winter months. Kolkata is a vibrant and colorful city with a rich past and a fine balance of modernity and traditionalism. As an old city, Kolkata has a lot to offer its tourists. There are museums, temples, colonial architectures, markets, eateries and its lifeline River Hoogly. To understand Kolkata and its people visit the city during its biggest festival which it celebrates like no other city does and the home to the famous, Roshogulla. Here is a snippet of travel guide to enjoy tourism in the city.
How to Reach
The closest airport to Kolkata is Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport located in Dum Dum. The airport operates both domestic and international flights, public and private. From the airport tourists can hire prepaid taxis, private cabs to reach different parts of the city as well as outside.
Kolkata has two major railway stations at Sealdah and Howrah. Both are equally critical in connecting Kolkata with different zones of the country. Sealdah has trains travelling to and from the eastern states of the country while Howrah has trains travelling to and from western, southern and central India. Both are busy stations which several trains pulling in and out every hour. From the stations, tourists can avail of prepaid taxis or private ones. If you are travelling with fewer baggages, then from Horwah you can take the ferry to cross River Hoogly to reach Kolkata.
By virtue of being the capital of British India, Kolkata developed a well-connected network of roads that connect the city with many parts of the country. There is government as well as private buses that operate regular bus services to ferry people in and out of the city.
Kolkata boasts of one of the best public transportations in the country that has helped to connect every far flung area of the city. There are mini and public buses that operate buses on various routes. Kolkata got the country’s first underground metro rail that helps people reach far flung areas in less than half the time and at affordable cost. There are yellow and private taxis, trams, autos and hand-pulled rickshaws for travelling around the city.
Weather and Best Time to Visit
Summer (April to June):
Kolkata is sizzling hot during the summer months. Each year the mercury keeps reaching new highs accompanied by extremely high humidity. With the sun beating down mercilessly on the people from early in the morning and the sweat makes it tough for people to go about their routine life. Tourism in Kolkata hits a low and it is recommended not to visit the city during these months as it could take a toll on health.
Monsoon (July to September):
Officially the monsoon is expected to hit Kolkata in the month of July but each year it witnesses a delay prolonging the suffering of the people. The city receives considerable rainfall accompanied by water loggings everywhere. Despite the rains there is no relief as humidity continues to remain very high. It is sweltering hot and people continue to struggle with the heat. Monsoon too is not recommended for a visit to Kolkata
Winter (October to February):
Winter is undoubtedly the best time to visit Kolkata. The temperatures fall, bringing much needed relief as people gear up to celebrate their biggest festival, the Durga Puja. It is the best time to visit the city to feel the pulse and emotions of the people and also participate in the festivities. This is followed by Kali Puja and Diwali and then Christmas which is also celebrated with much pomp and show. Winter also celebrates new harvest which is followed by preparation of different savories and sweet dishes at every home and eateries. Plan a visit to Kolkata during winter and it will be an experience of a lifetime.
Things to Do
In October, Kolkata welcomes home Goddess Durga and her four children and worships them with much pomp and show. The city gets a makeover. It decks up in lights, music blares from the speakers; pandals are constructed across the city which becomes the Mother’s home for five days. People step out in their best clothes and visit pandals all though the night. It is the thing to do to get a flavor of Durga puja.
Visit Museum & Victoria Memorial:
Visit the country’s largest and oldest museum located in Kolkata known as Indian Museum. It is an enormous palatial building housing rare artifacts, ornaments, paintings etc. It is more than worth a visit. From here you can head down to Victoria Memorial, a beautiful British architecture that was built dedicated to the memory of Queen Victoria. It has now been turned into a museum and a popular tourist destination in the city.
Ride Down River Hoogly:
Kolkata is located on the banks of River Hoogly, a tributary of River Ganges. Take a boat or ferry ride down the river and enjoy the spectacle of some of the iconic structures of Kolkata: the Howrah Bridge, the second Hoogly Bridge or Vidyasagar Setu, the different ghats or quaysides which are used for ceremonial or bathing purposes and just sit back and enjoy the pleasant breeze. It is a beautiful way of spending an evening.
Kolkata has a number of famous temples and pilgrims throng these places all through the year. There is the Kalighat Temple dedicated to Goddess Kali in South Kolkata and the Dakshineshwar Temple built by Rani Rashmoni also dedicated to Kali. Goddess Kali is held in much reverence and worshipped across Bengal. On the way back from Dakshineshwar you can drop in at Belur Math which was built by Swami Vivekananda dedicated to Sri Ramkrishna Paramhans to spread his message.
When in Kolkata, take out some time for a tram ride. It is one of the few cities where trams still operate, though on limited routes and with limited sitting capacity. It is one of the most iconic and popular features of Kolkata roads and evokes much nostalgia among people, which explains its survival despite obvious drawbacks.
Eating in Kolkata
Kolkata's food is a gastronomic delight and when in the city do indulge in some of the fascinating dishes that it has to offer. Golbari’s Kosha Mangsho, Arsalan’s Biryani, Oh Calcutta’s fish preparations, particularly Chingri Macher Malaikari, Ilish Macher Paturi and Fish Fry are out of the world.
Those with a sweet tooth will have the best time of their lives in the city known for its love for sweets and makes some of the best in the world. Roshogulla, Sandesh, Ladykeni, Langcha, Rabdri, the list is endless. Nokur, Girish, balaram Mullick, Ganguram, Bancharam are some of the well-known sweet shops in the city. If you want a taste of old world freshly baked cakes and pastries visit the 115 year old Jewish Bakery, Nahoum’s in New Market.
Shopping in Kolkata
If you want to go shopping in Kolkata forget the malls. Visit the all time favorite market places of the citizens which according to them remain unparalleled even to this day. New Market and Hatibagan markets in North Kolkata and Gariahat in South Kolkata are among the best. Bengal is famous for her cotton saris and remember to pick up a ‘tangail’ or ‘dhakai’ from any of the large shops in these markets. You will find everything that you need and at most affordable rates.