Kolkata is the erstwhile capital of India and one of the largest cities in the country. Many Indian residents and tourists feel that the infrastructure here is in a sorry state and there is not much to offer in terms of tourism. But we beg to differ. If you are visiting a couple of cities in India then try to put Kolkata in your itinerary. Contrary to popular belief, there are lots of things to do here, namely
- Cruising down the Hooghly
- Check out the art scene
- Go where the idols are actually made
- Tea at Flurys
- Ride on a tram
It is very difficult to get bored in Kolkata and almost all travelers who have come to the city have said that there are many things to do in Kolkata. Though the ancient Kalighat Temple and the Tagore House is visited by many, we have chalked out the top 5 things to do in the ‘city of joy’.
1. Cruise down the Hooghly
The Hooghly is an important tributary of the Ganga and a cruise down this river is a good way to see the many influences that this river had on Bengal. You will come across the renowned pilgrimage sites like Belur which was set up in 1899 by Swami Vivekananda. The cruise will also take you across Dakhineshwar (another pilgrimage site) and erstwhile European colonial towns like Bandel and Plassey. So just get to Millennium Park and buy a ticket for one of the many cruises. If you are short on time then you can opt for a cruise of a short duration.
2. Art does matter
The most happening art scene in Kolkata would be the Center for International Modern Art or CIMA. They also have a shop which sells some really interesting items like art printed T-shirts, coasters, clothing and jewelry. They also sell lots of accessories which will interest the teenagers.
3. Idol walks
You can spend an entire afternoon in the narrow lanes of Kumartuli which is better known as the ‘potters’ township’. Here you will see the potters making idols of various gods and goddesses throughout the year. The busiest time is in the months of August and September as they have to hurry up with the idols of Durga Puja, the greatest festival in Kolkata. You will come across a lot of unfinished idols in different shapes and sizes. A fair share of these idols is exported abroad.
4. Tea at Flury’s
Flurys is an institution in Kolkata and it is a ‘crime’ not to visit this place if you are in the city. Head to Park Street at four in the evening and treat yourself to a cup of the finest Darjeeling Tea. You can supplement your beverage with Baba pastry which is a unique combination of almonds, cashews and cherries. You may also ask for their desert platter or the iconic English tea sandwiches.
5. Ride the tram
The age old trams are a real charm of this city. Many have voiced their concern about the viability of these trams in the present era but we feel that your journey to Kolkata will be incomplete without a ride on one of these. Board a tram at Esplanade and enjoy the journey through the lush green Maidan and then head north through Old Calcutta. You will have plenty of time to enjoy the sights as the tram basically crawls through the traffic and stops at regular intervals.
Kolkata is one of the few metropolitan cities in India which has a great mix of tradition and modernity. The colonial hangover is still present in many places and the warmth of the local people will surely impress you.