Visit Calcutta (Kolkata) and where to sleep in Calcutta

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Elia Tabuenca García
@eliatabuencagarcia
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Do you want visit calcutta ? You want to know Where to stay in Calcutta (Kolkata)? Where to eat in Kolkata? Do you know how to get to Kolkata from Delhi or Bangalore? In short, do you want information and a bit of culture? You liked it, in this article I tell you everything you need to know to discover Calcutta.








Here is the action plan for this article to save time (use the menu on the right to access the desired section):


  • What to visit in Kolkata with GoogleMaps to facilitate your planning
  • Where to sleep in Calcutta, where to stay in Calcutta? Again, these two names mean the same city.
  • Restaurant and good addresses in Kolkata?
  • Transportation in Kolkata?
  • How to get to Kolkata from the airport?

1) Introduction and history of Calcutta

If Calcutta often evokes misery, Mother Teresa or even Lapierre's book "The City of Joy", the ancient capital has evolved a lot since independence.

Renamed 'kolkata' in 2001, the city has become the artistic, cultural and intellectual capital of the country. The streets of Calcutta are alive, bustling, chaotic; full of life and creativity.

Driven by the indomitable spirit of its self-taught middle class, the city has created a beautiful juxtaposition between colonial-era charm and the hipster culture of young Bengalis.

It is also known for its revolutionary history, which ranges from the Indian struggle for independence to the movements of the trade union left.

  • Where is Calcutta?

Kolkata is the capital of the state of Bengal, located in northeastern India. The city is located on the east bank of the Hugli (Hooghly) River, which was once the main tributary of the Ganges.



The Kolkata metropolitan area (including the suburbs) has a population of over 15 million, making it the third most populous metropolitan area in India and one of the most populous urban areas in the world.



This scares you ... Don't worry, Kolkata is a charming and safe city where western and eastern culture blend seamlessly.

2) What to see in Calcutta

  • Howrah Bridge and Flower Market

A symbol of the city and a must-see monument, Howrah Bridge, renamed in 1965 in Rabindra Setu in homage to the poet Rabindranath Tagore, links the city of Calcutta with that of Howrah. Completed in 1943 and 457 m long, the bridge has eight lanes and can handle an average traffic of around 80000 vehicles per day.

Crossing the bridge offers a sublime view of the Hooghly River and gives access to Howrah station, one of the largest stations in Asia, and in particular to the main station in Kolkata. It is possible to see the bridge below by taking the ferry (only 10 rupees) from the docks of 'Nimtala ghat', 'Ahiritola ghat' or even from 'Sova bazaar ghat' towards 'Howrah station'.

Under the bridge on the west side is the Malick Ghat flower market. Considered one of the largest in Asia, opened in 1855, it offers an unforgettable show of merchants from all over the city to refuel on flowers once the ships and trucks have been unloaded.



Open all day and 7 days a week, it is still advisable to go in the morning and have a 'cha' (tea) with the flower vendors.

To get there, take a taxi or bus and get off at the 'Bara bazaar' stop sign, then cross the small railway bridge. Put on shoes that are fearless because it is often a muddy place, especially after the rains.



  • Victoria memorial and St. Paul's cathedral

An imposing 56m high white marble building, the Victoria Memorial, as its name suggests, is a monument dedicated to Queen Victoria (1809-1901) who, as we recall, never came to India but had been proclaimed 'Empress of India 'in 1877.

The monument is located in the center of the city, in the middle of a beautiful park where the inhabitants of the city come to sunbathe on hot days.

If the Victoria Memorial is one of the biggest tourist attractions in the city, it is worth visiting and taking the ticket to visit the inside of the building; or there is a large gallery with a permanent exhibition on the history of Calcutta, as well as temporary exhibitions.

Not far from the Victoria Memorial is St. Paul's Cathedral, an Anglican church in the Neo-Gothic or rather Indo-Gothic style. In particular, we see attractive stained glass windows on the west side of the nave, a creation of Sir Edward Burne-Jones, a Pre-Raphaelite painter, and many items commemorating the English colonization.

Practical information about the Victoria Memorial:

Gallery closed on Mondays. Gallery open Tuesday to Sunday: 10 a.m. - 18 p.m. The Garden, every day: March to August: 5:30 a.m. to 18:30 p.m.

September to February: 5:30 am to 18 pm Entrance for 'foreigners': 500 inr for the gallery, 10 inr for the garden.

  • San Pablo's cathedral

Monday to Saturday: 10 a.m. to 18 p.m. Sunday: 7:30 a.m. - 18 p.m.

  • The new market

Despite the emergence of new air-conditioned American-style malls throughout Kolkata, the 'New Market', which has survived two devastating fires and regular floods, remains a favorite place to shop. .

More than 2 stalls in a covered market sell clothes, jewelry, spices, flowers and even a unique cheese; bandel cheese .. Under its apparent chaos, one can make extraordinary discoveries as well as remarkable deals. located on Lindsay Street, Kolkata, just off Chowringhee Road, the market is open from 000:10 am to 00:20 pm. From Monday to Saturday. Closed on Sundays.

To get there:

-Metro station 'esplanade'

-Bus stop 'esplanade'

  • College Street and Indian Cafe

College Street, 1.5 km long, takes its name from the many universities and institutions located there. Perfect for lovers of reading, the whole street is saturated with bookshelves where mountains of books litter the floor. Students try to trade there all year long, and American bestsellers rub shoulders with the classics of Bengali literature.

Opposite the University of the Presidency is the mythical "Indian cafe", opened in 1876 as "Albert Hall" and renamed "Coffee house" in 1942. Even if the coffee is not excellent, it is still a meeting place. between students, intellectuals, artists and politicians. Do not miss.

To get there, the most practical thing is to go by taxi, to "university street"

-Tramway: college street station

Indian cafeteria hours: Monday to Saturday: 9 a.m. to 21 p.m. and Sunday: 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. 17 p.m. to 21 p.m.

  • Kalighat temple

Located south of the city on the edge of 'adi ganga', a narrow canal connects to the Hooghly River. the Hindu temple of Kalighat is dedicated to the goddess Kali (a manifestation of the goddess Durga), true patroness of Kolkata.

Although the original temple is mentioned in texts from the 1809th century, the current building was built by the Sabarna Roy Choudhuri family in XNUMX with great Victorian stylistic influence.

The Kali idol within is unique; black with three big red eyes and a big golden tongue. She also has 4 arms that are almost impossible to see under the amount of flowers and garlands she wears.

In the same complex, you will find a tree that looks like a cactus called "Sosthi tala" where visitors make offerings of small pebbles that hang from it. On the other side of the temple complex, you will find the "Harkath tala" with two sacrificial altars, one for the goat and one for the buffalo. The animal is quickly beheaded and its meat is used to feed the pilgrims.

Further afield is Mother Teresa's Kalighat home for the dying "Mother Teresa's home for the destitute and dying", as well as a large market specializing in sweets and religious objects.

Practical information:

Temple hours: Monday to Sunday from 4 am to 22:30 pm

To get there: metro 'kalighat'

3) Where to sleep in Calcutta

  • Where to stay in Calcultta in the Hazra neighborhood

South of the city, but centered enough that attractions are easily accessible, the district that borders Hazra Street is the perfect place to stay during your time in Kolkata. The Jatin das Park metro station is nearby, as is "Chowringhee" avenue, the main artery of the city, served by many buses.

Corner patio: In a small house, colorful themed rooms, very good restaurant with terrace.

An address for travelers who want to meet new people, the BackPackers park.

Last but not least, the Treebo trip jai ambe maa hotel,

  • Where to sleep in Kolkata in the Park Street district

Right in the center of Kolkata, the trendy Park Street district offers a multitude of hotels, restaurants, bars, shops and art galleries. The closest metro stations are: "Maidan" and "Park street". Staying in this area makes it easy to access the Victoria Memorial, St. Paul's Cathedral, Birla Planetarium, Nehru Children's Museum, Indian Museum, and Park Street Cemetery.

The Astor Hotel - The Astor Hotel in Kolkata, in a luxurious mansion that combines old world charm with new age luxury. Built in 1905, the astor offers dreamy rooms and the "phoenix" bar, which organizes jazz and swing concerts.

The Park: Opened in 1967, the year of the Beatles' tour of India, a five-star luxury hotel, located on Park Street, has just been renovated to offer you modern design and surroundings in the heart of the city.

For a more "grounded" experience, the "Sudder Street" district offers a multitude of very affordable and unpretentious hostels. You will find rooms for all budgets, but also European and Israeli restaurants / snacks, as well as many souvenir stalls.

Whether you choose Park Street or Hazra, these two neighborhoods intersect and meet in the purple area below (and more specifically in the black circle), so I highly recommend staying here. in Kolkata during your stay.

4) How to visit Kolkata

  • Visit Kolkata by metro

The simplest means of transport because it only includes one line (2 more are under construction). The price of the ticket ranges from 5 to 15 rupees.

Metro hours: Monday to Saturday 6:45 - 22:45 pm. Domingo 10 am - 21:45 pm

  • Visit Kolkata by bus

For the most ingenious, it is not necessary to know how to read Bengali or English, wait at a bus stop; the destination of the bus will be indicated by the ticket seller. You can tell him your destination and you will know from the famous wink if the bus goes there.

The most convenient means of transportation in the city, tickets cost between Rs 6-15. Drivers tend to brake very hard, so hang on!

  • Hand train local

2 main lines from north to south in Calcutta, one runs along the river and the other east of the city. Avoid rush hour and feel free to push your way in and out of the train.

However, it is a nice experience with the bunch of fruit and jewelery merchants jumping on the train to sell their wares.

  • Tuks tuks to discover Kolkata

In Kolkata, tuks tuks (auto rickshaws) do not act like a taxi as in other cities in India. Here your route is predetermined from point A to point B, the price is between Rs 6-20 depending on the distance. They are present throughout the city.

For a more local experience, take a bike rickshaw, price will be negotiated with the driver. Kolkata remains one of the few cities in the world where there are man-pulled rickshaws, the only means of transportation during floods, and a controversial livelihood for thousands of people.

  • Taxis

Yellow as in New York, Calcutta taxis serve the entire city. The legendary (indestructible) Indian automobile, the "Hindustan Ambassador" in its 60s look, remains an emblem of the city. Ask the driver to use the meter called "the meter."

Uber and Ola are also available in Kolkata.

  • Trams

The Calcutta city tram system is the only functioning tram network in India and the oldest electric tram system in Asia (1902). The slowest and noisiest means of transport, sad as it is not to get on it even for a short distance.

The tram doesn't actually stop at stops, to get to catch it, signal the ticket seller, or enter a red light. Same prices as the bus.

  • The boat

To cross the Hooghly River, take the ferry at the many ghats (pier). Fun ways to see the banks of the Ganges, Howrah Bridge, and the New Bridge. Young people have fun jumping from the top of the boats during the crossings.

5) Where to eat in Kolkata

In Bengal, as in all parts of India, food habits, tastes, preferences, and product choices vary by region, community, and religion. Here the staple dish is usually rice and fish.

This is probably why a Bengali is known as "Maache-Bhaate-Bangali", where Maach means fish and Bhaat means boiled rice in Bengali.

  • 6 ballygunge place

Founded in 2003, '6 ballygunge place' satisfies all your cravings for authentic dishes.

The good: Pabda Macher Jhal (spicy fish curry, made with mustard paste and poppy seeds).

Cost: A meal for two will cost between 1 and 000 rupees. For a real feast, opt for the sumptuous lunch and dinner buffets.

Address: 6 Ballygunge Place, Ballygunge, Calcutta. Also on DD 31 A, Sector 1, Salt Lake, Calcutta.

  • Cocina kewpies

Intimate and simple, family-run, the restaurant has become a popular place to dine in Kolkata. Located in the owner's house, it only accommodates 50 people. Kewpies is famous for inventing the famous "dab chingri", a preparation of shrimp in a baked coconut.

The Good: The traditional Bengali thali (dish) served on a banana leaf, dab chingri, and kosha mangsho (goat meat preparation).

Cost: Count between 800 and 900 rupees for two people. Address: 2 Elgin Lane (behind Netaji Bhawan), Kolkata.

  • Food

For an authentic experience of the city of joy, and if eating fat doesn't scare you ... try 'street food'. Here are some snacks not to be missed:

Cha: Bengali pronunciation of the famous Indian "Chai".

Cha is a mixture of tea, ginger, sugar, and milk. In Calcutta it is served in earthenware vessels that are broken in the gutter after use. The raw clay will return to the river with the rains.

Phuckha: Composed of a fried oval puri that is eaten with seasoned water, tamarind chutney, chili, chaat masala, potatoes, onions and chickpeas.

Phuchkas are usually served one by one on a small leafy plate. Each puchka should be eaten in one bite for a real flavor.

  • Kathi rolls: roasted skewer wrapped in paratha bread, although many variations have evolved over the years, the dish is now known by the generic name of 'rolls'. It is found in chicken, eggs, or even paneer.
  • Hakka noodles: Inherited from the Chinese migration to Bengal, hakka noodles are noodles generally sautéed in mustard oil and seasoned with onions, bell peppers, green peppers, and soy sauce.
  • Pakoras: pumpkin, onion, eggplant or cauliflower fritters, fried in mustard oil.
  • Fried fish: Bengali version of breaded fish, made with 'Bhekti' (Barramundi) fillets and fried in mustard oil.
  • Singara: samosa with a thinner crust, accompanied by a sweet sauce ... to taste with a good spicy 'cha'.
  • Luchi: local breakfast par excellence, it consists of a fried bread served with sweet and salty dal. Perfect to start the day!

Price: only between 5 and 50 rupees!

6) Where to have tea in Kolkata

The city of Kolkata is still steeped in Victorian culture with its afternoon tea at XNUMX pm sharp. Its proximity to Darjeeling ensures that the tea is of exceptional quality. Not only is Darjeeling fine tea available in fancy tea rooms, but some 'chaiwallas' (tea merchants) located on street corners in clay cups can also serve golden 'cha liqueur'. Here's a list of the best places to have tea and wait for the mercury to drop a bit more:

  • Dolly tea

Independent café imagined by the owner, Dolly Roy, professional tea taster. This little café with wicker chairs has been around for a while and is a favorite of the Bengali "aatel" (intellectuals) crowds who like to linger here for hours sipping a cup during long sessions of "adda" (gossip).

Dolly offers a wide variety of hot and iced teas from Indian tea plantations. Snacks include trays of shrimp cutlets and ham sandwiches. You can also buy tea bags for your friends and family.

Address: Store No. G-62, Ground Floor, Dakhinapan Shopping Complex, 2, Gariahat Road South, Dhakuria.

  • Sra. Magpie

A cozy café located in a quiet and leafy area in the south of Kolkata, best known for its cupcakes and desserts. Sample their afternoon tea with mini iced cakes, sandwiches and the famous raisin scones for the perfect English tea.

Address: 570, Lake Terrace Rd, near Vivekananda Park, Hindustan Park, Gariahat.

  • Uberoi Grand

For a more elegant experience, sip tea at the 5-star Uberoi Grand hotel. Nestled in the middle of the New Market crowd, the hotel is a true haven of peace, with its grand lobby, colonial architecture, and gorgeous pool.

Dirección: The Oberoi Grand, Kolkata, 15, Jawaharlal Nehru Rd

7) Transfer from or to Calcutta

  • Get to Kolkata from the airport

Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport, formerly known as Dum Dum Airport, is located 11 km (17 miles) from the city center. The building is very modern, it offers a multitude of restaurants, bars and shops.

Don't miss the “biswa bangla” store (also on Park Street), an initiative of the Bengal government; the brand sells typical products to represent the culture of the region, while supporting local artisans.

  • Get to Calcutta by taxis

Taxi is usually the most convenient way to get to the city center. In Calcutta it is relatively inexpensive; be sure to check the fare before leaving the airport. The choice is varied when it comes to choosing a taxi, among them: yellow taxis (which are almost an emblem of the city's heritage), radio taxis such as Uber, Ola and Meru are also present.

There is a prepaid taxi rank at the airport itself, operated by the 'Bengal Taxi Association'. The fee depends on the final destination, however for the city center, the fee should ideally not exceed 400 RS (6 USD). Travel time from the airport to the city center is highly dependent on traffic, but the duration varies from 30 minutes in light traffic to over an hour at peak times.

Some private taxi drivers request passengers directly from the arrivals exit. Be careful, these taxis are unregulated and drivers will seek to overcharge tourists.

  • Getting to Kolkata by bus

State buses, as well as private air-conditioned Volvo buses, depart from the airport and serve various areas of the city. VS1 connects the airport with the city center, VS2 connects Howrah station and V1 connects the airport with Tollygunge in the south of Kolkata.

Fares vary by distance and class, but the ticket price ranges from 20RS (local) to 100RS (Volvo AC). Ask about the hours, which change often, before leaving the airport.

8) Information about Indian currency

Good to know; Kolkata is one of the cheapest cities in the country. Be sure to carry small denominations (10 rupees, 20 rupees, and 100 rupees) with you, which are more convenient for taking public transport or shopping. Most merchants do not accept Rs.500 notes, much less Rs.2000 notes.

  • € 1 = 80 Indian rupees and 100 rupees = € 1,26 or 150 rupees = € 2
  • 1000 Indian rupees = € 12,57> so suffice it to say that 1000 rupees equals just over € 10
  • 10.000 Rupees = € 125,70> Same idea, saying that € 100 is roughly the equivalent of 10 rs
  • Just remember these two measures, it is a good way to fix yourself during negotiations or others.
  • Here, the coin exists in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 2000 rs.

Well there you go, I think you have all the keys in hand to visit calcutta as it should be

Do not hesitate to leave a comment at the bottom of the page to give me your impressions, share a good address, a hotel, a bar ... Sharing is good;)

  • And you, what do you prefer in Calcutta?
  • Do you have an interesting address to share? A roadmap to share?
  • Feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of the page!

See you soon!

Maxence

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