06 January 2014

Kolkata

Kolkata is the biggest city in Eastern India, with a population of around 5 million. It is located on the banks of the river Hooghly.

INTRODUCTION
Kolkata is very famous for its Indian sweets. A particularly famous landmark is the Howrah bridge.

CITY MAPPING
Most tourist attractions are clustered around the Maidan and Esplanade area in central Kolkata. North of these areas is the Hooghly river, with the town of Howrah on the other bank. South of the centre are the posher districts, including Ballygunge, with the famous Birla Mandir. The airport (CCU) is 15 km north east from the city.

SIGHTS
Most attractions are in the city centre, consisting of Esplanade and Maidan districts. Through the centre runs Park St, one of the major thoroughfares of the centre, with many shops and restaurants. Among them is the popular Flurys, which is by large a bakery. It can be immensely crowded, and you may have to wait outside.

Park St on Christmas Eve

Park St

The western end of the street is at the large park called Maidan.

Nearby is the Victoria Memorial, a beautiful piece of colonial architecture. It was built between 1906 and 1921. Expect loads of crowds on holidays and weekends.

Victoria Memorial with the massive crowds on Christmas Day
Also in the area is the St Paul's Cathedral, built in 1847. Photography is not allowed in the interior.

St Paul's Cathedral

Other attractions in the area are the Indian Museum and Eden Gardens. 

A lot of colonial architecture is around Dalhousie Sq (BBD Bagh).

Dalhousie Sq
Some of the interesting buildings include those of the General Post Office and the High Court.

High Court
On the northern bank of the Hooghly is the bustling town of Howrah, with the main railway station of Kolkata.
Old Howrah Bridge

Howrah Railway Station

In south Kolkata, the primary attraction is the Birla Temple. Photography is not permitted inside.

Birla Temple in Ballygunge

ACCOMMODATION
1) Park Plaza Kolkata Ballygunge---located in south Kolkata's Ballygunge area, Park Plaza offers pleasant rooms and has a good restaurant. While Birla Temple is walkable, you will need a taxi to travel to the centre. 
2) Swissotel Kolkata---handy to the airport (a 10 min drive). Rooms are plush and there is a mall next door- convenient for food.

FOOD
Kolkata is rightly famous for its Indian sweets. 
Balaram has a small outlet on Park St and a bigger one in Bhawanipur. Great sweets- many distinct ones as well.
Kwality, on Park St, serves good Indian cuisine but portions are very small.
Flurys is a famous bakery on Park St with smaller branches elsewhere.

TRANSPORT
Kolkata is served by the Netaji Subash Chandra Bose Airport (CCU), 15 km from the centre. There is a pre-paid taxi service- follow the signs upon arrival. 

Taxis can be hailed on the streets. If the meter starts from 10, the actual fare will be 2.4 times the meter reading plus Rs 1. If the meter starts from 25, the meter reading is the fare. A taxi from Ballygunge to Park St would cost about Rs 80. 

However, taxis can be very difficult to find around Park St at evenings. Some may be unwilling to go.

Kolkata also boasts a metro and India's only tram service. 

A tram runs past Birla Temple
Last visit: Dec 2013
No of visits: 1

3 comments:

Darshik Mehta said...

Dear Ansh, you seemed to have really enjoyed your trip to Calcutta. I am also a great fan of Indian sweets. I would love to visit Kolkata once. I wish you could provide some more insights to me about the visit to Kolkata.

Ansh Jain said...

Hi, Darshik, thanks for your post. Do you have any specific query I can help you with?

Amarjit Singh said...

I was going to travel to Kolkata last month. I was looking for some tips for my trip. This is an amazing blog especially for people who are new in the city. The post perfectly categorises all the useful information, making it simple to the readers.