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Why is Kolkata called the City of Joy? Find out more

Updated: Jun 23, 2022


Kolkata is not for the faint-hearted. Crossing the street establishes that very early on. As you walk out of the airport and into a taxi, a stench hits you, and it smells of heat and dust mixed with sewer water. The slums of City of Joy Dominique Lapierre's 1985 novel and Hollywood's film adaption starring Patrick Swayze. are all over the city. Yes, the teeming millions, the filth, the squalor, it is all there for you to see and experience.

Yet if you can look past the apparent discomforts, you will find unexpected beauty in this city, an undying spirit, and people who make this a very welcoming and open-minded place. If nirvana is what you are looking for, Kolkata is just the place for you to achieve it. Kolkata and its British colonial past make it a fascinating place to explore. So here are some exciting things to do in Kolkata that may be off the beaten track.

Kolkata, the food lover's paradise

Established by the British, Calcutta grew to the second city of the empire and was the Capital city of British India till 1911. As one of the world's great cities, Its cuisine has influences from all over the world, British, Dutch, Jewish, and Chinese. A visit to Park Street and the many restaurants is a must. Trinca's, Peter Cat, Oly Pub, Mocambo, and Moulin Rouge, are a testament to Kolkata's heydays. Flury's, a bakery established in 1927, is a Kolkata institution; try the famous rum balls. Nahoum's was set up in 1902 by Nahoum Israel. Try the peppermint fudge there. Bengali cuisine features mainly fish dishes, like the renowned Hilsa fish in mustard sauce, fried fish, goat curry, and desserts. Rossogolla and cottage cheese dough balls in sugar syrup are particular favorites. Kolkata is also the home of Indian Chinese food. Kolkata's Chinatown and its many family-owned Chinese restaurants serve delicious and prevalent food among locals.

Visiting Kumartuli, or Potters Colony

The biggest festival in Kolkata is Durga Puja. The Artisans of kumartuli sculpt beautiful clay only from the bed of the Ganges River into these giant statues. These statues built out of straw and clay are eco-friendly. After the ten-day festival, the sculptures are immersed in the Ganges river to dissolve into the river bed. It is fascinating to watch these Mastercraft men at work. Buy the local smaller handmade crafts of the offer, especially the "Shola" or pith crafts, to support these artists.

The old-world opulence of the many Palaces

PC Souvik pal

The nobility of Kolkata benefitted from the immanence Kolkata got during the British raj. The many beautiful and opulent palaces and residences of the Rajas are worth visiting. The Marble Palace, Jorasanko Thakur Bari, the home of Rabindranath Tagore. Bawali Rajbari, a Palace turned into a hotel, is a place worth spending the night.

Witness the religious fervor of Dhashinashwar temple

PC Knath

Situated on the eastern bank of the Hooghly River, the temple's presiding deity is Bhavatarini, a form of Kali. The temple was built in 1855 by Queen Rashmoni, a Zamindar (landlord) philanthropist and devotee of Kali. Devotees from all over India come to visit the temple and bathe in the holy river, the Ganges, to wash away all your sins

The world's largest secondhand book market

PC-Biswarup Ganguly

College Street is a testament to Kolkata's unquenchable thirst for knowledge. It derives its name from the colleges that are nearby the University of Calcutta, Calcutta Medical College, Presidency University.

After you have poured through books of every kind, step into another Kolkata institution The Indian coffee house, first started as Albert Hall, which was founded in April 1876 and later, was taken over by the Coffee board in 1942. with regular visitors such as Satyajit Ray, Amartya Sen, and Mrinal Sen.

In search of ancient history at the Indian Museum

PC-Vyacheslav Argenberg

Indian Museum is the earliest and the largest multipurpose Museum not only in the Indian subcontinent but also in the Asia-Pacific region of the world. Founded in 1814 and houses many ancient Indian artifacts, and has rare collections of antiques, armor and ornaments, and Mughal paintings.

The people, a melting pot of many cultures, make this city incomparable. The people of Kolkata go above and beyond in being hospitable. They welcome you with open arms and share the many stories of the past. You will go home with contentment and a heart full of Joy.

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