City of Joy-Kolkata has the warmest of hearts welcoming everybody with open arms. Life here runs at a slow pace and people have no hurry. Known as the cheapest metropolitan city, Kolkata offers you happiness through the simplest of means. It is not about shopping malls or nightclubs, rather walking along the Maidan or a boat ride on the Ganga at sunset. A cup of tea brings forth the widest range of conversations from politics to religion to literature. Kolkata is not just a city but a way of life and here’s how travel bugs can explore it like a true local:
Kolkata has a lot of hotels and lodges for tourists. There are a number of low-cost hotel chains near the airport area as well as all over the city suited according to everyone’s budget. If money is not an issue, The Park is one of the quintessential places to stay. From Uttam Kumar to Suchitra Sen, this place was frequented by a lot of Bengali actors. Situated at the heart of the city, The Park has a lot to offer. There is also the famous Calcutta Bungalow which is a heritage hotel. It is truly a curator of the old world charm with rooms named like Jatrapara, Darzipara, Boipara, Mochipara and the likes. A unique thing about it is that all the rooms are designed according to the areas they are named after.
Kolkata has a few specialities which every tourist must try - Kathi kebab rolls, Fuchka, Jhaalmuri and of course the staple Bengali dishes. Bhojohori Manna and Kasturi are places that one must visit for a taste of the typical Bengali food. They have outlets all over the city. Kathi kebab rolls are famous at Kathi Junction in Park Street. Jhaalmuri and Fuchka can be found anywhere in the city. Biriyani is also a speciality of the place, Nizam’s and Aminia being famous for it. Kolkata also has its own China Town where one can find the taste of authentic Chinese cuisine. Other things which travellers must try are the chelo kebab in Peter Cat, Coconut water sherbat in Paramount and Fish fry in Mitra Café.
While Kolkata houses a number of malls, street shops are more famous here. One can buy clothes, accessories, bakery products, sports gear and electronics. Hatibagan market in North Kolkata, New Market in Central Kolkata and Gariahaat in South Kolkata are famous for clothes and accessories. One can find electronics and mechanical equipment in Chandi Chowk market in Central Kolkata while sports gear can be found in the Esplanade area. Bargaining is a must and even the shopkeepers are used to it. But if one really wants to get a feel of the mall culture in Kolkata, then South City Mall, Quest and Forum houses luxury brands while City Centre 1 and 2, Axis Mall, Lake Mall and Avani Riverside mall have local and indigenous brands.
Kolkata has a lot to offer when it comes to things a traveller can do in the city. One can sit and relax on the grassy expanse on Maidaan or go for a horse carriage ride. Victoria Memorial and St. Paul’s Cathedral are the places to be if a traveller wants to soak in the British culture. Boat rides on the Ganga is also a memorable thing to do. A walk along the narrow lanes of North Kolkata or the famous Boipara can also be a part of the agenda. Finally, one can end one’s day in the city with standing on the Howrah Bridge and watching time pass by.