Category Archives: Kolkata

The Most Popular Tourist Attractions in Kolkata, India

Do you know which Indian city is called the ‘Football Hub of India’? Also, do you know which Indian place is famous for a sweet dish called ‘Rosogolla’? The answer to both the questions is Kolkata.

kolkata

This metropolis has the perfect blend of old world charm and modernity. Home to a number of tourist attractions, it is visited by millions of tourists every year. Take a look at some of the top landmarks of Kolkata.

Victoria Memorial Hall

The Victoria Memorial Hall is a large marble building dedicated to the memory of Queen Victoria. It’s a museum now! This iconic monument is home to collections in the categories of western painting, Indian painting, coins, rare photographs, arms and armory, and manuscripts etc. Focusing on the design, Victoria Memorial Hall appears somewhat similar to the Taj Mahal. Check it out to realize why people say this!

Howrah Bridge

This super-structure is just not to be missed! The Howrah Bridge is a cantilever bridge suspended over the Hooghly River.  It is open to traffic, except for goods vehicles, Inter- State transport buses, and All-India Tourist buses. Nearly 1,00,000 vehicles cross it daily. Since inception, the Kolkata Port Trust has been the custodian of the bridge.

Birla Mandir

The Birla Mandir, standing at an elevation of 160 feet above ground, is one of the premium architectural beauties of the city. The interiors of the temple have marble carvings that illustrate shlokas and pictorial impressions from the Bhagavad Gita. The ceiling is adorned with lovely chandeliers and electric diyas that brighten the interiors. Standing at an elevation of 160 feet, the Birla Mandir was completed in a span of 26 years.

Eden Gardens

Eden Gardens is a cricket ground with seating capacity of 66,000. Established in 1864, it is the largest stadium of its kind in India and perhaps the third largest in the world. Eden Gardens is the home of the Bengal cricket team and the IPL’s Kolkata Knight Riders. It is a venue for Test, ODI, and T20I matches. If you are a lover of cricket, like most Indians, then do watch a match here!

New Market

Shopaholics, add New Market to your travel itinerary! This Victorian Gothic shopping arcade was established in 1874 for the British residents. Today, it is a hotspot for locals and others. Over 2000 shops sell a wide variety of products – clothes, jewellery, electronics, and luggage etc. Bargaining will prove helpful. New Market is open daily, except Sundays.

Fun and Frolic await you in Kolkata during Durga Puja

If you are planning to visit to Kolkata (formerly known as Calcutta) this October, be prepared to indulge in days of festivities, food and colours. From 19th to 23rd October, the whole city would be celebrating Durga Puja.

Durga-Puja

This Hindu festival marks the victory of good over evil by worshipping Goddess Durga, a symbol of power and womanhood in India.  Ideally, you should book your flights well in advance as there is a scramble for air tickets during this holiday season. Here are 5 things you should do, during the festival.

Preparation

If you come around a week before the Puja, you will be able to see the idol-makers in Kumartuli, put finishing touches to the idols of Goddess Durga. The precision and the craftsmanship that is involved during the process would leave you mesmerised.  Also, if you are travelling alone, and do not have a local contact, the best way to enjoy the festival is to enrol yourself with tour-groups such as the ones organised by West Bengal Tourism Development Corporation and Let’s meet Up Tours. The tour-groups have a well planned itinerary and all you have to do is tag along with them. It is also a great way to know more about the culture and traditions in a better manner.

Pandal Hopping

The main highlight of the 4-day celebrations is visiting beautifully decorated display tents known as pandals, where the idols of Goddess Durga are placed. The reason for visiting various pandals is that every pandal is created with a unique theme and there are competitions to judge the best pandal, the best decoration, lightings, dance and other cultural programmes that are held on the occasion. One of the traditional cultural highlights is the “Dhunuchi Naach”, where youngsters dance in traditional attire while holding an earthen pot of embers.

Food

Kolkata is famous throughout the country for its delicious cuisine. Durga Puja is the perfect time to sample the delicious delicacies from Bengal. You will find a wide variety of delicious food during the festival, on the streets, in the restaurants and near the pandals. After pandal hopping for some time, eating becomes a necessity. Delicious food is served in pandals, known as bhog (offerings to the God) that generally consist of a delicious savoury and spicy vegetable curry, a fritter, mishti (sweetmeat), chutney and papad (Papadums). If you want something light and spicy (if you like adventure) go for the phuchka (crispy flour balls, filled with spicy water, mashed potatoes and chutney). Apart from these, you can also go to any of the authentic Bengali restaurants to have delicacies like biryani, chicken chaap, kabiraji cutlets, kathi rolls, and many other mouth-watering dishes.

Immersion of Durga Idols

On the last day (known as Dashami or Vijayadashami), the festival commences with married women putting red sindoor (vermillion) on Goddess Durga and onto each other. Then the idol is taken to the nearest water body to be immersed. The most popular immersion point is in Babu Ghat (Near Eden Garden Stadium). With a wish and a call to the Goddess of power, the idol is immersed in the water. The whole ritual is an amazing spectacle and should be enjoyed on a boat.