One of India's largest metros, Kolkata - till recently Calcutta - is over 300 years old. In the 16th century, Kolkata was just a village when Job Charnok, an agent of the East India Company converted it into a British trade settlement. The rise of Calcutta began when it became the capital of British India in 1772. Though the city lost some of its sheen when the British shifted base to Delhi, making it the capital in 1912, it is still a thriving city that keeps reinventing itself. Kolkata and its people are passionate about art, literature, music, dance, theatre, and sports. Kolkata has produced international stalwarts in every field-Nobel Laureates Rabindranath Tagore, Mother Teresa, and Amartya Sen, Oscar-winning film-maker Satyajit Ray and sportspersons of international repute including India's current cricket captain Saurav Ganguly. Love it or hate it, you just can't ignore the city of joy.
Kolkata has an international airport with major airlines flying in and out of the city. All domestic airlines fly in an out of Kolkata and it is connected by air to major Indian towns and cities. The airport is 17 kms from the city center.
Kolkata is extremely well connected by train. It has two main stations - Howrah and Sealdah and it is an extremely busy junction.
The city is connected by an excellent network of highways to various parts of state and the rest of India.
Getting around in Kolkata is easy and tough ... it depends on the mode of transport that you choose. Kolkata has trams that work but these are slow. There is a crowded bus service and a lethargic taxi service, but an excellent underground metro and even ferries to cross the river.
Being next to the sea, the weather is usually hot and sultry. Its best to visit Kolkata in the winter months between November and March when the weather is pleasant.
Cool cottons in summer and light woolens in winters. Carry sunglasses and a parasol to protect yourself from the sun.
|Aaheli||Indian||Hotel Peerless Inn, 12, J.L. Nehru Rd - 700013||2280301, 2280303|
|Aminia||Mughlai||6-A, S.N. Banerjee Rd - 700087||2441318|
|Atithi||Indian||44, Panchanantala Rd - 700029||4722169|
|Badshah||Mughlai||Lindsay St - 700087||2297261, 2294185|
|Banyan Tree||Multi-cuisine||Shakespeare Sarani - 700071||2829957, 2829958|
|Bedwin||Multi-cuisine||Gariahat Rd - 700029||4644615|
|Garden Cafe||Fast Food||Alipore Rd - 700027||4399346|
|Kurry Club||Indian||176, Sarat Bose Rd - 700029||4667028|
|Mandarin||Chinese||217, Sarat Bose Rd - 700029||4662276|
|Peter Cat||Indian||18, Park St. - 700016||2464342, 2298841|
|Silver Grill||Multi-cuisine||18-E, Park St. - 700071||2299086, 2294549|
|Tandoori Hut||Indian||H-20, New Alipore - 700053||4783209, 4554694|
|Tangara Kaizen||Chinese||33-B, Sarat Bose Rd - 700020||4762235|
|Tavern||Indian||17-B, Park St - 700016||2297825|
|The Sheriff||Fast Food||15-C, Sarat Bose Rd - 700020||2806444|
|Allied Publishers||17, CR Avenue||2257023, 2252514|
|Allied Publishing||61, Mahatma Gandhi Road||2413113|
|Ananda Publishers (P) Ltd||45, Beniatolla Lane||2414352, 2413417|
|Bangiya Bignan Parishad||P 23, Raja Rajkrishna Street||5558417|
|Bengal Publishers Pvt. Ltd||14, Bankim Chatterjee Street||2418207|
|Best Books||1A, College Row||4407383|
|Books & Allied||6, Kiran Shankar Roy Road||2431059|
|CAMP||P 82, CIT Road||2450858|
|Calcutta Book House||15D, Entally Road||2441867|
|Cambridge Book House||37257, Bankim Chatterjee Street||2410965|
|Frank Bros. & Co. (P) Ltd||1A, Park Street||2293486, 2297518|
|Grantha Niketan||156A, Kamalalaya, Lenin Sarani||2375849|
|India Book Distributors||8B, College Row||4404392|
|International Book Distributors||37288, Shyama Charan Dey Street||2417466|
|International Books||4, Totti Lane ( Sudder Street )||2443596, 2451656|
|Macmillan India Ltd||14, Bankim Chatterjee Road||2417490, 2412490|
|Model Publishing House||10, Shyama Charan Dey Street||2416420, 2419431|
|Modern Book Agency(P) Ltd||3, Shyama Charan Dey Street||2416130|
|Seagull Books (P) Ltd||285, BB Ganguly Street||2367459, 2373914|
|Sishu Sahitya Samsad (P) Ltd||26, Circus Avenue||2403636|
|Springer Books(India) Pvt. Ltd||32, APC Road||3507669, 3503195|
|Standard Literature Co. (P) Ltd||53, Syed Amir Ali Avenue||2477209, 2470834|
|Sujan Publications||76, AJC Bose Road||2448253, 2445751, 2445258|
|Suprakashani||7B, Lake Place||4663783|
|Tussels||8B, College Row||5573519|
|W. Newman & Co. Ltd||107/1, Park Street||2260904, 2261778|
|Wheeler Publishing||3, Old Court House Street||2489436, 2489438|
|World View||18, 2nd Floor, NSC Bose Road||2204945, 3511248|
Kolkata is a shopper's delight. This is one city where you can get just about anything you desire. Premium shopping places are New Market, Chowringee Road, and the new retail outlets like Pantaloons and Emami Plaza. For up market boutiques check out the area around Park Street. More interesting wares can be found on Free School Street where hole in the wall shops offer some of the best music anywhere. Also worth a dekko is Bentick Street where Chinese shoemakers craft great leather stuff at amazing prices.
Kolkata comes alive during the 10-day long Durga Pooja that is celebrated in the months of October/November. The entire city takes off for almost a week for the festivities and large pandals with large idols of Goddess Durga are set up all over the city. Social dos are held all over the city and they comprise long cultural evenings, feasts of traditional cuisine, showing off a newly acquired wardrobe, and generally enjoying oneself with friends and family.