As a city loving traveler, there are few cities in the world that can boast the metropolitan tolerance and attitude of Kolkata. The culture here is unique in that it is such a rich and varied mix. Different nationalities, ethnicities, and faiths live side by side here. Perhaps more extraordinary is the different levels of wealth that you see on the street every day. The very poor and the very rich pass each other without a pause.
For those of you who love markets, Kolkata is certainly a city to spend time in. Local and regional produce is available almost everywhere. Street vendors provide plenty of interesting culinary delights too. Best of all, the mix of flavors goes far beyond the spices of the region. Each of the cultures that settled here has contributed to some awe-inspiring cuisine only found here in Kolkata.
Kolkata Sweets image from Flickr
Until the early part of the twenty-first century, Kolkata was still known as Calcutta. This British legacy was finally relinquished, despite the two names sounding identical in the local tongue. This city is the capital of West Bengal and has an extensive history as a global trade center. The British first put their stamp on the region in the last few years of the seventeenth century. The English East India Company has been considered both a blessing and a curse to the area.
While the city may be well connected regarding travel, it is a city that can be uncomfortable for visitors to be in. The weather is often humid, and the pollution levels can leave you reaching for a mask. However, it’s not unbearable, and it’s not a reason to avoid the area altogether. Check the local weather forecasts to determine the best times to be in the city if you struggle.
With so many different nationalities in one city, you can imagine just how extraordinary the architecture can be. Like many big cities, some buildings have been repurposed, and others lost altogether. But there are still many gems in the area. The Dakshineswar Kali Hindu Temple is a beautiful building. It stands proudly on the East bank of the Hooghly River. It is also one of the most important temples in the region, and well worth a visit.
The Indian Museum is another building built with architectural precision and engineering excellence. It remains the oldest and largest museum in India. It’s full of the rarest collections of manuscripts and fossils anywhere in the world. You can find ornaments and Mughal paintings to view here as well. It is also home to details about the history of the building that dates back to 1814.
Victoria Memorial image from Flickr
The Victoria Memorial is a largely marble building that also houses a museum. It opened in 1921 as a dedication to Queen Victoria who had died twenty years previously. It was considered an essential building to design and erect from locally collected funds. This part of India was still under British rule. Today the building is still highly regarded and respected despite the significant political shift.
There are plenty of fun things to do for the family in Kolkata too. There is a large water park with plenty of attractions and activities in the area. Aquatica has plenty of rides for children and adults of all ages to enjoy. It has become a popular tourist destination since it opened in 1999. Nicco Park is considered to be a more educational theme park for younger families to enjoy. It is situated within the city still, making it easy to reach. The Marble Palace Zoo is home to rare species and specimens. This too is popular with families on holiday here.
Kolkata offers plenty of options for accommodation. As you can imagine, there are beautiful hotels, and budget hostels in this dynamic city. Some of the theme parks have accommodation offers that you and your family could take advantage of. To make the most of the city, you’ll need a comprehensive Kolkata travel guide to help outline your choices. There is plenty to do in this bustling city, and lots to discover.
It’s not easy to make the most of city when you are on vacation. I can only recommend that you follow your heart to make the choices you need to. For me, I want to sample the local cuisine of any place I visit. I want to taste what makes the people tick. I also like to know about the food. Where has it come from and how was it grown and harvested? This insight into the local culture often leads me to the local museums where I can find out more about how these people came to be here. With Kolkata, it’s necessary to take a global look. Wars, Royalty, trade, and immigration all played their part to create this wonderful city.