Kolkata or Calcutta, as it was formerly known has an illustrious past and an enticing present.There is more to this town than just festivals and culture. This port town was founded by the East Indian Company as an important trading post during the British Raj. Kolkata was an important colonial town and the capital of India during the period 1773-1911. Although it may have lost some of its sheen over the years, it continues to be an important town in Eastern India and has a staggering population base of 4.5 Million.This makes it the third largest city in India after Delhi and Mumbai.
When it comes to Kolkata, there is never a dull moment considering that there are plenty of activities to choose from:
If you are religiously inclined then the first thing that you will like to do is to plan a visit to the famous Kalighat Kali Temple. As you walk through the streets of Kolkata leading up to the temple, you will be amazed at the quantity and variety of religious items that have been lined up for sale.This is not surprising considering that this is one of the most visited sites in Kolkata with thousands of pilgrims and tourists trudging to the temple to pay their homage to the Goddess.
Exploring New Market is arguably one of the most captivating experiences, and is a ‘must do’ once you are in Kolkata. New Market or Sir Stuart Hogg Market, as it was originally called is your one stop destination for just about anything that you could possibly want. What makes it all the more fascinating is the fact that the market is about utter chaos which shows no signs of letting up regardless of the time of the day!
If you are a backpacker then stay at Sudder Street and check out the market which is just a minute away. The market has a plethora of options ranging from restaurants and street food carts through to pushcarts and swarms of people.
A kaleidoscope of colours, scurrying sellers peddling their wares and buyers seeping in the magic and ambience best describes the ‘Mullik Ghat Flower Market’. The market place is located right under the famed Howrah Bridge and is picking of options for those looking for flowers.
On the contrary if you are looking for a more sedate and relaxed afternoon then travel to Belur Math and you will not be disappointed. Belur Math needs no introduction considering that this magnificent temple was built by Swami Vivekananda on the banks of Rivers Hooghly and is the headquarters of the religious mission called the Ramakrishna Math.This is an architectural marvel considering that it is a subtle blend of Islamic, Hinduism and Christianity.
If you are a early riser and would like to have breakfast before Kolkata wakes up then head for the Terreti Market of Bazaar, as it is better known.This could well be one of your most memorable experiences while in Kolkata. As you approach the market you will be amazed to see the street lined with Chinese and Indian Sellers offering a range of eating options like Momos and Chinese Baozi.