Kolkata is another Indian city that’s been shadowed under a hovering pile of townships with glamorous buildings and happening nightlife. But it deserves a chance, doesn’t it? That said, I present to you, 8 Reasons Kolkata Will Make for a Great Holiday!
FOOD, FOOD, AND MORE FOOD
If you love food more than you love people, why are you even considering places elsewhere? You could gripe and grouse but sev puri and pani puri are only real food until you eat Kolkata’s papri chaat and phuchkaa. Of course, you’re going to love their traditional luchi-mangsho (mutton curry) and machher jhol (fish curry). Fluffy, crispy, tangy or sweet, the food compels and commands you to devour till you have to open your mouth to breathe. Nevertheless, the mishti (traditional sweets) will titillate your sweet tooth, and you’re bound to bring home a box or two, so that your family too can reap the spoils of war.
The Opulent Culture
Nearly everybody that’s born and brought up in Kolkata will be in position to fluently sing Rabindrasangeet (a name for songs written by Rabindranth Tagore) for you. Besides that, they’ll also have been engulfed in mature literature, they’ll know some form of classical dance, tell you about the quadratic divergences in Kaluza-Klein theories, and try to engage you in conversation about international politics. Bengalis do everything, know most things about most things, and it’s a treat to be amongst such welcoming, hospitable people, and an educated crowd (only until you start doubting your intellect).
No, they’re not all about heated intellectual conversation. One thing you can witness any time of year is celebration at its best. The jolly Kolkata crowd will have a boogie to any beat at all, at any time at all. It’s not just their very own Durga Pujo, from Christmas (and every little festival of every religion and community) to even a regional “bandh”, Kolkatans are just looking for a reason to deck up. There are decoratory lights in every nook and cranny of the city, and every occasion calls for a round of shopping. The list is never-ending.
Which brings me to markets. Fish markets or clothing markets, everything’s in the same place, everything’s a treat to buy from, and everything’s cheap. When you think about Bengalis, you think about “dada ektu thik kore deben”, which roughly translates to “give me a fair and better price.” You too, can blend into this and buy, say a pair of shoes that’s really in fashion, for 500 bucks. A great bargain can lift your morale high, very high.
There’s really no particular season to visit Kolkata. Anytime you’re here, the weather’s pretty balanced. Summers never stay hot, and you’ll often find sudden showers bestowed upon you. The winters, though, are the best time of the year. This is the time of year when you take out all those sweaters you bought years ago, what your parents call “taka noshto”, or an absolute waste of money. Don’t be fooled by the cavalcade of mufflers and maroon monkey caps, because a snuggly jacket is all you need for the winter, and you’re all set.
The Beauty and the Charming History
While a little dirt on the sides of roads are the unique characteristics of Indian cities, you have to put that aside. Because the grandeur of the structures and monuments in Kolkata truly dwarfs any shortcomings. And their stories are just as fascinating. From the Shaheed Minar to Victoria memorial, Kolkata houses some of the most important buildings in the history of India, and their history is not as dull and tedious as you’d think. Of course, there’s the majestic Howrah Bridge, that’s genuinely an architectural wonder. A ferry ride through the Ganges is all you’d need to appreciate the city as a whole.
I don’t want to say “I told you so”, but Kolkatans do everything. If you’re a sports buff, Kolkata is the word. The Royal Calcutta Golf Club was the first ever of its sort outside the UK. The city has a bunch of such records. The Calcutta Football League is the second oldest football tournament in the world. India probably doesn’t have much football culture, but the Salt Lake stadium is equipped to practically host a football world cup, having the largest seating capacity in the world! To keep up with their vintage ways and culture, the Calcutta Polo Club is the oldest one in the world, and from experience, it’d be an honor for a sports buff to be associated with the name. Just when you thought it couldn’t possibly be better, Kolkata just happens to have the 3rd largest cricket stadium in the world – the Eden Gardens!
And if all of this doesn’t give you sufficient reason to visit Kolkata, there might be something else for you. If you don’t want to pay a king’s ransom for a short getaway, Kolkata’s the place. It’s all way cheaper here than Mumbai or Delhi, and it’s still as much of a metropolitan city than any other.
If you’re convinced, give it a try. Be rest assured, Kolkata never disappoints. Already been to Kolkata? Comment below with your travel experiences and the best things to do in Kolkata according to you.