Kolkata was once the epicenter of the British Raj and a major trading post of the East India Company. Dubbed the City of Joy, it has emerged as a world of extremes. Even today, the city pays tribute to its colonial past, with its intriguing architecture, heritage routes and tales of yesteryear, whilst recognising a pulsating pace and vibrant party scene.
Be enchanted by the sheer grandeur of Victoria Memorial, one of the historic attractions south of Maidan in Kolkata, built on a sprawling 26 hectares. Enjoy a spectacular Light & Sound (Son-et-Lumiere) Show here, entitled ‘ Pride & Glory – the Story of Calcutta’, narrated in English and Bengali, complimenting the splendid history of this enormous white marble monument, conceived in 1901 by Lord Curzon. The shows are held October to February and March to June.
The world’s largest estuarine forest in the world, the Sunderbans is the habitat of the famous Royal Bengal Tiger.
Enjoy and relax in the peaceful environment of this lovely Niketan Ashram which was once home to Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore and Economist, Amarthya Sen.
Explore Dalhousie Square with landmarks like St.John’s Church, High Court, Governor’s House, General Post Office and Writer’s Building. Visit Victoria Memorial, St. Paul’s Cathedral and Mother Teresa’s House; view Howrah Bridge, Howrah Railway Station; stroll through the fragrant Flower Market, South Park Street Cemetery; see ‘Kumhartuli’ or ‘Potters Village’; examine Marble Palace with object-d’-arts, sculptures of various Holy Prophets; take a drive on the Vidyasagar Setu.
Undertake a learning adventure with a 2½ hr Heritage Walk (half day), with experienced guides from the department of tourism. The walk begins fm Governor’s House (Raj Bhavan) and ends at the Great Eastern Hotel near Curzon Park (where you started from), covering sights like Treasury Building, St. John’s Church, Secretariat Offices, GPO & Postal Museum, Collectorate Building, Writers Building, St. Andrew’s Church, Old Currency Building, Central Telegraph Office. R&R back at your hotel.
Do an overnight trip to Mukutmonipur town (about 250kms fm Kolkata), close to the border of Jharkhand state on the confluence of 2 rivers – Kangsabati and Kumari. View the world’s 2nd biggest Dam, picnic near the lake and see a wide variety of flora and fauna. Buy local tribal handicrafts of bamboo sticks and grass as souvenirs.
Experience different means of transport in Kolkata like hand pulling rickshaw, underground railway (METRO), followed by the Tram Tour, cruise on the river Hooghly and finally the taxi Ride (Ambassador – Black & Yellow taxi).
Visit a popular picnic spot due to its proximity to Kolkata (50kms/2hrs) – Diamond Harbor, where this small city stands on the banks of the Hooghly River on the delta region near where the River Ganges turns south, before meeting the Bay of Bengal. Explore the ruins of Chingrikhali fort…once a stronghold of Portuguese pirates; visit the Pilgrim centre…Sharisha Ramakrishna Mission Ashram, view an old lighthouse…a local attraction; picnic here amid scenic environs.
Spend a day at race course of the Royal Calcutta Turf Club which is one of the oldest race courses in the country and provides a panoramic view of Victoria Memorial and the River Hoogly from the main grandstand.
For a ‘Country Club’ atmosphere with golf, swimming, tennis, squash and horse-riding facilities.
Shopping from local markets of Kolkata for the ingredients with the chef and then cooking together is an amazing experience.
Enjoy a trip down memory lane with a 2.5hr River Cruise down the Hooghly River, an offshoot of India’s sacred River Ganges…a focal-point of Indian history at a time when ‘Calcutta’ was in her finest glory. Casting off from Babughat Jetty, the vessel sets sail via the Howrah Bridge..a unique cantilever Bridge across the river Ganga, joining Kolkata and Howrah. Sail past one of the worlds busiest stations..the Howrah Railway Station; glide past several heritage sites along the banks – the historical point of arrival of Job Charnock, the House of Dolls, Nimtolla Ghat, India’s oldest Gun and Shell Factory at Casipore; see numerous temples and bathing ghats. Arrive at and disembark to visit Belur Math…a shrine built by Swami Vivekananda in honour of his great master Ramakrishna Paramhansa Deb, who promulgated equality of all religions. Along the cruise, also view the Dakshineswar Kali Temple, a Hindu temple..the presiding deity being ‘Bhavatarini’, an aspect of ‘Kali’.
Experience a 1hr recce of a river-boat joy ride on a country boat, which takes you along the banks of the River Hooghly..a center-point of Indian history. Observe the Vidyasagar Setu (New Hooghly Bridge) and the Rabindra Setu (Howrah Bridge) from the middle of the river.
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