All of us know Kolkata as the city of Joy, but how many of us know the fact that Kolkata was also regarded as the City of Palaces? Calcutta (we shall call the city by its former name in this list) has been the seat of art and culture for more than 300 years. The fact that it’s not really an ancient town has acted like a boon, for here we see diverge, Indo-European architectural wonders and culture. Besides there are a few places which exemplify the earthiness of the city. Let’s have a look.
6. The lanes and by-lanes of north Calcutta:
North Calcutta, popularly referred to as the purono Kolkata (old Kolkata), is a place steeped in history. When you enter any quintessential North Calcutta gully, you’ll find yourself transferred to an epoch bygone! The huge palatial buildings on the bank of Hoogly, the lanes, the typical old-school sweet shops, the hand-pulled rickshaws, the trams — you’ll find everything that goes against the popular concern of the 21st century. Many people residing in the area feel that nothing has changed since time immemorial — well, you can rightly sense what a thrill it’ll be to walk around this place. So, the next time you’re here, take a guide and walk around this area — you’ll be mesmerized.
5. The old ghats of Calcutta:
If you have a fair geographical knowledge, you’ll know Calcutta rests on the banks of the River Hoogly, another name of River Ganges. Hence, for the theists, it was mandatory to get a Ganga-snaan daily. As a result of this, innumerable ghats were built along the Hoogly-Ganges. These ghats still breed the old-world charm and provide brilliant picturesque sceneries to photographers. You’ll still find old people going to the river-banks at 4 am for the morning snaan, and wrestlers practicing their traditional martial arts — it’s a view worth experiencing. If you’re a sucker for the old world charm, board the local train from Dumdum to Majherhat which will take you through all the ghats — from the famous Bagbazar-Ahiritola-Nimtala ghats to the modern Princep-Pani-Outram ghats.
4. The old New Market:
Well, the sub-heading might seem quite a bit of an imposed oxymoron to you, but for the Calcuttans, the good ol’ New Market is the single solution to all problems. From needle and cotton-reel to meat and flowers to brand and street fashion, name it and you’ll get it in New Market – the market which is almost 150 years old!
3. The Tiretta Bazaar:
If you’re looking for a quintessential Calcutta bazaar, this is not the one. You may call it a quintessential Chinese bazaar, though. As known to many, the Chinese had settled in Kolkata during the 18th century, and since then Calcutta witnessed numerous Chinese occasions, traditions and ceremonies. The Tiretta Bazaar is the Chinese breakfast market located at the Old China town of Calcutta — Bowbazar. It’s a throbbing and bustling bazaar, like any other, where you can find authentic Chinese food — from noodles to dim sums. If you’re in old Kolkata, you can never afford to miss this gastronomic bazaar. But one word of caution, this bazaar qualifies as an early morning one — if you really want to savor the delicacies, be there by 7 am, for by 9 am the stalls would be selling their last bits and pieces.
2. The flower market at Mullick Ghat:
This flower market at Mullick Ghat is not a thing that you’ve seen in the past. Situated beneath the colossal Howrah Bridge, the vividness of this (eastern India’s largest flower market) is just indescribable. It is said that the business at the place never stops — from 3 am to very late at night, this place is always throbbing with flower merchants from all over Bengal. If you really want to explore the city, you can’t get away without getting an essence of this market situated at the famous Mullick Ghat.
1. College Street:
Doesn’t matter if you hate books, if you’re a sucker for old Indo-European style buildings and crave to witness a “busy Calcutta road”, this is the place to be. Besides, this place houses some of the best and oldest colleges of India — Presidency College, Sanskrit College, University of Calcutta, Calcutta Medical College, to name a few. When the tinkering tram whistles past the busy road, with hand-pulled rickshaws, buses, cabs, thelas, private cars and multitudes of people from all directions, it’s a scene to behold. If you’ve got some more time, don’t forget to sip your favorite sherbet from Paramount — a place once frequented by luminaries like Netaji, Satyajit Ray and others.