Kolkata, the capital of West Bengal and the former capital of British India, is a city that has always intrigued travel enthusiasts. Situated along the banks of River Hooghly, the city balances commerce, transport, manufacturing industries on one hand and art, culture, heritage, politics on the other. No wonder this urban destination in Eastern India is such a huge crowd puller, as people throng in Kolkata to revel in colonial architecture, book fairs, art exhibitions, dramas, concerts and of course, to indulge in the incredible food fare.
Running since the 1900s, the classic electric trams can take you for heritage rides along the metropolitan to offer you a glimpse of what life in Kolkata is all about. The city wakes up at dawn, with the light sensitive Neon street lamps going off and as you take a walk in the mornings, you’ll see the sleepy bells of the hand-pulled rickshaws in motion. Kolkata is one of the few cities that still maintains its own pace, even amidst all the hustle and bustle of urban life.
Discovering the city can be a treat for photo enthusiasts and travellers as one can catch hold of the landmark heritage and mixed culture along the way. Quick check-ins into the Victoria Memorial, Writer’s Building, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Metcalfe Hall, Fort William, Raj Bhavan, Magen David Synagogue, Armenian Church and Metropolitan Building are not to be missed if you want to find out about the ancestry of the city. The city balances its tryst of sepia-tinted architecture with some new tourism offerings as well. The Eco Tourism Park – with replicas of the Seven Wonders of World, flower gardens and boat rides – is one of the contemporary set ups that tries to offer a breath of fresh air amidst the tireless city life. A visit to Nandan, as well as in-and-around Rabindra Sadan should also be on your to-do list if you want to get in touch with the local essence of art, artists and ‘adda’ in the city.
You can sign up for a culinary culture tour to experience the pulse of Kolkata through your taste-buds as well. Try seeking out the delicious food spots and the assortment of cuisines available in the city, based on a thorough foodie research on the Internet as well as by taking notes and recommendations from the locals. You’ll never regret the sweets and the street food fares in the hidden nooks and corners of the city. Oh, and don’t miss out on drinking Chai (tea) in a Bhaad (earthen cup)!
There is a lot to experience in Kolkata and to get the most out of it, a 3-4 day stay (at the least) is recommended. Away from the rush of city life, amidst nature, is the new Holiday Inn Resort Kolkata NH6, where you can rejuvenate your spirits after an exhausting day trip and step up to embrace the essence of Kolkata the following day. Strategically located off the National Highway 6, at around an hour’s drive from the City Centre and Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport, the resort is the first flagship Holiday Inn Resort in East India. Sprawled across 13 acres, the stay features landscaped gardens, naturally lit and well-appointed 90 rooms and suites with modern aesthetics, intimate patios and attached balconies, which can help you spend quality time alone or with friends and family in Kolkata. With picturesque green views, blue swimming pool, and multi-coloured seasonal flowers, the resort is sure to brighten up your stay in the ‘City of Joy’.