If a city ever had a soul, it has to be Kolkata. It is a city where the moment you’re out on the streets, you’ll feel as if you’re home. The old world charm, contentment on the faces of people, no mad rush, the whiff of tea and flowers in every alley – Kolkata is more than an experience. If you’re here even for two days, make sure you get a feel of the wonders this city has to offer.
You could start by visiting some of the greatest historical sites and cultural spots in the city. Go for a stroll through one of the city’s most dynamic and iconic streets – Park Street. Grab breakfast at Flury’s; a tea-room that has been around since 1927. The food and the colonial architecture will sure blow your mind. A few blocks away from there, spend some time at the Indian Museum learning about Kolkata and India’s rich social, political and cultural history.
Hop onto a cab, and go around seeing more iconic buildings and open spaces of Kolkata such as the Victoria Memorial, Maidan (the lush grounds are the largest open space in the city,) Eden Gardens and Shaheed Minar. The city of joy has plenty eating options for lunch: Peter Cat (North India), Kasturi Restaurant (Bengali) , Fire And Ice Pizzeria (Italian), Anand (South Indian).
One of the best ways to spend your evening in Kolkata is at the New Market; just minutes away from Maidan. Founded in 1874, the market is the city’s most famous and popular with over 2000 stores selling everything from local cheese, street snacks and baked goodies to lifestyle products. You can grab a cup of coffee at the traveller-friendly Blue Sky Cafe, and wrap up your evening at one of the city’s most popular rooftop bars—Blue and Beyond. You’ll be stunned by the view of the gorgeous Hooghly River and Howrah Bridge looming in the distance.
You could start the morning of day two with a hearty street-side breakfast of momos at the Old Chinatown. This is the only surviving Chinatown in India and one of the best places to experience the rich cultural legacy of Kolkata’s centuries old Chinese-Indian community. If you wish to go deeper into culture, head to North Kolkata, famous for its narrow lanes and century-old buildings. Head specifically to Kumartuli, the historic potters’ colony where you’ll find artists working on all kinds of clay sculptures—often of Hindu gods and goddesses. For lunch, head to the Golbari restaurant, nearby Shyambazar for their traditional Kosha Mangsho.
The best way to wrap up your second evening in Kolkata would be to head to College Street, Kolkata’s legendary books market area. Housing multiple historic bookstores, the dynamic area is a reminder of the city’s rich literary and intellectual past and culture. Remember to check out University of Calcutta and Presidency College; two of the most esteemed colleges in the city. Head to the Indian Coffee House for a fresh cup of coffee; and to see generations of students and intellectuals engaging in spirited discussions.