A Perfect Day in Kolkata
October 14, 2014 • Photography & Travel
Rich in history, colorful and vibrant, Kolkata conjures up more mixed feelings than a 7-year relationship gone bad. You’ve never truly experienced urban life in India until you’ve trudged your way through this enigmatic city.
Kolkata is a kaleidoscope of emotions, stirring all of your senses in every way possible: from its dazzling array of sumptuous street food, to the formula one drivers racing through the streets in diesel belching buses, to an out of this world flower market. It’s also the birthplace of writer Rabindranath Tagore (Nobel Prize winner in Literature in 1913), and home to over 15 million colorful souls making it India’s second largest city–which appears to be bursting at the seams.
Formerly known as Calcutta, Kolkata is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal. It sits on the east bank of the Hooghly River (a distributary of the Ganges) and is considered to be the intellectual and cultural capital of India.
My most recent visit reinforced how much I love this city, despite how chaotic and congested it can feel. After an early breakfast I explored the Flower Market, a feast of color for the eyes, located next to the Howrah bridge. It was overwhelming to witness the amount of flowers sold daily at this market.
Next I headed to the Victoria Memorial. Built in 1921, this beautiful marble building was dedicated to the Empress of India, Queen Victoria, and is now a wonderful museum. I enjoyed a lovely walk through the gardens taking in the exceptional architecture.
Then I was off to College Street, famous for being the largest second-hand book market in the world, as well as largest book market in India. It is made up of a half-mile of bookshops and bookstalls, collectively boasting nearly every title ever sold in Kolkata.
I enjoyed a lovely cup of coffee at the Indian Coffee House, a must if you are in Kolkata. Originally a meeting place for poets, artists, and literati, it is now a regular hangout for students of the nearby Presidency College and the University of Calcutta. Notable past visitors include Rabindranath Tagore and Subhas Chandra Bose, a famous Indian Nationalist.
All in all, it was a wonderful day spent in Kolkata. If you are fortunate enough to pay this amazing city a visit, I highly recommend spending some time at the Flower Market, Victoria Memorial and on College Street.
And if you really want to get a feel for Kolkata be sure to take a rickshaw ride!
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