This blog is for a first time visitor to Kolkata who wants to explore the heritage corners of the old city, eat amazing Bengali food, explore the colonial heritage of Kolkata and loves to explore by foot, even photo-walks! This is an ideal weekend itinerary for Kolkata. You can always extend your stay and visit a nearby attraction, say the mangroves of Sundorbon to catch a glimpse of the Bengal tiger, or Darjeeling to see the Sleeping Buddha, arguably the most beautiful mountain range of the world!
Kolkata. The city of joy, the city of love!
I grew up and spent the majority of my life in the small towns of West Bengal and the suburbs of Kolkata. Bankura. Howrah. The kind of mundane where all sorts of achievements were tied to owning a small flat at one of the mushrooming suburbs of Kolkata which has access to a Metro station.
All I wanted to do after I grew up was to own a house at the heart of the city of Kolkata. The heart that is located right at the Northern epicenter of Kolkata, the cultural capital of India. Yes, after all these days. Till now!
I still DO want to own a house at Shyambazar. I have an exclusive SIP fund for that.
I do want to get back to the city to live, someday. A city that was a mother to me, at times, turned into a lover, soothed me and caressed me and filled my soul with joy and laughter even at the time of distress. I love Kolkata.
I have lived in Kolkata for 4 years of my life. I have spent more time of my life in other cities. However Kolkata remains my first love, the only home I know, my solace!
Now that I step into the madness called New York City on a daily basis for work, I continuously compare it with the cities back home in search of the comfort of familiarity. The Capital of Delhi, the seaside ecstasy Bombay, the tech savvy Bangalore. You can argue NYC is like Bombay. I beg to differ. Have you walked on the sides of NYC where destitute reclaim the urban space despite skyscrapers aiming for the sky with sheer vanity? Isn’t the vibe similar to that of Kolkata?
You see, it is difficult for me to write something about Kolkata. How can I limit myself to a few thousand worded articles stating to reach Dumdum airport at 10 am, visit the Ghats, the College Square, eat famous Biryani that impresses you with potato and fish curry, pack sweets, and saree and go back home?
But you my dear reader you need exactly that piece of information and I shall oblige. You need to know what to do in Kolkata for a quick weekend getaway?
Well, for you I have summed up my lived experience of all these years and tried to cram them up in a tiny 2 days Kolkata itinerary, considering you have 2 full days in the city. Take the third day as a means of commuting in and around the city please!
In two days in Kolkata you would be exploring the North and the Central parts of the city, which starts from Shyambazar and ends at Chowringhee.
This blog mostly focuses on the classic eateries of Kolkata with glimpses of colonial parts of the city. If you want to see more, and want to experience the rich spiritual heritage of Kolkata, please consider a day to visit Dakshineswar Kalibari, Belur Moth which is located right at the opposite bank of the river Hooghly and a mandatory visit to Kalighat, a Shaktipeeth where the feminine divine is worshipped. Many believe the city Kolkata is named after the temple of Kalighat, the Goddess Kali. A little trivia for you. We do not have Diwali in Bengali culture. We celebrate Kalipuja on the day of Diwali in Kolkata. Needless to say you can always visit Kolkata during Durgapujo and experience the Bonedi barir Pujo which is a sheer delight!
Day 1 in Kolkata
Start early Start from Shyam bazar 5 point. Eat breakfast at Adi Haridas Modak on banana leaf Take a Uber (15 min)Head to Kumortuli. See Durga idols. Optional: Can see Nimtala Ghat and the historic houses Optional2: Ferry goes till Bagbazar in north.
Must Eat in North Kolkata
1. Prawn cutlet in Ghawa ghee at Allens
2. Fish fry at mitra Café Mangher Chop at Niranjan agar, Girish park. Niranjan Agar is usually open for evening snacks.
3. Head to Park Street Area Lunch at peter cat/Mocambo. I like Mocambo and its baked crab, many like Peter cat Chello Kebab
4. Eat desert at Flurys
Go to Victoria: Explore for good 2/3 hours. If you have time till sunset can visit Princep Ghat and explore Ganga during Sundown (Love the ferry ride highly recommend).
For dinner, if you still have energy, can go to China Town, best Kolkata Chinese food! Option 2 for dinner: Arsalan/India Biryani Option 3: Night life at Park street (Love Someplace Else but its mostly booze so if you like food stick to Option 1/2)
Day 2 in Kolkata
Start early Explore College Street Area (exceptional old school place, find the old buildings, institutions and houses of Indian renaissance)
Explore sweet shops/Chakraborty Chatterjee & Co the book store Lunch at Swadhin Bharat Hindu hotel (Netaji used to come here)
Option 2: Take a tram and head to Hotel Siddheswari Ashram (better food range, must try Posto OMG kill me)
Option 3 or do this for late afternoon head to Royal India Hotel Kolutala and eat gorgeous Biryani & Champ
Ride Tram to go to Esplanade from College Street Tram goes from College st to Esplanade area so you can do this directly At Esplanade area you can explore the following 1. Chittoda for fish cutlet (Another dangerously beautiful thing to eat) 2. Mango Lassi (You will drink it and then know what I am talking about it is too good) 3. If you are looking for something light try Chicken Stew at Chittoda 4. For good roll, visit Nizams 5. Sweet at K c Das Esplanade 6. Cake from Nahoums Esplanade (New Market area)
End the day at Esplanade This itinerray is time consuming but mostly focuses on the north of the city. Historic eatery etc. For swank café and malls & brand shopping, try Quest Café Mezunna But I do mosly what I wrote in the beginning.
If you can start very early during sunrise on day 2, you can find tranquility at Maidan, see Horses rounding etc etc. then head to Howrah bridge flower market (biggest in Asia. I have pictures in my wedding album from this place, worth it).
Have fun in my city of joy
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