North Kolkata is where old Kolkata resides, in its full glory. The charming district is dotted with closely set lanes and hundreds of old world buildings. Comprising of areas like Belgachhia, Shyambazar, Chitpur, Shobhabazar, Maniktala, Jora Sanko etc, the area acts as a major commercial as well as a residential centre of the town. Also situated here is the Sealdah station, one of the largest train hubs in India, and the newly built Kolkata station.
Second home to the intellectuals, scholars, academicians, students and book lovers of Kolkata city, College Street is an eminent centre of Kolkata’s literary crowd. It houses Kolkata’s most prestigious and renowned academic institutions like University Of Calcutta, Calcutta Medical College, Presidency College, Sanskrit College, Hare School and Hindu School. Dotted with makeshift bookstalls constructed with bamboo, wood, canvas and sheets of tin on both sides of the road, College Street is a paradise for book lovers. It’s a one of its kind book marketplace in the world, the largest second-hand book market in the world and largest book market in India and a dream for literary locals and tourists alike.
Bowbazar, Kolkata, West Bengal, India
Indian Coffee House
Born in the 1940s when the Coffee Board set them up, the Indian Coffee House has become synonymous with Kolkata. It’s a favourite destination for hangouts, not only for the students of nearby schools and colleges (Presidency College, Vidyasagar College etc.), but also the office goers and intellectuals of Kolkata. Discussions here range from campus tete-a-tete, study plans, politics, business, sports, films, music, future plans, dreams and almost anything under the sun. The walls are painted, and portraits of greats like Rabindranath Tagore are put up, the marble top tables are still there but the wooden chairs have given way to the new plastic chairs. It’s a great place sip coffee while taking part in a good conversation or just watching time pass by.
Opening hours: 9am-9pm
Watch out for: Superb conversations
15, Bankim Chatterjee Street, Kolkata, West Bengal, India +91 99 03 41 47 17
One of the best preserved and most elegant houses of 19th century Kolkata, this structure is famous for the marble floors and walls that give it its name. The palace houses collections of western sculpture and Victorian furniture, as well as paintings by European and Indian artists and other objets d’art. Located next to the palace is the Marble Palace Zoo, the first zoo to open in India.
Opening hours: 10am-8pm
Panchkori Ghosh Road, Barisha, Kolkata, West Bengal, India +91 98 31 51 44 62
Mahabodhi Society of India
A South Asian Buddhist society founded by the Sri Lankan Buddhist leader Anagarika Dharmapala and the British journalist and poet Sir Edwin Arnold. The organization’s self-stated initial efforts were for the resuscitation of Buddhism in India and restoring the ancient Buddhist shrines at Bodh Gaya, Sarnath and Kushinara. A small, but interesting Theravadan Buddhist temple is located in a historic building. There is a library and shrine room on the second floor. Meditation classes are held every 1st and 3rd Sunday of the month.
Bankim Chatterjee St, Bowbazar, Kolkata, West Bengal, India +91 33 2241 5214
Howrah Bridge is a cantilever bridge with a suspended span over the Hooghly River in West Bengal, India. The bridge is one of two on the Hooghly River and is a famous symbol of Kolkata and West Bengal. It weathers the storms of the Bay of Bengal region, and carries a daily traffic of approximately 100,000 vehicles and possibly more than 150,000 pedestrians, easily making it the busiest cantilever bridge in the world. The third longest cantilever bridge at the time of its construction, the Howrah Bridge is the sixth longest bridge of its type in the world.
Kolkata, West Bengal, India +91 33 2259 0264
Burrabazar (also spelt Bara Bazar) is a neighbourhood in Central Kolkata. Burrabazar expanded from a yarn and textile market into the commercial nucleus of Kolkata and one of the largest wholesale markets in India. It is divided into highly specialised sub-markets, according to the commodity it deals in – Dhotipatti, Fancypatti, Tulapatti, Chinipatti etc. Further subdivisions are katra, chowk or kothi. A popular saying goes, “Anything and everything is available at Burrabazar. Even the tiger’s eye is available here if you pay the right price.” Go there to purchase some of the finest materials at the cheapest price or to improve your bargaining skills.
Near Howrah Bridge, Kolkata, West Bengal, India
One of the best ways to start your day is to have a slice of China in your breakfast and for this can there be a better place than Kolkata’s very own “China Town“. The Chinese settled in Kolkata as early as the 1780s, and since then they have played a significant role in defining Kolkata’s (Calcutta’s) cuisine. The place is filled with vendors selling Chinese food items like Chicken Momos, Pork Momos, Shu Mei, Sausages, Prawn wafers, Tai Paos, Fried dough sticks and Chicken Rolls. It’s a fantastic way for you to begin your day.
Tiretta Bazar, Tiretta Bazaar Lane, Kolkata, West Bengal, India