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
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
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.
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.
By Shreyas Kulkarni