‘Momos’, steamed dumpling stuffed with chicken
START YOUR DAY WITH THE UNEXPECTED
Wake up to the glorious aromas of the old-school, open-air Tiretti Bazaar, where breakfast is served at the crack of dawn. This iconic food paradise is situated at Kolkata’s historic Old Chinatown. Head down early for some freshly-made, authentic Chinese fare. Take your taste buds on a gastronomic adventure as you sample a buffet spread of home-cooked street food. From coconut balls, to sticky rice and chicken pies, foodies will be spoilt for choice. Tuck into some “momos” or steamed dumplings stuffed with chicken, fish or pork. Other delicacies you will find include crispy prawn wafers, a piping bowl of noodle soup, or breaded pork chops.
St Paul’s Cathedral
Left: Victoria Memorial Right: St Paul’s Cathedral
VISIT VICTORIA MEMORIAL
The majestic Victoria Memorial is a great place to start your sightseeing. Built between 1906 and 1921 as a tribute to England’s Queen Victoria, it offers a glimpse of a bygone era. The stunning monument echoes the iconic Taj Mahal in design, and is adorned with the same white Makrana marble. A bronze statue of Queen Victoria takes pride of place at the entrance, welcoming visitors into the memorial. Wander through its 25 galleries for a walk through history. From oil paintings of royalty, to some of Queen Victoria’’s most prized possessions, each artefact is perfectly preserved. The memorial also boasts a rare collection of books including Omar Khayyam’s Rubaiyat and masterpieces by William Shakespeare. Enjoy the well-manicured lawn before you leave and if time permits, take a quick 15-minute walk to St Paul’s Cathedral to admire its Indo-gothic fusion architecture.
Artisan working on an idol of God Ganesha at Kumartuli
APPRECIATE KOLKATA’S ART SCENE
Art lovers must definitely head to Kumartuli - Kolkata’s more-than-300-year-old pottery district - to marvel at “karigars” (artists) mould intricate sculptures of Gods and Goddesses. As you walk through a labyrinth of narrow lanes, you will see rows of idols, such as Lord Ganesha and Durga, in various stages of completion. Some sculptures are made out of plaster of Paris, while others are crafted using more environmentally-friendly materials such as bamboo and clay. Approach an artisan who is willing to explain the tedious and delicate process to you. A process that involves making the framework with bamboo and sticks; applying the clay and painting; and decorating the statue.
Indian Coffee House
Left: College Street Right: Indian Coffee House
INDULGE YOUR INNER BOOKWORM
Visit the world’s largest used-book market at College Street, also known as the book colony or “Boi-Para”. Made up of well-known publishing houses and humble makeshift bookstores, it is a treasure trove of new and old books; rare titles and unique editions. Expect to bump into kindred spirits who share the same passion for books and spare a moment or two exchanging ideas and thoughts. Once you have picked up some great reads, head to the city’s famous Indian Coffee House for a cuppa, and to spot notable personalities from the literary world who congregate here often. Soak up the unique ambience and energy of the area that is also home to some of Kolkata’s prestigious academic institutions, including University Of Calcutta, Calcutta Medical College, and Presidency College.
Old-world charm of 6 Ballygunge Place
Chingri Malai Curry
Left: Old-world charm of 6 Ballygunge Place Right: Chingri Malai Curry (Photo: 6ballygungeplace.in)
END THE DAY WITH AN AUTHENTIC MEAL
Ready for dinner? There is no better place to fill your tummy, and your soul with an authentic Bengali spread than at Ballygunge Place. Set in a century-old colonial mansion that once belonged to a Rai Bahadur, a title of honour bestowed during British rule in India to individuals for their services to the Empire. This is one of the hottest restaurants in Kolkata, where A-list celebrities flock to enjoy its old-world charm and partake in its exquisite menu. Some of its famous, mouth-watering dishes include Chingri Malai Curry (prawns in coconut milk curry), Chital Macher Muitha (spongy fish balls soaked in rich gravy) and Muri Ghonto (Indian fish head curry rice).