Kolkata

Kolkata for Backpackers: a culture rich metropolis

Kolkata for Backpackers: a culture rich metropolis
The former capital of British India Kolkata (Calcutta) is a paradox between colonialism and modernism, poverty and poise. Drenched with semi-shambling relics of Colonial architecture that are a photographer’s treats Calcutta assumes different lures for everybody. While matchstick thin men cycle passenger rikshaws (tricycles) for Rs 50 an hour, the more sophisticated gentry ride horses at Calcutta Race Track, and play golf on manicured golf courses. Kolkata for backpackers is a history and culture rich experience, enriched with a lot of amazing chai.
Kolkata
Kolkata

Calcutta is regarded as the cultural and intellectual capital of India, housing the oldest and largest library in India, and having produced some of the most awarded intellectual dignitaries of the country. This crowded, colourful metropolis of culture and poverty thriving side by side is sure to mesmerize and shock you simultaneously.

A backpacking map of Kolkata, courtesy http://www.theydrawandtravel.com/
A backpacking map of Kolkata, courtesy http://www.theydrawandtravel.com/

Calcutta for the backpacker

Without hacking your brains out, head to Sudder street. Cheap, backpacker accommodation is available here. Again, don’t be surprised if you can’t stand up straight in your room without your head bumping the ceiling.

Kolkata for Backpackers: A local bus in Kolkata
Kolkata for Backpackers: A local bus in Kolkata
indian coffee house, calcutta
indian coffee house, calcutta
In and around Kolkata

Here are a few places of interest

National Library

This is the oldest library in India, and arguably the most stocked. Some of the oldest volumes and many, many first editions of books by great Indian authors are stocked at this library. For me, this was no less than Disneyland, to be united with words of the greats, to sit in a place graced by some of the greatest writers and read from old volumes.

Indian Coffee House

Once a meeting place for freedom fighters and revolutionaries …chances are, you will get more than just the 8 Rs coffee that you came for.

Other places of interest include Victoria Memorial, Bhojohari Manna, and Kumartali at Kalighat Road.
While in Calcutta, do try some street side chai, and you will be glad for it. Carry plenty of mozzy repellent. And you’re set to have a great time!

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