Being a foodie is a good thing about Kolkata or our dear old Calcutta. During my last visit to the capital of West Bengal, I was thrilled to browse through the old city and the bylanes of the ancient New Market.
The hand-pulled rickshaw juxtaposed with the modern hi-tech automobiles, the bright yellow taxis barging through the traffic, and the trams claiming their long-owned space amidst the shiny new vehicles – marks the beginning of Kolkata.
The land of rosogolla and larger-than-life Durga Puja celebrations steals everyone’s heart with its traditional-yet-contemporary essence.
The city stands tall with the pride of being known for its world-famous cuisine, popular places of interest and immense historical significance.
Are you an ardent gol gappa fan? Well, I am! So, you can basically eat at any big joint or roadside vendor of this most popular peppery delicacy and you will not be disappointed. The famous phuchkas of the City of Joy are a must-have! Rest assured, they will ignite the love for the spicy water balls even in the most discerning palates. While there, I also pampered my taste buds with some soft and juicy sondesh, hot and tempting chelo kebab – a non-veg specialty, filling and irresistible macher jhol (fish curry), famous Kolkata biryani, and some flavored mishti dohi. I suggest you try these and more culinary delights the city has to offer in abundance.
The place is indeed a foodie’s paradise. Another remarkable thing I found out was that it was here that Nobin Chandra Das – the father of rossogolla, created the legendary sweet for the first time in 1868. Were you aware of this fact? At their store – K C Das – at Esplanade East, in the much-celebrated New Market – it was surprising to see the benchmarks of quality, taste, and innovation being still maintained as laid down by the man himself. Make sure you try their rossomalai too, because who says no to succulent delights that changed the course of Bengali sweets!
The city of palaces – Kolkata – has a pleasant surprise for avid readers too. Situated at Belvedere Estate, the grand National Library of India is a citadel of knowledge – boasting a rich history as well as an ostentatious collection of books. And why not, it is the land of the great laureate – Rabindranath Tagore – first non-European ever to be honored with the Nobel Prize in Literature. Also, it will be great if you can plan your visit around Kolkata book fair – Asia’s largest and world’s biggest non-trade book fair. It holds a record of receiving maximum footfall, thanks to its tag of possessing the largest collection of books – after Frankfurt and London Book Fair.
Have you heard of the saying, ‘if you do not get a book in College Street, Kolkata, then the book probably does not exist.’ Yes, this is what the Kolkatans claim. And the hustling bustling avenues of College Street – world’s second largest handed-down book market – with the rarest of rare editions in its charge reinforces it loud and clear.
That is not it, the reasons to visit the beautiful cultural capital of India have just begun. While some of you are nodding your head in agreement there are some who can’t wait to find out more.
We have all grown up watching, playing, and dreaming cricket. Our heads are held high and chest soars with pride at the mention of cricketing legends – Kapil Dev, Sachin Tendulkar and more. And we equally pride ourselves on being home to the second largest cricket stadium in the world – Eden Gardens – located in B.B.D Bagh area, opposite Calcutta High Court, Kolkata. You will be surprised to know that the century-old stadium constructed in 1864 was the second ever to host a cricket world cup final, in 1987. The grounds stand witness to some thrilling football as well as cricket matches, every iconic player of all times, and is currently the home spot for the Kolkata Knight Riders team.
It does not end here – the Calcutta Cricket and Football Club also is significant in the sense that it is ranked as world’s second oldest cricket club.
Won’t you kill me if I asked you if you have heard of the Durga Puja or Durgotsava celebrations especially held in Kolkata, Bengal? So I will rather ask, how many of you have been fortunate enough to partake in or be face to face with the extraordinarily towering gala that the whole city plunges in during the festival? Every house, lane, temple and individual is decorated in the colors of happiness, auspiciousness, and merriment. It was in my bucket-list since long and I would say I am more than privileged to have finally witnessed and indulged – like the locals – in the majestic nine-day Navratri festivities of the city. You must, too.
With this to start with, book your dates and tickets for the magnificent city: there is much more you will feel, see, and find out once you reach. Besides your lens capturing the best moments to be cherished forever, your heart will tirelessly snap the influencing essence of the city to be treasured everlastingly.
Author Bio : The author Suhani Singh is a writer by passion and profession, currently creating magic from her keyboard as an assistant content manager at salebhai.com