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Kolkata is the city of my childhood – so you will understand the feeling of intense joy that flows out of me when I speak of it. Today I will give free-reign to this emotion, bouncing back to the happy and tension-free days I spent in Kolkata.
The city, known by many names and colored in many hues, binds people from different ethnicities in one soul. It is a city to be felt, heard and smelled as much as it is to be seen. Maybe that is why it is also called The City of Joy. Here the heart rules the head.
Growing up in Kolkata meant experiencing happiness in the best possible way. From its incredible cuisine to numerous mind-blowing cultural festivals, honking traffic jams, marvelous temples, monuments, cathedrals, museums, amusing parks, blissful romantic and tourist spots, sandy beaches and entertainment options for all ages, Kolkata holds a special class of richness. The city is a timeless treasure trove of artists and writers. If you see a poet working hard to make his first masterpiece, don’t be surprised – the poet is a profession that still exists in this city.
Growing up in Kolkata is really a priceless gift. Kolkata is not just a city, but a way of life. A life that is hued in multi-colored happiness and that glitters more and more every day with its never-dying spirit.PP
The first things that hit you as you arrive in the city are the vintage trams and hand-pulled rickshaws. A tram ride in Kolkata used to give me more of a thrill than even an expensive Audi ride. A leisurely ride on a dainty tram is truly a way to experience the historical ambiance of this city.
The cultural capital of India, Kolkata is a city that will surprise you at every stage of your journey. Be it Howrah Bridge, or Shaheed Minar, Mother Teresa House, Science City, The Marble Palace, Kalighat Kali Temple, Victoria Memorial Hall or Prinsep Ghat, Kolkata is a hub of modern, historic, religious and natural wonders.
If you want to explore the entire city, start from Howrah Bridge, the third longest cantilever bridge in the world. Driving across the Howrah Bridge over Hooghly River is a surreal ride and a great way to enjoy and admire this remarkable feat of engineering.
Moving on to central or south Kolkata, you’ll find some spectacular palaces, parks and colonial relics, which narrate the history of India. Spend some time in this part of the city and check out the magnificent architecture of India. Before moving on, don’t forget to pay a visit to the largest museum – Indian Museum – and the largest library – National Library – in the country. These places will satiate the historian within you and are worth a visit for the sheer visual pleasure they offer.
When it comes to food and shopping, New Market is a paradise for Bengalis. My weekends used to be incomplete without a visit to this place. No number of malls and restaurants can replace this colossal market. Here you can find everything from trendy apparel to traditional wears as well as a vast range of beautiful accessories, jewelry and food. Ask for anything and it is here. Bargain and shop to your heart’s content. If you want to try out Bengali street food or world famous Bengali sweets, like Rasgulla, Chomchom, Gujia and Mishti Dol, this is the best place. In the 18 years of my life in Kolkata, I have tried so many varieties of sweets that sometimes I find it hard to remember the name of a particular one.
I would be doing an injustice to Kolkata if I didn’t mention Durga Puga, the largest and most famous religious festival in Kolkata. Durga Puja is to Kolkata what October Fest is to Germany. This 10 day festival usually takes place in October or November. This is the time when you can experience the real Kolkata, thoroughly drenched in the colors of exhilaration.
I regret that I left The City of Love at the age when one feels the most powerful aspects of love. The images of romance in Kolkata include small boats in serene lakes, calm nights lit up with yellow lights, a soothing breeze under the stars and Rabindranath Tagore’s soulful music in the background. A romantic boat ride in Prinsep Ghat amidst the waves of the Hooghly River and a peaceful evening stroll in sprawling Millennium Park are things I can never forget. If you want to feel the romance of Kolkata, take your loved one to romantic Prinsep Ghat, spellbinding Victoria Memorial, tranquil Rabindar Sarobar or dazzling Floatel and enjoy your time together. You can also go to Nandan to relish some of the most classy and romantic live music performances ever.
Growing up in Kolkata is really a priceless gift. Kolkata is not just a city, but a way of life. A life that is hued in multi-colored happiness and that glitters more and more with each passing day. Getting the true feel of the city’s pulse is not possible by just reading an article. So come and explore the most joyous place on the earth. Amidst the unparalleled beauty of Kolkata, you’ll forget the rest of world.
For more on India, check out Jaipur.