Kolkata Diaries of a Bengali traveller

“Where does one go in a tremendous city like Kolkata? I go by my rule, find a local and see it through their eyes.”

Kolkata??? Are you serious? Is that a thing? People go to Kolkata for a holiday? Does “Cal” mean you’re flitting off to California?” were some of the many exclamatory questions thrown at me in response to my mentioning of the destination for the upcoming long weekend. I was initially a little jolted with the reaction. True, I never considered it myself but then again, I didn’t think there was that much of a disinclination to visit. So long story short, this all started when one of my closest friends, decided to fall in love, get married and move to Kolkata of all places roughly a year ago. So after some dilly-dallying and being “unable” to visit the city all this while, I decided it was time to be a good friend and go see her.

Having been to the city twice before on different occasions, I didn’t have the best impression of it. The traffic in itself was a deterrent and that’s saying a lot considering I live in Mumbai! I was waiting for this awesome experience I was promised and boy, was I in for a revelation!

To say one gets good food in Kolkata is an understatement. To say that your palate is going to be teased and satiated altogether and in continuity in ways never before, is more accurate. We visited J.W.Mariott, Novotel & ITC where we finally had our meal.

Dinner was this restaurant called Pan Asian where we ate this ridiculously fancy “Teppanyaki” meal. The 7 courses were just delicious and the chef cooking them right in front of you was a delightful sight. Among cries of laughter and couple of glasses of wine, we managed to stuff our faces and skip merrily away into the night.

All our ambitious plans of taking “walking tours” and “sightseeing” were cancelled due to fatigue and laziness and so we slept in. Post breakfast we decided to go to the famous Kali temple and offer some prayers. A late lunch and cocktail tasting session later we were scheduled to set sail on yacht in the Hooghly River. Once aboard the yacht, we started the 2 hour cruise along with some Prosecco, an elaborate cheese platter and girly giggles along with the wind pleasantly whistling through our hair.

The following morning we had an elaborate breakfast that consisted of numerous items including many varieties of the desserts one locally gets in the city. Yes, people in Kolkata eat dessert for breakfast too!!! Since it was our last day, we were treated to lunch by a friend who took us to try one of the best Mutton biryanis’ in the world along with some chicken and fish kebabs. Post lunch we finally went sightseeing and saw some wonderful sights all around the city. Victoria memorial is as gorgeous in the day as at twilight. The Howrah Bridge is as majestic as in photos & the very many markets are so colourfully cultural. We also saw the racecourse while we were driving along the gargantuan “Maidan” park.

Trudging my way out of bed and rushing to the airport with snack packs and gifts from the most gracious host in the world, I looked fondly out at the buildings whizzing by me and taking back the best memories home…

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