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  • Writer's pictureDipan Chatterjee

Timeless Kolkata: A Journey...

Updated: Sep 29, 2023

"I shall return again to this Bengal on the banks of dhanshiri.

Perhaps not as a human,but mayna or a fishing kite"


Jibanananda Das's sentimental poem encapsulates both the grandeur of Bengal and the poet's affection for his native place. The beautiful descriptions of landscapes, rivers, trees, and animals have always impacted me since they make me feel strongly connected to and yearning for my own beginnings.


Hello and welcome to my blog.I am Dipan Chatterjee and I am an IT professional currently living in the Netherlands. I have been residing in Europe for about seven years now. Originally, I am from West Bengal, which is one of the state in eastern part of India, or as we fondly call it, Bangla. Inspired by the poem's tribute to my homeland, I decided to start my blogging journey by sharing my experiences about people places culture and travel.


Although I'm not a writer by profession and never excelled in essay or poem writing during school, I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to explore the world.

Through my blog, I aim to share personal anecdotes, travel tips, food recommendations, and cultural insights that I have gained over the years.


Join me as I embark on this exciting journey and pay homage to my homeland while embracing the diverse flavors and adventures the world has to offer.


Welcome to Kolkata:


History,Tradition and Social Practices.


Kolkata, formerly known as Calcutta, is the capital of West Bengal and is referred to as the "City of Joy" by many. From 1722 to 1911, it served as the seat of British India's government. The renowned Kali Temple at Kalighat is perhaps where the word "Calcutta" originated. The name "Kolkata" was formally chosen by the city in 2001. Kolkata was founded in 1690 by Job Charnock, who combined the three settlements of Calcutta, Sutanuti, and Gobindapur. It is situated on the banks of the hooghly River.


Kolkata is a large and a vibrant city,sustaining amongst economic social and political challenges. Still the city oozes out its love for culture art people and food.

We cannot separate kolkata and kolkatans from their love for the art,culture,heritage, literature and offcourse food. In multiple surveys conducted over the years it can be noticed that Kolkata has been the top food destination.The Kolkata Metro holds a major legacy of the city, in operation since 1984, is the oldest underground mass transit system in India.


Bengalis have a rich cultural heritage and a strong affinity for various art forms. The people of Bengal have made significant contributions to music, dance, theater, literature, and cinema, both in India and globally. The passion for arts is deeply ingrained in their culture, and many Bengali children are exposed to these creative pursuits from a young age.This city has carried Indian freedom struggle in its womb. Starting from the Battle of Plassey. Bengal was hotbed of Indian freedom struggle and was at the forefront of political activism during the period.


Bengalis have thirteen festivals in twelve months.Bengal is known for its festivals. There are festivals and celebrations throughout the year, both large and small in grandeur throughout different part of the state. Bengalis are known for their inclusive and communal approach from celebrating festivals, embracing various religious and cultural events with enthusiasm. This sense of unity transcends religious boundaries, fostering a spirit of harmony and togetherness among the Bengali community. Some of the notable festivals celebrated by Bengalis include Durga puja, Diwali, Holi, Eid, Saraswati puja, Poush parbon and Christmas.

Durga puja is like the annual festival in Kolkata.


Kolkata has a range of trade fairs and events throughout the year in addition to the many religious holidays. The Kolkata Book Fair is one such occasion that book lovers must attend. This extraordinary literary event, which is usually hosted in the city between late January and early February, guarantees a lovely experience for everyone there during that time.Not to be forgotten and very significant is the Kolkata Film Festival, which takes place annually in November. It is a gala event that features movies from many nations. The international and Indian cinema communities have gathered in Kolkata for this week-long event.


Eating out in Kolkata


Rasogolla, misti doi, shukto,kosha mangsho...these names are familiar to many...but Kolkata, our Bengal, has even more to offer...just saying!!!


The City's Food Treasures


Indian Coffee House,For many Kolkata seniors, the Indian Coffee House is a nostalgic landmark. Famous coffee houses are located on College Street. A popular meeting place for students, intellectuals, artists and locals to enjoy good food and the famous cod coffee at affordable prices and participate in lively discussions and debates.


Golbari, Located in the heart of Shambazar. Golbari is famous for serving its iconic mutton curry, mixed with hearty spices and rich sauce until tender and juicy.

It is a must culinary visit to Kolkata. I am sure it will leave lasting memories and your taste buds will thank you forever.


Dilkusha Cabin, It is an iconic restaurant that has been serving delicious food to the people of Kolkata for over 100 years. The restaurant is famous for its signature dishes such as mutton stew, egg devil, and butter toast, which are a must-try for any foodie visiting Kolkata. Dilkusha Cabin's prices are reasonable and affordable, making it a popular hangout for both students and locals. The restaurant is


located on College Street in North Kolkata, which is known for its vibrant atmosphere and cultural significance. Another popular dish at Dilkusha cabin is the chicken kabiraji, which is a breaded and fried chicken cutlet that is a favorite among regulars.


Anadi Cabin, Almost every bengali or residents of Kolkata has heard these words about "Anadi er mughlai parota".The parota is made by stuffing minced meat, eggs, and spices in a flaky, crispy parota, which is then fried to perfection.They also have mutton kosha that can be enjoyed with the parota.Centrally located at Dharmatala or Esplanade New market area.One of the oldest in its segment.


Peter Cat, an iconic restaurant which is over 60 years old. The iconic chelo kebab at Peter cat is a must try.The restaurant is known for its kebab and sizzlers.

They have quite a nice spread in their menu, the prices are a bit on the higher side however they intent to make up with the food quality and dinig expereince. The restaurant is located at the vibrant Park Street.Peter Cat can be on your menu too if you are looking to experience the rich food culture and history of Kolkata.


Flurys, another legacy of Kolkata was introduced within the year 1927 Mr. and Mrs. J Flury.This charming diner within the heart of the city and is known for its scrumptious cakes, baked goods, and a assortment of other desserts.Flurys is popular for its scrumptious breakfast spread, which incorporates a assortment of English breakfast things such as bacon and eggs, wieners, heated beans, and toast. With its tall ceilings, plush seating, and vintage photos, the eatery encompasses a classic and exquisite stylistic layout that transports you back in time.Flurys has ended up a social institution in Kolkata over the a long time, and it has played an imperative part in forming the city's cullinary culture. The area has facilitated a few celebrated individuals, including Satyajit Ray, and has showed up in several films.If you're in Kolkata, a visit to Flurys may be a must to enjoy within the city's wealthy history and dynamic food culture.


Mughlai Cuisine Nizam's, a must and must attempt joint for the celebrated mughlai cooking and its kathi kebab rolls.Kolkata incorporates a long history with awadhi and mughlai delights. There are eateries like Kareems Arsalan,Aminia,Shiraz,Royal Indian Restaurant etc all through the city serving mughlai delicacies like biriyani,chap.korma,nihari haleem etc.Kolkata style biriyani which itself is celebrated for its unpretentious flavors and delicate meat,not so zesty demeanor not at all like hyderabadi biriyani.With its rich history and dynamic nourishment culture, Kolkata may be a heaven for culinary partners who need to indulge and savor the city's delightful mughlai cooking.


Let me tell you about the sweet delicacies that Kolkata is famous for rasogolla, mishti doi, sondesh - these are some of the most popular sweets that are not only loved by the people of Kolkata but also by those who visit from other parts of the world.

People from all over India and even abroad are flocking to Kolkata to sample its unique and delectable sweets in the age of YouTube vlogging. Kolkata's sweets are an important part of the city's rich food culture and heritage. Speaking of which, Nobin Chandra Das is credited with inventing the iconic rasogolla, a sweet that has captured the hearts of millions of people all over the world.

Kolkata sweets are more than just a treat for the taste buds; They also reflect the history and culture of the city. The sweets here aren't just desserts; They evoke nostalgia and pride in the hearts of residents here. If you visit Kolkata, be sure to sample the delicious sweets and experience the city's rich food culture first-hand.


Iconic sweet shops


Girish Chandra Dey And Nakur Chandra Nandy

Nobin Chandra Das & Sons

Balaram & Radharaman Mullick

K.C. Das

Putiram

Bhim Chandra Nag

Chittaranjan Misthanna Bhandar

Ganguram

Gupta Brothers

Tiwari Sweets


Places to Visit


Kolkata has preserved its old heritage while also moving towards modernization.Kolkata has many great places to visit from historical to modern day malls.


Some of my favorite places to visit in Kolkata are:


The Famous Howrah Bridge also called Rabindra setu over river hoogly is a symbol of Kolkata even though the name is on her sister Howrah.The Howrah Bridge has been featured in many national and international films and is considered to be a significant part of Kolkata's cultural heritage. It was commissioned in the year 1943.It took 6 years from 1936 till 1942 for the construction of the bridge. It was opened on 1943 for public use and since then, has been an important landmark of Kolkata.Interestingly the bridge does not have any nuts and bolts the whole structure is riveted made with high quality of steel.It is one of the longest cantilever bridge of the world. . If you are traveling to Kolkata by train, you will get a glimpse of the bridge as soon as you come out of the railway station. If not, I would highly recommend taking the time to visit this iconic landmark.


Victoria Memorial, more than 100 years old monument. Lord Curzon has built it in the memory of the then Queen Victoria of England.


Kalighat Temple with a history spanning over 200 years was opened in the year 1809. It is one of the Shakti Pith of Sati. Kolkata is said to have derived its name from kalighat.

Kalighat is where where the toes of the right foot of sati fell.The temple was founded by respected saint Chouranga Giri who built the original Kali temple in a small hut.The temple is not only a significant spiritual destination but also a major cultural center, with various religious festivals like Kali Puja and Diwali drawing thousands of devotees each year.The Kalighat Temple has also inspired numerous works of art, literature, and music.If you plan to visit Kolkata, be sure to include the historic Kalighat Temple on your itinerary.


Rabindranath Thakur, known as Rabindranath Tagore in English, is a beloved figure not only among Bengalis but also for many people across India. His ancestral home, the Jorasanko Thakur Bari, dates back to the 18th century and was built by his grandfather. As the birthplace and residence of the renowned Nobel laureate, this historic site is highly recommended for history enthusiasts.

In recent times, a section of the Jorasanko Thakur Bari has been converted into a museum, which houses a remarkable collection of Tagore's personal belongings, photographs, and artworks, offering visitors a glimpse into his life and accomplishments. Additionally, the Rabindra Bharati University, which is dedicated to the promotion of Tagore's ideas and the study of the arts and humanities, operates within the premises of this iconic estate.

So, if you happen to be in Kolkata, don't miss the opportunity to explore Jorasanko Thakur Bari and learn more about the life and legacy of Rabindranath Tagore.


Belur Math, located in Howrah district near Kolkata. Belur Math was founded by Swami Vivekananda and was built in 1898 as a unifying symbol of spirituality and a tribute to his guru, Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa.The ex-president APJ Abdul Kalam highly regarded Belur Math as place of national importance.The Math can be reached from Kolkata by direct EMU train services from Howrah, ferry and by road.The Ramakrishna Mission, in affiliation with Belur Math, runs numerous schools, colleges, and vocational training centers across India, offering quality education to underprivileged students.


New Market was established in 1874 by the Calcutta Corporation New Market is a highly renowned and popular shopping destination in Kolkata. It was originally constructed fulfill to the shopping needs of the British residents in Kolkata. It is famous for its wide variety of traditional and legendary shops that cater to the needs of Kolkata's residents. Here, you can find almost anything you desire at reasonable prices. In the 90s, when malls were not yet prevalent in Kolkata, New Market, along with areas like Gariahat, fulfilled the city dwellers' shopping requirements.I fondly remember visiting New Market with my parents during Durga Puja in my childhood to buy new clothes for the festival. The unique joy of shopping at New Market is something that cannot be replicated in modern malls. New Market still stands in its original location and, to me, its legacy remains unmatched by any contemporary shopping center. If you have the opportunity, be sure to visit and experience the charm of New Market for yourself.


Yes Kolkata has a lot more to offer. Some other notable places to visit in the city include:


Dakshineswar Kali Temple: Located on the eastern bank of the Hooghly River, this temple is dedicated to the goddess Kali. Built in 1855, the temple complex also houses 12 smaller temples dedicated to Lord Shiva.


Indian Museum: Established in 1814, it is the oldest and largest museum in India. The museum houses a vast collection of Indian natural history, archaeological artifacts, and art.


Science City: A popular destination for families and science enthusiasts, Science City is the largest science center in the Indian subcontinent, featuring various interactive exhibits and educational displays.


Birla Planetarium: One of the largest planetariums in Asia, it offers educational programs on astronomy and astrophysics in multiple languages.


St. Paul's Cathedral: A beautiful Anglican cathedral built between 1839 and 1847, it is an excellent example of Indo-Gothic architecture.


Princep Ghat: A serene spot along the banks of the Hooghly River, it is an ideal place for an evening stroll and to enjoy the beautiful views of the river and the Vidyasagar Setu.


Eco Park: A sprawling urban park featuring various themed gardens, recreational areas, and water bodies, it is a perfect destination for a family outing.


Depending on your schedule, you can plan your visit accordingly and explore these wonderful destinations.








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