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On The Move In Kolkata

''Rightfully known as the city of joy, Kolkata has it all from eats and shopping to art and culture''

Dig into luscious street-food, splurge in buying sarees, handicrafts and junk jewellery or just roam around the city to see what it has to offer in terms of art and culture. At first go it may seem crowded and noisy, but the city is worth all discomfort. The city has a long history of foreign influence and has spawned generations of poets, singers, writers and film makers.

SHOPPING : Shopping in Kolkata is great fun. From low-priced clothes to interesting souvenirs, the places mentioned below offer good bargains and value-for-money deals. Items that are a popular buy in Kolkata include sarees, handicrafts and terracotta.

Gariahat Market : If looking for authentic Bengali sarees, visit this market. Good stuff at reasonable prices and best deals in sarees of all markets in Kolkata. Do bargain if not a fixed price shop. Dhakai Jamdani sarees, too, are available at a few shops here.

New Market : Also called Hogg's Market, it is like any other central market selling both branded and non-branded stuff. Must visit here is Shree Leathers. It's quite a task to shop here as it’s too crowded but is worth all the pain. It's inexpensive too. Every corner has its own billing counter to ease traffic. Staff present there will help you with billing at the respective counters.
Get into the reconstructed section of the market and you will find a huge market set up selling all sorts of stuff including sarees, bags, suits and decorative items. Imitation and junk jewellery, decorative flowers, too, are available here. There’s also an underground shopping mall at the new market where one can purchase fashionable tops, salwar suits and sarees.

5 Star Market : Get hands on clothes, accessories, footwear here. Most shops on second and third floors deal in wholesale stuff. They sell good western wears too. You would be lucky if they agree to sell a piece as they largely deal in bulk. Be careful while buying watches and perfumes as they could be imitations of real brands.

Also visit: : •College Street if you are a bookworm
•Park Street for all the branded stuff
•Swabhumi for locally designed junk jewellery and terracotta products
•Dakshinapan Shopping Center for Indian handicrafts and artifacts, clothes, furniture, jewellery and
other giftables.
•Chowringhee Road for terracotta wares

EATING OUT : •Jhalmuri: It is a light snack consisting of puffed rice tossed in mustard oil along with with chopped onions, chillis, tomatoes, coriander, spices and nuts. Nearly everywhere you look, you’ll find a vendor selling jhalmuri.

•Puchkas: One of the most iconic street foods of Kolkata – Puchkas or Pani Puri/Gol Gappas are a must. Puchkas are available almost everywhere in Kolkata and come in different variations. Try New Market for sure.

•Egg Rolls: It is one of the most devoured and preferred street foods.

•Papri Chaat / Batata Puri: Consists of papri topped with spiced potatoes, chopped onions,
coriander, chillis and yellow peas and dressed in red tamarind chutney.

•Rabindra Sadan for Momos.

•China Town: Here you will find an array of authentic Chinese restaurants. You can try one of
these - Golden Joy, Beijing Restaurant, Kim Ling and Big Boss.

•Maharani near Southern Avenue for hing kachouri, jalebi, gulaab jamun and samosa.

•Chowmein: Cooked in Indian style woks, chowmein gives a smoky taste.

•Ghugni Chaat: Yellow peas mixed with tomatoes, onions, coriander , tamarind water, and lime

SIGHTSEEING : Kalighat Temple: The temple, located on banks of river Hoogly, is dedicated to goddess Kali and is about 200 years old. The temple holds significant religious importance and is visited by worshippers all year round. It is also regarded as one of the 52 Shakti Peeths of India. Don’t get swayed by shopkeepers there and render prayers the way you want to.

Victoria Memorial: The most prominent building and art museum of Kolkata. The building displays history of Kolkata, construction of memorial and pictures and statues of men who played a prominent part in the history of India. Photography is prohibited inside the museum. One of the halls houses paintings of different workers and British officials of those times that will for sure grab your attention.
The building is enclosed by well-preserved and manicured lush green gardens and has a serene artificial lake too at one end. The memorial was an attempt of the British to create a replica of Taj Mahal in the honour of the Queen. The place also conducts a light and sound every evening for visitors, which is okay for once. Post visiting the museum, take a buggy ride outside to add more colour to the day. Memorial Timings are: (10.00 am - 5.00 pm - entry closes at 4.30 pm, except on Mondays and National Holidays)

Indian Museum: Founded by the Asiatic Society of Bengal, it is one of the very early museums in India and magnificently developed. With the foundation of Indian Museum in 1814, the Museum movement started rolling in India and through the years from then, got a new fillip and great momentum.The museum is impressive and has a huge enthralling collection of fossils, skeletons, coins and ornaments and antiques. The Egyptian Section and the Painting Gallery are not to be missed. It will take not less than 5-6 hours if wants to looking at everything at ease. Photography is allowed inside the museum for a fee.

Dakshineshwar Kali Temple: Built in the middle of 19th century, it’s a Hindu temple of Bhavatarini, an aspect of Goddess Kali. It is situated on the eastern bank of the Hooghly River and has association with Ramakrishna. The room he used to live in is now a museum. Encircling the main temple are 12 other small temples dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple can be visited anytime during the year. Cameras too are allowed inside but be careful while clicking as some may oppose photography.

Princep Ghat: If looking to spend some peaceful time with oneself or with near ones, visit Princep Ghat that also houses monument built in the memory of James Prinsep, who helped in deciphering Emperor Akbar’s Brahminical script. Gardens are beautifully illuminated in the evenings. One can also go for a boat ride to see sunset and dig into mouth-watering jhalmuri and Puchkas when back at the ghat. Vidyasagar Setu, suspension bridge of Kolkata, is right above the ghat.

Belur Math: It is headquarter of the Ramakrishna Mission, which was established by Swami Vivekananda in the memory of his teacher Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa. Pilgrims from all over the world throng this religious place for the peace it exudes. There’s also a book shop in the campus selling literature on the mission and life of Swami Vivekananda and Ramakrishna Paramhansa.

GOING AROUND THE CITY : Kolkata is cheap compared with any other metro city in India. One can go around the city in a cab easily. They are available anywhere and everywhere and go strictly by metre. Auto rickshaws operate only on select routes and so don’t wait for one. Try tram for once, a very old medium of transport in Kolkata. Again, they operate on select routes. For long distances inter-city buses too can be boarded.

Source / Review By : Pramugdha Mamgain Nautiyal


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