AN ELGIN EXCLUSIVE FEATURE BY KAVISHVI PAHWA
Kolkata, “the city of joy” can very well be referred to as le Paris de l’Inde. This city is probably one of the very few cities in the country to possess an art gallery, a museum, or a spot in every nook and cranny with some historical significance or cultural relation. In the most unusual spaces in Kolkata, one will be amazed to discover pieces of art and craftsmanship.
kolkata is not a city, but an emotion!
Many who stay here, or visit the city, will go relentlessly about places and their rich heritage and food. Kolkata induces nostalgia, and you never really leave the city once you’re here. You may not be actually present, but a part of you always stays back, in some alley.
We have selected 6 locations that capture the rich and vibrant multiculturalism of the city, its distinctive ways of mixing tradition and modernity, and its endless cheerful spirit. If you have already visited the famous attractions a little too many times, give these new attractions a chance on your itinerary.
The city of Mishti, Maach and Momos, land of poetry, art and all things creative. your one stop destination to party, shop and indulge in the taste of Bengal – @things2doinkolkata, Instagram
This paradise of cupcakes is straight out of a fairy tale. Entering this place makes one feel like they have been hauled to an English Tea Party back in time. It is built like a dollhouse with tiny wrought iron chairs with pink cushions and floral wallpaper on the pillars, all done in vibrant shades of pink and peach. To add to the charm, there is a chalkboard menu, pretty ceramic cake stands, and other doll-house accouterments.
Image by @mrsmagpiecafe, Instagram
The decor of this cafe continues to win me over for it makes you feel comfortable once you enter it. The change in menu is a much welcome move especially for people like me who visit often. For people who have not tried this place, give it a shot, most probably you will return. – Sudipto Chakraborty, Google Review
An amazing selection of pastries, sandwiches, marzipan, quiches and tarts, sliders, and sweet and savory puffs are served on the menu. They also offer a delicious afternoon tea that comes with finger sandwiches, scones, petit fours, biscuits, and cakes. But their beautifully made cupcakes are their main attraction (in flavors such as cherry and cream cheese, lemony white chocolate, and apple brandy). Plus, they make the best hot chocolate you will ever find in the town.
Image by @mrsmagpiecafe, Instagram
An authentic place to spend quality time with your family, friends, and special ones. This is one amazing spot where you will get one of the best hot chocolate in town and a wide range of cupcakes, which will make you fall in love. – Restroholic, Facebook
The venue has high-tech sound systems and a dance floor with LED lighting. Dapper and ultra-modern interiors with outstanding lighting for your disco!! The chic décor and comfortable seating will make you every bit happier!! The bar makes fantastic cocktails and there are all the regular drinks there. You will still find ample excuses to come here over and over again if you want to smoke in the smoking area or lie peacefully in the lounge.
This is a party place where you enjoy every night as a new adventure and entertainment with good friends and an amazing selection of drinks. – Sameer Ali Sardar, Facebook
Unleash the party animal in you and shimmy the dance floor with famous EDMs and pop numbers. This place is known for its regular gigs and ladies’ evenings.
UG reincarnated, an uber-cool decor in steel grey and a dash of blue, simply looks like a space that has come straight out of some modern sci-fi flick- check out the 3D laser lights and futuristic sound technology. You can also see spectacular video projections on the wall and synchronized 3D laser lights on the floor while you jive on the dance floor. – Hemchhaya De, Google Review
Karma Kettle and Mahabodhi Tea Company
Tea in Kolkata has always been famous however, the opening and revival of some groovy new tea shops in the city (and, indeed, across India) have been seen after the recent trend in tea culture picked up. One of the best is Ballygunge Place’s Karma Kettle, owned by an accredited Tea Sommelier. It is a go-to place for gourmet wellness tea blends.
Image by @karmakettleteas, Instagram
The cozy seating area, the greenery around, the gorgeous decor, and the service everything was fantastic. The place was so Calm and serene with a warm setup perfect for all gatherings. Though it’s a tearoom, they have varied lip-smacking snacking options too. it’s a must-try place for the exotic varieties of teas they serve and the ambiance only adds to the experience. – @vandanasahoo, Instagram
If you consider yourself a connoisseur of tea, you can enjoy the offerings at the Mahabodhi Tea House. It sells a range of teas from Darjeeling’s 87 and Assam’s 400 tea estates. Customers from around the world are fascinated by its in-house master tea blenders. This store certainly takes its teas seriously! Two retail branches exist 156, in Kalighat, Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Road, and 60/1B Sadananda Road.
Image by @foodie_pallab, Facebook
A perfect place for High-Teas. Very cosy and peaceful place foe long conversations. This place offers a wide variety of savory and sweet snacks. High Tea seats offer good number of snacks and the same is not at all heavy on the pocket. This is a best place to relax. – Kavita Daga, Local Guide
Book shopping at College Street.
Kolkata enjoys reading books and hoarding them. There is a full market devoted only to books in the heart of North Kolkata. College Street is known by locals as Boi Para roughly translates to “Book Town”. In a turbulent labyrinth that runs from Mahatma Gandhi Road to Ganesh Chandra Avenue, bigwigs of Bengali publishing coexist with makeshift stalls hammered together from wood, bamboo, tin, and canvas. School books, college books, art books, writing, craft, novels, self-help, magazines, College Street has it, everything you can think of. And not just new ones, it’s also a hub for seconds.
As a Calcuttan, College street has been a place of frequent visit. Ever since my school days whenever I required books be it any kind any type college street famously known as ‘boi para’ has always been my first choice.There’s not a single book you won’t get here be it an Indian publisher or an International one.For bookworms it’s a place of solace. – Totini, Google Reviews
The word “Adda”. A place where ideas are exchanged and so are views. A place where discussions happen. Discussions here range from campus, study plans, politics, business, economics, marriages, sports, films, music, future plans, dreams and almost everything. With the cultural history behind it, Kolkata’s Indian Coffee House is quite a nostalgic hot-spot in the city. – Suvro Chatterjee, Google Reviews
Moulin Rouge on park Street
Moulin Rouge is a Park Street legend know as much for its jazz gigs as for its delectable continental cuisine. Kind of like the American musical, this place’s decor is exquisite. Stylish chandeliers are there, dim lighting that makes this place appear exotic. It’s an old place with an appeal that is very unique. Indulge in the popular delicacies of the place, including cocktail prawn, chicken steak sizzler, chicken tetrazzini, and fish dishes. And the cherry on the top? There is live music in the evening.
Right from the decor to the cutlery, everything at this expansive restaurant spells affluence and heritage. The moment you step through the door it feels like you are transported to another era. – Troyee Bose, Local Guide
Since the British Raj, Park Street has a tradition of being a nexus of evening and night recreation. Park Street is packed with restaurants and bars, referred to as ‘the street that never sleeps’ and is often bustling with visitors and activity, much like La Rambla in Barcelona or the Champs-Elysees in Paris. The street attracts locals on the occasions of Diwali, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve in large numbers. The entire street is decorated with bright and colorful lights celebrating the festivals with great enthusiasm. It is one of Kolkata’s prime entertainment and leisure spot.
No matter how many changes occur, Kolkata never gets rid of its tradition, and the mighty yellow ambassador taxi proves that. – @arisewithsanky, Blogspot
New Market and Chowringhee Road
Kolkata’s oldest and most popular market is Sprawling New Market, also known as Hogg Market. It dates back to 1874 and has about 4,000 stalls and 27 entrances. There is a saying that in the New Market, there is a possibility of buying anything from a needle to an elephant. Since the market is set out in different parts, without a guide, it can be hard to find your way around. Or, instead, take a guided walking tour.
If you love flea markets, this is right up your alley. A crowded place with everything available be it clothes, leather goods, utensils, bakery stuff, dry fruits, confectionery stuff, birthday decors. If you are a shopping enthusiast , its a place to spend time without any agenda and an agenda is automatically created without harming your pocket. – Phalgun Ray, Google Reviews
Street vendors come in the evenings to sell affordable jewelry and eye-catching bags outside the front of the shop. Just be prepared for the multitudes! Vendors also line Chowringhee Road from Park Street to New Market round the corner. You will find some wonderful terracotta items, which are a specialty of Kolkata if you look carefully through all the inexpensive junk.
Kolkata has a vivacious charm which will definitely leave you wanting for more, it upholds a perfect juxtaposition between the old and the modern world. In the words of Vir Sanghvi, a renowned Indian television journalist, ” If you want a city with a soul, come to Calcutta.”