Howrah Bridge/ Calcutta

The former capital of British India, the port of Kolkata(formerly known as Calcutta) today forms the commercial and industrial hub of eastern india located on the eastern banks of the Hooghly River (about 150 kilometres upstream from the Bay of Bengal), which is a tributary of the Ganges. It is one of the four mega cities in India. During the British Raj Kolkata was known as the Jewel of the East and was the capital of the country till 1911. It still bears the Victorian imprint on its streets and structures. Today, it is still the most important city in the east.

 
As a first time visitor, Kolkata for me was indeed overwhelming,densely populated and polluted, ugly and desperate place, that to many, sums up the worst of India. Yet it's also one of the country's more fascinating centers producing some of India's finest literature, theater, films, art and culture. It is also known as the "City of Joy".
 
Kolkata has the Largest Railway Stations in the country with more than 50 Platforms.Howrah bridge is a landmark of that area. It connects the Howrah Railway station to Kolkata.This is a bridge that 80,000 vehicles and more than 1,000,000 pedestrians cross every day. I have never seen a bridge like this so crowded ever in my life.Just few minutes walk from the station you come across many Old British Buildings built in their times,standing strong as a rock even today.This biggest city markets of the east and a hub for wholesalers right next to the Railway Station.
I need to write a seperate travelogue, a brief about my experinces of how it was for me from the moment I reached kolkata untill i came back to Bangalore.Was a roller coaster ride. When I left Banglore I wanted to make a small trip to Darjelling and then Dhanbad( remember the movie Gangs of wassaepur)Because all these places are by few hours journey from Calcutta.
 
It is easy to be into shock when you first arrive in the city. If you look through the dirty exteriors of buildings, there is beautiful architecture. New Market is an eye opening experience for anyone only familiar with western life, especially the meat section (don't breath too deeply there, and never through your nose). If you give Kolkata a chance, it will steal a piece of your heart that will always remain there.
 
Returning back to the Kolkata diaries,There is much more to see than the dirty places in Kolkata
Esplanade is the heart of Kolkata. It consists of the region just north of the Maidan and includes Dalhousie Square with all its colonial British buildings.
South Kolkata is a district of Kolkata. It is less congested and more modern when compared to the rest of the city.
North Kolkata is the older area of Kolkata, a fascinating district dominated by narrow little lanes and hundreds of century-old buildings
Tollygunge is a locality of South Kolkata. It is flanked by the Eastern Railway south suburban line to the north, Lake Gardens and Golf Green in the east.
 
Places to see in Kolkata
 
Jorasanko Thakurbari or the House of the Thakurs is the ancestral residence of the Tagore family. The mansion was built during the 18th century by Prince Dwarkanath Tagore the grandfather of Rabindranath Tagore

Park Street is also called Food Street and the Street that never sleeps by the locals due to the various restaurants and pubs located in the area. 

The Indian Museum in Kolkata is the largest and the oldest museums in India and was established in 1814. The museum contains 6 sections which are further split in 35 galleries and contain a plethora of various antiquities, artifacts, paintings and mummies etc.

 
Victoria Memorial is located on the plains at the banks of the River Hoogly and was completed in 1921. It is dedicated in the memory of Queen Victoria and is currently a museum.
 
Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary is located at the foothills of the eastern Himalayas and is one of the major strongholds for the rare one horned Indian Rhino. The forest reserve is spread across an area of 216.51 square kilometers and is home to a huge variety of flora and fauna. The various animal species found here are the Royal Bengal Tiger, Indian Elephants, Sambar, Indian Bison and wild boar etc.
 
Mother Teresas Home for the Destitute and Dying (In case you are person who likes volunteering, this would be a place you would love to go)
 
The Kalighat temple which is a very famous with the Indian crowd and devotees from all parts of India just to have a look at the goddess Kali.
 
Birla Temple is one of the several Birla temple landmarks that are located in various major cities across India. The temple was commissioned by the Industrial Birla Family of India and is dedicated to Lord Krishna.
 
The Royal Calcutta turf club was founded in 1847 in the British India and was the 1st horse racing organization in India. The Calcutta or the Kolkata Racecourse was established in 1820 and is one of the oldest horse race courses in the country.
 
Eden Gardens are a massive capacity cricket ground and is often called a Cricket Colosseum. The Eden Gardens are the largest capacity cricket ground in the country and the 3rd largest in the world. 
 
Dasserra is a festival celebrated in the month of october and prayers are offered to Goddess Kali/Durga, Its also called as Durga Poojo If you want to experience Kolkata and Bengali tradition and culture month of october would be the best to Travel/Visit Kolkata.Women wearing Red/White Saree on this Occasion,splashing red color on each other and animal sacrifice during this festival is a major part of the Durga Pooja Festival.
 
Bengalis are very much foodies and food is important part of their culture.Kolkata is known for Sea foods and Sweet. Either its local street food or in big restuarants. The food is mouth watering.
 
Visit Kolkata can be a totaly differnt experice to anyone traveling there for the first time.Its a mixture of tradtional and modern ethics.
As I sais months of October would be worth Visiting the city, though it would be deadly crowded coz of the festive season but worth visiting.
 
P.S :Do not forget to try Misti Doi, Rosgulla,Doi Maach
 
How to reach Kolkata
 
By Plane
Located at Dum Dum, approximately 17 kilometres north-east of the city centre Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport is quite small for a city this size.You have flights connecting from all over the country and International flight arrivals include flights from China,Thailand,Middle east,Germany,Dhaka, Singapore and many others.
 
By Train
As I mentioned earlier Kolkata has the largest Railway stations in India, Connectin to Kolkata from all parts of India.
Doronto Express and Rajdhani Express have regular train links to Kolkata from major cities of India.
 
By Car
Travelling by car is not generally recommended unless for shorter journeys.
 
By Bus
Esplanade Bus Station in the Chowringhee area is the city's main station for inter-state and inter-city buses, with bus services serving many places in West Bengal.
 
By Boat
With its location on the Hooghly River, it is possible to enter Kolkata by boat, especially from nearby towns and cities.
Ferries also connect Kolkata with Port Blair( Andaman Nicobar Islands)
 
Since its the second largets city in India you wont find it difficult to find good hotel in Kolkata.
 
I would recommend Kolkata for single travellers than for someone looking for family vacation, untill your family loves art and culture and Local markets.