Flights to Kolkata (CCU)

Flights to Kolkata will leave a lasting impression. Stately buildings, powerful flavours and an infectious creative spirit make the city memorable.

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Flights to Kolkata

There’s no soft introduction to Kolkata. The moment your flight to Kolkata lands at the airport, you’re flung into an exuberant world of noise, colour and excitement. The roads are a swarm of rickshaws and yellow and black ambassador taxis, and the pavements throng with people. No matter what side of the Hooghly River you're on, the lively energy of the city never dulls.

They call it The City of Joy, and it's easy to see why. Look around, and you’ll notice Kolkata’s impressive colonial architecture, from the gleaming Victoria Monument to the Raj Bhavan government residence. Many of the buildings are as grand and proud as the day they were built, and all recall a time when Kolkata was at the centre of the world’s largest empire.

The British East India Company arrived in 1690, seizing control of three villages: Sutanuti, Gobindapur and Kalikata. Soon they had built Fort William on the banks of the Hooghly, and established Calcutta (as it was once known) as a base in India. The city became a vital centre for trade between Europe and Asia, but it was also the centre of the independence movement in India. By 1911 the British had relocated the capital to Delhi, and Kolkata became the capital of the state of West Bengal.

In a cosmopolitan and historically rich city like Kolkata, it’s no surprise that the food and restaurants are extremely diverse. There are the usual western chains and all kinds of international cuisines available, from Chinese to Italian. There are also lots of Indian restaurants, representing styles and cuisines from all over the country. But one cuisine has an overriding influence on Kolkata’s culinary scene: Bengali food.
With its emphasis on fish, vegetables and pulses, and bold spicy flavours, the food of Bengal is as distinctive as it is delicious.

Like everything in the city, its colonial past has left a distinct impression on its accommodation offering. Some of the best hotels in Kolkata were built during the days of the British Raj, such as the reassuringly expensive Grand Hotel (now an Oberoi hotel), with its neoclassical styling and green courtyard. But even at the other end of the luxury scale, the almost mythical Fairlawn Hotel on Sudder Street (built in 1783) is full of old-world character.

The city counts legendary film director Satyajit Ray and celebrated poet Rabindranath Tagore among its cherished sons. And there are plenty of museums, galleries, cinemas and theatres showcasing Kolkata’s many art forms, from its Kalighat paintings of Hindu deities to its growing indie music scene.

Visit Kolkata's potters' quarter

Kumartuli is a traditional potters’ quarter, where clay idols are made for Kolkata’s many religious festivals, from Durga Puja to Kali Puja. Calcutta Photo Tours will give you a unique opportunity to capture the craftsmen at work, as a pantheon of gods and goddesses of all shapes, sizes and colours are born. July to January is the best time to visit.

Calcutta Photo Tours
265, 1st Floor
Bepin Behari
Ganguly Street
West Bengal
+91 98 3116 3482

Visit New Market

Immerse yourself in Kolkata’s vibrant markets. Housed in a British colonial building, the New Market (which opened in 1874) has more than 2,000 stalls. The Mullik Ghat Flower Market is an astonishing riot of colour, or if books are your bag, head over to College Street, where the booksellers’ shelves are almost as colourful.

New Market
Bertram Street
Lenin Sarani
New Market Area
West Bengal

Explore Kalighat Kali Temple

Built in honour of the Hindu goddess Kali, Kalighat is believed to be the site from which Kolkata got its name. The current temple was built in 1809, and remains one of the most important pilgrimage sites in the city. Ask one of the guides waiting at the entrance to show you around (for a small tip).

Khaligat Road
West Benegal
West Bengal
+91 33 2243 6440

Visit the Marble Palace

With its eclectic collection of Victorian curios, paintings, statues and busts – plus a hoard of kitsch items of somewhat lesser importance – the Marble Palace is one of Kolkata’s best-kept secrets. Built by Raja Rajendra Mullick Bahadur, a wealthy Bengali merchant, in 1835, the neoclassical mansion has Doric pillars, open courtyards and an on-site zoo.

46 Muktaram Babu Street
Off Chittaranjan Avenue
West Bengal
+91 33 2239 3310

Learn about colonial Kolkata

Kolkata retains some of the best examples of British colonial architecture from the days of the Raj. Start your walking tour around BBD Bagh (Dalhousie Square), and take in St John’s Church, The Writer’s Building and the General Post Office, before heading to the Maidan and the immaculate marble Victoria Memorial, which now houses a museum tracing the city’s history.

Victoria Memorial
1 Queen’s Way
West Bengal
+91 33 2223 1890

Take a street food tour

Join the free Kolkata Food Walk and discover the best of Bengali street food. Explore fruit and vegetable markets, sweet shops and snack stops selling everything from pani puri (deep-fried spheres containing tamarind, chickpeas, potato and chilli) to Kolkata’s famous kati rolls (grilled kebabs with onion, chilli and sauce). The tour often starts at Gariahat Market, but check the website for the latest details.

Gariahat Market
Ballygunge Gardens Rd
Ballygunge Gardens
West Bengal

Nizam’s (Street food)

Founded in 1932, Nizam’s lays claim to the creation of one of Kolkata’s most celebrated delicacies: the kati roll. This snack consists of bamboo-skewered barbecued meat, onions, chillis and sometimes egg, smothered in sauce and wrapped up in a paratha. There might be other places to find a kati roll in Kolkata, but Nizam’s is the original.

23/24 Hogg Street
BBD Bagh
New Market
+919 83 619 4669

Mainland China (Chinese)

Chinese food is popular across India, and Kolkata is no exception. This sophisticated Chinese restaurant is widely known as one of the best in the city, much-loved for its ambience, Chinese dragon statues and Szechuan cuisine. Try the authentic dim sum dumplings and the seafood dishes.

3A Uniworth House
Gurusaday Road
Beck Bagan
West Bengal
+919 33 22517034

6 Ballygunge Place (Bengali)

Occupying a mansion dating back to the days of the Raj, this award-winning restaurant is renowned for serving some of the tastiest Bengali cuisine in Kolkata. You can opt for the lunchtime buffet, or choose from the a la carte selection, which includes rui shorshe (rohu fish in mustard sauce) and bhetki paturi (fish cooked in banana leaf).

6 Ballygunge Place Road
Near Patah Bhavan School
West Benegal
+91 33 2460 3922

Peter Cat (Indian)

Largely unchanged since the 1960s, this legendary restaurant and nightlife venue off Park Street is like a time capsule. The lighting is subdued, and the vibe is always lively; when uniformed waiters bring out your chelo kebabs and drinks in pewter tankards, you’ll understand why this restaurant is still one of the most popular in town.

18 Park St
West Bengal
+91 33 2229 8841

Kewpies Kitchen (Bengali)

Kewpies is an unforgettable introduction to home-cooked Bengali food. Set in a private residence on a quiet lane, it’s a warm and welcoming environment to enjoy a traditional thali – a variety of dishes on a banana leaf served on a round platter. And whenever there’s a festival in Kolkata, the kitchen celebrates accordingly.

2 Elgin Lane (behind Netaji Bhavan)
Off Heysham Road
West Bengal
+91 33 2486 1600

Oh! Calcutta (Bengali)

This might be a chain restaurant, tucked away on the fourth floor of a shopping mall, but for high-end Bengali food you won’t find much better. The decor is slick, as is the service, but it’s the traditional dishes like macher jhol (fish curry) and kosha mangsho (mutton curry) that will keep you coming back.

4th floor
Forum Shopping Mall
Elgin Road
West Bengal
+91 33 2283 7161

The Corner Courtyard

Part boutique hotel, part restaurant, this century-old townhouse has been lovingly restored by owner Magha Agarwal, and now has some of the most sought-after beds in Kolkata. There are seven themed rooms clustered around a colourful courtyard where you can tuck into tasty international dishes.

92B Sarat Bose Road
+91 99 0399 9567

Bodhi Tree

If you love art, you'll appreciate this boutique hotel in Kolkata. Bodhi Tree has five individually designed rooms situated above a gallery and cafe, which is packed with all kinds of artwork, cool furniture and lots of Buddha statues. There’s also a quiet garden and terrace library, and it’s conveniently close to a metro station.

48/44 Swiss Park
West Benegal
+91 33 2424 6534

Fairlawn Hotel

This hugely popular budget hotel in Kolkata stands out among the backpacker options on Sudder Street, thanks to its relaxed, bohemian vibe and quirky design. Housed in a 200-year-old building, the highlight is the charming garden terrace, where you can sit with a book, soak up the sun and chat with fellow travellers.

13A Sudder Street
West Benegal
+91 33 2252 1510

The Park

Situated at the heart of the action on trendy Park Street, this boutique hotel has won awards for its ultra-modern design and excellent service. It’s the flagship hotel of The Park chain, which you can see reflected in its fine restaurants, luxury day spa and all-round attention to detail.

17 Park Street
West Benegal
+91 33 2249 9000

Oberoi Grand

Affectionately known as the Grand Dame of Kolkata, this fine colonial era hotel delights guests with its huge ballroom, colonnaded verandas and porticos. Now owned by the Oberoi group, it’s still considered one of the most luxurious hotels in India, and is the perfect retreat from the bustling city.

New Market Area
West Bengal
+91 33 2249 2323

Hotel 233 Park Street

Occupying the ground floor of a colonial mansion on energetic Park Street, this vintage boutique hotel is crammed with elegant reminders of days gone by. There’s antique furniture in every room, from mahogany four-poster beds to Burma teak dressers, but you still get mod cons in the form of LCD TVs and high-speed Wi-Fi.

233 Park Street
West Bengal
+91 33 2287 0300

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