What to Read Next

Oh Calcutta!

28 August 2012
Vidyasagar Setu, Kolkata
The Vidyasagar Setu links Kolkata with its twin city Howrah.

By Shayantani Sarkar

During my recent visit to Kolkata, I chose to revive my childhood memories of the city. I had spent my school days here, when it was then known as Calcutta.

Contrived during the British colonization period in India, Calcutta was the capital of India in the 18th century. The city still clings to its past as it transitions into the dynamic modern-day Kolkata. The encompassing flyovers fail to keep up with the ever-growing traffic and the life-saving metro railway is the easiest way to commute.

Calcutta, as I still prefer to call it, teems with emotionally driven and culturally enriched people. The city and the people have always contributed effortlessly in the field of art, drama, music, film and science. The friendly people are equally passionate about football (soccer) as much as they enjoy cricket and sweets. The city still has some of the best street-side eateries. The locals have their own favorites for biriyani and kathi rolls — Nizam and Arselan, to name a few.

Walking down the narrow alleys of College Street I remembered how we would flock here attracted by the competitive prices on reference books. The bookstalls lining the pavement sell everything from Chaucer to Shakespeare and Astrophysics. Weary from walking, I could not resist the temptation to sip coffee at Coffee House. It is the best place to feel the pulse of the city. People get together for informal gatherings -- or "adda" -- and the discussion ranges from politics or poetry.

Hand-pulled rickshaws are common in this part of town. They were brought to the city by Chinese businessmen for ferrying goods. Although they were banned a few years ago, the government has failed to implement the ban stringently as many rickshaw-pullers depend on it for their livelihood.

Park Street was the hub of prolific night life in the 1970s and 1980s. The restaurants served great continental food back then — or possibly my taste buds have changed. The live band was a major attraction in restaurants like Trinca's and Moulin Rouge. The place now lacks the lustre of the past but it remains one of my favorite places.

Victoria Memorial is the most prominent testament of the British era. Surrounded by greenery, the monument's Indo—Saracenic architecture is a major tourist attraction. To soak up the Victorian-era nostalgia, ride a horse carriage.

A few kilometres away from Victoria Memorial is the Prinsep Ghat located on the banks of the Hooghly River. Walking down the banks is a perfect way to end the day. You can also enjoy a ferry ride.

Every time I return from Calcutta I feel I still have not explored the city enough. There is so much more to do and see but prior commitments and paucity of time stops me. I always console the wanderer in me saying, 'Perhaps next time'.

Shayantani Sarkar has lived across the length and breadth of India, but spent her initial years in Kolkata, the city that influenced her as a person. She works in the IT industry and loves her work. She is passionate about travel and photography and reading Paulo Coelho. She relishes good food and gets high on Latin music. She lives in Bangalore. Discover more of her work at her blog

More on Traveler: Travel notes from Istanbul

Drivers With No Tickets In 3 Years Must Read This

United States drivers are stunned that they never knew this. If you drive less than 50 mi/day, you better read this...

Reconnect With Your High School Friends

Classmates® has the largest directory of high school class lists. Remember the good times and reconnect to create new memories.

Powerful Tactical Flashlight Flying Off Shelves!

This new tactical flashlight was just released to the public and is flying off shelves in the United States. Limited supplies left, act quick!

Established Community in Ijamsville, MD

Spacious, luxury single-family homes at The Preserve at Windsor Knolls provides easy access to DC & Baltimore. Starting from the upper $590s.

Is your insurance comp Laughing Behind Your Back?

New Studies Show that if you drive less than 55 miles a day you can save a ton on auto insurance.

Kid sleep troubles email series for moms

We get it. We’ve been there. Sign up for our email track to learn how to handle kids who won’t go to sleep or won’t stay in bed.

Bad News For Insurance, Great News For Virginia

Virginia drivers, with cars and good driving records are learning that they may qualify for lower car insurance rates. Do you qualify?

Heartburn Facts

Read About Heartburn Facts From TUMS. Check Out Heartburn History, Who Gets Heartburn and More.

Car Insurance for AARP Members from The Hartford

Age 50+? Responsible drivers deserve better protection. AARP members could save $420* on auto insurance from The Hartford.

Banks Are Worried Homeowners Will Do This.

Homeowners are surprised and furious. If you owe less than $625,000 on your home, you better read this.

VA Mortgage Rates In 2016

VA Rates as Low as 2.75% (3.028% APR) 15 Year Fixed. Exclusive For Veteran & Military Takes 1 Min!

Insane Navy Seal Flashlight, should it be banned?

The Military has recently released technology that is now available to the public. Get yours before they run out - Limited Supply!

10 Cards for People Who Have Great Credit

What card offers up to 5% cash back? And which one offers 24/7 concierge service? See the best credit cards of 2016. Apply online, quickly & easily.

Skyscanner Announces U.S. Travel Trends for 2016

We've poured through years of data to put together a list of the top destinations Americans are interested in traveling to in 2016.