Kolkata | India
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Not to be confused with Kozhikode, formerly Calicut, a city in southwestern India..Kolkata (Bengali:কলকাতা) (formerly Calcutta) is the capital of West Bengal and one of the largest urban agglomerations in India. It is the largest city in Eastern India. Kolkata is an 'in your face' city that shocks and charms the unsuspecting visitor. Long known as the cultural capital of India and home to the so-called Bengal Renaissance, 'The City of Joy' (the sobriquet became more famous after the publication of a novel of the same name on the city's struggle against poverty and corruption written by Dominique Lapiere; later made into a Roland Joffe film) continues to spawn generations of poets, writers, film directors and Nobel Prize winners. If your trip only allows for a visit of one or two of India's metropolitan cities, then definitely consider placing Kolkata on your itinerary. Kolkata is arguably one of the most socially, culturally and politically progressive cities in India. Love it or hate it, you definitely won't forget the 'City of Joy'.


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Planning a Trip

1 Get in 1.1 By plane 1.2 By train 1.3 By bus By plane Skyview of the integrated terminal of Kolkata Airport 22.65472288.4466671 Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport (CCU IATA, Dum Dum Airport, নেতাজি সুভাষচন্দ্র বসু আন্তর্জাতিক বিমানবন্দর), Jessore Road (about 18 km outside the city centre. There is a prepaid taxi option (₹150-₹250). There is also a rail link connecting the airport to the Circular Rail station in Dum Dum, however very few trains actually operate on the line at present take it from the city to 'Biman Bandar' Station(Code:BANB). Also you can now avail of the Volvo Bus service by Royal Cruiser (₹20, ₹40, ₹60) to the city centre. The bus plies on 5 different routes, so in case you are not sure, please ask the driver about the route and ask for his suggestion if the destination does not match the route. These air-conditioned buses are a wonderful way to escape the Kolkata heat and humidity. Cheaper, and hassle free, and since you can hail a taxi anywhere in the city centre to take you to your final destination, you do not need to worry. However, in case you are arriving at the busy hours, it is better to get a prepaid taxi, which takes you directly to your destination. The buses are parked outside the arrival gate at the domestic terminal. International travellers would have to walk down from their terminal for 800 m. As you come out of the international terminal, turn left and keep walking towards the domestic terminal. Do not be dissuaded by the taxi touts, who would try and make you believe that the buses do not run anymore.), ☎ +91 33 2511 8036, fax: +91 33 2511 9266, e-mail: apdkolkata@aai.aero. Services on the airport, at tha International Terminal: a newsagent, a Duty Free shop, a clothes outlet, a coffee shop and a music outlet. At the Domestic Terminal: a couple of handicraft shops, a newsagent, a medical outlet, a sweets stall, a florist. Passengers facilities: trollies, telephone in security hold area, wheelchair, medical inspection room, child care room, assistance to physically challenged, inter-terminal bus service, airport post office. +phone=+91 33 2511 8787, +91 33 39874987    By train Howrah Station as seen from the Hoogly River Kolkata is well connected by rail to almost all the big stations in India and also serves as the gateway to North-Eastern India. Also, there are two international trains from Bangladesh, the Maitree Express connects Kolkata with the capital Dhaka three times per week and the Bandhan Express runs from Khulna once per week. For train timings and tickets check with Indian Railways. 22.58388.34252 Howrah Junction railway station (हावड़ा जंक्शन रेलवे स्टेशन) (Across the Hooghly river from the Esplanade district.). It isn't in Kolkata, but in the adjoining city of Howrah, on the west bank of the Hooghly river. Howrah is the largest railway complex in India with over 600 trains arriving per day. There are 26 platforms in Howrah Station. Local trains of Eastern railway arrives mainly at 1-9 platforms while South Eastern Railway local trains arrive at platforms 17-23, remaining platforms is used for long-distance trains. Platforms 17 to 26 are in New Complex, just south of the original building. For passengers it has an enormous covered waiting area between the main complex and the platforms. In addition there is a Yatri Niwas (railway's travellers' lodge) with dormitory, single room, and double room accommodation. The vehicular carriageways along the length of platforms allow passengers to be dropped near rail compartments — a facility unique among most major stations of the country. Directly facing Howrah are ferries (₹5) that can get you to other side of the river to either Babu Ghat or Fairlie Place in the Esplanade district from where you can arrange onward transportation with anything from taxis to public buses to rickshaws.   (updated Nov 2018) Local trains The Eastern Railway serves local trains to Hasnabad, Bongaon, Gede, Krishnanagar, Budge Budge, Canning, Diamond Harbour, Namkhana, Tarakeswar, Katwa, Bardhaman and numerous intermediate stations and mail/express trains to Central, North and North-East India. The South Eastern Railway serves local trains to Amta, Mecheda, Panskura, Tamluk, Haldia, Kanthi, Medinipur and Kharagpur; and mail/express trains to Central, West and South India. Other railway stations The Bullet DEMU train at Sealdah station 22.568188.37183 Sealdah Railway station, Bepin Behari Ganguly Street, Sealdah. Handicapped/disabled access. There are 19 platforms. Never hire a taxi from the nearby taxi-stand as they ask higher fares for taxi. There are pre-paid taxis to enter the city. The pre-paid taxi stand just outside the station's main entrance. The counter is under a tin shed.  22.601388.38414 Kolkata Railway station (Kolkata Chitpur Railway Terminus, Bengali: চিতপুর), Belgachi (Buses: K1 ( Kolkata Station -Ultadanga- New Town -unitech) at an interval of about ten minutes; 007 (Makrampur - Kolkata Station via Tematha, Sonarpur Station, Kamalgazi, Garia, Patuli, Hiland Park, Mukundapur, Kalikapur, Ruby Hospital, Science City, Chingrighata, E.M. Bypass, Ultadanga, Khanna, Shyambazar); JM2 (Malancha - Kolkata Station via Harinavi, Rajpur, Kamalgazi, Dhalai Bridge, Patuli, Hiland Park, Mukundapur, Kalikapur, Ruby Hospital, Science City, Chingrighata, E.M. Bypass, Ultadanga, Khanna, Shyambazar) - If you reach near RG Kar Medical College and Hopital, which is only 8 to 10 minutes' walk, you get myriads of buses plying on different routes). It receives a number of trains which used to terminate at Sealdah station. The station is linked to the Sealdah-Ranaghat Line and is served by the Eastern Railway for trains to Bandel, Kalyani Simanta, Gede, Shantipur, Krishnanagar, Dankuni, Kolkata Airport, Bongaon, Hasnabad and others. The number of suburban trains is lower than long-distance trains. This station runs many long distance express trains including two pairs of Garibrath Express, and one long distance passenger train - Lalgola Passenger. The station also has an International train.The Maitree Express, provides a direct link between Kolkata and Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. There are five platforms, among them Platform 1 & 2 is used by only suburban trains, and Platform 3, 4 & 5 are used by long-distance trains. - Services: There are waiting rooms and retiring rooms for use by passengers awaiting connecting trains. In addition there is a taxi stand and a bus station outside the station.  22.583688.28395 Santragachi Railway station, Santragachi Station Rd, Santragachi, Howrah (there are taxi stands and bus stands, and a Volvo bus service to connect this area to Netaji Subhash Chandra International Airport). There are six platforms. Serves local trains to Amta, Mecheda, Panskura, Haldia, Kanthi, Medinipur and Kharagpur. Nowadays, a few trains originate from Santragachi station to Ajmer, Porbandar, Nanded, etc., and a Vivek Express running to Mangalore Central starting from Santragachi. Mostly all Howrah/Shalimar bound express/mail trains stop here.  Shalimar Railway station : This is a small railway station (compared to Howrah Station) outside Kolkata which handles a few EMU trains and few Express trains. 22.56488.33846 Eden Gardens Railway Station, Strand Rd, Kolkata-700001 (Pier 'Outram Ghat', 100 m - Babughat Bus Terminus 200 m - Esplanade Metro Station 1.3 km). On the Kolkata Riverview line of the Kolkata Suburban Railway, it provides direct link to Khidderpore, Naihati, Chitpur, Majerhat, etc. It only provides local EMU services.  By bus The Esplanade Bus Station From Bangladesh, there are numerous bus options between Kolkata and Bangladesh. The most common way is the regular comfortable a/c buses from Dhaka to Kolkata via the Haridaspur / Benapole border post. Private bus companies Shohagh, Green Line,Shyamoli [dead link] and others operate daily bus services on this route. Govt. buses run under the label of the state govt. undertaken West Bengal Surface Transport Corporation Limited(WBSTCL) and the Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation (BRTC). WBSTCL and BRTC operate buses from Kolkata every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday at 05:30 and 08:30, and 12:30 while from Dhaka they leave on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 07:00 and 07:30. The normal journey time is around 12 hours with a one-way fare of ₹550 or 600-800 Bangladeshi taka. If you're only headed to Haridaspur the fare is ₹86 (2.5 hours). The Shyamoli Paribahan ticket office is at 6/1 Marquis St (parallel to and one block south of Sudder Street, and just west of Mirza Ghalib St, next door to DHL), 2252 0693. Several travel agencies around this area also sell tickets for these buses, but at very inflated prices. At the border it's best to change money on the Indian side, but count it carefully and double-check the maths on their calculator. On the Bangladesh side there are some bus stands just behind the border, or you can catch a flat-bed cycle-rickshaw for 5 taka for the 2 km trip to the bus stand for onward travel, or you can walk, but expect the hopeful rickshaw-wallahs to follow you at least half way. From Eastern India via Bangladesh. Bus travel to some points in Eastern India are faster via Bangladesh (visas will be required for entry into Bangladesh as well as for re-entry into India). If you're heading to points in Eastern India (Tripura for example) beyond Bangladesh, then there is a regular bus service between Dhaka and Agartala, capital of India's Tripura state. Two BRTC buses leave daily from Dhaka and connect with the Tripura Road Transport Corporation vehicles, running six days a week with a roundtrip fare of 600 taka. There is only one halt at Ashuganj in Bangladesh during the journey. Call +880 2 8360241 for schedule. Other entry points to North-Eastern India through Bangladesh are Hili, Chilahati / Haldibari and Banglaband border posts through Northern Bangladesh and Tamabil/Dawki border post for a route between Shillong (Meghalaya) and Sylhet in North-Eastern Bangladesh, and some others with lesser known routes from north-eastern Indian regions. Although scheduled bus-services to Shillong/Meghalaya from Kolkata through Dhaka may not be offered at present, it is still possible to get to those points via land routes going through Sylhet and then on to Tamabil/Dawki border outposts. Enquire at the Bus Service Counters for details. 22.563688.34987 Esplanade Bus Terminus, Rashmoni Avenue (Next to Esplanade metro station). (updated Nov 2018)


Top Attractions

Take a walk along the river. There is a good promenade near Eden Garden. Take a stroll down memory lane at Princep ghat. Take a boat cruise in small boats under the starlit sky at Outram Ghat. Take an Auto Rickshaw / Tuk Tuk ride from Chandni Chowk to Lohapool, the driver will take you through some back alleys and narrow roads of Kolkata, sit tight and keep faith on the driver. Several modern cinemas are dotted around the city, including INOX with several locations, Fame at Metropolis Mall in Highland Park, and RDB Adlabs at RDB Boulevard, Near Infinity Building in Sector 5, Saltlake, all showing Indian and American blockbusters. Nandan, 1/1 AJC Bose Rd (east of Rabindra Sadan metro station), ☎ +91 33 2223 1210. The symbol of art and culture in the city and the site of the Kolkata Film Festival every November.  Unlike most of cricket-obsessed India, football (soccer) is the most popular sport in Kolkata, with the local clubs Mohun Bagan Athletic Club and East Bengal Club being the most successful in India. They contest the Kolkata Derby biannually, which is considered by many to be the oldest and most intense football rivalry in Asia. Indian Premier League. Is the main club cricket league in India. It is one of the most widely attended sporting events in the world, and if you are in Kolkata during the season (April–May), consider going to watch the home team (Kolkata Knight Riders) play at Eden Gardens.  The Kolkata Book Fair takes place from the last week of January to the first week of February. This is the largest book fair in Asia and is a major event in the city. Durga Puja, a festival honouring the Hindu goddess Durga, takes place in October. The biggest festival for Hindus in Bengal and Eastern India, Kolkata takes on an almost carnival like ambiance. Streets shut down for the construction of pandals, large stands that depict events from the Ramayana and crowds flock to the biggest and best ones. A good time to visit, unless you have a fear of crowds.