There’s a certain romanticism that’s palpable in Kolkata, a city where everyone loves the good life. With a nuanced cuisine, stately yet crumbling buildings – many of which are getting a facelift – and a deep love for sports and conversations, both political and apolitical, Kolkata is a collision of sorts. Add to this the thousands who struggle to make ends meet on a daily basis and you are faced with a city that’s equal parts colourful and contradictory, heaving and chugging along with the weight of its illustrious past and multicultural present. It’s undoubtedly an assault on the senses, but one that you are likely to cherish for the memories.
When to go
The best time to visit is November through March, when it is cool and dry. Evenings can get nippy closer to December, and summer months can be stifling and very humid. Then, from June to September, it gets a fair share of rain, making moving around challenging.
How to get around
The city’s ubiquitous, yellow, meter-run Ambassador taxis, a heritage in their own right, are everywhere. App-based taxi services such as Uber and Ola are also popular. Around Maidan and Park Street, try a unique Kolkata mode of transport – the hand-pulled rickshaw, whose pullers barely make ends meet, so do tip them generously. If you have time on hand, hop onto the city’s photogenic trams that cover distances at a snail’s pace.