Kolkata (formally Calcutta), in the state of West Bengal, is an amazing example of east meets west with the city's roots found in the powerful European expansion of the 17th century, when the city became the showpiece capital of the British Raj. In 1912 the British moved the capital city to Delhi and in 2001 the city was officially renamed Kolkata yet despite, or perhaps because of, these changes the city is a compelling medley of the ancient and the modern with its skyscrapers and Raj-era architecture. It's a true assault on the senses with poverty and urban decay weaved in with colour and effervescence, the proud residents brimming with life and tradition.Read More
In the heart of the city stands the imposing Victoria Memorial, made from marble and overlooking the city’s green belt known as the Maidan. It's one of Kolkata's most important landmarks and could easily be considered one of India's greatest buildings. Opened by the Prince of Wales in 1921 it is often called the ‘Taj’ of the British Raj. Other popular sights in Kolkata include New Market – a bazaar on Chowringhee Road and the stately Indian Museum founded in 1814 and the oldest and largest in India.
Park Street Cemetery is also a favourite with travellers as it is the burial grounds for many well-known figures from the Raj. St Paul’s Cathedral and the extraordinary Marble Palace, which houses paintings by Rubens, Titian and Reynolds are also worth visiting. As India's cultural and intellectual capital Kolkata is home to a number of galleries, a thriving Bengali-language theatre scene, a rich cinematic tradition and popular Indian classical music festivals. With all this on offer and more Kolkata represents a fascinating place to absorb Bengali arts and culture.
Here are some popular itineraries that include a visit to Kolkata
If you are planning a Kolkata holiday, have a look at some of the accommodation that we recommend. 'Our Rating' indicates how we feel each property rates according to normal Western hotel standards. 'Local Rating' indicates how the property is categorised/rated locally:
Hindustan International Kolkata
The Hindustan International is a modern hotel, stylishly furnished throughout with a peaceful outdoor pool and well-manicured lawns. The smartly presented rooms feature contemporary decor with a comfortable seating area, mini bar, DVD player and in-house DVD library. The hotel boasts a swimming pool, fitness centre, pastry shop as well as a trendy underground nightclub. The popular Oriental Express restaurant serves tempting cuisine from countries across Asia while the luxurious spa offers a range of signature treatments.
Hotel Pearl Kolkata
The Hotel offers a refined and relaxed atmosphere, with a warm, classic yet contemporary style. The Pearl Hotel is an outstanding accommodation for the discerning traveller who will appreciate the uncluttered comfort of the 34 well appointed rooms and a view over Salt Lake Stadium. The Pearl Hotel has a perfect location, on EM bypass, in the heart of corporate Kolkata, close to the IT Hub – Sector 5, and right opposite the trade fair centre – Salt Lake Stadium. It is equidistant from the airport and city, both being a 15 minute drive away.
Taj Bengal Kolkata
Luxurious and elegant, the Taj Bengal is a tranquil hotel set in lush gardens within walking distance from the Victoria Memorial and Zoological Gardens. The spacious rooms feature modern decor with colonial accents including plush furniture, well-equipped bathrooms and internet access. Afternoon tea and cocktails can be enjoyed at the Taj Club Floor and Lounge with an impressive wine list to choose from. The hotel also benefits from a swimming pool, fitness centre, business centre and spa. The hotel is 25 km from the airport and close to the city centre.
The Park Kolkata
The stylish Park Hotel wears a chic new look after extensive renovations with a dramatic lobby welcoming guests. The rooms feature plush, elegant decor and modern facilities with a chaise longue, a writing desk and calming lighting. The glamorous Roxy Bar is the perfect spot to enjoy a cocktail while the Street Cafe offers the best in street food from across the globe. The Aura Spa has seven individual therapy rooms where guests can enjoy a range of Indian and contemporary treatments. The hotel is 2 km from Victoria Memorial, 15 km from the airport and 5 km from the railway station.
Kolkata Tailor made suggestions
Here are some of the recent tailor made itineraries we have created for our clients which include a visit to Kolkata.