Explore Calcutta with an expert guide, getting under the skin of the destination. Explore colonial Calcutta on foot, before having tea with a local socialite in his home before seeing the Marble Palace, Park St Cemetery and a cruise up the Hoogly to end.
Begin early before it gets too hot and meet your expert guide who will take you on a heritage walk of Dalhousie Square, now a World Heritage Site. The walk takes place in the morning so that you can leisurely take in the architecture and history of the city’s many unique and spectacular buildings without any traffic on the roads. There is an option to begin at The Flower Market on the River Hoogly – where it really “all” began. The walk then starts at the site of the terrible ‘Black Hole’ and takes you past the famous Writer’s Building, the former HQ of the infamous East India Company, around the square to, among others, the magnificent Governor’s House and the almost forgotten Charnock Mausoleum. The whole experience takes you back to the 18th and 19th century when the British ruled the entire subcontinent from Calcutta – at that time the most fashionable city in the world after London. It is also a chance to experience a special side of the city as it is waking up in the morning with many interesting city characters to interact with along the way.
After your walk, you will have “Breakfast at Bomti’s” which offers a rare glimpse of the old Calcutta way of life, now sadly endangered. Mr Surojit ‘Bomti’ Iyenger, an art collector and socialite, is delighted to welcome visitors to his charming flat in perhaps the most interesting heritage building on historic Chowringhee. Authentic and home-cooked Bengali cuisine served up with hot cups of fresh Darjeeling tea and stimulating insights into Bengali Art (with some for sale) and Modern Kolkata make up Bomti’s salon.
After tiffin, you will continue shopping and sightseeing with Devika Duncan (a break at the hotel can also be taken). Sightseeing could include The Marble Palace, The Park Street Cemetery, The Indian Museum and/or The Victoria Memorial. Shopping could include local handicrafts, jewellery, textiles (including the famous Bengal Katha stitch work), antique furniture, food, spices and books. It is all really flexible and the day will develop depending on your interests.
At around tea time, you will take a boat cruise up the River Hoogly. In a private river boat, guests are able to discover a hitherto unseen side of Kolkata, with a ring-side view of the myriad happenings on the river’s ‘Ghats’. This was the view that greeted many a 19C adventurer as he stepped up to the Princep’s Ghat. You will sail past Belur Math, headquarters of The Ramakrishna Mission, as the city’s two huge and famous bridges, Howrah and Vidyasagar Setu pass overhead. It is a wonderfully relaxing end to the day with a sumptuous tea menu comprising popular Indian snacks and refreshing Darjeeling Tea.
Nagaland, Calcutta and northeast India, India
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