The moment you step out of Howrah Station, there stands Howrah Bridge with its arms wide open to welcome you. And that’s how you enter the “City Of Joy”, Kolkata (given that you come by train). The city of joy, India’s second largest biggest city is a daily festival of human existence, simultaneously noble and squalid, cultured and desperate, modern and traditional. It is still regarded as India’s intellectual and culture capital. It’s a city where India and England collide.
As the former capital of British India, Kolkata retains a feast of colonial-era architecture contrasting starkly with urban slums and dynamic new town suburbs with their air-conditioned shopping malls. As a matter of fact, there are a lot of contrasting facts related to this city.
Kolkata is the first city to have metro in India, but interestingly there are still old trams seen today running in selective parts of the city with a very cheap fare. In the age of Ola and Uber, the famous yellow Ambassador taxis are still people’s first choice. Unlike the whole country Kolkata Police have white uniform instead of khaki. And there are few more……
Then the festivals of Kolkata, the most famous being Durga Puja. Probably the way this city, the people of this city celebrate Durga Puja, it is the best celebration of any festival in any city, at least in India. People decorate the city like a mother adorns her bridal daughter for marriage. The exhilaration zest in people’s eyes during Puja is just mesmerising. However, Durga Puja isn’t the only festival that Kolkata celebrates with such charm, Christmas and New Year are there too. With many catholic Christians and Anglo-Indians, Christmas has to be celebrated in grand style. Roads decked up with decorations, churches, bakeries full of plum cakes, rose cookies etc. Almost for six days the city enjoys the show, from X-mas to New Year.
Any discussion of Kolkata is incomplete if we don’t talk about the Bengali Sweets. Rasgulla is the signature Bengali sweet, and then there’s Sondesh, not just one but of many types. For the health freaks, let me tell you these Sondesh are totally fat-free. So without thinking about fat content and all you may gulp tens of them. And who would forget about Misti Doi another simple but mouth-watering sweet dish.
There are lot many things which could be written or which should be written like the essence of Chinese culture or Communism or the tourist attractions. But today let’s just finish here, maybe some other day about these things.