Kolkata

Tour the Joyous Land of Tagore Galore

If you have traveled to India, Kolkata (earlier known as Calcutta), by far, is the land of mellifluous music reverberating from all corners of the city. Located in the east, Kolkata is the capital of the state of West Bengal. So if you are a rock fan or a disciple of classical music, this is the right tour destination for you. If you happen to be in India between October and March, then you will be amazed by the festivities celebrated during this time. Being a progressive city, it's easier for a traveler to find an accommodation in any part of the city. But book in advance if you wish to tour during the festive season.

So plan your travel itinerary to visit this laidback city of joy, as referred in a book by Dominique Lapierre, tour Kolkata and be awed by it.

The best way to travel to Kolkata is by air. Train rides, typically, give you an essence of Kolkata. Chattering Bengalis are extremely social in their manner and approach as they offer the kilos of sweets packed into several bokes. Being well-spoken, a Bengali has a deep insight of his culture and tradition. They take great pride in their mother tongue andRabindrasangeet (songs written and composed by Noble Laureate Rabindranath Tagore.) It is a distinctive genre in the music of Bengal, popular in India and Bangladesh. Similarly, Bangla Rock, originated in Calcutta with Moheener Ghoraguli. The band's music was similar to rock n' roll artist Bob Dylan's music. New bands have since emerged and have been extremely popular in the state as well.

There are numerous prayer ceremonies occurring during this time. Some of them are Durga Puja, Kali Puja, Saraswati Puja, Poila Baisakh, Makar Sankranti, Vishwakarma Puja & Lakshmi Puja. All these prayers are offered to different goddesses worshipped by Hindus in various parts of the city. The prayer celebrations offer a great reason to tour the city at this time.

For your more touristy attractions, Calcutta has a greater influence of the British culture. Since the time the East India Company expanded its operations in the state, they have left an impact on the city architecture. Be it the Victoria Memorial, Fort William, Eden Gardens, Botanical Gardens and the Howrah Bridge, they create the city's cross-section and are important symbols of Kolkata.

Shantiniketan, located 180 kms north of Kolkata has a certain tranquility attached to it against its usual hubbub. Tagore wrote several of his literary classics in this small town and you will find its traces in the serene Rabindrasangeetwhichflows in and out of it. Lush green lawns and its closeness to nature have made Shantiniketan a very popular tourist attraction as it satiates the young and the restless, and the elderly alike. You can also shop for handicrafts and handlooms which make for lovely souvenirs back home.

Also, if you are a food and travel aficionado, then you will be surprised by the variety of food prepared by Bengalis. Aloo Posto (diced potato cooked in poppy seed paste), Luchi and Aloo Dom (deep-fried flatbread made of wheat flour with spicy potato curry), Chingrir Malaikori (large shrimp in rich coconut milk gravy) or Sorshe Illish (Bengal's favorite fish, hilsa, cooked in fresh ground mustard sauce) are only some of the dishes over which you will be licking your fingers. Just like fish, sweets are an important part of all meals -- Gulap Jamun (hot cream dumpling dipped in rose water syrup), Roshogolla (white spongy balls filled with sugar syrup), Mishti Doi (sweet home-made yogurt) make for some delectable dessert trip.

You just can't get over the food and music in Kolkata. Your Kolkata trip is also incomplete without visiting Flurys on Park Street. It's a renowned tearoom cum bakery and cake shop which was built in 1927. Sip the famous Assam Tea or savor from a variety of baked delicacies. Despite the British influence in the city, Kolkata has a culture of its own which distinguishes it from several other Indian states: saccharined people and invigorating charm. Travel for its charm, travel for its joy. Finally, travel for your happiness and contentment.