Great cities, they say, are ones that grow around a river. Kolkata is a celebration of the River Hooghly. We have put together a list of fun things you can do around the Hooghly river. How many have you done?
Scenic Cruises To Picturesque Ghats: Here Are 10 Fun Ways To Enjoy The Hooghly River
Enjoy A Nouko Ride
A ride on the nouko, sailor with an oar, hood of the boat and a hanging lantern to give a very ‘Chingari koi bhadke’ feel. If you are in Kolkata and haven’t yet been on a boat ride on the Hooghly river then you are missing out on an amazing experience.
The scenic boat ride from Princep Ghat on one of the old-fashioned boats reveals a side of the city that cannot be witnessed from land. As you drift along the river during the golden hours, absorb the celestial sight of the lit-up Vidyasagar Setu towering above. The ride takes you up close to the magnanimous Howrah Bridge from where you can view the wonder clearly. A private boat ride can cost you anything between INR 250 – INR 400 for a maximum of four people. While a ferry ride goes for as low as INR 5 per person.
Snack Away At A 40-Year-Old Eatery
There are plenty of snacking options available at Princep Ghat but you must try out Scoop, the oldest standing eatery there. Once you go up the stairs to the first floor hall the first thing that strikes you is the view from the huge glass windows of the beautiful promenade overlooking the Hooghly with breathtaking backdrops of the Vidyasagar Setu and Howrah Bridge. Indulge in the classic ice-cream sundaes on offer (the menu remains almost the same with a few additions) such as Moon Magic, Tutti Frutti, Pink Affair, Desiree and who can forget their signature sundae – As You Like It. Pick your fave as you watch the sun set on the river.
Hide Away On An Abandoned Jetty
Situated just beside Bidhan Ghat at Napier Road, Hastings, this is one of the lesser known places in Kolkata. Made for loading and unloading of freight for the nearby army base camps, and now lying unused, this place gives a picturesque and uncluttered view of the river like no other. An ideal place to hang around with your squad or a loved one, meditate, soak in the view and the sound of the river currents with no one to disturb the peace. A brisk walk on the railway tracks towards the right hand direction should reach you to the spot in about two minutes or so. A word of caution though, avoid going after dark as it gets deserted and unsafe.
Have A Meal On The River
Take your loved one on a romantic night out at the Floatel, located on an anchored ship overlooking the majestic Hooghly. Flanked by the Howrah Bridge on one side and the Vidyasagar Setu on the other, this one possibly gets the best view of the city of joy. Enjoy the star-lit sky above and the mesmerising view of the river below, while you dig into their sumptuous spread.
Get Sporty On Water
Last year, Kolkata Police undertook an initiative to organise water sports on the Hooghly, which has become a continuous affair every weekend. Participate in water skiing and gemini boat rides under expert guidance on the southern side of Babughat. What’s more? It is absolutely free of cost.
Stroll Along The Riverfront
Go on a two-hour riverfront walk cum boat ride organised by Kolkata Story Tours. Let them regale you with the stories about the mighty Ganges and Hooghly, its evolution as a great port, the numerous ghats & monuments built around it (each with its own story) and give you a glimpse of the people whose lives revolve directly around the river and river front. Feel the river from close as you embark on a boat ride and see the city through your camera lenses as you will get many opportunities to capture great shots of the many facets of Hooghly.
Throw A Cruise Party
Be it a birthday or wedding or corporate party, now you can celebrate any occasion in style on a cruise. Vivada Cruises and CrossIndia will help you organise luxury cruise parties complete with great food, drinks and music. The nocturnal enchantment of the river coupled with majestic backdrops of lit-up monuments and the company of your favourite people is all you need to make your evening special.
For The Shutterbugs
Go on a unique Hooghly’s Flower Fest photo walk with Calcutta Photo Tours. Experience the lives of the people who live by the river through your camera lens – the wrestlers, the sadhus, wise men and common people whose life begin with a holy dip in the Hooghly. After you have soaked in the enigma of lives of the people living by the river you can face the hustle and bustle of a very busy but vibrant wholesale and retail flower market. This market does brisk business of local seasonal flowers along with fancy imported ones too. For more details of the tour, go here.
Take A Ferry Ride
Avoid getting stuck in a traffic snarl while approaching the Howrah Bridge or just go for the experience of availing the ferry service from any of the multiple ghats that make for a fast, comfortable and serene ride to your destination. Chandpal Ghat and Fairlie Place Ghat are most popular being located near Dharamtala and Dalhousie areas, offering daily ferry services to Howrah when the road is clogged with traffic. You can hop on a ferry at INR 10 per head any time between 8 in the morning till 8 in the night.
Adda By The Riverfront
Millenium Park, situated along the Strand Road on the eastern shore of the Hooghly is a neatly landscape garden made as a part of the Kolkata Riverside Beautification Project. Ideal for weekend outings or evening strolls by the river, the park has amusement rides too for the little ones. Its illuminated pathways with street food stalls lining the periphery flanked by the serenity of Hooghly can host endless adda sessions over puchchkas and shikanjis.