Be a tourist in your own city: Learn new things about Kolkata and rediscover the city. Here’s the LBB guide to making 2019 count.
Bucket List 2019: 12 Things You Must Do In Kolkata
January: Get Tons Of Pictures At The Flower Show
The Kolkata Flower Show is the oldest in the world — it’s happened every year since 1828! You’ll see Kolkata in full bloom. The Horticutural Gardens out-do themselves every year with some of the world’s best chrysanthemums, roses, dhalias and gladiolas. Here are all the reasons you need to go.
February: Get Old-School Vibes At The Vintage Car Rally
The Statesman Vintage Car Rally is a red letter day in Kolkata’s calendar. One of the only cities (besides Delhi) to host one, one winter Sunday is set aside for classic and vintage cars to take to the streets in a memorable rally. The owners and drivers of the car sometimes dress up in vintage outfits (with hats, suits, frilly dresses, gloves and all!) to add to the excitement. You’ll have to keep your eyes glued to the newspapers to find out when it’s happening this year.
March: Actually Go Inside The Victoria Memorial
Enough loitering around in the gardens outside, this year take a step (literally) into the Victoria Memorial. One of the most underrated museums in the city, the VM houses artifacts of the British Raj, personal belongings of the Queen herself as well as items that will give you great insight into the India of 1857. The marble keeps the inside cool which means you can visit even in the hotter months. Unlike the grounds, the inside is relatively vacant.
April: Take A Ferry From The Princep Ghat
Don’t just come and take pictures at the ghats, this 2018 take the plunge (metaphorically, not literally) and take a launch ride or a ferry ride on the river. The best time is in the early hours of the morning when you can see the sun rise or the equally mesmerising dusk or evening view of the setting sun or twinkling stars over the river. Depending on your bargaining skills, a ride won’t cost you more than a few hundred rupees.
May: Take A Summer Road Trip To The Hills
Escape the heat and make your way to the many hill stations that are literally a drive away from the city. Gangtok, Kalimpong, Sikkim and more: be the ultimate Kolkata tourist and escape the heat by heading to these classic locations. The drive wakes anywhere between 16-24 hours.
June: Check Out The Birla Planetarium
The new and improved Birla Planetarium is where you need to head for a tourist-y day away from the sun (pun intended!). With state-of-the-art technology, relive your childhood school field trip days in the coolest way.
July: Spend Hours With Books At The National Library
The National Library is every book lover’s dream. With hundreds of thousands of books (literature, fiction, academic books, research papers and more), you can spend hours walking along the corridors. You don’t need a full membership to use the library, you can even apply for a day pass.
August: Hang Out With The Mummy At The National Museum
If you haven’t yet, you need to head to the Indian Museum to see the 4,000-year-old mummy if nothing else. The Egyptian room is the biggest highlight of the museum (although the rest of the museum is also packed full of interesting artifacts) because it’s home to an actual mummy. Also, it’s the only air-conditioned room at the museum (and the only one possible to visit in the sweltering heat).
September: Discover The Magic Behind The Pujos At Kumartuli
In September, Pujo prep will be in full swing. Head to the narrow lanes of Kumartuli to wonder in awe at the work-in-progress idols. Stand and chat with the idol-makers, take hundreds of pictures (Kumartuli is a haven for photographers). You can even go earlier in the year to see the idols in their less complete stages.
October: Go For Chinese Breakfast At Territti Bazaar
Baos, momos, Chinese sausages, the morning bazaar serves the best Chinese breakfast. The original Kolkata Chinatown (the only one in India) has authentic Chinses breakfasts along with a pulsating ambiance that you have to experience at least once. Here’s what to do when you get there.
November: Go For Happy Streets
Happy Streets usually comes to the city from November to January. For a few Sundays in winter, major roads (Salt Lake, Park Street, Southern Avenue) are closed for vehicles and it’s a pedestrian-only zone. You see hundreds of Kolkatans come out in throngs to play, dance, perform, cycle, and have a great time on the streets. Keep your eyes and ears open and your alarm clocks ready for the next one.
December: Go On A Photowalk
There are tons of walking companies and tours who will gladly take you to Kolkata’s most picturesque spots and help you rediscover the city like never before. Haunted tours, cemetery walks, walks through the lanes and bylanes of the city, you can choose a walk that’s scheduled or have a walk curated for yourselves. Check out our recommendations on walking tours here.