Here Are Great Ways You Can Enjoy Kolkata's Iconic Howrah Bridge
New to the city? Lived in Kolkata forever but never truly appreciated the Howrah Bridge? Here are five ways to experience it.
Hire A Ferry
You can get a boat or a ferry, particularly in the evenings — the view is beautiful when the bridge is lit up. It gives you goosebumps when the boat makes it way slowly down the Hooghly and the magnificent bridge comes closer and closer till you are sailing under it. It’s perfect for a romantic evening out on the water. You’ll even get very ‘Titanic’ pictures! Incidentally, this iconic bridge (which was regarded as the Gateway to Kolkata once) turned 75 in February 2018! So go ahead, shower it with some love.
Sit By The Ghats
If you’re a stickler for hygiene, this may not be your choice of enjoyment. The ghats that line the river, however, do give a magnificent view of the bridge. You’ll also get a taste of the lifestyle of the people of the city — hundreds of people flock here (particularly in the morning) to wash, bathe, pray and more. Good ghat vantage points are Princep Ghat and from near the flower market, which is really close to the bridge.
Drive Or Walk Down
Although, during the day, it’s one of the most frequently-used bridges in the world, the wee hours of the morning see just trucks. The regular commuters don’t come till later so it’s one of the few times you’ll get to drive or walk down the bridge in peace. While you contemplate the work that must have gone into building this structure, remember that the Japanese tried to destroy it many times during WW II (when they were bombing Kolkata from 1942 to 1944). Today, the enemy is not the bombs but corrosion due to salty air, fumes and paan from the millions who spit out red betel juice!
View From A Distance
You don’t need to get up close and personal to the bridge to enjoy it. Restaurants and pubs around the city plan their views keeping the bridge in mind. One of the best views you’ll get is from the 9th floor of Monkey Bar on Camac Street which has an expansive view of the neighbouring areas (Victoria Memorial included!). The outdoor seating and smoking area is where you’ll get the best view (when the pollution levels are low). Blue & Beyond — the rooftop joint on Lindsay Street — is another place where you can sip on your drink and peek out at the beauty that is the bridge.
Party Under The Bridge
It’s not just water under the bridge, you can now party under the bridge. Vivada Cruises lets you hire a boat for the entire night (approximately 4-5 hours) during which the cruise will pass under the bridge twice (once on the going journey and the next time on the return).
Book A River Cruise
Take a trip on the Ganges Voyager – a floating boutique hotel with 28 luxe suites, offering probably the best view of the Howrah bridge. It’s a great way to explore Bengal – on the Hooghly in a big cruise ship.From French doors to panoramic river views, they are a throwback to the opulence of the Raj. You can get a massage at the in-house spa, work out at the fitness centre, or relax in the outdoor lounges with a book. Look out for their extended trip to Dhaka.