Book a flight to Kolkata with Qatar Airways and enjoy exploring India's second-biggest city. Scrape beneath the surface of the former capital of British India, and you'll find a dynamic, friendly city. The city's colonial architecture, new suburbs and some of the best restaurants in India elevate Kolkata to a must-visit tourist destination.
Today, it continues to capture the hearts of many visitors as it spawns a new generation of film directors, writers and poets. One thing is for sure - a trip to Kolkata will always be a memorable one. Fly to Kolkata with Qatar Airways and stop off here on your tour of India, or simply take the time to explore the city at your leisure.
It's thought the city takes its name from the ancient Kalighat Temple, so where better to start your trip to Kolkata? This temple was rebuilt in 1809 and attracts snaking queues of visitors every day, so arrive early.
Sightseers from across the globe come to Kolkata to visit Sunderban's Tiger Reserve. The largest of its kind in the world, you'll find around 289 Royal Bengal Tigers in this 2,585 square kilometre reserve. Cruising the waterways through the mangrove swamps is the perfect escape from the chaos of the city.
Chowringhee Road is a great place to start your exploration of Kolkata. Here you'll spot Fort William, the British Citadel and the Victoria Memorial. This white marble monument, opened in 1921, is home to a collection of rare colonial memorabilia and the Indian Museum.
Travel to Kolkata and explore the city's temples – there are so many it can be hard to know where to start. Birla Temple, Kalighat and Dakshineswar are all havens of tranquillity in the heart of the frenetic city.
Take a boat cruise or tuk-tuk ride for the perfect way to see more of the city up close and personal. Make sure you stroll through the Barbazar; some of the city's most chaotic streets are here, filled with rickshaws and traders.
A day trip to the Botanical Gardens is a pleasant escape from the smells and sounds of the city centre. Opened in 1786, tea was cultivated here long before it became a popular drink. Cricket fans visiting Kolkata between April and May can pick up tickets for the Indian Premier League. The home team, Kolkata Knight Riders, play at Eden Garden.
Kolkata has always been famed for its restaurants, which many claim are the best in India. You'll find restaurants near the Esplanade that are more than a hundred years old.
Authentic Indian and Bengali restaurants offer affordable dining and plenty of flavour. Kolkata specialities include Mughlai Paratha (paratha bread stuffed with minced meat) and Roshogolla (cheese balls dipped in sugary syrup). In fact, sweets from this region are famous throughout India, and readily available at plenty of local bakeries and sweet shops across the city.
Bengali cuisine features plenty of fish, and Macher Jhol (fish in curry sauce) or Hilsa (mustard marinated steamed fish) are two dishes you simply must try. The city is also home to many excellent vegetarian restaurants. For vegetarian snacks, street food vendors across the city serve Thal Muri (puffed rice with vegetables and spices) that are simply delicious.
When you travel to Kolkata, prepare to purchase Eastern Indian handicrafts, leather goods and saris as well as tins of Rasgollas (Indian sweets) for friends back home. For designer goods and fashion, the city's malls are hard to beat. City Centre and South City Malls are home to international brands.
If it's a more authentic local shopping experience you're looking for, Dakshinapan Shopping Centre is the place to find local handicrafts, fabric and souvenirs. Check out the Ankur Kala Shop, which sells batik, leather goods and embroidered goods made by local women.
A wander around the city's markets is a great way to spend an afternoon if you are looking for bargains. Chandni Market sells gadgets and electronics while Treasure Island is the place to find cosmetics and fashion at low prices.
Flights to Kolkata with Qatar Airways arrive at Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport, around 20km from the city centre.
Visa restrictions for entry into the country will depend on your country of origin, length of stay and whether your trip is for business or pleasure. So before you fly to Kolkata please check the visa and passport requirements.
Currency: Indian Rupee (INR)
Voltage: 230 V 50 Hz
Plugs: Type C / D
Language: Hindi / English
International dialing code: +91
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