Jorasanko Thakur Bari

Hotels in Kolkata, India

Human drama is played out in Kolkata on a daily basis. After all, this is where Mother Teresa established her Missionaries for Charity. But if you look past the “shock” and awe scenarios unfolding in the city's every square foot – this West Bengali region groans with more than 900 people per square kilometer – you can see the Calcutta that was once the capital of British India.

Historical places to visit in Kolkata

It takes awhile to get past initial impressions, especially if you come from the West where a modicum of law and order is imposed. Stay in well-appointed spas and resorts in Kolkata to regain your bearings, and scratch beneath the surface to see the Kolkata that was once the City of Palaces. Although the Marble Palace built in mid-19th century by a Raja is all that is left standing in its entirety while the rest are in various stages of photogenic decay, the century-old Victoria Memorial – which attempts to replicate the grace of Taj Mahal – and the more than a dozen British-era structures like the Calcutta High Court, the Writers’ Building and Fort William, more than makes up for the semi-collapse state of older ones.

However the West may view Kolkata, locally, it is considered as India’s center of intellectual, cultural and artistic pursuits. Jorasanko Thakur Bari is where you can find the ancestral house of Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore, and Chitpur Road, Kolkata’s oldest, showcases a smattering of dance, music and folk drama productions of various skill levels. This district in the north, which is much older than the rest, has a scarcity of 5 star hotels in Kolkata, India, but shouldn’t be missed for the the narrow lanes and century-old buildings that once defined the skyline of the city.

Things to do in Kolkata

“Clubbing” in Kolkata doesn’t mean dancing; “club” still retains its British meaning of a watering hole. There are plenty of (gentlemen’s) clubs around Kolkata that attract upper-crust Bengalis, as well as premiere 18-hole golf and race courses favored by the same crowd.

If free outdoor activities are more to your tastes, retrace Kolkata’s British heritage along Chowringhee Road across the huge expanse of open space called Maidan. A few blocks down the street is Asia’s largest Indian Museum and houses a formidable collection of Mughal, Gandhara and Burmese arts and artifacts, and specimens of dinosaur fossils and meteorites. Immediately south is Taj Bengal Kolkata, one of the finest hotels in Kolkata city.

West Bengalis are known for their devotion to the goddess Durga, and their nine-day Durga Puja says a lot about their faith. Understandably, you would have to book for a guest house in  Kolkata or some other affordable accommodation in Kolkata way ahead of time, as the festival takes on a Carnival-like atmosphere from beginning to end and attracts a huge turnout.

Where to stay in Kolkata

Across the Chandra Bose Botanic Gardens right at the east bank of Hooghly River can be found a concentration of 3 star hotels in Kolkata of varying affordability. Sandwiched between Maidan and South Dumdum are budget hotels in Kolkata. You need not go as far as South Dumdum, however, to find plusher lodging, as the best hotels in Kolkata, India tend to cluster just outside the perimeter of Maidan.