Short walking tours
In the Footsteps of the Raj – Dalhousie Square
The British had sought to build the second city of the Empire right here and it is this ‘building’ that you will be shown in the course of this walk through the ‘European’ areas of what was once the capital of the British Empire in India. There are major plans afoot to beautify and restore this heritage site with its rich and varied architectural styles. Are you up for snapping a ton of ‘before and after’ shots?
The Star Still Shines – Sovabazar
The ever-vital hub of traditional Bengali culture, ‘the natives’ area’, Sovabazar is all this and much more. The area contains a fascinating blend of the seemingly incongruous architectural forms (from Islamic to Baroque, from Victorian to Bengali) which made up the old world dwellings of the city’s wealthier Bengalis. The area stood still for several decades and is a good place to observe the Bengali way of life – rituals, customs, cultural practices and so on – and the slow pace of life that Calcutta is so famous (or infamous) for. An ideal way to savour the authentic flavour of Bengali culture and cuisine.
Reminiscence and Resurgence – Chowringhee
On this walk you will circumnavigate the Grand, an iconic Kolkata landmark which has weathered changing tastes and turbulent times to retain its status as one of the city’s most beloved luxury hotels. Take in the frenzied economic activity that occurs all around its periphery, and find out why savvy shoppers have never given up on New Market, where it was said one could buy anything – from pins to pachyderms. Ponder the loss of such great establishments as Whiteway-Laidlaw, Bourne and Shepherd, and Firpo’s and their ironic replacement by the ubiquitous hawker and his wares.
Confluence of Cultures – Journey from Bow Barracks to Burra Bazar
Kolkata has witnessed many more cultures in its past than most others would even in this globalised present. This walk traces the origins and remains of the varied communities that called the city home. Check out why Chinese breakfast still rules Tiretta Bazar, where the Parsis are dwindling in numbers with each passing day and how the Armenians gave the city its oldest surviving Christian church, while you pass by Anglo-Indians, Muslims, Marwaris, Biharis and many more that make this city a great melting pot of diverse cultures.
Bringing the Goddess to Earth – Kumartulli
‘Durga Puja’ is integral to the very identity of West Bengal. These are days of devotion, revelry, and vital cultural and economic activity. Kumartulli is known for its internationally renowned artisans who craft the most beautiful idols from straw and clay. How these images are crafted, the conditions in which the artisans live and work, where their material is sourced from, and which industries depend on these creations for their survival will be observed in life-affirming action on this fascinating walk.
Park Street – Now that’s Entertainment!
If Calcutta was the capital of the British Raj, then Park Street was the capital street of the city, where the rich and famous lived, dined and made merry. This walk traverses this hugely famous, as well as infamous promenade, and pays homage to the pleasure capital of the British Empire. Walk from one end of the street to the other, taking in restaurants, watering holes, hotels, churches, colleges, stately homes and the burial grounds.
The Taj of the Raj – Victoria Memorial Walk
Ever since the British cleared a village to create their firing range for the new fort, the Maidan has served as the lungs of the city and played host to many an important monument. Among the most prominent is that which was created as a memorial to Queen Victoria, the Empress of India, and a reminder to the achievements of the British rule and its most important proponents. Explore and demystify this beautiful monument and soak in the locality surrounding this temple to Toria Mai – Victoria the Mother.
Calcutta Breakfast Walk
This walk introduces you to commonly eaten breakfast food of the city. Start by learning about the various influences from around the sub-continent and beyond that have made Calcutta such a compelling and interesting place to eat, including Awadhi food of the Afghans, Chinese dumplings, Gujarati snacks, Bengali sweets, all helped down by cups of masala tea (chai). The walk wraps up with possibly the most famous Biryani of the country. All in all, prepare to be overwhelmed by food and culture. Join us in exploring those influences and how they come together to make out in.
Street Food Walk
The streets of Calcutta are filled with amazing food, much of it carefully prepared in a traditional method but quickly served and eaten – an ideal way to lure passersby, office goers and generally most Bengalis who cannot resist their favourite snack. In the course of the walk we touch upon iconic Calcutta foods like kati roll, meat and egg in a fried wrap; jhaal muri – puffed rice mixed with nuts and spices; puchka, a snack available all over India but at its best in Calcutta and many other delicacies that make Calcutta a food lovwers paradise.
Various other theme-based walks can be arranged, such as: East Kolkata Wetlands Walk, Birdwatcher’s Walk, Photographer’s Walk … and more, limited only by your imagination!
The Bengali Kitchen
Bengal is a food lover’s paradise and nowhere is Bengali cuisine more accessible than in Calcutta. Learn the secrets of a Bengali kitchen with this market walk and cooking class. A walk through the market will familiarize you with the ingredients that go into authentic Bengali food, followed by a cooking class with your host in their home. (A more extensive class can also be arranged at one of many famous local restaurants. Finish the evening by joining with your host to enjoy the dishes that you have helped prepare.
The City by Royal-Enfield
Discover the city from the back of a motorcycle, the Royal Enfield. You’ll cover some of the must see sites of the city with intermittent breaks at various bikers’ stops. Not for the faint-hearted, manoeuvring through the old city is easier and faster this way (although you’ll ride at slow cruise speeds). End the ride with lunch at a favourite local restaurant.
Cal by cycle
An early morning exploration of the city by bicycle – a perfect way to cover more ground than by foot but not too fast to notice the details. Depending on which other walks or tours you are doing in Calcutta, your ride can cover any of the following: Colonial areas or the White Town, Bengali areas or the Black Town, mixed cultures of the Grey Town or localities by the river. All equipment including helmets is supplied.