Cantering through Calcutta

Fortunately, I was lucky enough to spend a few days visiting one of my close friends in her hometown of Calcutta, India. I have never traveled outside of Maharashtra (western India) because my entire extended family resides there, so this was pretty exciting. I arrived in Calcutta on the afternoon of July 12 and my friend already had plans to take me to an Irish pub at her local mall. It was my first time going to a youth-friendly bar in India and I was pleasantly surprised! I ordered 2 “trash cans”–a drink my friend recommended. The trash can is the Irish pub’s specialty and consists of a couple different types of hard liquor with a can of red bull. That same night, my friend also took me to a famous hookah place called Chai Break.

The next day was my friend’s birthday. Her parents booked a room at the Great Eastern Lalit hotel–a five-star hotel in the city of Calcutta. We ate, drank, and listened to music all night, waking up to a lovely continental breakfast in the morning with over 100 types of dishes and in a sunlight-filled setting. That night, my friend’s parents treated her out to a popular Chinese restaurant called ‘Mainland China,’ where we had Indian-influenced Chinese food. The decor of the restaurant was authentic and beautiful as well!

Because I hadn’t done anything very tourist-y, my friend took me to the Victoria Memorial the next day. The Victoria Memorial is one of Calcutta’s famous tourist attractions and European tourists right outside of the Memorial were clear evidence of that. The Memorial is a huge marble building that was constructed between 1906-21 under the British Raj. As the name suggests, upon the death of Queen Victoria of England, the edifice was constructed to commemorate her death. When we went inside, the interior of the Memorial was like a museum with famous paintings from Indian history. Unfortunately, I photography of the interior wasn’t allowed otherwise I would have taken so many pictures!

In the evening, we went to a small, but popular tea shop (Calcutta is famous for its tea as the former capital of the British empire). The chai was served in small clay cups and was the best chai I have ever had! My friend also mentioned a traditional myth. After you drink the chai, you’re supposed to throw it on the ground. If your clay tea cup breaks, then that means you will get a good spouse!

After tea, we went to a small Bengali fusion restaurant called The Bohemian. The decor was amazing, with a huge Western influence. The food was almost as impressive as the decor. I ordered fish, locally known as Bhetki, which Calcutta is famous for. We ordered a virgin mint julep along with it, which was so refreshing! For anyone wanting to visit Calcutta, I would definitely recommend this amazing restaurant.

That same night (my last night in Calcutta), my friend’s dad took us on a nighttime drive to see some of the famous buildings in the city with a huge British influence. Even after so many years, the buildings stood tall and strong, not even the monsoon rains could hurt them. Our final stop was the Howrah Bridge, another colonial construction, and an attraction that draws in tourists from all over India and the world.

Although after 3 days in Calcutta, it was time to say good-bye. However, I know one day I will be back to do more sightseeing in the wonderful city!


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