The name Kolkata invokes the image of a city rich in culture and tradition. As a child, I had a special fondness for my mother’s ‘Victoria’ curio. Its intricate design fascinated me, and every time I touched it, I was asked to be careful. One day, the inevitable happened, the curio broke and I got a spanking.
Recently, when I visited Kolkata, I decided to first go to the beautiful Victoria Memorial again. The memorial looks like a blend of the Taj Mahal and the St Paul’s Cathedral in London. Its museum is a treasure trove of paintings, armoury and other objects. Also visit the nearby Birla Planetarium, the largest in South East Asia.
Beauty in steel
We drove over the Vidyasagar Setu Bridge on the river Hooghly. It was more fun because it was raining — we drove back and forth admiring this technological marvel. The Howrah Bridge (Rabindra Setu) is visible from this one and that is also a miracle of engineering skill, a huge cantilever bridge supported by two piers 270 ft high.
On the way, we crossed the National Library, built in Italian Renaissance style. Across the road is the Alipore Zoo, opened in 1876. It has one of the finest collections of animals in India.
Legendary tea room
Kolkata means food, and while restaurants abound, one of the places you must visit is Flury’s. This legendary tea room has recently got a glamourous makeover, and longtime Kolkata residents will fondly recall the good old days of shabby genteel decor and excellent food served by very old bearers.
If the look has changed, the pastries haven’t — they are still the most delicious in town. This is one trip that will leave you with a taste sweet in your mouth.