5 Incredibly Offbeat Things To Do When In Kolkata

There's a lot more to the City of Joy than the Howrah Bridge and Victoria Memorial. From polo sessions on the Maidan to coffee inside a tram depot, we have put together a list of memorable experiences in Kolkata
5 Incredibly Offbeat Things To Do When In Kolkata
5 Incredibly Offbeat Things To Do When In Kolkata

The only metro city in India that has held on to its old-world charm, Kolkata has plenty of incredible travel experiences to cherish as lifelong memories. Yes, there is the Hooghly River, the Howrah Bridge, Victoria Memorial et al. These tried and tested landmarks must certainly be on your bucket list. However, you could also follow a different trail and discover the city's best-kept secrets. Here's a list of five off-the-beaten-track things to do when you are in Kolkata next.  

Take A Tram Ride And Have Coffee In A Tram Cafe

One of the oldest transport systems in Asia - they have been operating since 1902 - the trams of Kolkata should be on your must-do list. One of the most picturesque routes is the one that goes to Kidderpore via the green Maidan and Victoria Memorial. You can also have a cup of excellent coffee in a tram depot. Located in south Kolkata&rsquos Garcha Road, Tram World Cafe is run out of the Gariahat Tram Depot. So your coffee and snacks (we highly recommend their chicken quiche and apple pie) will be accompanied by vintage trams and a 200-year-old banyan tree. 

&nbspAddress&nbspTram World Cafe,Tram Depot, 52, Gariahat Rd, inside Gariahat, Dover Terrace, Ballygunge, Kolkata, West Bengal 700019

Hang Out At A Green Bookstore

Kolkata is a bibliophile's city with its history of boi para, the secondhand bookstalls of College Street and the iconic book fair. It also boasts some standout indie bookstores. We recommend a visit to&nbspEarthcare Books, tucked away inside the decrepit Dive Inn on Middleton Street. They have handpicked books on environmental issues, feminism,&nbsphistory, Dalit rights, and more. They also have a lovely children&rsquos section. 

More info here.

Address&nbspEarthcare Books, 10, Middleton St, near Maidan, Park Street area, Kolkata, West Bengal 700071

Explore India's Only Chinatown

Take a walk down the streets of Terreti Bazaar, India&rsquos oldest Chinatown. Check out the Chinese clubs and temples such as Gee Hing and Toong On. The latter was built in 1924 and had housed the famous Nanking restaurant where celebrities like Dilip Kumar, Meena Kumari and Shammi Kapoor used to hang out. The Sea Ip Church's antique wooden staircase is from China. Pick up Chinese spices, tea, noodles, dried mushrooms from Chinese provision stores.

Book A Polo Session At A Centuries-Old Club

You don't have to be a member (or know one) to walk in. The Calcutta Polo Club, established in 1861-62, offers riding classes and polo sessions to guests. And all in the midst of the vast manicured lawns with the magnificent Victoria Memorial in the background. Book a day trip and you can avail of stable tours, rides and polo practice. Do visit the polo shop and their history gallery. 

More info here.

Address&nbspBangur BFL Estate, 31, Chowringhee Road, Kolkata, West Bengal 700016

Visit A Jewish Bakery 

For a slice of old Kolkata and to stock up on one-of-a-kind kitchen provisions, head to the Gothic-style New Market which was built in 1874 for the British haut monde. It&rsquos a fascinating place full of shops selling virtually everything from delicate lace and silver to the best steak cuts and exotic vegetables. You must pick up a Jewish cheese samosa at the iconic 1902 bakery, Nahoum and Sons established by Iraqi-Jew Nahoum Israel who came to Kolkata from Baghdad. Other popular items here are the brownies and the freshly-baked biscuits. The garlic bread here is to die for. And it would be criminal not to pair that with the amazing smoked Bandel cheese and Kalimpong cheddar from J. Johnsons store, just a two-minute walk from here. 

Address F20, Bertram St, New Market Area, Dharmatala, Taltala, Kolkata, West Bengal 700087

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