Family Breaks: 5 Must-Have Experiences In Kolkata

Travelling together is a great way for families to bond and create a lifetime of memories. For children, it is an instructive and eye-opening experience introducing them to new foods, activities, and sites. Here is a guide to fun things to do when you are in the City of Joy
Old trams on display as part of Tramjatra, a celebration of 150 years of Kolkata Trams   Photo credit Dr. Shantanav P.Chitnis
Old trams on display as part of Tramjatra, a celebration of 150 years of Kolkata Trams Photo credit Dr. Shantanav P.Chitnis many way, Kolkata truly 

Spend An Afternoon At The Indian Museum

Spread along three floors, the museum&nbspis an extraordinary place to visit. Enter and ypu are greeted by the half-giant figures of yakshas, placed like dwarpaals (doorkeepers). All along the outer colonnade skirting the quadrangle are sculptures, lintels and intricate pilasters. It often happens that, as the afternoon light merges into dusk, these figures change moods. Walk along the second floor, in the east verandah, and check out the sculptured ghosts of the Sunga dynasty (2nd century BC), the Buddhas, and the protean avatars of Vishnu. The Archaeological Section of the Medieval Age, on the ground floor has sculptures of different Indian schools, from the beginning of the Christian era to AD 1200, and some from Java and Cambodia. One of the highlights here is the 4,000 year old Egyptian mummy,&nbspone of six such mummies in India. And entry in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal says that it was one EC Archbold, a British officer and Lieutenant of the Light Cavalry of Bengal, who had gifted the mummy to the society in 1834. Children in the family will love the insane size of the Stegodon tusks here. Sometimes you will find students from the Government College of Art & Craft next door sitting on the floor sketching sculptures. Check out their website here.

Address: 27, Jawaharlal Nehru Rd, Fire Brigade Head Quarter, New Market Area, Dharmatala, Taltala, Kolkata, West Bengal 700016

Visit The Only Boat Museum In India

The museum located in&nbspThe Institute of Cultural Research in Ambedkar Bhavan displays 46 scale models of various kinds of Indian indigenous boats. Each boat is unique and made for a particular purpose. Check out the dholai and khorokishti which are cargo boats. The dholai is mostly seen in the Sunderban region, and was initially used to carry wood. It now also carries bricks, tiles, etc. The khorokishti, which carries hay, has a wide flat bottom. Paukhia, another type of cargo boat, is meant to navigate shallow creeks. There are many more of Bengal's boats on display here. Read more about it here.

Address: P 1/4, C.I.T. Scheme-VII(M), V.I.P Road, PO. Kankurgachi, Kolkata - 700054 Phone - 2320-7623

Spot Birds And Boats At The Lakes

Take a walk around the Lakes (Rabindra Sorobor in south Kolkata). Located in the heart of south Kolkata, this is a multifunctional area with a stage for concerts, swimming pools and clubs, a stadium, and paths around the water bodies.

Ride The Only Tramway In India

Kolkata has is the oldest operating electric tram in Asia, running since 1902 and the only tram network operating in India. Trams have been rumbling through the streets of Kolkata for over 140 years now Horse-drawn trams were introduced in Kolkata in 1873 and electric locomotive trams begun running from 1882. Trams operate throughout the city on different routes. It is highly recommended that you hop on one that takes you to North Kolkata traversing the streets lined with gorgeous old houses and buildings. You can get up on one from the depot at Esplanade. Or take the&nbsppicturesque route that goes to Kidderpore via the green Maidan and Victoria Memorial. Take your tram experience to another level and have a cup of excellent coffee inside 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. 

Address: 52, Gariahat Rd, Golpark, Hindustan Park, Gariahat, Kolkata, West Bengal 700029

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.

Old trams on display as part of Tramjatra, a celebration of 150 years of Kolkata Trams   Photo credit Dr. Shantanav P.Chitnis
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