Wednesday, 8 April 2015

If you want to know Calcutta, walk the streets ...

Calcutta / Kolkata is a vibrant city with more than 30 million people that somehow seemed more ordered than the hustle & bustle of Delhi. The wide streets, trees & trams just made it seem more open, more friendly, easier to walk & get to know.

I love taking the camera for a walk to get to know a place & Ms M & I were booked on a walking tour with Calcutta Walks to get to know the city - exciting as I knew that I wouldn't even have to worry about getting lost because I am looking down the camera lens …

We were met by Ramanuj Ghosh, the very enthusiastic & enigmatic guide who is passionate about his city! Excellent - I love it when someone loves what they do so I just knew that we were going to have a good morning.



Fabulous Art Decor buildings still exist in Calcutta - they belong to a bygone, elegant era.


Oh yes, it is almost Easter …


Iconic Art Decor architecture ….


Street food is such a part of Indian culture & life


Indians still have a long tradition of reading the daily news & paper sellers are a common sight



An early building in the city …


Cobblers cobblering shoes on the streets, still seen making up or repairing shoes, what a talent …





The Presidential Palace gates


Beautiful wide streets & buildings - perfect for walking while enjoying stunning buildings


I was fascinated by the trams of various ages which criss crossed our path - a very efficient way to get around Calcutta







Money changers on the streets - a low cost of living means that few people need large 500 Rupee notes so these changers are seen changing money to smaller denominations.



Street food being prepared & eaten all over the city



Large wide tree lined streets & yellow cabs - almost like a scene out of the US …


 Another impressive building


 I live near famous tile makers in Shropshire, England; these tiles caught my eye - they are French made but still so beautiful ….



Ironwork from Bristol in the UK ….



Time to refresh on fresh coconut water - a first for Ms M & I but so good



Our guide enjoying his coconut water ….


The Gunmakers are situated opposite the Police Headquarters …



St. Andrews Church with its imposing position - serving the community for 200 years …



 Police on Lee Enfield motor cycles ….



Pride in the city is evident - a pavement being swept ….


Stunning building from 1882


 Beautiful details ….




This must be one of the most beautiful Post Offices I have ever seen ….



Wide, tree lined pavements are meant for walking & exploring the city …


The Tank - a natural spring that feeds the city & apparently a place where Victorian Women would gather to see & be seen while seeking husbands …


 Ordered traffic in Calcutta …


 The canons used in the Siege of Calcutta



 The distinctive Art Deco architecture is evident around the city


Interesting cars spied in garages ….



I am a great Annie Sloan paint fan & the colours I spied on the streets, resemble her colours perfectly



Fabulous colours & details ….


The stunning, classical Town Hall




Time to sample some more street food with our guide - be still my heart. I have a sweet tooth & in South Africa, we eat a similar fried treat - koeksusters - fried then dipped in to a sugar syrup. I was keen to try it.  It is a batter rather than a bread like mix we use but very good!


Samoosas - very tasty indeed in a lovely pastry - excellent & very filling.


Like many other stalls around India, this stall has all you need for a really good meal. Locals use these street stalls for quick meals & even for their main meal which is why they thrive - because they have tremendous local support & they sell good food.


Oh yes …. sweet treat that was very good  - we shared it between us three & it was perfect :)



Another local favourite being cooked freshly to order …


My tea drinking passion matched theirs perfectly - tea pots bubbling all over the streets



Our chai - tea, being freshly made on the street with buffalo milk


Freshly made chai served in the traditional pottery cup that is used once …


Bubbling away ready to be used …


Refreshed & ready to proceed … the High Court with its beautiful structure, modelled on the Cloth Hall in Ypres.


Parking is at a premium around the courts & the cars are expertly parked in high rows


Yes, they really did park it in that space …


The High Court - impressive building …


A scene from a bygone era - Court documents being typed on the street opposite the court ….



Impressive parking ….


St. John's Church Calcutta - a replica of St. Martin's in the Field Church in London.  Johann Zoffany's famous painting of the Last Supper is hung there & worth a visit. He controversially painted his friends & foes in his paintings  ….




The infamous Black Hole of Calcutta - an expression we all know & use without knowing the background tragedy & the loss of British lives  ….







What a fabulous way to spend 4 hours - walking the city with someone who is passionate about his city, someone who wants to promote it & someone who takes the time to let you enjoy the city, take photos, eat the food, take in the atmosphere.

If you are ever in Calcutta, book a Calcutta Walking tour because you will love it as much as we did.

Thank you Ramanuj Ghosh for showing us your Calcutta, it is a city that is definitely worth visiting when in India.

Dee ~♥~

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