The streets of Kolkata go beyond the offers of roshogullas, bookstores and seafood to provide a fun and zealous city for you to explore. Every nuke and corner of Kolkata emanates a rich historical aura that is inescapable from the eyes of an explorer. The beauty of Kolkata lies in the coexistence between communities and nationalities as a hub of migrants. Modern and traditional aspects mingle to give a wide range of options for even the most habituated Kolkatan. However, the lockdown has deprived us of these options drastically. Despite the benefits of staying at home – the wanderer in us wishes to be set free to roam the streets of Kolkata again. But as a responsible citizen, we must channel that energy into creating a bucket list of things to do once the lockdown ends.
Our homesickness for the city can be cured easily once the city opens its doors to us but till then this city of joy is not going anywhere. While you still continue to miss your daily favourites, we have listed some offbeat recommendations post lockdown that is in your budget, crowd-free and unique.
Best Things To Do In Kolkata Post Lockdown
This article features activities are for better time management even for people with busy schedules and a lighter budget for better accessibility. You can set aside a weekend or just a day off to checklist for most activities. These activities can be double the fun with some friends or your family beside you.
Breakfast Spree In Chinatown
Chinatown is quite a popular place all over the world but a fact that has escaped most Indians is that we have our very own Chinatown in Kolkata. The place is a symphony of sounds and colours distinct from the rest and a bazaar experience that you won’t forget. Kolkata’s Chinatown is locally known as the Tiretti Bazaar that represents the daily life of the Chinese immigrants residing in Kolkata. Did you know that Kolkata has been home to the Chinese immigrant population since the early 19th century?
This place is a haven for authentic Chinese food lovers and the destination for gorging down a delicious breakfast. You have to taste them all post lockdown. Moreover, the smell of the home-cooked Chinese food wafts across the street beckoning you to its stalls. You must try their steamed momos, fried pork pao and rice balls that will leave you requesting for more. The apostle of Chinese delicacies are the stuffed momos with chicken, pork, beef, seafood or vegetables. The Tiretti Bazaar is a living memorabilia to Kolkata’s diverse cultural heritage!
Relish Culture And Meditate In Nipponzan Myohoji Monastery
Nipponzan Myohoji Monastery is a Buddhist Temple which the locals also refer to as the Japanese Buddhist Temple. It is one of the most breathtaking and well maintained Buddhist temples in Kolkata. The temple was built in an effort to spread the practices of Buddhism in India. Furthermore, a compound holding freshly manicured lawns hides the beautiful white temple. Nichidatsu Fujii (1885-1985) who was a disciple of Nichiren, a follower of Lotus Sutra found the temple. Lotus Sutra is the collection of teachings of Buddha towards the end of his life – they are considered as the sole means of obtaining enlightenment.
A small sign has been put up at the entrance of the temple that spells, “Na-Mu-Myo-Ho-Ren-Ge-Kyo” which translates to ‘I take refuge in the wonderful law of the Lotus Flower Sutra’. The temple is currently being run by the monks of North-East India with morning services from 5:00 am to 6:30 am and evening services from 5:00 pm to 6:30 pm. The temple is a sanctuary for people from all faiths and spiritual lovers. thus, if you are one, then this is a must-visit for you post-lockdown. It is advisable to follow the practices maintained at the temple upon entry.
A Mountain Getaway And Fishing Trip To Srikhola
A peaceful getaway is what Srikhola holds for those who visit it. Srikhola is a lovely scenic village located in Darjeeling district. It may not be an easy access but you can take a train to New Jalpaiguri Station or a flight to Bagdogra from where you can book a jeep to Sandakphu or Phalut. However, a drive there is what you need if you want to take the scenic and thrilling roads. Trekking routes from both these places take you through Srikhola. Srikhola is a lovely encapsulation of nature’s beauty.
Furthermore, the river Srikhola is an ideal place for trekkers to unwind and have their packed lunch. It isn’t a popular mountain destination and is a dream hamlet for trekkers and budget travellers that wish for a peaceful break post lockdown. You can enjoy the stunning landscape of Srikhola and indulge in some fishing for trout at the river. Despite its limited popularity, Srikhola is no less beautiful than any other place in Darjeeling.
Hike Through The Hills Of Pedong
A hike up north would be an ideal break from the busy city life of Kolkata post lockdown. Pedong is an enchanting historical town of Kalimpong known for its historical significance and lush green beauty. Pedong is one of the oldest towns of the region and shelters deep historical significance in its area. Moreover, Kalimpong was an essential trading route between India and Nepal through Zuluk and Jelepla. Pedong is a small picturesque village tucked amongst the pine trees of the hills and situated on a ridge.
A hike through these hills can take you to the majestic Damsangudi Fort located in Kalimpong hills. The Damsangudi Fort stands a historically significant site where years ago an ethnic war between the Lepchas and Bhutias took place. Another hike from Pedong will lead you to Tinchuley viewpoint. It is a wonderful viewpoint where three ridges meet and showcase the lovely settlement of Kashyone Village, the thick forests and terraced fields. The viewpoint also offers a closer look at Nathu La Pass, Jelepla Pass and the entire Mt. Kanchenjunga range. The location offers two treks. One to Ramitey which offers the longest and most excellent view of the Teesta River. Another to Rikkisum which holds the ruins of a British bungalow and is an ideal vantage point for sunset viewing.
A Sunset Boat Ride At Babu Ghat
The penchant for boat rides will be best fulfilled at the lesser-known destination of Babu Ghat. Babu Ghat, popularly known as Princep Ghat is best known for its structure inlaid with Gothic and Greek influences. The view available at Babu Ghat is highly mesmerizing and when accompanied by lack of a buzzing crowd – it allows you to cherish the place even better. Further on, the best thing about Babu Ghat is that there aren’t any lines for boating rides as it is a lesser-known destination for boat rides.
The Ghat is built along the banks of Hooghly river and will let you have a glimpse of the peaceful humdrum along the banks of this river. You can view the majestic Howrah Bridge as well! The area is a perfect place for recreational activities such as walking along the ghat or chilling there. Plus, the boat rides offer an exquisite view of the sunrise and sunset from the Ghat. The Ghat also has several food kiosks for a snack break after a boat ride.
Visit The South Park Street Cemetery
Most people won’t opt for hanging out in a cemetery. But the South Park Street Cemetery in Kolkata attracts the living as well. This is because of its beautiful architectural design and the history it embeds within its earth. The South Park Street Cemetery is one of the earliest cemeteries not connected to a church. It is the largest cemetery situated outside of Europe and America in the 19th century. The cemetery was opened in 1767 and was active till the 1830s. It spreads across eight acres housing some beautifully built mausoleums, cenotaphs and tombs.
The antiques of obelisks, cairns, urns and sarcophagi with a touch of Indo-Saracenic and European Gothic styles. Most of the graves within the cemetery belong to the popular historical figures that had great influence in the political and military spheres. The place is replete with structures that serve as a remembrance of the people that have passed on. The marvellous architecture and the eerie beauty of the surroundings will totally pique your interest post lockdown.
Collect Secondhand Books at College Street
If you’re a bookworm that goes absolutely bonkers at the sight of books, then don’t let anything hold you back! You must visit College Street lined with hordes of secondhand books. Bookworms can’t help but turn into shopaholics at the sight of such confounding beauty. The street derives its name from the establishment of several colleges at the street but its nickname is an ode to all the bookstores it houses. The locals nicknamed it ‘Boi Para’ which translates to Colony of Books.
Various bookstores line the streets – big and small – and fat, thin, compact, wide, paperback, hardcover books adorn each of the shops. Several known Bengali publication industries are also located here. Imagine walking down a street spilling with all kinds of books and not even prices can stop you from going ballistic. If you explore enough, you’ll be lucky to find rare books at throwaway prices. Books line the streets – first or several other editions – of different languages and genres! Wouldn’t it be worth a visit post lockdown when the crowd is at its lowest?
Visit One of Kolkata’s Iconic Jewish Bakeries
In Bengal, desserts are an intrinsic way of living life. It is almost as if being a sweet tooth is an essential part of the identity that Kolkatans or Bengalis hold. Along with the Bengali sweets and bakeries lining the streets of Kolkata, the locals are fond of the 118-year-old Jewish Bakery in the new market. The Jewish Bakery, Nahoum and Sons, are the target of recurrent visits by the locals for the sweets they offer. The locals appreciate the bakery for maintaining its old charm and standing the test of time through the modern ages.
Furthermore, Nahoum Israel Mordecai, a Baghdadi Jew found the bakery in 1902. It is a lovely representation of the Jewish people residing within Kolkata. Their community numbers are on the rise gradually expressing the flourishing of their culture. The best thing about Nahoum and Sons is that it has not undergone major changes and therefore, can give you the feel of the bakery as it was even a 100 years ago. Its delicious fruit cakes, scrumptious tarts and macaroons make the place an iconic one. Classic orders of the place and hence a must-try post lockdown.
Visit the Armenian Church of Holy Nazareth
A visit to a church with a distinct history and house to a certain faith will definitely give you some peace post lockdown. The serenity of the church and the atmosphere it houses will be quite relaxing. The Armenian Church of Holy Nazareth is an 18th-century church that acts as a centre for the Armenian community in Kolkata. It is also known as the Mother Church of the Indian Armenians. The history behind the Armenian community is their travel to India on accounts of trade and established themselves as a community in India later on. Moreover, they were the first ones to bring Christianity to India. Upon settling, they began to mingle, spreading their culture and traditions amongst the Indians.
The church is a beautiful sight for anyone visiting it. The altar holds three religiously significant paintings by artist AE Harris such as ‘Holy Trinity’, ‘Last Supper’ and ‘The Enshrouding of Our Lord’. This is the oldest church in Kolkata and the Armenians built it before the British colonial rule. The Holy Cross, the Gospel and twelve candlesticks that represent Jesus’ twelve apostles beautifully adorn the altar. Due to a fire incident, an Armenian Aga Mamed Hazaar Maliyar rebuilt the present church in 1734.
Discover art at Kumartuli
Art manifests itself in a different form in different communities for centuries and we know Kolkata for its creatively colourful streets. The district of Kumartuli is vibrant with art and a paradise for those who show deep appreciation for it. Kumartuli is a centre of art in Kolkata. Locals know it as the potters’ district of Kolkata where hundreds of artisans reside and create religious effigies throughout the year. The potters’ of the district have been living here for ages and have passed down their art styles through generations.
Moreover, the old locals of Kolkata continue to buy idols of Goddess Durga, Goddess Saraswati and other idols from here. The geography of the place facilitates their artistic livelihood as the river Hooghly that flows nearby provides clay for their pottery. The mansion district, Shobabazaar, was home to the nobles who were patrons to their art forms. Workshops and working spaces lines its lanes where artisans are hard at work to create their beautiful sculptures. A visit to Kumartuli post lockdown will give you fantastic insight into the capabilities of human beings and the beauty that it holds.
On another note, Woovly requests the countrymen to stay inside their houses and follow the guidelines issued by the government. In these times of need, please help the needy and do whatever is under your capabilities to help the country.
Wish it > Do it > Woovly