Author: 06.12.2016 | India
Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) is a distinctive city since it supplied the world with as much as three Indian Nobel Prize winners, and is regarded as India’s intellectual and cultural capital. But, at the same time, most people brush their teeth, do laundry and cook right in the streets, and many famous travellers who have visited the city, refer to it as the worst one they had ever seen. So, what is closer to the truth?

Kolkata is a city of contrasts, like the rest of India. Here poverty is certainly in your face, and the city wonderfully retains a feast of colonial-era architecture along with urban slums, garbage heaps rise up next to green parks, a "lower caste" still carries "high caste" in the ordinary rickshaw carts, where rickshaw-puller has to move the cart on Shanks's pony. Equally contrasting are sayings of famous visitors to the city: one was struck by the grandeur of its history, and someone – by its fatality. For instance, the writer of Indian origin Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul once said: "I know not of any other city whose plight is more hopeless". But as they say, it is better to see once than to hear a hundred times, and then come up with you own conclusions. And to make it easier, we'll tell you about key attractions in this city which is simultaneously noble and squalid, cultured and desperate.

Durga Puja

Most memorable and exciting event takes place in Kolkata in October, but can fall into other autumn months, according to the traditional calendar. This event is Durga Puja festival, during which thousands of temporary structures called pandals pop up like mushrooms after a spring rain, inside they organize celebrations and offer sacrifices to the goddess Durga. Every owner of a temporary house may partake in the competition for the most beautiful pandal. At this time the city is bustling with unforgettable festive atmosphere: everything around is decorated with lights, traffic stops, and Kolkata plunges into its own world of carnival and music. No wonder this festival is often referred to as eastern reply to famous carnival in Rio de Janeiro.

Paradise for book admirers

If you are a fanatical books admirer, in Kolkata there is a piece of paradise for you. This is College Street: a half-mile teemed with bookstalls and bookshop, spilling over onto the pavement, selling new and used books. There are books for every taste: rare editions, modern world's bestsellers, ancient manuscripts... In addition, here is the Coffee House, a place where you can meet interesting people, discuss recently read books or just chat on abstract themes over a cup of coffee.

Outdoor bathes

Where else but in India, you will be able to see with your own eyes how the locals make morning procedures? Open-air makeshift bathes are very popular in Kolkata. Strolling in the morning through the poor quarters of the city, you will come across daily festival of human existence where people with towels, toothbrushes or without these, pouring themselves with water from a hose or water pumps. Moreover, many local residents not only wash themselves in the open air, but also do their laundry and cook. It is difficult to say that they do it due to good life, but this activity has long been a tradition and one of the special features of Kolkata.

House of Wonders

It is hard to imagine that a city located in a country with so ancient and rich history, does not have a museum. Naturally, Kolkata has one which is the Indian Museum. The locals call it the House of Wonders, because here you can see a lot of unusual things, such as the skeleton of a dinosaur or an urn where once the Buddha's ashes were kept... Special delight of the visitors is paid to an ancient collection of Indian textiles with colourful hand-painted fabrics.

Local markets

Like most Indian cities, Kolkata is replete with a variety of atmospheric markets. It should be understood that any Asian bazaar is not just a market in the usual sense of the word, a retailer stalls selling food and stuff, but almost sacred place keeping unique adventurous spirit of the people.

Street food

If you are not a faint hearted person, then you can safely try local street food. Of course, the process of cooking of traditional street treats does not provide for the highest degree of sanitation, but for centuries the Indians have been cooking and eating in the streets under the same conditions, and consider it their hallmark. The most popular dish is Kolkata is egg roll - dough, fried in egg with vegetables inside, and kathi roll - pieces of grilled chicken and vegetables wrapped in a pancake and seasoned with spicy sauce with herbs. Not sure if it is a plus or a minus, but you can observe the process of preparation of your food, and then decide if you shall eat it.

Flower fairy show

In addition, we recommend to each visitor to Kolkata to look at the Flower Market, located next to the Howrah Bridge. The name of the place conjures up images of fancy flowers, neatly tied with ribbons, vases in beautiful pots and similar delights so popular in European flower shops. But this is India, so even the flower market is full of noise, dirt, chaos and knocking down variety of flavours and colours. Market vendors can be said to hit upon a gold mine, because their products are always in great demand. This is explained by the fact that the Indians regularly use flowers in a variety of religious ceremonies.

Trophy from the British era

The main attraction of Kolkata, visited by most tourists in the first place, is the Queen Victoria Memorial, built about a century ago. The luxury building is a vast, beautifully proportioned festival of white marble which impresses with its grandeur and contrasting starkly with the surrounding poverty. Its special architectural style has similarities with the world famous Taj Mahal.

Howrah Bridge

Kolkata has its own world record holder: the busiest bridge in the world under the name of Howrah. It connects the city of the same name and Kolkata, surviving every day highest load. Locals move through it here and there, and tourists have chosen this place and have a tradition to come here. According to various estimates, every day about 2 million people and 80 thousand cars pass through it.


It will be interesting:
Ambassador of the Republic of India presented a book entitled “Understanding Indian Philosophy through Modern Science”
On May 29 at the Media Center of “GDIP” SE, the presentation of the book written by Manoj Kumar Bharti, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of India to Ukraine entitled "Understanding Indian Philosophy through Modern Science" took place.
Someone compares Jaipur with lace tablecloth; others with a box of pink marshmallows; and some admirers claim this is a hive densely inhabited by bees. However, everyone agrees on one thing: there is the wonderful air full of freedom which cannot be found in Europe. It fills the lungs and breathing it a traveller loses count of hours and even centuries.
The well-known saying goes: east is a delicate matter. All-in-all, it is true as evidenced even by details. Due to specific climate, eastern women have similar type of appearance, and their nations are united by close cultures. Therefore, they prefer the same beauty standards. Women are supposed to be modest, to dress so as to completely or almost completely conceal figure. Therefore, all that remains to them is to charm a man by play of eyes, so eastern makeup concentrates on eyes.
MUST-WATCH VIDEO: And some tea to Room 13, please!
This beverage became so deeply ingrained in the life of humans that we sometimes even fail to notice putting a kettle on a stove. There are thousands ways of best-loved beverage brewing in the world. OUTLOOK offers the best of them to your attention.
The Ambassador organized a reception in honor of Independence Day
The Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of India to Ukraine Manoj Kumar Bharti organized an official diplomatic reception in honor of the main holiday of country, Independence Day.
Varanasi: Crematorium City
Some call it the city of temples, some – created by gods and others call it crematorium on the Ganges River. Today we speak about Indian city of Varanasi where no one is scared by death and the latter one has long ago become business.
The spouse of Ambassador of India made a meeting Ambassadors Spouses Club and demonstration of national clothes
The spouse of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of India to Ukraine Anamica Bharti organized a meeting of the club of ambassadors wives Ambassadors Spouses Club in the course of which it was a display of traditional Indian clothes and friendly dinner.
The Ambassador of India arranged diplomatic reception in honor of National Day
The Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of India to Ukraine Manoj Kumar Bharti arranged an official reception in honor of National Day. The heads of diplomatic missions of Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Moldova, Palestine, Syria, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Macedonia, Great Britain, Canada, Morocco, Kuwait, Belarus, Sudan, Republic of South Africa, Argentina, Japan, and Turkmenistan as well as representatives of community and mass media came to express their honor and congratulate the colleague with the national holiday.
The ancient Indian belief has it that a wife is never known till her husband has poverty. Who knows if hunger can be considered as demonstration of poverty, but once a year Indian men watch a manifestation of loyalty and commitment of women in this way.
Women's Adornments in India: Sacred Meaning
Upon hearing word combination “Hindu woman” an image of a beautiful woman wearing sari and definitely with numerous adornments and pictures on her body emerges in our imagination. Where does passion for body decoration come from in national traditions of this people?
Embassy of India arranged an official reception in honor of International Yoga Day
On the 9-th of June, in a concert hall Ukrainian House in Kyiv it was an event ‘Curtain Raiser’ on the occasion of International Yoga Day. The organizer of the stated event became an Embassy of India to Ukraine and personally Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Manoj Bharti.
Jaipur is always invaded by hordes of tourists. The city is included into the most of India travel guides. There are enough hotels, many street diners and comfortable cafes, no problem with the choice of transport. The local people are friendly and helpful to visitors. If this impulse is encouraged with a few rupees, the Indians will be happy to share information where in Jaipur they serve delicious and cheap coffee, how to get around a pack of pesky monkeys, or to find a hotel with hot water.
Round Table “Ukraine-India. World Practice of Constitutionalism” Is Held at the Diplomatic Academy
On April 14, 2016 at the Diplomatic academy of Ukraine under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs International Round Table “India – Ukraine: World Practice of constitutionalism” dedicated to 125th anniversary of the main author of India’s constitution Dr. Ambedkar was held.
Embassy of India Topical Holds Folk Costumes Show
With the support from the Embassy of India in Ukraine show of folk costumes of this amazing country took place at Kyiv Institute for International Relations. Colorful event was attended by representatives of foreign diplomatic corps, students of IIR and those who care about Indian culture.
With Support from the Embassy of India Topical Event with Participation of a Unique Illusionist Takes Place
In the capital of Ukraine an unusual session of mind reading took place; it was orchestrated with support from the Embassy of India in Ukraine. The event was attended by Ambassadors Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Ukraine of such countires as Spain, Syria, Czech Republic...
Mehndi – instead of a thousand tattoos
Every other person has considered having a tattoo, maybe not permanent but at least a temporary one. Absolutely painless application of drawings that can be altered in a couple of weeks is offered by Mehndi art – henna painting.
OUTLOOK offers our readers new articles on national ghettos – mass settlements of emigrants far from their homelands. The next step is the story of Southall, a suburb of London, which is much more reminiscent of Indian town.
Outlook facebook page