Full day tour of Calcutta
Journey through a secret Calcutta with an expert guide
Discover the soul of Calcutta through a unique collection of experiences that open up a new dimension of this near-forgotten city, once the First City of the British Empire, now a testament to the Bengali love of culture, gastronomy, intellectual and artistic expression. Experience the true warmth of the city as you walk her narrow streets and stumble upon her inhabitants and their intriguing worlds.
You will be collected by your guide at 7.15 a.m. from the hotel lobby. An early start has the advantage of beating both the heat and the traffic - there is no better time to walk through this vibrant and bustling city. Head for the River Hoogly to witness the early morning rituals of cleansing and purification. This is the best place to start your journey as this is where it all began - on the banks of this great river the magnificent buildings of the British Raj rose up alongside Armenian and Portuguese churches and Jewish synagogues. In and around Dalhousie Square, the British built their 'city of palaces'- the Writers' Building, the magnificent Governor's House and the almost forgotten Charnock Mausoleum; here lay the administrative, judicial and political heart of an empire that stretched from Aden to Burma.
Take a break for a cup of tea and a snack at St John's Church, the first cathedral of the city.
Park Street Cemetery and the Victoria Memorial
10.00 a.m. Visit these two great institutions left behind by the British. The cemetery, inaugurated in 1767, offers poignant images of British way of life, whilst the magnificent memoral (left), completed just before Calcutta was abandoned as the British capital in favour of New Delhi, now houses a permanent collection of art. There should also be time to visit the 19th century Marble Palace, the Potters' Market or the Indian Museum. Shopping could include local handicrafts, jewellery, textiles (including the famous Bengal Katha stitch work), food, spices and books.
Lunch at Bomti's
1.00 p.m. A special lunch at the home of a well known art collector and socialite offers a rare glimpse of the old Calcutta way of life. Authentic and home-cooked Bengali cuisine is served up with hot cups of fresh Darjeeling tea.
Boat cruise up the River Hoogly
4.00 p.m. A private river boat will allow you to discover a hitherto unseen side of Calcutta, with a ring-side view of the happenings on the river's ghats. You will sail past Belur Math, headquarters of the Ramakrishna Mission, as the city's two famous bridges, Howrah and Vidyasagar Setu, pass overhead. A wonderfully relaxing end to the day with a sumptuous tea menu comprising popular Indian snacks and Darjeeling tea.
Return to your hotel at around 6.30 p.m.