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An intricately woven, multi-hued tapestry makes up the city of Kolkata, India’s second largest city and the former capital of British India in its days as Calcutta. Today, Kolkata remains the capital of West Bengal and a hub of art and culture in India. Ancient and modern worlds collide to create a city that is both contrasting and captivating. Holidays in Kolkata introduce you to a heady world of grand architecture, eminent museums and contemporary art galleries.

Nicknamed the City of Joy, Kolkata knows how to enjoy a celebration, whether it’s one of the annual festivities or a lively debate on literature, politics, religion or cinema. India’s cultural capital, Kolkata has prominent local traditions in film, art, theatre and literature. Explore the city’s best museums, libraries and galleries during your Kolkata holiday.

Kolkata epitomises India’s striking world of contrasts

Kolkata’s spread of colonial-era monuments stand as a nod to its past - join a Kolkata tour to discover the city’s most iconic architecture. The Victoria Memorial, built in memory of Queen Victoria, fuses British and Indian design across its white-marble facades and colonnades. Ornate and imposing, the St. Paul’s Cathedral was the first Episcopal Church of the eastern world.

Kolkata’s Old City is an entirely different world. Starkly contrasting the colonial grandeur, a haphazard sprawl of buildings, urban dwellings and street markets reveal Kolkata’s other side. Here, you’ll find real life as it is lived by the locals. Settle down at a roadside stall with a steaming cup of spicy chai and watch the chaotic street activities unfold all around you.

Like much of India, Kolkata is a place that has to be visited to be truly understood. Whether you want to relax aboard a boutique cruise along the Ganges or embark on a culinary adventure through India’s most vibrant cities, we’ll craft you a unique exploration of this mesmerising and mysterious world.

Destination Highlights

  • Visit the white-marble Queen Victoria Memorial and the on-site museum
  • Explore Kolkata’s chaotic and charismatic Old City
  • Wander across the geometric lengths of Howrah Bridge, spanning Hooghly River
  • Experience India’s cultural and artistic capital in the numerous museums, libraries and art galleries

Great sample itineraries


Pair your Kolkata travel with explorations to Darjeeling in the Himalayas, or hop over to Sri Lanka for tranquillity amongst tea plantations and wild elephants. The world is your oyster! Get in touch today.

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Luxury River Cruise Ganges

  • 8 Days
  • Guide Price £3,799 PP
This enthralling seven-night cruise aboard the RV Ganges Voyager presents guests the rare opportunity to explore the remote and idyllic...
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Iconic journeys

Explore Kolkata

Time Zone

GMT +5.5 hours

Flight Time

A short 2 hour 25 minutes from Delhi

Currency

INR - Indian Rupee

Visa Information

British citizens are required to obtain a visa from the Indian embassy prior to arrival.

Language

Hindi and English are widely spoken

Health Info

Some vaccinations are recommended when travelling to certain areas in India. Please contact your GP for vaccination requirements.

George, Destination Specialist

“As part of your Kolkata holiday, you can add an experience where you’ll learn to cook like the Bengalis do! A walk through the market will familiarise you with the ingredients that go into making some authentic Bengali recipes, followed by a cooking demonstration by a local. Take notes and try out some of the recipes when you’re home.”

George
Destination Specialist
Jas, Destination Specialist

“Join a scenic cruise along Hooghly River, admiring the monuments and cityscape from a new perspective, followed by a visit to Mother Teresa’s house.”

Jas
Destination Specialist

Events & Festivals

A number of events take place in Kolkata each year, but Durga Puja is undoubtedly the most significant. Join the throngs of locals during the ten-day celebrations and get caught up in the intoxicating energy and colourful celebrations.

Durga Puja

Durga Puja is one of the most famous festivals in West Bengal, and particularly Kolkata. It is a ten-day celebration that takes place in October in honour of the Goddess Durga. Festivities see the crafting of hand-painted idols by locals; religious ceremonies such as the bathing of the banana tree in the Hooghly River; immense, lit, elaborately decorated pandals (displays); huge puja feasts; folk dances and an abundance of traditional Bengali cuisine.

Local Cuisine

Traditional Bengali cuisine - like that found in Kolkata - is a uniquely rich and flavoursome strand of Indian food. A large part of a Kolkata holiday is enjoyed sampling the delicious local cuisine. 

Kolkata Biryani

Biryani is found all over India, but Kolkata has a distinct version and one of the best biryani dishes you’ll try. Kolkata biryani is fragrant and slightly spicy: the meat is slow-cooked in butter; rice, meat and vegetables are layered in a pot; spices such as cardamom, mace, saffron and cloves are added to the mix. Eggs and potatoes are often added to the Kolkata version too. The concoction is then cooked further to give the food a really aromatic and rich taste.

Kosho Mangso

A hearty Bengali curry, Kosho Mangso - mutton curry - is prepared with mutton, vegetables and an array of spices.

Mishti Doi

One of Bengal’s most famous sweet desserts, Mishti Doi is a dessert of fermented sweet yoghurt - creamy and delicious. Try it at one of the famous sweet shops while you’re in Kolkata.

Deviled Eggs

A popular snack found at street stalls in Kolkata, Deviled eggs are boiled eggs with the yolk spiced and buttered. Kolkata’s version sees the eggs deep-fried in a layer of mashed potatoes and bread crumbs.

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