Sunday, July 17, 2011


(now Kolkata)

Coffee House – 15 Bankim Chatterjee Street, College Street; 011-91-33-2241-4869;; most famous outpost of this longstanding, worker-managed chain.
Dolly’s Tea Shop – 2 Gariahat Road South (at Dakshinapan Shopping Complex in southeastern city); 011-91-33-2423-7838.
Flurys Tea Room – 18 Park Street; legendary; 011-91-33-2229-7664; opened in 1927; introduced city to European pastries and fine Swiss chocolate; full high tea and breakfast, too.
Ganguram Grand Sons Sweets – 84A Sambhunath Pandit Street (chain); 011-91-33-2455-2357; mishti shop; try sweet, pressed-cheese cake in sweet milk (sandesh); nalen gur sandesh is flavored with date palm syrup.
Gupta Brothers – 22 Ballygunge Park Road (chain); 011-91-33-2280-0576;; mishti shop; try cheese cakes in sweet milk (rasmalai).
Indian Coffee House – 15 Bankim Chaterjee Street (across from University of Calcutta); 011-91-33-2237-5649; here, in airy 2nd floor hall, generations of Bengali intellectuals and students have met here to engage in adda (spirited discussion) over coffee.
Mithai Shop – 48B Syed Amir Ali Avenue; 011-91-33-2345-4545; mishti (sweets) shop; try cheese balls in syrup (rossogullas).
Nahoum’s – F-20, New Market; 011-91-33-6526-9936; traditional Jewish bakery since 1902.
Vien – 34B Shakespeare Sarani; 011-91-33-2287-8810; mishti shop; try mishti dhoi, creamy sweet curd treat made in clay cup.

Plush – 15 Shakespeare Sarani (at Astor Hotel); 011-91-33-2282-9957;; upscale nightclub.
Roxy – 17 Park Street; 011-91-33-2249-9000;
Some Place Else – 17 Park Street (at Park Hotel); 011-91-33-2249-9000;; emulates English pub feel and look; only partially successful (which ultimately adds to its appeal); decorated with wrought iron and polished wood; traditional bar area (complete with bar stools), British memorabilia on walls, and cozy sofas scattered about.

Bodhi Tree – 48-44 Swiss Park; 011-91-33-2424-6534;; 6 themed rooms around communal space that serves as art gallery, cafe, and garden.
Fairlawn – 13A Sudder Street; 011-91-33-2252-1510;; quaint, bungalow-style.
ITC Sonar – 1 J.B.S. Haldane Avenue; 011-91-33-2345-4545;; about 15 minutes from town, making it closer to high-tech sector and airport; 16-acre “business resort” with big rooms.
Oberoi Grand – 15 Jawaharlal Nehru Road; 011-91-33-2249-2323 or 800-562-3764;; built in 1880s; colonial hotel sits imposingly in city center; high-ceilinged guest rooms with French windows; concierge can arrange entry to private Turf Club; ask for #201 (4-room suite).
Park Kolkata – 17 Park Street; 011-91-33-2249-9000;; blasé, 1967 façade on city’s central retail artery; request rooms recently redone by London’s Conran & Partners; sleek, contemporary venue.

Bhojohori Manna – 79/3/4 Bidhan Sarani; 011-91-33-2533-8519;; Bengali food; try ilish barishali (jumbo portion), thick local fish steak served in mustard sauce.
Bistro by Park – 2A Middleton Row; 011-91-33-2229-6494; 50-seat, European & Modern environment; pastas, pizzas, and salads.
Dolly’s Tea Shop – 2 Gariahat Road South (at Dakshinapan Shopping Complex in southeastern city); 011-91-33-2423-7838.
Dumpukht – 1 J.B.S. Haldane Avenue (at ITC Sonar Hotel); 011-91-33-2345-4545;; try mutton, rice, and vegetables sealed by spices and dough, braised over open flame.
Flurys Tea Room – 18 Park Street; legendary; 011-91-33-2229-7664; opened in 1927; introduced city to European pastries and fine Swiss chocolate; full high tea and breakfast, too.
Ivory – 22 Camac Street; 011-91-33-2281-1313;; Asian, European, and Indian cuisines.
Kewpie’s – 2 Elgin Lane (off Heysham Road, behind Netaji Bhavan); great Bengali food; 011-91-33-2475-9880; 130 year-old redbrick house in south Calcutta; 5 rooms furnished with Raj-period antiques; try smoked hilsa (marinated fish fillet in thick sauce), fish Orly (batter-fried bekti, local perch), and duck vindaloo.
Nizam’s – 23-24 Hogg Street; 011-91-98-3619-4669; said to be paratha (kathi roll, flatbread cooked in egg then rolled around chicken or mutton, spiced with fresh lime juice, green chili, and red onion) progenitor.
T3 – 57 Park Street; 011-91-33-2473-6476; stands for “The Tea Table”; nostalgic, British colonial fare such as chicken patties and beans on toast.

Architecture – Manish Chakraborti;; preservationist who charges $8 for 3-hour tour (?).
Calcutta Walks – 9A Khairu Place; 011-91-33-4005-2573 or 011-91-98-3018-4030;; $50 for 3-hour tour.
New Market Guide – Santimoy Bhattacharya; 011-91-98-3024-2803; lifelong Calcutta resident who charges $24 per hour.

Aakriti Art Gallery – Orbit Enclave, 12/3A Picasso Bithi; 011-91-33-2289-3027;; modern art; 1 wing dedicated entirely to sculpture.
Artisana – 13 Chowringhee Terrace; 011-91-33-2223-9422;; Crafts Council of West Bengal-operated, kantha (Bengali textile, silk from worn saris embroidered in designs on cotton layers) seller; also other goods.
Bose Pacia Gallery – Stephen Court, 18 Park Street; 011-91-98-3076-1742;; renowned New York gallery outpost; represents Subodh Gupta.
Centre of International Modern Art – Sunny Towers, 43 Ashutosh Chowdhury Avenue; 011-91-33-2440-7030;; painters and sculptors; charming gift shop.
Chamba Lamba – F-58-60, New Market; 011-91-33-2252-6408; quality Tibetan beads and jewelry.
Chitrakoot Art Gallery – Presidency Court-2nd Floor, 55 Ashutosh Chowdhury Avenue (Gariahat Road); 011-91-33-2475-6587;; permanent collection, too, of rare, early Bengal works, Kalighat folk paintings, and East India Company art.
Das Gupta & Company Private Ltd. – 54/3 College Street; 011-91-33-2241-6531; among College Street's oldest bookstores.
85 Landsdowne – 85 Landsdowne, 85B Sarat Bose Road (Kalighat); 011-91-33-2486-2136;; hot accessories and clothing boutique carrying 45 of top Indian fashion designers.
Experimenter – 2/1 Hindusthan Road; 011-91-33-4001-2289;; art gallery.
Galerie ’88 – 28B Shakespeare Sarani; 011-91-33-2290-2274;; leading contemporary artists.
Henry Shoes – F-4-1, Flower Range, New Market; 011-91-33-2252-2734; shoes.
Kanishkas – 21 Hindustan Road; 011-91-33-2463-0465;; kantha seller.
Satramdas Dhalamal – Queens Mansions, 12J Park Street; 011-91-33-2229-8132;; established in 1880, vintage-inspired contemporary jewelry designs.
Self Help Enterprises – 4/1 Alipore Park Road;; kantha seller.
Shree Shankar Trading – P-4, New Market (1st Floor); 011-91-33-2269-7320; quality luggage.

B.B.D. Bagh – central (near Hooghly river, south of Howrah Bridge & north of Jawaharlal Nehru Road); known during Colonial era as Dalhousie Square; B.B.D. refers to 3 Indian freedom fighters (Badal, Benoy & Dinesh) who shot British police inspector-general in 1930; at square (bagh) center is Lal Dighi Tank, where locals wade and bathe in dodgy-looking, spring-fed water; most impressive surrounding monuments are Writers’ Building, West Bengal government office, which stretches along B.B.D. Bagh North Road (built to house British bachelors imported to serve East India Company); across road is early-19th Century St. Andrew’s Kirk, recognizable by its tall white steeple; at north end is General Post Office (monumental rotunda, considered notorious Black Hole of Calcutta incident site); southwest of tank is St. Martin-in-Fields-inspired St. John’s Church (011-91-33-2243-6098) and, within grounds, Calcutta’s founding father, Job Charnock’s tomb; east (but to south of Lal Bazaar), tea merchants, where teas from Darjeeling, Dooars, and Assam are packed and exported; Nilhat House, located behind Old Mission Church, is India’s oldest tea auction house (action on Monday and Tuesday mornings).
Barabazar – market district; see Armenian church.
Birla Academy of Art & Culture – 108-109, Dr. Meghnad Saha Sarani; 011-91-33-2466-6802;; bronzes, south Indian sculpture, ancient manuscripts, etc.
Center of International Modern Art (CIMA) – 43 Ashutosh Chowdhury (Sunny Towers); 011-91-33-2485-8717;; sleek modern space that shows contemporary art.
Flower Market – near north Calcutta’s Howrah Bridge (temporary, since original flower market – largest in Asia – burned down in 2008).
Howrah Train Station – Howrah; 1 of 4 intercity train stations serving Howrah and Calcutta; situated on Hooghly River’s west bank; linked to Calcutta by magnificent Howrah Bridge; 2nd-oldest station and 1 of largest railway complexes in India.
Indian Museum – 27 Jawaharlal Nehru Road; 011-91-33-2286-1699;
Kalighat Temple – situated on Adi Ganga River banks; natmandir, hall attached to sanctum sanctorum, on southern side while Shiva’s temple on northeast; also temple dedicated to Radha Krishna built in 1843 by Baowali zamindar.
Kumartuli – area noted for decaying classic mansions.
Law Courts – neo-gothic structure.
Marble Palace – 46 Muktaram Basu Street (North Calcutta, off Chittaranjan Avenue); 011-91-33-2269-3310; built in 1835 by wealthy Mullick family.
Mother Teresa’s Tomb – 54A, A.J.C. Bose Road (Missionaries of Charity, Mother House); 011-91-33-2249-7115;
New Market – Lindsay Street, behind Oberoi Grand Hotel; 100 year-old shopping arcades and complex; originally designed and executed by East India Railway Company (renowned architect R. Bayne), this architecturally Gothic market-complex built 1873-1903; Bengali society, in British Raj era, called it Hogg Saheber Bajaar; open Mondays-Fridays, 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Saturdays, 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.; try Henry’s for shoes, Shanker Trading for quality luggage, and Chamba Lamba for Tibetan jewelry and beads; arrive early (no later than 10:00 a.m.) for best viewing experience.
Nirmal Hriday – 251 Kalighat Road; 011-91-33-2464-4223; Mother Teresa’s hospice.
Paresnath Temple – Badridas Temple Street;; 4 Jain temples dating from 19th Century.
Public Ferry – board at Babu Ghat to cross Hugli River to magnificent Howrah Train Station, 1 of India’s largest and liveliest.
Rabindra Bharati Museum – 6-4 Dwarkanath Tagore Lane; 011-91-33-2269-5241; chronicles story of gifted Tagore family; revered poet, Rabindranath Tagore, wrote India’s national anthem.
Raj Bhavan – 011-91-33-2200-1641; governor’s residence.
Sovabazar Rajbari – 35 Raja Naba Kissen Street; dilapidated mansion where, in 1757, British soldier-hero, Robert Clive, supposedly handed Bengal over to Jir Jafar – 1st of several local puppet rulers.
Synagogues – arrange tours of either through Nahoum’s bakery.
Tiretta Bazar – Chatawala Gali & Sun Yat Sen Streets (intersection); Chinatown.
Victoria Memorial – Hospital Road (1 Queen’s Way); 011-91-33-2223-1890;; domed white marble hall; lawns with bird life.

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