Home to Rabindranath Tagore and Satyajit Ray as well as the sprawling Victoria Memorial, Kolkata (the current name for Calcutta) is a seething, perpetually boiling pot of cultural fire and historical heritage. The place has been dubbed a “City of Furious, Creative Energy” for a reason, as is immediately apparent to even first-time visitors once they step onto its streets. Are there still traces of the decay and poverty that became the incubation ground for the iconic figure of Mother Teresa? Definitely. But in sharp contrast to these things are the powerful bursts of life and color only Kolkata is known for.
Kolkata is rich in the arts—theater groups abound and local painters seem to be in residence everywhere. The palatial Indian Museum sits here, as the National Library of Kolkata. Literature is abundant—College Street alone boasts a whole avenue of bookstores selling everything from local texts to the most exotic foreign imports. And as for food culture, Kolkata provides sweet morsels for travelers even there—quite literally, in fact, since desserts are of particular import to local cuisine.
And there is no shortage of adventures to go on in Kolkata either: there are boat tours down the Ganges, backpacking trips, temple tours, and the like. Those with cash to burn can take the crowded but exciting road down to all the local bazaars and markets or skip on to gamble at the racecourses or had to the local golf clubs for a few swings. Tourists can even do their bit to help the local underprivileged by not only donating to one of the local charities but also by donating actual time and effort in any of the many aid drives and volunteer operations in the city. In short, Kolkata has something for everyone, any mood, and any time.