Travelling to Calcutta
Kolkata is a fascinating global city with a rich history. With a population of 4.5 million, the city began with the arrival of the English East India Company in 1690. Recorded history shows that the area has been inhabited for over 2000 years. Visiting this city will be an experience that you are not likely to soon forget. Here is some information that you will need to know in order to properly enjoy your trip:
Timing your trip – Kolkata's weather
Like any other destination, there are times to travel that are good and some that are not so good. The best time to travel to Calcutta is usually from September to January. During the summer months from March to June it can be very hot and humid, and the monsoon season is usually from May to September.
Holidays and Festivals in Kolkata
There are many holidays and festivals that the local population would be glad for you to witness. First of all, in January there is the Kolkata Book Fair (Kolkata Boi Mela) and around the 15th of April there is a large celebration commemorating the Bengali New Year (Poila Baisakh). During this time, the streets are festive with many colourful early morning processions. On October 1st there is a festival in honour of the Goddess Durga, noted for being the root cause of creation, preservation etc.. In the first week of November there is a festival in honour of the Goddess Kali, with blazing lights and fireworks. Kali is known in as being a force associated with empowerment. From the 10th to the 17th of that same month there is an International Film Festival in Calcutta as well. Languages and cost of living
Be aware of the local languages, which are primarily Bengali and Hindi.
The cost of living is cheaper than New Delhi. A decent restaurant meal will run the visitor about Rs 350 and cheap thali usually is around Rs 130.
Getting from the airport to the city centre
An air conditioned bus can usually be found near the arrivals. Bus VS1 will go to the Esplanade area and will take about an hour or an hour-and-a-half. VS2 goes to Howrah. These two options will generally run you around Rs 60. Visitors will also have the option of an air conditioned Volvo Bus, which will run around Rs 50. These operate every 10 to 15 minutes until 10 pm. A pre-paid taxi will cost around Rs 400 getting into central Calcutta in about 40 minutes in moderate traffic. Make sure that you pay between the exits 3B and 4 before boarding. You can also take a Volvo Bus or taxi to the Dum Dum station three miles from the airport and then hop on a metro to central Calcutta for another Rs 10.Local information on accommodation
A wide range of hotels are available including the cheap option which might be Rs 700 or thereabouts, the mid range at about Rs 1,500 and a luxury hotel option which is about Rs 5,000 per night. Cheap hostels are available over by Sudder Street and budget hotels are by the Howrah station.