As the former capital of India, Kolkata was the birthplace of modern Indian literary, artistic and scholastic thought At the tip of the Ganges is a mystic mangrove forest on a myriad of islands. Impenetrable mangrove forests, winding rivers, Lush Sundari trees, water changing its colour at every creek from the muddy river to the emerald blue sea, narrow creeks to several miles wide rivers, where the man and man-eaters eat fish to survive, crabs climb the tree, tiger swims long distances and mighty crocodile bask in the sun.
The Sundarbans has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The part of the forest within Indian territory is called Sundarbans National Park. The forests aren’t just mangrove swamps though — they include some of the last remaining stands of the mighty jungles which once covered the Gangetic plain – and the natural playground of the Great Royal Bengal Tiger.
We receive you at Kolkata International Airport and take you to the city hotel.
Kolkata, on the bank of the Holy Ganges (Hooghly River), flowered as the capital of British India during the nineteenth century, the heyday of the Raj. Long known as the cultural capital of India and home to the Bengal Renaissance, Kolkata continues to spawn generations of poets, writers and film directors. Kolkata is not just like any other city to visit and click photos; you have to soak your senses in it to realize the actual charm of this city.
During your stay, we will assist you to explore the city in the best manner possible. Go for a city tour, take a cruise in the Ganges, visit temples and churches, take a walking tour, taste local food, shop and move around with the locals.
The Kolkata Flower Market is eastern India’s largest flower market with hundreds of stalls and people sitting on the ground selling flowers. For almost 130 years, buyers and sellers are constantly running through narrow alleyways of the market with massive loads of flowers on their heads or carried in their arms.
The Howrah Bridge
A structural marvel, and considered one of the wonders of the world is of immense heritage value. Recognised as a living symbol of the city of Kolkata, sharing a totemic relationship with its growth and evolution, the Howrah Bridge has become the ‘Gateway of Kolkata’, the veritable ‘city of joy’.
The Victoria Memorial was built as a memorial to Queen Victoria, queen of the United Kingdom and Empress of India, and also as a tribute to the success of the British Empire in India. It was designed by Sir William Emerson, who incorporated Mughal elements into the plan, and was constructed between 1906 and The Prince of Wales formally inaugurated it in 1921. It contains a museum and art gallery containing artefacts and paintings relating to the reign of Queen Victoria and the British Raj in India.
Mother Teresa’s House:
Nirmal Hriday (the place of the pure heart): Mother Teresa was born to Albanian parents, mother came to Kolkata in 1931 as a teacher of geography, on seeing the sufferings of the destitute and homeless on the streets of Kolkata, she started the “Missionaries of Charity” in 1950. The mission has 285 homes and charitable foundations in India and abroad.
St. John’s Church:
St. John’s Church is located on Council House Street beside B.B.D. Bagh (Dalhousie). The carpet of the church is done with stones obtained from different places. Its architecture represents Greek design. The Church contains an impressive organ (perhaps the largest in India), and an original Zoffany painting. It also houses the famous round table on which the Charter of Calcutta was signed (When Robert Clive took Calcutta back from the Bengali nawab after the famous Battle of Plassey in 1757). The graveyard contains the tombs of important colonists, most significantly, that of Job Charnock himself (the founder of Calcutta) and his daughter.
Dalhousie Square area-once the seat of administration of the British Government- with lal dighi (a pond of historic importance) renamed as Benoy-Badal-Dinesh Bag, popularly known as B.B.D. Bagh,
One of the oldest museums in Asia, the Indian Museum was founded in 1814. One needs an entire day, or more, to fully enjoy the fossils, coins, stones, Gandhara art, meteors and much more that go to make up this museum. There is a 4,000-year-old mummy here as well. Also on display is an urn said to contain the Buddha’s ashes. The museum is closed on Monday.
Today we take you for a half-day city walking tour in Kolkata. Kolkata is a collage of images and moods. The city will slowly reveal itself as you walk along its road with our master storyteller.
For Bengalis, eating is a serious business. You talk to anybody in Kolkata, and he would convince you that it is also (kind of) an aesthetic experience. He would assure you that having tender coconut sherbet at Paramount in summer or a taalsaans Sandesh at Nakur’s in winter makes you philosophical! So does savouring Kalika’s fried onion chop with muri while listening to the pitter-patter of falling rains! Each season has its food. And each food becomes very much ‘Calcuttan’ in Kolkata, the city which has also seen the development of what is probably the first example of ‘fusion food’ in the world. This tour introduces you to the Bengal/Kolkata culture through its street foods and heritage eateries. Accompanied by our specialist guide you would walk and ride a tram to the specialized eating joints famous for certain recipes. Along with this gastronomical adventure, we will fill you up with interesting facts from history, stories and anecdotes about the food culture of the city which will give you a completely different perspective of this multi-layered, multi-ethnic and multi-racial entity which we call Kolkata.
Sunset Cruise In The Ganges (4:00pm – 7:15pm)
A Cruise on the Ganges will be the best way to explore the city and its history.
From the time when Job Charnock dropped his first anchor at Cossim Bazzar to the modern monolithic bridge, the second Hooghly Bridge, the winding river has woven itself around the lives of this city.
There are 54 ghats (quayside) and all have great history and heritage. Some of them are Bathing ghats, Ceremonial ghats where rituals are performed and then the Ferry ghat which connects the two banks at various places. Many monuments, memorials and markers are thereby the riverside, to be explored & experienced. As the sun sets, painting an evening sky with a hundred shades of red and orange, the Evening Cruise sails to Belur Math to see the ‘Sandhya Arati’. Why not gather a group of like-minded friends to enjoy a gentle cruise and serene evening.
Today our tour to Sundarbans begins. Sundarbans is mysterious, unpredictable, instilling, vast and untameable – perhaps, the last true wild frontier remaining on our planet Earth. Here the land meets the sea at the southern tip of West Bengal lies the Indian Sunderbans, a stretch of impenetrable mangrove forest of great size and bio-diversity. It consists of 10,200 sq km of mangrove forest, spread over India (4200 sq km of Reserved Forest) and Bangladesh (6000 sq km approx of Reserved Forest ) and is also the largest mangrove forest in the world.
We start from our city Hotel after breakfast and transfer to Gadkhali jetty by car through the beautiful countryside’s, rural bazaar with stopovers at Local Tea shop and Fishermen’s’ villages.
Arrive at Gadkhali. Transfer of luggage and persons to our motorized boat.
Briefing and interpretation by our local guide cum naturalist over Tea/Coffee/Welcome drink followed by 2 hours spectacular cruise through river Hogol, Gomor, Durgaduani and Gumdi. You have an optional stopover at Gosaba – one of the earliest human settlements of Sundarbans, to visit the house of Sir Daniel Hamilton-a Scottish banker who initiated the first cooperative movement of India here.
Arrive at our Island and check in to a Nature Camp.
Hot lunch followed by 3 hours birding and game cruise to Sudhanyakhali watch tower through creeks and canals.
Back to camp by evening. Infotainment by our poacher-turned-guides over tea and snacks. Dinner and overnight halt.
The second day involves a full day cruise through the rivers and narrow creeks of the Sundarbans National Park and a lovely birding experience. Food would be prepared and served on the launch itself. Start after bed tea and visit the various watchtowers of Sudhanyakhali, Neti Dhopani (Subject to weather and tide permitting).
The sweet water pond at Neti Dhopani attracts a lot of wild animals and offers you the chance to view them from close quarters. Neti Dhopani also has the ruins of a 400-year-old temple.
Back to Camp. Evening experience the local Rural theatre (Bonobibi Yatra) performed by the villagers. The theatre tells an interesting story about the Tiger Lord, Forest God and Goddess, fishermen and honey collectors with a lot of songs and dances.
Guided Village Walk in which participants are encouraged to have close interaction and interesting encounters with the local villagers and their lifestyle, Local craft and cuisines, Indigenous farming and household equipment used by the villagers.
Guided adventures cruise by manually oared country boat followed by a short cruise to DoBanki watchtower to enjoy a small canopy walk.
If your soul lusts for greenery and adventure, then you will truly treasure your stay at Sajnekhali Bird Sanctuary nestled amidst lush Sunderban Forests at the confluence of River Matla and Gumdi. Sajnekhali being the home of the Royal Bengal Tiger is also a heaven for varied species of birds. From the Sajnekhali watchtower, you can get a panoramic view of Sunderbans and watch out for deer, tigers and other animals. A Nature Interpretation Centre has been built at Sajnekhali, which is protected by a wired fence. Adjacent to this centre is a crocodile farm, a turtle farm and a pond inhabited by sharks. Several watchtowers are built throughout Sajnekhali for wildlife viewing. Apart from tigers, the forest also offers shelter to animals like Fishing Cats, Wild Boar, Macaques, Flying Fox, Chital, Pangolin and others.
Today we leave Sundarbans after breakfast and proceed to Gadkhali Port by boat. From hear we take our car and drive to Kolkata and reach by lunch time.
In the afternoon you can go for a visit to the famous New Market of Kolkata. This is one of the busiest areas in Kolkata and you can see the flow of lives of the common kolkattan in this particular area. There are several food joints and traditional Indian tea and snacks counter where you can get a taste of real Kolkata. (Guide is not provided during the market visit as we do not indulge in city shopping to earn commission)