Why I Miss the City of Joy: Kolkata

I had moved out of my hometown of Kolkata during my college days and once I graduated, I went on to live in Bangalore city due to my work. Even though I visit my family in Kolkata every year, I must admit, there are certain things about the city that I dearly miss. Here is why I miss Kolkata: The City of Joy while living far away from it. It’s my list of things that I believe many others like me miss about Kolkata too.

Mouthwatering Street Foods

Kolkata is a heaven for foodies and especially for people who have a sweet tooth. If you are a foodie like me then you will know what I am talking about. Kolkata’s spicy, tangy, lip-smacking dishes are something that every Bengali craves for and can’t get enough when in town.

Some of my personal favorite street food items without which my trips are incomplete are Phuchkas, Chicken Roll, Fish Kabiraji, Mughlai Paratha, Ghughni, Telebhaja (fritter) and Bengali biryani (yes with boiled potato and egg).

Waiting in queue for Phuchka
This is the only time I was photographed waiting in a queue for Phuchka. I usually cannot wait to start eating.

Nostalgic Tram Rides

Kolkata has the oldest and the only tram network operating on its streets, the origin of which dates back to the year 1900. Riding a tram is a surreal experience, passing by innumerable heritage buildings of Kolkata. More than 100 years old, Kolkata trams bear an old-world charm that still mesmerizes me whenever I get on it or just simply pass by it on streets.

Evenings at Princep Ghat

Kolkata’s Hooghly River which flows under the iconic Howrah Bridge is not just considered sacred but is also a crowd magnet. The scenic boat ride from the Princep ghat on one of the archaic boats during sunset reveals a side of the city that many of us have not witnessed before. Even if you don’t want to go on the boat ride, sitting on one of the park benches, will let you enjoy the evening breeze while you gaze at the glistening water.

Looking at Vidyasagar Setu from Princep Ghat
Looking at Vidyasagar Setu from Princep Ghat

The Ghats of Kolkata, especially the Princep Ghat has a special place in my heart. The evenings I spent at Princep ghat are the ones I cherish most. The view of the river, and the Vidyasagar Setu in the background during golden hours, is just amazing.

Adda with a cup of Tea

If you want to know the best way to have tea on the streets of Kolkata, my answer will be in a ‘bhar’. Ask anyone on the streets, and they will repeat the same. ‘Bhar’ or ‘kulhad’ are small handmade cups made from clay to serve hot piping sweet milk teas on the streets all over India.

Tea in clay cups in Kolkata
Bhar er cha (tea), captured by atlanticwolf29

When everywhere else, the clay cups are replaced by plastics, Kolkata still has preserved the age-old tradition. The tea drinkers swear by it and say the clay cups give the tea an earthy flavor. The evenings usually unfold with a gathering around the tea stalls, debating on a hot topic or sharing titbits with a hot cup of tea. Adda with cha (tea) is essential for all us Bengalis.

Read More: What to expect when visiting Kolkata during Durga Puja

The Shopping scene in Kolkata

Shopping is one of the things why I miss the city so much. Up until I moved to Bangalore, I used to regularly shop at the various street markets that Kolkata has to offer. New Market is one of the oldest shopping areas, dating back to the colonial era in Kolkata. It is a shopper’s paradise. Amidst the rush of shoppers, you can find a wide range of things starting from clothes to a rare variety of cheese.

And the best part of the shopping is the street foods that you get to eat after you have finished bargaining with the shopkeepers. Yes, many of the shopkeepers’ bargain with you on the final price of an item thus, giving you a chance to score an item for a great price.

If you are not used to street shopping then you will enjoy the malls in Kolkata. With shopping malls with international brands popping now and then, you can find everything under one roof.

When I look back to all those years I have spent in the city or to all those times I came back to it, it feels like I have never left it or maybe Kolkata has never left me. Its a part of me that I brought with myself to wherever I chose to live.

If you like this post, share it with your friends and family. Tell us your sweet memories on the streets of Kolkata or your reasons to miss the city, down in comments.

Why I Miss the City of Joy: Kolkata
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