Kolkata is a cultural powerhouse; and the Bengali community is recognizable worldwide through its prosperous culture and traditions. Festival celebrations and cultural events are in integral part of lifestyle in Kolkata. But, there’s much more to it. Great literary minds, brilliant poets, traditions of music, dance, drama and cinema– all combine to enrich the history of Bengal.
And Bengalis love to nurture their roots even today. That’s the core of Kolkata’s unique beauty- it’s a modern city in every aspect, but holds on strongly to its legacy, lending an old world charm to every nook and cranny of the city. Here we shall explore some interesting elements about Kolkata’s culture and traditions:
Serving Food on Banana Leaves:
Bengal is synonymous with great food and big foodies! Bengalis have a tradition of serving food on banana leaves, which is considered auspicious and healthy. It is believed that banana leaves supply nutrients to the food, thus making it more nourishing. During traditional occasions, many families still follow this style of serving food.
Strong Regional Folk Traditions:
The first name that comes to our mind when we think about the rich music of Bengal is Rabindrasangeet– written and composed by Bengali polymath Rabindranath Tagore. But the non-mainstream regional folk songs born in the remote villages of Bengal are magical and captivating in their own way. Most popular folk music is Baul, which conveys strong emotions and folklores of Bengal countryside. These intense songs are generally accompanied by a single stringed instrument called ektara.
Birthplace of Renowned Indian-Chinese:
Kolkata is home to India’s sole Chinatown. And the Chinese community dwelling here for generations created the much-loved, mouthwatering Indian-Chinese. This cuisine has now spread all over the country and also the world. The savory flavors are a must-try if you’re visiting Kolkata. Just hit one of the many restaurants in Chinatown and get lost in the delicious food they serve. The ambience might not be the best, but the food sure is extraordinary.
Largest Market for Second Hand Books in the World:
College Street, popularly known as Boi Para (Colony of Books), is a heaven for book lovers. In its many kiosks, you’ll find any and every book you’re looking for, both old and new. When walking along these legendary streets, the smell of books and prints is certain to rouse the reader in you. College Street can also be called the intellectual hub of Kolkata- it is home to some of the best universities in India and the popular Coffee House located here has been the hangout of Bengali intellectuals for centuries.
The city of joy is a big city with varied settings. Among them, central Kolkata neighborhoods, with its British-built architecture, tram lines and old lanes, never fail to create a nostalgic mood. For this reason, it is perfect that you stay in a budget hotel in central Kolkata and experience the essence of Kolkata in its rawest form.
Hotel VIP International, a reputed 3 star hotel in Kolkata near Park Street is highly recommended due to its proximity to all the popular sightseeing spots, it’s comfortable and well-equipped rooms and of course, its courteous and friendly staff.