Flight to Calcutta
Calcutta has one of the biggest airports in India and the city is well connected to the other parts of India and abroad. If you are a European tourist or an American tourist, then the best possible way for you to come to Kolkata is to take a British Airways or a Lufthansa flight. British Airways flies three times a week to Kolkata, direct from London, while, Lufthansa flies to Calcutta three times a week direct from Frankfurt. Recently, Air India has started direct flights to London from Kolkata. You can also avail of other Asian Airlines.
If you are an Asian tourist coming to Calcutta from an Asian country or from Australia, then you can take Singapore Airlines, Air Malaysia, Thai Airways or Air Emirates and even Cosmic Air. All these airlines fly to Calcutta five days a week.
Certain other airlines like Gulf Air, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Druk Air, GMG Airlines and Biman Bangladesh also have flights to and from the Kolkata International Airport.
For further details you can contact the offices of these airlines in your city or your travel agent.
The domestic Airlines that operate from Kolkata to other parts of India are:
1. Indian Airlines: www.indian-airlines.com
2. Jet Airways; www.jetairways.com
3. Jetlite: www.jetlite.com
4. Kingfisher Airlines: www.flykingfisher.com
5. Indigo Airlines: www.goindigo.in
6. Spicejet Airlines: www.spicejet.com
7. Air Deccan: www.airdeccan.net
Kolkata is home to India's first underground railway system, (Delhi has India's only other metro system), which started service in 1984. There is just one line that runs for 16.5km north to south from Dum Dum to Tollygunge passing through 15 other stations along the way. A second line has been proposed which will run from Salt Lake City in the east through the city centre, Sealdah and Howrah stations to New Dasnagar in the west. This line may also link up with the city's airport. I found it to be useful for visiting the Victoria Memorial and Kalighat. A ticket in zone 1 for a distance of upto 5km costs just Rs4. Zone 2, distance 5-10km costs Rs6 whilst zone 3 for 10km+ costs Rs8.
Like anywhere in India, taxi's are cheap if you negociate a price before your trip as the driver invariably turns on the meter. They're even cheaper if you take a pre-paid taxi from outside Howrah Station. A taxi from here to Sudder Street cost me Rs65. I also took a taxi to get to the Pareshnath Jain Temple and the fare was calculated using the meter and a conversion chart which was a little off-putting. Autorickshaws only operate in Howrah and some of the suburbs and don't operate in the city centre which is quite spread out so your only choices to get around are rather horrid buses and trams or the more expensive taxi's.
The ferry between Fairlie Ghat and Howrah station proved useful as I was staying by the station for my first couple of days in Kolkata. They operate between 8am and 8pm and cost Rs4 for a single trip across the Hooghly River. You get some good views of Hooghly Bridge as you cross the river plus some views of bathers bathing at the ghats.
Howrah Train Station
Howrah Station is one of the two major train stations serving Howrah and Kolkata, India; the other is Sealdah Station, in Kolkata. Howrah is situated on the west bank of the Hooghly River, linked to Kolkata by the nearby Howrah Bridge. It is the second-oldest station and one of the largest railway complexes in India. Its twenty-one platforms handle over three hundred trains each day, serving more than one a million passengers. Designed by British engineer Halsey Ricardo, the station was brought into service on 1 December 1905. I arrived here from Bodh Gaya and was instantly greeted by mass mayhem of people carrying or pushing goods and kids begging for money. Allow yourself plenty of time to get to you correct platform as the station is pretty huge (much bigger than New Delhi) and when I left Kolkata, I had to rush to find the platform for my train to Bhubaneswar, the capital of Orissa.
Tollygunge to Dum Dum
Despite the fact that Mumbai is a much bigger and richer city, and more of a business centre it was Calcutta that opened the first underground Metro system in India.
This didn't stop the Mumbai residents carping about how Calcutta's metro was built. Take this typical example from a Mumbai-based website when considering building one there :
"Nor do we fancy a repetition of Calcutta Metro construction when whole roads sank under the 'cut', and the excavated rubble soared to form a new range of 'Metro Hills'. Had they risen any higher, entire Bengali families would have pulled on their monkey caps and spent their summer holiday there. "
In truth corruption, bad planning, rampant Marxism and Calcutta's love of a good argument all contributed to massive delays (whatever the official reasons). It also didn't help that a decision was made to dig out the track virtually by hand. This meant that whatever got dug out one year often collapsed back in during the monsoon.
Despite this, the North-south Metro is now operating, and is clean and punctual. It works. Also handy for tourists using the airport or heading down to Kalighat.
GOING TO KOLKATA
Since Kolkata is one of the largest city of the world ( not in terms of modern ness and facilities) it is still very well connected with most parts of the world by air. it is also well connected with rest of India by air plane, train and bus. There are about 2000 train goes out of Kolkata and comes every day from different parts of India.
This is also the first city of India to have metro as main transport system. it is also the cheapest mode of transport in the world. The longest distance fare is only rs.8/- one side or about 12cents.
Calcutta also has the cheapest taxi compared to Bombay and Delhi. The minimum fare is rs.20/- for 1.6kms.
Local bus fare is also very cheap lowest being rs.4/- and highest rs10/-
- Family Travel
Taxi Drivers are the WORST!!!
Taxi Driver's would steal the eyes out of your head... If you at all humanly possible - avoid utilising them at all costs!! or agree on a price BEFORE your journey - though this doesn't always work. I had one such occasion where i threatened to call the Police... and was actually in the process of trying to get a call through to them! This guy (who wasn't aware we had been in the area for a while) took the "scenic route" (if you know what i mean) and then tried charging us about 4x the price!! The situation was eventually resolved, though not quickly, when a very nice Indian man, who thankfully spoke very good English, chased him off after a very heated exchange.
i vowed, then and there, never again.... the word 'hate' is a very strong word. let's just say that i 'really dislike' indian taxi drivers...
- Road Trip
- Budget Travel
Richshaw mode of transportation!
these poor buggers...
besides the fact that these guys practically kill themselves in the quest to 'get us where we are going...,' the bicycle rickshaw is not a great way to travel. it's cramped (if more than one of you) yet, quite scary when on your own... as you don't have that extra comfort of being squeezed in like a sardine & (at least) feeling a little more secure!!
there are places where utilising a bicycle rickshaw is unavoidable (save walking, that it!) and though it wouldn't be the 'ideal' way to travel, i found all drivers to be unbelievably friendly, happy and entertaining!
add to that, that it is disgustingly cheap... it really is rather inhumane~
- Budget Travel
Going home (via 1 of 3 autorickshaws) I was squeezed in the rear seat with 2 other 'death-wishers.' Picture it... a four-lane highway with 2 lanes travelling in either direction, and the driver of my auto - to avoid sitting in backed-up traffic, drives head-first into the lane of oncoming traffic! Oncoming traffic of buses and trucks... All the while, motorcycles are whizzing past, everyone and their mother is beeping their horn, fumes are flying..... and there, on the side of the roadway, is this child (who couldn't have been more than 3) kneeling down with its arse aimed over the curb, going to the bathroom..... >>>
Bus Travel Kolkata
I can't begin to describe the experience of riding public transport (the nice, or rather - the wealthy people, just don't do it) Picture as many sweaty, dirty people as you can, crammed into the confines of bus, with people packed into the chairs as tight as is humanly possible and the rest standing, over those who are fortunate enough to be seated, holding onto anything for dear life. The bus drivers are not concerned with the consequences of suddenly jamming on the brakes... and it's overall, a really unpleasant (& not so smart) undertaking. Add to that, the fumes and pollution of everyday life in Kolkata. Are you starting to get the picture? And one has to be really quick & agile. These buses do not pull into a bus-stop in any kind of orderly fashion. They slow down a little and one either jumps on or jumps off... praying that you make it in one piece! I swear, it sometimes feels like I have put in a days work before I have even reached the office! But there is always the journey home in the evening to look forward to!!
Forget taking advantage of being a female in this arena. Never have I appreciated the manners of Western men more (having said that, an Indian man did "allow" me to take a freed-up seat on yesterdays journey) They can be so rude. But the women can be every bit as bad. However, I held my own the other day! I'd been standing for about 20 minutes of the journey home & some Indian woman got on - quite a time after me. It is customary here, that when a person gets up out of a seat, the person standing directly infront of the seat - gets it (if they are fast!) So this Indian woman sees an opportunity arising - and is eyeing the seat infront of me. What followed, was what I can only describe as a "hip-nudging" fight between the two of us. There was no way she was getting my seat! And need I say it - she didn't! They are not going to walk all over us Westerners, Oh no! She wasn't too happy - this was evident in the way that she was glaring at me for the rest of the journey, but hey, such is life.
- Road Trip
- Budget Travel
"Radjahni Express" Train from Delhi to Kolkatta
I arrived in Kolkata, following a 20 hour train ride (booked 2 A/C - essentially 2nd class) on the "Radjhani Express" (from Delhi) and it was actually, a surprisingly pleasant journey. Striking up a 'friendship-of-sorts' with a young Indian female, made the journey A LOT more bearable... I had initially been given a 'single' seat/bunk - the kind that is adjacent to the 'double-booths' (if you will) Anyway, i have to admit to being a little uncomfortable, being seated directly infront of two older Indian males, who were very obviously a little uncomfortable with the prospect of me!
Vashundara (the 20 year old Indian female who was travelling to see her newly-wed husband) was kind enough (and 'modern' enough) to approach me - and "ask" the conductor if i might be moved over into her booth... believe me, this train cart was not going to be filling up.
several meals were served (included in the cost of the ticket) and really, it wasn't bad at all. (check out the photo of 'supper')
I would advise (unless you want to 'get down w/nature' or 'rough it' - hey, when in rome & all of that....) booking FIRST CLASS when travelling throughout India. Having said that, the difference in price seems a little extreme, whereas the difference in standard certainly does not... but i'd spend the extra cash. There were no cockroaches on this particular train ride, but there were plenty on another i took (and BIG ones, too) when i thought it necessary to experience "travelling with the locals..."
The lowest class, cheapest seated tickets, are NOT the way to go.
- Budget Travel
Bus to Kolkata
Another very budget friendly way to get to Kolkata frm Dhaka is hiring a bus.
There are many buses going to Kolkata everydaya night as well as in the morning.
The best choice to make is Shyamoli bus service as it is hassle free and heads you direct into Kolkata frm Dhaka city taking care of all immigration formalities and not having you to change / offload yr baggage on route. The tkts wld cost Taka 1200 for a return trip per person.
- Work Abroad
- Road Trip
- Budget Travel
Dhaka to Kolkata
Getting to Kolkata frm Dhaka is quite convenient by airplane. There are multiple flights departing daily frm Dhaka. You hv the choice between Biman Bangladesh Airlines or GMG Airlines. The tkts wld cost arnd Taka 6500 / person. The flying time is very short just 25mins. H/e pls always pre enquire with the airport re flight status as delays are very normal in this sector.
- Business Travel
- Work Abroad
MTR explains Calcutta's culture
On the entrance, it says: Photos are prohibitated!
Sooner that Doll Doll goes inside of MTR, she is attracted by all kinds of religious paintings which are hang up on the wall. She can't stop her curiosity and fond to those, then she forgets what is written at the entrance. She takes one picture as you can see in the front page. In a minute that she is going to take another, she is suddenly prevented by one local gentleman.
Indians have a strong public consciousness and they tells you what to do.
Doll Doll and her travel partner step into the train.
Almost 90%(or more than that) are Indian men. Although, they leave enough spaces and remind her not to close to the door. When there are seats available, an elder invites Doll Doll and her travel partner for the seat. When they get off, many of them leave the path for them to walk out.
Indians are much polite than Chinese in the public area, and they give enough respect to women(though you are probably women travellers).
Doll Doll looks inside the train.
The atmosphere is very quite and make her a bit nervous - have you tried be surrounded by men only? They are all very polite and quite inside the train. Doll doll notices one couple having fun with their child and they pose back with the friendly smile.
In Chinese MTR, you can hear lots of gossip and non-sense talking. No one wants to smile with you.
There are all kinds of different Indian paintings and famous Indian quotes placed at different stations.
After all, Doll Doll enjoys her 1st Indian MTR experience.
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