Kolkata India's Cultural and Intellectual Capital
Kolkata is an educational, cultural, entertainment and commercial city. You can never miss an opportunity to do something in this city. Countless activities are available for visitors.
Best climate and festivals in Kolkata
Kolkata is a great year round destination. Nonetheless, the best time to visit is between September and January. If you relish hot and humid weather, then the summer months of March till June would be ideal. December to January is winter in Kolkata with lows of 12°C. May until September is the Monsoon season.
For those into festivals and holidays, Kolkata will definitely amaze you. January hosts the Kolkata Book and Kolkata Boi Mela festivals. These are surely must attend gigs. In April, around 15th, enjoy the Bengali New Year (Poila Baisakh) festival that is characterised with early morning processions. The first week of October host Durga Purja - a festival that honours the Goddess Durga. Attend the Kali Puja in the first week of November. This festival honours the Goddess Kali. Expect plenty of fireworks and lights. The Kolkata International Film Festival runs from November 10-17.
Visa, Tips and Cost of Living in Kolkata
You must have a visa when visiting Kolkata. Holders of 'British Citizen' passports might successfully apply for an e-Tourist Visa. When applying for your visa, a passport must have two blank pages or more. Additionally, the passport must have a minimum validity period of 180 days. Many airports in India levy UDF (User Development Fees). The fees are approximately Rs 1,000. Normally, they are included in the airfare.
Compared to the UK, prices of most things here are lower. For instance, you can have a decent restaurant meal for around Rs 350 and thali for about Rs 130.
Local Kolkata Information
Upon your arrival at the airport, plenty of transport means are available. For approximately Rs 60, you can take AC Bus (Bus VS1) to Esplanade. This will take you 1hour - 1.5 hours. The air-conditioned Volvo Bus that runs 10-15 minutes till 10pm charges roughly Rs 50. Take a Pre-paid Taxi for about Rs 400 to the central Kolkata region in 40 minutes. Before boarding, pay in the arrival areas between exits 4 and 3B.
When it comes to accommodation, you can find cheap rooms for roughly Rs 700, mid range accommodation for Rs 1,500 or so and executive spaces for approximately Rs 5,000. Find cheap hostels along Sudder Street and Budget hotels near Howrah station. It is highly recommended to always negotiate fares in advance of boarding autos and taxis. Taxi fares start at around Rs 25 for the first 2 km and after that Rs 18 for every km. Depending on the distance, the minimum you will pay for a tram is roughly Rs 7. Buses are the most affordable transport options going for about Rs 6.