Experience Calcutta

Watch goddesses coming to life in the curious lanes of Kumartuli.
Image courtesy: Manjit Singh Hoonjan

The former capital of British India, Calcutta (Kolkata) has had more than its fair share of stories. Some nice, some not so nice. Love it or be wary of it, you really cannot ignore it. It does seem a little overwhelming – even to the seasoned India lover. But it grows on you.

Calcutta Photo Tours was formed to help visitors fall in love with this city. One bit at a time. The company offers information packed tours, which help you understand the authentic vibe of the city – there is no better induction. For photographers, it helps access the nooks and corners, which you might miss! So if you are in Calcutta and want to discover why this city is different from anything anywhere in India, why it looks the way it looks and what is the method in the madness, the European Calcutta tour is a perfect introduction to the city. It is one of the most photogenic cities in India, giving you a wide palette to experiment with – buildings, urban decay, people, heritage, culture – the neighborhoods change every few kilometers. And an attempt to make visitors experience these neighborhoods there are tours like Hooghly’s Flower Fest, The Goddess Beckons, Mesmerizing Markets and a few, very customized tours too.

The colourful Mullik Ghat flower market.
Image courtesy: Manjit Singh Hoonjan

Want the romance to continue? Want to know why Calcutta is such a melting pot of cultures? Wonder what made people come to Calcutta from half way around the world? Then the Culture Kaleidoscope Tour is one you cannot afford to miss. It takes people around on a rollercoaster of stories, experiences, images, cultures and tradition.

On the Culture Kaleidoscope tour, walking through a myriad mesh of lanes, cultures and communities one comes to the shop of Stella. Stuck in time, walking through the door into her shop seems like stepping into the past. The dimly lit store is welcoming in a strange way, teasing the eyes with what is lit up by a single bulb, hiding lots more in its dark shadows, enticing one to sit down and have a little conversation with Stella.

Stella Chen owns of the archetypal old shop Hap Hing in Old Chinatown.
Image courtesy: Manjit Singh Hoonjan

Stella is the proverbial unmarried Chinese daughter who left her life where it was, because old, ailing parents who had no one to take care of them, and the shop, which was established by Stella’s Grandfather, summoned her. Situated in the thick Chinese landscape of the city, her shop is a gateway into the Oriental history of the city. Chatting with her is like having thousands of images rush past your eyes. She talks passionately about her childhood; drying pickled vegetables on her roof to her days in cold, uncomfortable Canada to now, when her body is riddled with aches and pains. You do feel sad thinking what she must be doing, sitting alone at the shop and home, her loneliness, her only companion. And just then she breaks into a laugh, her face lights up, as she asks you whether you have seen “Chennai Express”.  She is a big fan of Bollywood, and catches a movie every Saturday – without fail.

Stella’s spirit emulates the city’s, full of mystery and indomitable!

For more encounters with the city, get in touch at +91 98 31 163482+91 98 31 163482/ www.calcuttaphototours.com