Calcutta Streets

You cannot truly enjoy the essence of Kolkata if you do not take to the streets of this city. The City of Joy has more to offer to those travelling on their feet and exploring the city than it can offer to anyone sitting inside their air conditioned cars and driving away to glory through the roads. The City wakes up as early as 4 am . Though not many people can be seen on the roads at that time save those who are regular train commuters and morning walkers , by 6 :30 business resumes with full force.If you go out for  a morning walk you will get to see some beautiful and unusual sights. People feeding pigeons on their rooftops or in the streets is an age old practice which  have been kept alive. Thus it is common to see a little child with his / her grandparents feeding lots of pigeons in the morning.

FEEDING PIGEONS ON ROOFTOPS
Animals have a special connection with sunrise. No sooner does dawn approach than all the cocks start crowing, the birds chirp and sing their own melodies , the dog starts attending to its masters orders and occasionally a cat can be seen outside its masters doorstep waiting to be let in and cuddled with love and affection.


The footpaths are mostly occupied by those without whom a morning in this city is incomplete- whether it be a weekday or the weekends.  A tea stall with the vendor going haywire listening to the many orders that comes pouring in is a regular sight.Often little boys also help their fathers and brothers in serving the customers.Men can be seen waiting in queues to get their beards shaved and hairs cut from the barber, who quickly  tends to the demands of each of his customers. The cobbler sitting at a distance too seems to be very busy mending the soles and stitching the shoes that have been given to him.All these people fight against time as their customers come with very little time in hand and it is up to them to work fast and well lest they loose a customer and fees! 

PHOTO COURTESY: PRAGATI GUPTA AND GARIMA JHAWAR

PHOTO COURTESY: PRAGATI GUPTA AND GARIMA JHAWAR

Varieties of transport can be spotted on the streets.Cars driven by the morning walkers fill in every inch of the roadside parking space; Buses and trams carrying people to their office or work place ; hand pulled rickshaws , though on a verge of extinction can be seen carrying elderly people mostly women for their daily marketing to the local markets.


The local markets are the busiest places in the mornings apart from the parks and gardens where there is a crowd of morning walkers. In the market there is a crowd of morning shoppers. Every direction one looks there are vendors howling on top of their voices to attract customers; the regular buyers bargaining to get their stuffs at cheaper rates; vendors fighting among themselves, sharing the newest joke, discussing politics and games and most importantly trying to make the maximum profit.

Chawls are a common aspect in Kolkata.Though not as famous as the Dharavi in Mumbai, there still exist a few and exhibit the same qualities as of the chawls of Mumbai and other places. Work for them begins as usual by collecting and storing water which comes only for two hours. The endless line and women folk fighting for their turn is an everyday affair. The kids help their mothers in doing the household chores. The men relax in the morning by playing cards or getting up late as they have a tiring day ahead. 

Education in India plays a very important role in securing the future of a child.Thus mostly every child goes to school either early in the morning, or in the afternoon after finishing off with their household chores or attend night schools especially run for those children who work during the day and help in the family income.

Mending of roads, bridges and other construction works in Kolkata are not new to the eye. In many places one can see tents being put up by the workers and their work begins as early as dawn. They work through the whole day to speed up the process of repair or building so that the people can use it to their welfare.

Mark my words, by the time you come back from your walk no matter which ever road you take you can hear the horns of the cars, see the dust emitted by cars in the air and notice parents dragging their willing or unwilling children to make them catch their buses to school(except on a Saturday or Sunday). The traffic guards and policemen are on their duties and the famous traffic jam has already affected the streets.

When in Kolkata you simply cannot miss out these small experiences which define the city itself. Even under such tension, pressure and hastiness one never fails to stop by and see the smiling faces of the people or the many stories that these faces tell or the spark in the eyes of the people. These are the things which truly gives the city its name- The City of Joy as the people are happy and positive no matter what the circumstances are.


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72 Comments Add yours

  1. backpackways says:

    Such a descriptive post. I love the fact how your post and images got me to Kolkatta mentally.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Chris says:

    Such beautiful images!

    I love Asian countries where life really is on the streets! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Isabel Leong says:

    Love the authenticity captured through your photographs!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Tiana Harris says:

    Why is there 2 spellings? Is one in English and the other a local spelling?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So, Calcutta was what it was called earlier and the new name is Kolkata. We use the names interchangeably but they refer to the same place. Its the same way many other cities have been given a new name in India like Bangalore and Bengaluru, Gurgaon and Gurugram etc.

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  5. Wow, you really captured the spirit of the destination! Your pictures bring Calcutta to life. I’d like to visit one day, I’ve never been to India. I love all the street scenes!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope you visit the place one day and it does not disappoint you. 🙂

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  6. Erin says:

    Your pictures really bring the city to life! I love them so much and love this post. Thank you for the great information and perspective.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. glad you liked it. 🙂

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  7. Jessica Ayun says:

    great to see genuine part of the Calutta streets. Looks interesting and pure.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Mansi Kamdar says:

    I love the chaos that is Kolkata, but I have to confess that my favourite place is to go to Victoria Gardens in the early morning before the city is wide awake. It is so serene and beautiful…a wonderful respite from the buzz of the city. I guess the beauty of Kolkata is that it has something for everyone…whether in search of peace, buzz, gastronomy, retail therapy or a good game of cricket.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes. Victoria Gardens is beautiful. It is always best to see the place in the early morning before the office rush and the crowds engulf it. Then again, it becomes really serene in the evenings but I would not advise you to wander in the streets out alone at night . It might not be very safe.

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  9. Mar Pages says:

    Great photos! I can see how its so full of life and almost hear the sounds you were describing. I’d love to visit someday!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope you visit Calcutta someday and like the place.

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  10. Joanna says:

    I was always amazed by the streets of India and the amount of interesting things you can find on them. I remember my first trip to Delhi, where I’ve seen similar sights as the one you did in Calcutta. And then, heading towards Jaipur, where the street life became even more interesting, with monkeys jumping from one tree to another, while children were playing in the streets, near fathers who were making chai.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes. the streets of india always have a vibrant story to tell.

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  11. Vyjay Rao says:

    Calcutta is an enigmatic city. It is, like most cities of India, a city of contrasts. A city that seamlessly holds in its folds, the poshest of hotels and the most decrepit slums. The chic and fashionable as well as the miserable. Quite a candid post minus the floss.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Could not have agreed with you more. 🙂

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  12. Kevin Wagar says:

    Great post! I love how you delve into the daily life of the city. You bring to life a lot of the sites and sounds that really take you beyond the tourist attractions.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank You. 🙂 I try to portray the touristy and the not so touristy attractions through my post. We often hear and say that to know a place its best to connect with the locals. I guess, I was just trying to do that with my post.

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  13. Loved the photos. It is amazing to see how others live in all over the world. Their cultures, their way of life, everything is so fascinating. Maybe in the future we can visit.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. India, is a huge place. Calcutta is only a small part of it. even within India, different cities have different lifestyles. Its really to explore those. And do try to visit India in future at least for the Taj Mahal. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  14. wanderingwagarschristina says:

    Great insight into everyday life in Calcutta. I know exactly what you mean about taking a walk in a city. There is nothing like it as it exposes you to the same sights, sounds and smells that locals experience daily. Sounds like a walk in Calcutta is definitely a must for any visitor.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes and the beauty s the sights change with all seasons. 🙂 its completely different in winter and monsoons and also during afternoons and evenings of the same day.

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  15. iamsuanlee says:

    What a crowd of people! Those bananas look so fresh and ripe, would love to taste!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes. its basically at a Lake Front where people come in the morning for morning walks. so, a local market sits there selling fruits and vegetables.

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  16. Ami Bhat says:

    So well covered. I love the sights and sounds that you have described. The first time I went to Kolkata, I was a little appalled but the city grew on me as I stayed there for a day or so. The people there have a smile on their face no matter what and that is what makes this city so endearing. Loved this piece

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. I guess its the smile that has given Kolkata the name – The City of Joy. 🙂

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  17. Liz says:

    This is such a nice account of Calcutta – you really captured the nitty-gritty of the street life and I think this is how someone who has a great understanding of the place would see it, too. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Sriparna says:

    The streets of my joyful City! I love every single part of that place… the air, the streets, and without a miss, the food… Thank You for taking me back there for a stroll 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh. You are from Calcutta too? Nice to know . 🙂

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  19. Roberta says:

    It’s the little things that makes anything great! The pictures are amazing! I truly loved the way you captured the people. You can totally get the vibe of the city through your pictures!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks a lot. 🙂

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  20. You did a great job taking pictures of people. It’s inspiring to see the children going to school. I was also interested to hear about the pigeon feeding and would like to see it for myself.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, pigeon feeding is like an age old tradition where the elders of the house used to go up to their terraces and feed them with little pieces of bread. But in Manchester too, I have seen it happening. Parents and their little ones feeding pigeons , though its not that common here.

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  21. gobeyondbounds says:

    Exploring Kolkatta especially the durga festival has been our dream hopefully some day soon. Agree a great way to explore any city is to look at small things and experience life like the locals. Loved the way you have captured little things around the amazing city.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. Yes Durga Puja is one of the highlights of the city. I have never missed it in my life except for the last year and maybe this year because I have come to Manchester for studies.

      Like

  22. Komang Ayu says:

    I love to see your pictures. seen people with a unique activity. they are busy with their work, it also looks natural and peaceful. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Anamika Ojha says:

    I’ve seen Calcutta only in Bollywood movies and when I saw ‘Kahani’ starring Vidya Balan, I got scared with old town look and mysterious narrow roads! Though I’d love to visit Calcutta someday in my life during Durga Puga. Loved your street photography and few of your shots are absolutely incredible!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, Calcutta used to be the Capital during th British Raj. so some of the buildings especially in Noth Calcutta have the old world charm. theres a blend of old and contemporary both in Calcutta. Its a lovely place and if you can , you must come visit it sometime.

      Like

  24. Sona Sethi says:

    I am visiting Kolkata in November and this post is a lovely heads-up. Can’t wait to be there and enjoy the Bengali delicacies. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Let me know if you want any help preparing an list of attractions to see. Im a local from there although I dont live there now. Will head back home in December. 🙂

      Like

  25. Andra says:

    Love your style of writing! For a couple of minutes you helped me travel in Calcutta! And your photos are so expressive. Thank yoj fo sharing this

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. 🙂 Im glad you liked it.

      Like

  26. Veronica says:

    There is so much life in your photos! They almost narrate a story of Calcutta’s life!
    I never visited this city, it is too big for me! Is it bigger that Mumbai?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No. Mumbai is bigger than Kolkata. It is much vast a city. And the lifestyle there is quite rushed. I was born in Mumbai but left it at a young age. I plan to go sometime soon and cover their lifestyle too. Its very different from what I have grown up in Kolkata/ Calcutta.

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  27. polly674 says:

    I have travelled around India, but I missed Calcutta. Your story and pictures made me wishing to go there!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh thats nice. which places have you been to in India? whats your fav place in the country?

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  28. What an interesting day to have in Calcutta with all of those people going about their business on a busy street. This is a real life take on what transpires on the streets of Calcutta. I find it wonderful and highly illuminating!

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Evanne says:

    I love this, I felt like I was there! A good reminder to get up early and go for a walk while you travel. It’s the best way to get a sense of daily life

    Like

  30. Calcutta seems very interesting place and also its community… thank you for sharing this beautiful post!

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Love your photos of Calcutta, it’s like they make the city come alive before my eyes. The portraits and the animal shots are amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks a lot. 🙂

      Like

  32. A very interesting place and a city with lots of hustle and bustle. I love the pictures and how they capture the reality of the lifestyle over there. We could all learn so much from different cultures and traditions, as well as being more grateful for all we have.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Indrani says:

    Great street photography by you. I was there few years back and I was on a clicking spree. The life there is hard and made me sad. The little girl with water pipe in hand is so touching.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes. it is. Nothing like where I live now. How did u find Calcutta ?

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  34. Jen Morrow says:

    Interesting and a little sad to see the poverty, and know that the real poverty is hidden farther from view.

    Liked by 1 person

  35. It looks like Calcutta is a very interesting place in India. It reminds me of Tondo, Manila in Philippines.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes Calcutta in very interesting. there are more shades to it. I could only capture morning. I currently do not reside their anymore but my plan is to go back and capture scenes of night time as well.

      Like

  36. edoldera says:

    i think this is a one of the great city in the world

    Liked by 1 person

  37. What a beautiful view of this amazing city! I just love the commentary and the photos!

    Liked by 1 person

  38. Eloise says:

    thank you for this post… the world is amazing when you think of it… certain places can live so differently, and it’s interesting to learn about and help if need be!

    Liked by 1 person

  39. Rodanthi says:

    Calcutta seems like a very interesting city that’s worth visiting! It would be a great experience; it has such unique character! Thank you for this great post! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  40. Nice pictures, would love to go there

    Liked by 1 person

  41. Emma Spencer says:

    WOW! Looks like such an interesting place! I would love to visit India one day. Fantastic post and wonderful photos lovely! Xx

    http://theemasphere.com/

    Liked by 1 person

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