1, 2 and 3 Day Packages
Day 1: Village to First City of the British Empire in 300 years – A Historical Journey through her Streets, Markets and Heritage Buildings
7:15 to 8am

Your guide will meet guests at the hotel lobby (start time is flexible)
(Guests are encouraged to have a light breakfast before departure, although tea and a snack will be served during the walk at about 9am)

We start early in the morning simply to beat the heat……and the traffic. There is no better time to walk through this vibrant and bustling city. As the city wakes up, we will witness the passage of humanity from the streets where her people live and work, to the great River Hooghly where they perform their early morning rituals to cleanse and purify themselves. Where better to witness this than in the colourful riverside flower market where all the city’s religious flowers originate.

In our mind, it is important to start our journey here, as this is really where it all began. On the banks of this grand river, the battles of Europe were fought in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Alongside Armenian and Portuguese churches, and Jewish synagogues, we embark upon a journey that started the British Raj in India, in and around Dalhousie Square, dating back to the time of the Black Hole, from where it transformed itself into a City of Palaces. The famous Writers’ Building – the former HQ of the infamous East India Company, the magnificent Governor’s House and the almost forgotten Charnock Mausoleum – Here lay the administrative, judicial and political heart of an Empire that stretched from Aden to Burma.

We break for a cup of tea and a snack during the walk.


The Park Street Cemetery and Victoria Memorial” – Two great institutions left behind by the British. The almost forgotten cemetery dates back a few centuries with poignant images of its early society; and the majestic Memorial that was embarked upon and completed just as the same conquerors abandoned their majestic capital to build another in Delhi. The Victoria Memorial houses a permanent collection of Art and a well laid out Calcutta Gallery telling the history of the city.

If on a single-day tour, another option is to visit The Marble Palace, Potters Market or The Indian Museum.Shopping could include local handicrafts, jewellery, textiles (including the famous Bengal Katha stitch work), antique furniture, food, spices and books.


Lunch at Bomti’s” –offers a rare glimpse of the old Calcutta way of life, now sadly endangered. MrSurojit ‘Bomti’ Iyenger, an art collector and socialite, is delighted to welcome visitors to his charming flat in perhaps the most interesting heritage building on historic Chowringhee. Authentic and home-cooked Bengali cuisine served up with hot cups of fresh Darjeeling tea and stimulating insights into Bengali Art (with some for sale) and Modern Kolkata make up Bomti’s salon.


Boat cruise up the River Hoogly. In a private river boat, guests are able to discover a hitherto unseen side of Kolkata, with a ring-side view of the myriad happenings on the river’s ‘Ghats’. This was the view that greeted many a 19C adventurer as he stepped up to the Princep’sGhat. You will sail past Belur Math, headquarters of The Ramakrishna Mission, as the city’s two huge and famous bridges, Howrah and VidyasagarSetu pass overhead. It is a wonderfully relaxing end to the day with a sumptuous tea menu comprising popular Indian snacks and refreshing Darjeeling Tea.


Drop back to your hotel.

Day 2: The Bengal Renaissance – An Awakening of Modern India in the 19th Century

This morning we travel to North Calcutta – “The Black Town”, where a parallel culture heavily influenced by the Europeans, flourished among the pioneering families of Bengal. The Jain Temple Complex of 4 ornate temples is unique with its shimmering mirrors, ceramic tiles and chandeliers brought over to India by rich merchants from lands as far away as Persia, Japan and Europe.

The Marble Palace is perhaps the most bizarre of the Bengali mansions of this area. Built in 1835 by Raja Rajendra Mullick, a wealthy Bengali merchant with a passion for collecting works of art, it houses a kitsch collection of paintings, marble sculptures and Belgian glass. In the grounds of the mansion you will find remnants of the first Indian zoo, and exotic Indian birds including peacocks, hornbills, pelicans and several species of deer.

From the extravagance of the Marble Palace we proceed to the calm, intellectual heart of the Bengali Quarter, the bastion of Bengali culture, and home of the multi-talented poet, novelist, musician, painter and playwright, the famous Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore. His grandfather Dwarkanath Tagore built this grand mansion in the 18th century, and the museum showcases the life of the family in 19th century Bengal, and their involvement in the Bengali Renaissance, the BrahmoSamaj movement and finally the Freedom Struggle of India.


We will lunch at a lovely little Bengali Restaurant situated in the historic Star Theatre, where Bengali Theatre has its roots, along with much of the drama that initiated the freedom movement in Bengal, and later the rest of India.  The food is simple, and fresh, with local specialties like DaabChingri (prawn curry steamed in a tender green coconut), BhektiPaturi (a local river fish marinated with ground mustard paste and steamed in a banana leaf), a vegetable made from the flowers of the banana tree, and an ice cream dessert made with fresh jaggery from the date palm tree.


In the afternoon we will visit Kumartulior the Potters’ Market, where giant life-like religious idols are created for the city’s numerous festivals out of river clay, bamboo and straw, and then adorned with elaborate jewellery and clothes, with beautifully painted features.


On the way back into town we can visit the Motherhouse, Mother Theresa’s home and the centre of her Missionaries of Charity.  Her modest tomb and the Spartan room where she lived and died, embodies her life’s work, with its simplicity and dedication to only helping the poor and needy.


Tea at Flury’sTea Room– An old Calcutta institution on Park Street where all the culinary action of the city resides, close to the Oxford Bookshop where you can browse through a lovely collection of books on Calcutta and the rest of India.


Return to your hotel.

Day 3: Complete your Calcutta Experience with a range of options
The 3rd day remains flexible and guests may choose from a number of activities:

A visit to the Botanical Gardens across the river is a wonderful experience with the largest Banyan tree in the world, gigantic lily pads, and a collection of plants from around the world.

Shopping – Bengal Handicrafts, Contemporary Bengal Art, Jewellery – traditional/ modern/western, Textiles – silk/cotton, Embroidered Textiles – Kantha Work, Missionary style table linen, antique furniture, Bazaars – food/flowers/ spice/ fruit/ furniture, Books, Designer clothes/accessories and lifestyle products.

A Focus on Art – CIMA, the Centre for International Modern Art, always has interesting exhibitions on, and a lovely gift shop attached to the gallery. We can also arrange a meeting with local art expert Anil Cashyab, who will show you around some other galleries and update you on the local art scene, including the Government College of Art where many budding Bengali artists started their careers from.

Discover the Art of Kantha – or “stitch painting”, with a visit to the elegant home of MrsShamluDudeja, who has revived this rural embroidery craft that was on the verge of extinction. Through her efforts with SHE (Self Help Enterprise), Kantha is now a popular technique for modern designers, and women around the world. Shamlu’s CalcuttaFoundation also supports many welfare projects around the city and beneath her quiet elegance is a dynamic woman who has changed the lives of many in the city and beyond its boundaries in rural India.

Visit to a Textile Factory – Rangeen is the weaving, dyeing and printing unit for Weavers Studio in Calcutta, famous for their high quality cotton and silk garments. You will have a chance to watch the artisans at work weaving at their looms, dyeing using diverse techniques such as tie and dye, batik, Japanese Shibori and African Adire, block printing and stenciling on fabric, as well as hand painting, mud and screen printing. The Resource Centre also has a textile library and museum with a collection of antique fabric from around the world. The history of the world’s most popular natural dye – Indigo – weaves its story into the visit as well. Indigo has a huge connection with the history of Bengal, and is thought to have played a major role in the start of the struggle for a free India. After the factory, we will visit Weavers Studio, where you can have a look at the finished products, as well as Weavers Studio for the Arts that the dynamic Darshan Shah set up to encourage young and upcoming talent by showcasing local culture and art ranging from ceramics, photography, sculpture, handicrafts, textiles and the performing arts.

An Afternoon at the Calcutta Races – (from noon to 5pm on specific days) The Royal Calcutta Turf Club with its panoramic views of Victoria Memorial and the River Hoogly is one of the oldest and grandest in India and the ambience positively ‘Raj’. Guests are entertained by hosts closely associated with the Club and lunch and tea are served in a Member’s Box. Betting before, and meeting the jockeys, trainers and horses after, is all a part of the glorious afternoon. Lunch is brought to the box itself, but is mainly “snacky” in nature. Lunch and alcoholic drinks are included in the cost.

A visit to the Botanical Gardens across the river is a wonderful experience with the largest Banyan tree in the world, gigantic lily pads, and a collection of plants from around the world.

More sightseeing – The Indian Museum, The Asiatic Society and other places of specific historical interest.

A visit to the Tea Auction Centre

There are many charitable institutions and schools you can visit.

A game of golf at The Tollygunge Club or The Royal Calcutta Turf Club

Cost of the Package (April 2018- March 2019)
(Nett price including taxes, non commissionable)
FULL DAY CITY TOUR 33718   39756 17760   45924 15308   51831 12958
2 DAY PACKAGE 56923   65389 32694   75954 25318   86258 21564
3 DAY PACKAGE 78159   89381 44691   102047 34016   115763 28941

The cost includes:
Expert Guide fees (please see Expert Guide Profiles)
Transport in an air-conditioned Toyota Innova car
All meals mentioned in itinerary
All activities mentioned in itinerary
A mobile library (a collection of books relating to the History, Art, Culture and Food of Bengal)
Entry Fees and Tips
All Taxes
Complete flexibility
Pleasant surprises where possible!