ARCH walking tours
rjpjr
India > Cities in India > India Travel > Kolkata (Calcutta)
#1
| Member

ARCH walking tours

Anyone ever gone on the walking tours led by the Architectural Heritage group? I will be in Kolkata on a Monday and looks like the good museums (Marble Palace, Academy of Fine Arts, Victoria) are all closed, so I am trying to arrange one of these tours. Sent an e-mail to their contact several days ago but have not gotten a reply.

14 Replies

#2
| Senior Member

Originally posted by: rjpjr View Post

Anyone ever gone on the walking tours led by the Architectural Heritage group? I will be in Kolkata on a Monday and looks like the good museums (Marble Palace, Academy of Fine Arts, Victoria) are all closed, so I am trying to arrange one of these tours. Sent an e-mail to their contact several days ago but have not gotten a reply.


To enter Marble Palace, you need a permission from the India Tourism office - just a formality really. I think it is the only museum in Calcutta that is open on Mondays - as far as I remember they close on Wednesdays, but not sure (also closed on public holidays and Rath) - always worth checking.
#3
| Senior Member
What are your interests other than museums?
#4
| Maha Guru Member

Originally posted by: RicheekRoy View Post

To enter Marble Palace, you need a permission from the India Tourism office - just a formality really. I think it is the only museum in Calcutta that is open on Mondays - as far as I remember they close on Wednesdays, but not sure (also closed on public holidays and Rath) - always worth checking.

Getting permission to enter Marble Palace is the official rule - but its not strictly followed. Somebody who does not have the time to get the permission can go directly to Marble Palace, talk with the guard at the entrance and enter (some money transfer might be required :)). However, note that the Marble Palace is not a traditional museum. It contains a family collection of paintings, sculptors and other articles of the Mallick family of ancient Kolkata.
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It is not down in any map; true places never are. ~Herman Melville
#5
| Member

Mondays in Kolkata

Thanks for the advice everyone. I knew about the ticketing procedure, but the opening hours seem to depend on the web site or guide book you're looking at. I'll ask at the tourist office when I arrive.

I heard back from the Heritage group - tours only on Saturdays. I was really looking forward to that, and that is one of my other interests so advice there would be appreciated. Any self-guided tours like a walking guide book? The northern area of the city seems like it would be especially interesting - I understand that is where the upper-class Indian merchants lived during the British rule. Lots of beautiful (but crumbling) architecture.

I plan on going to the Botanical Gardens and the gardens at the Victoria Museum - they both seem to be opened early in the day. This is good for me because I have a limited time. Anything else open early, say before 10 when the museums open?
#6
| Maha Guru Member
There is another company that organizes walks in Kolkata: http://www.calcuttawalks.com . You can try them out.
There are a couple of good books on walking tours in Kolkata. One of then is 'Ten walks in Calcutta' by Prasenjit Das Gupta.
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It is not down in any map; true places never are. ~Herman Melville
#7
| Senior Member
The gardens at Victoria Museum are nice - it's where people go for a walk and sit around in pairs - if, you're alone, you'll feel either out-of-place or that you are intruding or both.
Oh, wait you said before 10, then you'll surely run into joggers breaking into sweat at a walking pace. Jokes aside, it's a nice garden, although not the best I've been to.

At the Botanical Gardens, don't miss the Big Banyan tree (which takes 10 minutes to walk around) or the Mad Tree (each of whose leaves have a different shape). I don't know how early it opens, but if it opens before sunrise, take a walk to the Eastern periphery of the garden and see the sun rise over the river. As I rarely wake that early, I prefer to be in Millennium Park to see the sun set over the river.

I second Ten Walks in Calcutta - it's a good book.
#8
| Member

ten walks book

Found "Ten Walks" on Amazon - USD139! [whoa] Apparently it's out-of-print, yet it is also referred to in the most recent Rough Guide. Found another guide on Amazon, part of the Insight series. This one is "only" USD39 for a 100-page paperback, also out of print. Apparently nobody is interested in publishing city guides to Kolkata any longer..... Maybe I can pick one up at a bookstore once I arrive.
#9
| Maha Guru Member

Originally posted by: rjpjr View Post

Found "Ten Walks" on Amazon - USD139! [whoa] Apparently it's out-of-print, yet it is also referred to in the most recent Rough Guide. Found another guide on Amazon, part of the Insight series. This one is "only" USD39 for a 100-page paperback, also out of print. Apparently nobody is interested in publishing city guides to Kolkata any longer..... Maybe I can pick one up at a bookstore once I arrive.

You will get it at Oxford Book Store on Park Street for a couple of hundred rupees.
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It is not down in any map; true places never are. ~Herman Melville
#10
| Member

Originally posted by: kausiks View Post

You will get it at Oxford Book Store on Park Street for a couple of hundred rupees.


Great - thanks for the advice! Now if they open before 10 AM...:rolleyes:
#11
| Maha Guru Member
[SIZE=2]Another relevant and good book is '[/SIZE]A Jaywalkers Guide To Calcutta' by Soumitra Das. But my impression after going through the book is that the author expects a degree of familiarity of the readers with the city and its layout.
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It is not down in any map; true places never are. ~Herman Melville
#12
| Maha Guru Member
I was just about to recommend the same book Kaushik. You're right - the maps are small so you need another bigger map to work out where in the city the place is.

Also, sadly, a lot of the buildings he writes about have been demolished.

But there are a lot of good photos and historical snippets. In fact I'm carrying it round with me now and will go looking for Elgin Lane, off Elgin Road later. :)

Both are available in Oxford Books.
#13
| It's all Greek to me, but Benglish will do
I agree about the difficulty of following the routes described in either of the above-mentioned books. I have attempted to do so, book(s) in hand! But that it part of the fun of Kolkata. You start off with one itinerary in mind and end up with a different one. The explanations of history are a lot clearer than the walking instructions! There is no logical sequence in the chapters (especially true of the Jaywalker's Guide).

Julia, if you go to Elgin Lane, do try to eat at Kewpie's. It is a wonderful restaurant.
#14
| Maha Guru Member
Theyyam, Kewpie's was closed when I went but because of your recommendation I went back today and it was indeed wonderful!
Great food and such a lovely room to eat in. :)

The icing on the cake was a chai afterwards up at the top of Elgin Lane and he put ginger and cardamom in it, yum yum.
None of that chafee nonsense ;)
#15
| It's all Greek to me, but Benglish will do

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