Kolkata is not just a bustling metropolitan city. The old vintage-tinged buildings, the historic lanes, the breeze by the Ganges, the yellow taxis and trams and the delicious food can easily uplift anyone’s spirit. No wonder, Kolkata is often reckoned as a city with a soul. During the day, the streets jam-packed with corporates, artists, photographers, vendors and more add vibes of joy to the air in the city. But if you thought that the nightlife of Kolkata is defined by plush nightclubs, bars and restaurants, you are yet to explore the other side. In fact, I too was living under the rocks, until one day, along with my roomie, I ventured out on a long drive to explore the cityscape in the wee hours of the night. Thank God, we had dropped the plan of the ladies night to Roxy!
Starting From New Town At 12.30 AM
First jobs are often about spending more and saving less. And it was no different with me and my roommate Dimitri. Both of us loved partying and we literally had a weekly list of the ladies nights taking place in town. But then, it was Dimitri’s birthday and she wanted to spend it a bit differently. We could have planned to visit nearby beach destinations like Digha or Mandarmani. But we had to scrap that idea too as it was the middle of the week and we were to attend office the next day. It was then our common friend Saptak came up with the idea of a long drive through the city streets. Without giving a second thought, we set off for the adventurous ride on Saptak’s car. And it turned out to be one of our most memorable night trips.
A Drive Through The Empty Streets Of Bypass
The grandiose ITC Sonar glittering in its own glory or the tallest building of India ‘The 42’ kissing the skyline, you can witness such spectacular sights at Kolkata’s Bypass. There’s one unique thing about the lanes of this city. No matter how dark the night is, parts of it are always beautifully lit in multi-coloured street lights. The lights add hues to the deserted streets at night, making them look prettier.
We rode through the Maa Flyover that overlooks J.W Marriot, ITC Sonar and many Kolkata skyscrapers and a vast body of water too. The night was serene and the winds brushed our faces. We were wide awake soaking our souls into the magic.
Park Street: A Beauty In Itself
One of the oldest corporate sectors of Kolkata or the hub for partygoers-whatever you call it, Park Street is unquestionably the liveliest destinations in the city of joy. From pocket-friendly pubs ( OlyPub is the name) and popular nightclubs ( Roxy, Someplace Else, Tantra, What’s In D Name, to name a few) to iconic restaurants like Peter Cat, Mocambo and Flurys, the verve of Park Street has never failed to impress us. Though we were quite used to partying inside The Park at Roxy or Someplace Else, riding by the elegant architecture at midnight watching the happy people in sassy outfits, wasn’t something we had done before.
Also, it is home to one of the most haunted burial grounds in India, the South Park Street Cemetery. It contains the graves of many notable personalities. Passing by the cemetery in the dark hours of the night will give you heights of eerie feels for sure.
The Iconic Exide Modh
You’ll hardly find a Kolkatan who has not visited the Exide Modh in South Kolkata. The place is famed for a slew of reasons – momos, nearby pubs, Nandan and the Academy of Fine Arts. College goers have a special love for Exide. They get down at Rabindra Sadan Metro at Exide Modh and head over to Nandan for some lighthearted chitchat with friends over a cup of kadak chae. Nandan is a government-sponsored film and cultural hub that was inaugurated by Satyajit Ray in 1985. Also, the Academy of Fine Arts near Nandan showcases the masterpieces of many renowned and budding artists. Nandan remains closed at night but the view of Exide, with the flyover and coloured posters amid all the quietness can appease our restless souls.
Breathtaking View Of The Victoria Memorial At Night
The historical marble structure, the Victoria Memorial is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Kolkata. Though it’s museums, galleries and gardens can be explored only till around 6PM on weekdays and 8PM on weekends, one can always enjoy it’s view while passing through Maidan road. The beauty of the white structure under the starry night is a sight to behold.
Other iconic structures around this place are the Birla Planetarium and the St. Paul’s Cathedral. The church is dedicated to Paul the Apostle and one should definitely visit there during the day to witness its amazing Gothic architecture. For a moment, it might give you a feeling that you’re somewhere in a western country, far from India.
Also Read: 8 Things To Do In Kolkata
A Dhaba That Never Sleeps: Balwant Singh Eating House, Bhawanipur
The Balwant Singh’s Eating House, which most people refer to as Balwant Singh Dhaba, is the most sought-after Dhabas in the heart of Kolkata, at Bhawanipur. it attracts millennials from all over the city. The eatery remains open 24/7 and the crowd thickens here after 12 AM. Yeah, it is the perfect haunt for night owls. The restaurant is two-storeyed. The first-floor is air-conditioned. Even at 1 AM at night, it’s hard to get a seat inside the non-AC section of the eatery. A large number of folks, especially the youngies, gather outside the counter collecting tea, snacks and dudh cola. We waited a bit, and were lucky to get a seat inside.
Their dudh colas are worth dying for! And their saffron infused tea comes at ₹50 per cup, but after tasting the tea, you won’t regret paying the extra amount. They also serve amazing parathas, kulchas and other authentic Punjabi preparations. If you want to try the best Punjabi cuisine in Kolkata, Balwant is one of the eateries to check-out.
Kahaani Famed Mona Lisa Guest House In Lake Market Area
We strolled around the streets of Balwant till late at night. We did not know how time flew and soon we could see the sky gradually turning crimson. The first light of the day embraced the city and we started heading towards Deshopriyo Park. Near this place is the Mona Lisa Guest House, where Vidya Balan had put up in the Bollywood movie Kahaani. In fact, the guest house on Sarat Bose Road has earned fame right after the movie, and many people visit there to check out room number 15, where Vidya had stayed.
Delicious Breakfast ( Jolkhabar) At Maharaja Kachori Corner
‘Jolkhabar’ is actually breakfast in Bengali. And to kickstart the day in a delectable way, we had to pick up Maharaja Snack Corner, opposite to the Mona Lisa Guest house. The shop opens at 6:30 AM in the morning and gets a huge rush of people. The buzz is, gorom gorom kochuri ar bharer cha ( hot kachoris with tea in earthen cups). The hing kachoris they serve come at ₹4 per piece and they are utterly crispy and drop-dead delicious. Though it’s a very small shop with no frills, it is quite popular among the city patrons for its splendid kachoris.
And how could we not try out there out their tempting jalebis and warm gulab jamuns? They were luscious to the hilt.
Way Back Home
It was time for us to head back home. Our eyes seemed heavy with sleep and we managed to have a nap in the car. Saptak has his own business. He said he could start work late. But I and Dimitri had to get ready for office in a couple of hours after reaching the flat. In the morning, the beautiful Biswa Bangla at New Town’s Narkel Bagan welcomed us. Situated close to the Kolkata airport, the Biswa Bangla Gate serves as a gateway to the city. We thought we would be sleepy at office, but somehow our energy levels were high after the marvellous night.
It was a hectic but mesmerizing night that we had enjoyed to the core. There is a sense of utter bliss hidden in the atmosphere of Kolkata. Those who have visited the city know the feeling. On that note, enjoy this virtual tour of Kolkata from the comfort of your home: