Flashpacking in Kolkata, the City of Joy

“A journey through Kolkata’s busy streets will take you to some of the most interesting sites that marks the true identity of this city.”

This flash-packing trip to Kolkata will transport you to an era of beautiful colonial buildings where famous poets and noble nuns were born and resided. We will explore this city, which is often referred to as the cultural heart of India, in style while staying at the luxurious Oberoi Hotel. These five nights in Kolkata will take you through its busy streets, architectural diversity, intellectual hubs, art galleries, and the company of this city’s uber class at the Horse Polo ground. We will spend our evenings at signature restaurants while enjoying the best of the flavors of the city. There is a touch of everything you can ask for during your flash-packing trip to Kolkata.

Highlights:

  • Interacting with the clay idol makers.
  • Spend time at the famous Indian Coffee House.
  • Walking on Howrah Bridge.
  • Exploring Chandannagar.
Day 01

Arrive in Kolkata

Welcome to India!

Parallels and Meridians welcomes you to Kolkata! One of our representatives will be at the airport to greet you and transfer you to your hotel. Overnight at the Oberoi Grand Hotel.

Day 02

Kolkata

An introduction to black and white Kolkata

We begin our trip to Kolkata by hopping on the famous Kolkata tram for a visit to Tagore’s House, the home of the great Indian poet, writer, painter and musician Rabindranath Tagore, who received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913 for one of his most famous works, ‘Geetanjali’. Tagore House is very well-maintained, with lawns in the premises and rooms exhibiting his personal effects and paintings. After lunch, we shall visit a Jain temple covered with small mirror tiles that glow in the sun, giving it a surreal appearance. From there we go to Kumartuli, which is a small town where artists live and make their living out of making idols of gods with clay or mud. Kumartuli itself means ‘Potters hut’, and you can find many here, busy in their workshops. Take this opportunity to see how these craftsmen create these clay idols and interact with them. We then stop at the famous Indian Coffee House, which is a true place to soak in the authentic Kolkata culture. It’s more than a coffee shop – it’s a landmark. Generations of intellectuals have come here and discussed anything and everything over a cup of coffee. So add your contribution over a cuppa in Kolkata! Overnight at the Oberoi Grand Hotel.

Day 03

Kolkata

Peaceful and serene Mother House

We begin the second day of this trip to Kolkata by taking a walk on the famous Howrah Bridge. It was built during the last years of British rule in India, and stands strong today. Many consider it a piece of art in itself. Life begins early in the morning under the bridge, with vendors selling different kinds of flowers, which are one of a kind and absolutely beautiful. After this, we visit the Mother House, which is where Mother Teresa used to live and work for the poor of the city. There is a museum inside with a fascinating collection and sisters who greet you with the warmest smiles – this is one of the most peaceful places to visit while in Kolkata. Overnight at the Oberoi Grand Hotel.

Day 04

Kolkata

Exploring Chandannagar

Today we will drive to Chandannagar (30kms/1hr), which is a small town outside Kolkata, located on the Hooghly River. In 1673 the French established a colony here and, despite the passage of time, the town has managed to preserve its French identity, as is evident in its buildings. We will do a complete exploration of this place by visiting the Chandannagar Strand, Chandannagar Museum, Sacred Heart Church, the French Cemetery, and Nandadulal Temple. Walking along the boulevard and seeing the gorgeous colonial buildings will take you to another time. Later in the day, once we are back in the city, we will visit the Calcutta Polo Club to watch a live polo match. Overnight at the Oberoi Grand Hotel.

Day 05

Kolkata

Shopping and a relaxing spa

Kolkata’s charm lies in the warmth of its people, street food and the buildings built during British rule. Today we will indulge in some shopping, try out some street food and go for a relaxing spa. The New Market on Lindsay Street is the oldest market in the city, with over 20,000 stores selling everything from clothes to household goods. If you fancy buying some local goods then the Dakshinapan Shopping Centre is a great choice, as it has dozens of government emporiums selling them at a fixed price. Central Cottage Industries Emporium is excellent for buying handicrafts from around India, also with fixed prices. Later in the day a relaxing spa awaits you, perfect after a day of shopping. Someplace Else is the rock music venue at the Park Hotel, which is considered to be the prime place for live contemporary music, and you can spend your evening there. Overnight at the Oberoi Grand Hotel.

Day 06

Departure from Kolkata

See you soon

It is time for us to bid you goodbye as this trip to Kolkata comes to an end. We hope you enjoyed exploring the City of Joy. You will be transferred to the international airport for your departure. Have a safe journey home and we hope to see you again soon!

THE PRICE INCLUDES


Accommodation in hotels listed in a single/ double room with breakfast.

Ground transfers  in an Air-conditioned Car with an English speaking driver.

Snacks at Indian Coffee House

Entrance fees at sites, museums and shows mentioned in the program.

English Speaking Guide.

All applicable taxes.


THE PRICE DOES NOT INCLUDE


International & Domestic Flight & Airport taxes (International)

Insurance and visa costs

Expenses of Personal nature such as Drinks & Camera and Video charges

Tips to guides and drivers

Any other Expenses that are not mentioned above


 

YOUR HOTELS (or similar):


Each destination has a unique character, a story. So we choose the most beautiful destinations, we also choose the most charming hotels for you. In addition, we will offer you options to choose from depending on the style of travel that suits you. You will stay in comfortable, deluxe, luxury or ultra luxury hotels depending on your budget.

There are about 1.237 billion people in India, individuals who are witnesses to the deep and rich culture of this country. A dream destination, as it has been called, offering myriad sensations; the bustling city of Delhi, the serenity of the That desert, the Golden Temple, the majestic Jama Masjid, the colourful fabric souks and huge exotic spice markets, and the quiet back water of Kerala. A trip to India will surely awaken your senses.

Festivals

The pious celebrations reflect the culture and diversity of India. There are major festivals to consider from, while choosing your travel to India.

Pongal: It is a Tamil festival celebrating the harvest season. It is celebrated in Tamil Nadu in the month of January.

The desert festival: Jaisalmer – It is a colorful festival involving cultural events, musical performances, and various other happenings. It is celebrated in Jaisalmer in February.

Holi: The Festival of Colors is celebrated in and around India. Generally celebrated in the month of February or March.

Teej Festival: Jaipur: The festival is more geared towards women. It is a commitment to fast and pray to the gods to bless their marriages, which is celebrated in Rajasthan in the month of August.

Onam: The harvest festival of Kerela — annual in nature, it is celebrated to thank the gods for the wonderful harvest of rice. It is celebrated in the month of September.

Dussehra festival: Dussehra is a Hindu festival that celebrates the victory of good over evil. This day falls in the month of September or October. People visit the Pooja Pandals wearing new clothes, prepare traditional food at home and celebrate the festival with their friends and families.

Diwali: The Festival of Lights is much more popular in northern India and is celebrated with great zeal, excitement and fire-crackers, usually on October or November.

Pushkar Fair: It is the largest 5- day camel fair where prized camels are exchanged. It is celebrated in Pushkar, Rajasthan in the month of October – November.

International Passport

For most trips, your passport will be enough. It must be valid for up to six months after your return trip. Passports can be easily obtained from your municipality, although there may be delays during holiday periods and holidays. Note that the passport is also required for children. For some destinations, it will be mandatory to send us a copy of your passport immediately after booking a trip.

Visa

Any nationality Australian, Belgian, Swiss, or Canadian will need a visa to visit India. For more information, please visit this site: https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa

We recommend you to get your visa 4 to 6 weeks before your arrival in India.

Minors traveling with an adult: Parents

When a minor is traveling with a parent, the officials at the airport might ask for proof of documents to confirm your relationship. Some countries require certificates such as a birth certificate. Check with the embassy or consulate of the country of destination regarding the requirements.

Minors traveling with an adult: Others

When a minor is traveling with someone other than the parents or a family member, some countries require a declaration by the relatives to give permission for this trip. Check with the embassy or consulate of the country of destination regarding the requirements.

Accommodation

Each destination has a unique character, a story. So we chose the most beautiful destinations, we also handpicked the most suitable hotels for your comfort. In addition, we offer options to choose according to your budget and travel style that suits you.

We offer three options in MOST of our programs:

Simple and comfortable – These are clean and comfortable hotels. They can also be old heritage havelis converted into hotels. As per P&M standard, they fall into a 2-3 star categorization.

Deluxe – In this option, we offer a mix of charming and deluxe hotels. Some of them are heritage palaces, which are now famous contemporary hotels. As per P&M standard, they fall into a 4-5 star categorization.

Luxury – For the ultimate luxury holiday, we have a collection of rustic, chic and stylish hotels combined with laid back indulgence and unmatched amenities. These international favorites are the best in the destinations.

Transport

Typically, Indian roads are in good condition. The presence of highways allows communication to all parts of India without many problems. However, we must recognize that some roads are in poor condition; it must account, on an average, 4 hours to cover a distance of 250 km.

Transport is a very significant part of your trip to India. We ensure the quality of the vehicles and the drivers are trained to show you the best landscapes, rural life, by the side of highways, and be attentive to all your requirements. The local traffic is chaotic, but you will certainly enjoy the journeys with our expert d hospitable drivers. All our trips are inclusive of transfers and sightseeing as per the itinerary contracted and we will not surprise you by asking any additional fees for your small wishes.

Flights

The airline and the flight schedules are subject to change. P&M will keep you informed about the latest changes in the schedule, if any.

Land Package

The price in the website are indicative and may change as per the latest amendment given by the hotels or suppliers. However, P&M will honor the rates once they are offered to you and you have made the payment for the package, even partially. In the case of international or domestic flights, the additional airport taxes that are imposed by local authorities shall be passed to you.

It is also possible to book international flights with P&M. Since we have good connections with several airlines, we will be happy to assist you for your requirements.

These people are our most amazing assets, taking you on beautiful trips with P&M. Who can explain a city or town better than the locals? This is why we always work with the locals carrying a passion for their culture. Their knowledge of destinations is immaculate; eagerly indulging you to experience the journey of the moment. All destinations, most of the cities and towns have English-speaking local guides. These guides are employed by our local agents and get regular training’s pertaining to our requirements. We evaluate their performance after each trip based on your feedback’s.

The services of local guides are included in the program (if opted by you in the package). They not only show you around the city but also purchase the tickets at the monuments. They are available to answer any of your travel related queries.

Although P&M pays them with the standard rates of travel-based companies, they expect a tip at the end of the trip. We recommend a tip of 5 €/ day/ person.

Insurance

Unforeseen Circumstances

Although our travels are organized with detailed planning, the climate and other factors may change due to some unforeseen events. These however, should not spoil your travel or ruin your fun. In case such circumstances arise, be assured that you have 24/7 P&M support staff ready to offer the most suited solutions to your problems. We do our best to provide the quickest resolutions; nevertheless, we are not responsible for any factor beyond our control.

Weather

Weather conditions in India differ from one region to another and they depend entirely on the province you plan to visit. In North India, the best time is between mid-September and the end of March; for southern and central India, it is between October and March; in the western part — Darjeeling district, the summer is the best time; in the eastern part, Sikkim and Manipur, it is between October to March. If you plan to go to Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh, summer is the best time to visit.

Health

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends the following vaccinations for travellers going to India (as well as being up to date with measles, mumps and rubella vaccinations):

  1. Viral hepatitis A and B
  2. Typhoid fever
  3. Tetanus
  4. Poliomyelitis

It’s a good idea to consult your government’s travel-health website before departure.

Credit cards & ATMs

In all cities and you can withdraw cash with a bank card with Master or VISA. Cash can be exchanged at a bank or the hotel where you are staying. Credit cards are accepted in most of the hotels, restaurants and shopping places except the very remote village areas. The banks at the international airports are open day and night.

Mobile in India

You have coverage with your cell phone in most parts of India. If you have international roaming on your phone, you can connect to  an Indian service as soon you land at any Delhi airport.

Gastronomy

Do I need to be a vegetarian in India?

No, contrary to popular belief that all Hindus are vegetarians, strict vegetarianism is limited to the southern area of Gujarat and some holy cities. However, do not dream of a beefsteak; the cow is sacred, however, some restaurants serve buffalo. The culinary differences between North and South are considerable because of the climate and historical influences. In the North, meat, bread and cereals are most common, as well as Mughlai cuisine, akin to those in the Middle East and Central Asia, where spices play a more important role than chilli. In the South, the staple meal is rice and a vegetarian dish — Dal, a kind of lentil soup or as a side dish or as a basic meal; the Thali is the ubiquitous dish, originally from South India, it is used throughout the country. You can also taste meat or fish curries and succulent tandoori (less strong than the curry).

Clothing

To respect the Indian culture, the dress code is something that the traveler should know. In religious places, people are expected to wear clothes that go beyond the knees. In Jain temples, do not carry leather goods like belts or sandals. Women are expected to cover their heads in some religious sites.

Electrical outlet

There is no reason for you not to take your electrical items due to electrical outlets, the Indian market has most adapters.

Internet

Wireless Internet is now available in most hotels however; some hotels have an additional charge for it. Wireless network is not available in regions such as Ladakh, Kargil and Alichi. In these areas, to access the Internet, you will need to spend some time in an Internet café.

Weather

Weather conditions in India differ from one region to another and they depend entirely on the province you plan to visit. In North India, the best time is between mid-September and the end of March; for southern and central India, it is between October and March; in the western part — Darjeeling district, the summer is the best time; in the eastern part, Sikkim and Manipur, it is between October to March. If you plan to go to Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh, summer is the best time to visit.

Health

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends the following vaccinations for travellers going to India (as well as being up to date with measles, mumps and rubella vaccinations):

  1. Viral hepatitis A and B
  2. Typhoid fever
  3. Tetanus
  4. Poliomyelitis

It’s a good idea to consult your government’s travel-health website before departure.

Credit cards & ATMs

In all cities and you can withdraw cash with a bank card with Master or VISA. Cash can be exchanged at a bank or the hotel where you are staying. Credit cards are accepted in most of the hotels, restaurants and shopping places except the very remote village areas. The banks at the international airports are open day and night.

Mobile in India

You have coverage with your cell phone in most parts of India. If you have international roaming on your phone, you can connect to  an Indian service as soon you land at any Delhi airport.

Gastronomy

Do I need to be a vegetarian in India?

No, contrary to popular belief that all Hindus are vegetarians, strict vegetarianism is limited to the southern area of Gujarat and some holy cities. However, do not dream of a beefsteak; the cow is sacred, however, some restaurants serve buffalo. The culinary differences between North and South are considerable because of the climate and historical influences. In the North, meat, bread and cereals are most common, as well as Mughlai cuisine, akin to those in the Middle East and Central Asia, where spices play a more important role than chilli. In the South, the staple meal is rice and a vegetarian dish — Dal, a kind of lentil soup or as a side dish or as a basic meal; the Thali is the ubiquitous dish, originally from South India, it is used throughout the country. You can also taste meat or fish curries and succulent tandoori (less strong than the curry).

Clothing

To respect the Indian culture, the dress code is something that the traveler should know. In religious places, people are expected to wear clothes that go beyond the knees. In Jain temples, do not carry leather goods like belts or sandals. Women are expected to cover their heads in some religious sites.

Electrical outlet

There is no reason for you not to take your electrical items due to electrical outlets, the Indian market has most adapters.

Internet

Wireless Internet is now available in most hotels however; some hotels have an additional charge for it. Wireless network is not available in regions such as Ladakh, Kargil and Alichi. In these areas, to access the Internet, you will need to spend some time in an Internet café.

Traveling with us is the best way to come closer to the daily life of the locals. Impart your knowledge, skills and art with them. If you are an artist, a photographer, a cook or whichever skills you have that can be shared with the local community, please feel free to tell us about them, and we will organize a special activity for you at a right place to support them. In our very first communication with you, we will ask your interest and if you are willing to participate in an activity for even just one hour.

In 2016, our participants have already taught over 400 hours, the equivalent of 17 days!

Our conscious tourism does not end there; we constantly propose new participatory activities:

There are many young kids who aspire to take the job of ‘guide’. We are helping them to speak better English, or teaching them skills and techniques of travel guiding.

Post the earthquake, life is still struggling in Nepal. We are helping some small shops and businesses to get into the mainstream; not by giving money, but improvising some ideas to run their business more effectively.

“In your route, though you choose to take part in any one of these options, your trip will be the same number of days and the price will not change under any circumstances.”

How much do you donate?

Nothing Actually. We just need little bit of your time and involvement.

Plan your personalised trip with our expert Barsha

Starting From 1456 $

5 Nights/6 Days

Hotel + meals + tours + guides

Call our tailor-made expert
to discuss your holiday plans.
AUS : +61 28 6078737
or