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- DATE: 28-04-2020
- PLACE: Calcutta
Giada and Stefano, Samsara Roads, India
Giada and Stefano met in Calcutta, India, and decided their destiny would be there. In fact, they founded Samsara Roads and live in Varanasi, India.
MY TIPS - CALCUTTA
- The first of my tips - Calcutta: if you want to organize a trip to India, contact Samsara Roads . Here you will find their story, you can experience true India on an adventure trip accompanied by Giada and Stefano. The tips below belong to them!
- India in general is a country completely different from ours and very very difficult to understand : the absurd and contradictions are on the agenda and the difference with our culture is almost unbridgeable! For this reason, we would like to advise you, as soon as you arrive, do not try too hard to understand everything you see , to immediately find an answer to all the questions that India will inevitably raise in you, but simply start to observe what surrounds you, suspend the judgments as much as possible, postpone them at least at the end of the journey and enjoy the adventure.
- In terms of security Calcutta is a very quiet city , much less dangerous than many European capitals. Obviously, as in every other city in the world, the rule of common sense applies! Watch out for your backpack, bag and pockets, especially in crowded places like subways, buses and markets.
- The monsoon season runs from about mid-June to mid-September. For this reason, if you plan to visit Calcutta at that time, be prepared to have to walk on completely flooded roads (sometimes with knee-deep water!). The Indians love the monsoon because it brings some relief from the torrid heat of the previous months, irrigates the fields (even if sometimes it completely floods them and sweeps away the harvest) and fills the rivers on which the lives of millions of people depend.
- Indians are a very curious people. Therefore you will often be observed persistently and without the least modesty. In their culture, fixing someone is not rudeness, but simply a way to get in touch and try to get some information.
- The alcohol are not sold in normal supermarkets but there are the appropriate Liquor Shops, tiny shops protected by bars through which they will pass you the required alcohol (you cannot enter inside!). It is always better for women not to go alone, since they are places usually frequented by somewhat shady men.
- The places not to be missed in Calcutta are: the Flower Market, a wonderful flower market, probably the largest in all of Asia, which stands close to the large Hooghly river; the ghats on the riverside, in particular Babu ghat, Armenian ghat, Goenka ghat and Nimtala ghat; the New Market; Kumartoli, the district of artisans and artists who model the clay statues of the Hindu gods by hand; the British cemetery on Park Street; Bara bazar.
- Don't forget to taste the street food, it is famous all over India! We often eat New Market street food because we know it is "safe". Must try: pakora, kathi rolls and papri chaat!
- Furthermore, if you like, you can visit the tomb of Mother Teresa of Calcutta and volunteer for a few days with the Missionaries of Charity, it is very enriching.
- The best area to stay is Sudder Street, in the heart of Calcutta. It is a stone's throw from the New Market and very close to Park Street, the hotels are cheap - some very cheap - and there are several restaurants to choose from.
- Bengali cuisine is excellent, try it! In Sudder Street there is The Bhoj, our favourite restaurant that serves many typical Bengali dishes, both meat and fish based (but there are also many vegetarian options).
- Be prepared for the fact that the food will be very spicy! Always ask to have the food "Mirci ke bina", that is, not spicy: learn this phrase and make it your mantra.
- Taking a bus in Calcutta is an experience as beautiful as it is difficult! There are no bus stops and the destination is screamed by the ticket boy facing the running board. You can still move by subway (very cheap), with the tuc tuc (both shared and private) or with the beautiful yellow Ambassadors, the typical taxis of Calcutta.
- For women: try to avoid low-cut, sheer or short dresses. They are considered inconvenient and often out of place (just see how Indian women dress!).