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Kolkata (Calcutta)

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485

Kolkata (Calcutta)

Kolkata
(Calcutta)

Simultaneously noble and squalid, cultured and desperate, Kolkata is a daily festival of human
existence. And it’s all played out before your very eyes on teeming streets where not an
inch of space is wasted. By its old spelling, Calcutta, India’s second-biggest city conjures up
images of human suffering to most Westerners. But Bengalis have long been infuriated by
one-sided depictions of their vibrant capital. Kolkata is locally regarded as the intellectual
and cultural capital of the nation. Several of India’s great 19th- and 20th-century heroes were
Kolkatans, including guru-philosopher Ramakrishna, Nobel Prize–winning poet Rabindranath
Tagore and celebrated film director Satyajit Ray. Dozens of venues showcase Bengali dance,
poetry, art, music, film and theatre. And while poverty certainly remains in-your-face, the
dapper Bengali gentry continue to frequent grand old gentlemen’s clubs, back horses at the
Calcutta Racetrack and play soothing rounds of golf at some of India’s finest courses.

Friendlier than India’s other mega-cities, Kolkata is really a city you ‘feel’ more than just
visit. But don’t come between May and September unless you’re prepared for a very serious drenching.

HIGHLIGHTS

Ramakrishna Centre

ive
r

„ Be awed by the magnificent colonial folly
ogh

ly R

that is the Victoria Memorial (p492)
Ho

„ Enjoy bizarre random encounters while

strolling between the faded colonial
buildings and assorted religious monuments
around BBD Bagh (p497)

Kali Temple

AJC Bose Rd

Kewpies

Gariahat Rd

Acha

rya Ja

gadis

u Rd
ial Nehr
Jawahar

Mukherjee Rd

Victoria
Memorial

„ Consider volunteering (p502) to help the

destitute after a humbling visit to the
rubbish-heap ‘homes’ around former
Chinatown (p498)

h Ch

andra

Chinatown

„ Contrast the urbane universalism on display at

Tagore’s House (p501) and the Ramakrishna
Centre (p501) with the gruesome sensual
fascination of Kali Temple (p499)

Bose

MG

BBD Bagh

Rd

cuisine at modest Bhojohari Manna (p507)
or cosily homy Kewpies (p507)

Rd

Tagore's House

„ Savour lipsmackingly authentic Bengali

Hazra Rd

Bhojohari Manna

KOLKATA (CALCUTTA)

As the former capital of British India, Kolkata retains a feast of dramatic colonial architecture,
with more than a few fine buildings in photogenic states of semi-collapse. The city still has
many slums but is also developing dynamic new-town suburbs, a rash of air-conditioned
sho...
KOLKATA (CALCUTTA)
(Calcutta)
Kolkata
Simultaneously noble and squalid, cultured and desperate, Kolkata is a daily festival of human
existence. And it’s all played out before your very eyes on teeming streets where not an
inch of space is wasted. By its old spelling, Calcutta, India’s second-biggest city conjures up
images of human suffering to most Westerners. But Bengalis have long been infuriated by
one-sided depictions of their vibrant capital. Kolkata is locally regarded as the intellectual
and cultural capital of the nation. Several of India’s great 19th- and 20th-century heroes were
Kolkatans, including guru-philosopher Ramakrishna, Nobel Prize–winning poet Rabindranath
Tagore and celebrated film director Satyajit Ray. Dozens of venues showcase Bengali dance,
poetry, art, music, film and theatre. And while poverty certainly remains in-your-face, the
dapper Bengali gentry continue to frequent grand old gentlemen’s clubs, back horses at the
Calcutta Racetrack and play soothing rounds of golf at some of India’s finest courses.
As the former capital of British India, Kolkata retains a feast of dramatic colonial architecture,
with more than a few fine buildings in photogenic states of semi-collapse. The city still has
many slums but is also developing dynamic new-town suburbs, a rash of air-conditioned
shopping malls and some of the best restaurants in India. This is a fabulous place to sample
the mild, fruity tang of Bengali cuisine and share the city’s passion for sweets.
Friendlier than India’s other mega-cities, Kolkata is really a city you ‘feel’ more than just
visit. But don’t come between May and September unless you’re prepared for a very seri-
ous drenching.
Kolkata (Calcutta)
HIGHLIGHTS
Be awed by the magnificent colonial folly
that is the Victoria Memorial ( p492 )
Enjoy bizarre random encounters while
strolling between the faded colonial
buildings and assorted religious monuments
around BBD Bagh ( p497 )
Savour lipsmackingly authentic Bengali
cuisine at modest Bhojohari Manna ( p507 )
or cosily homy Kewpies ( p507 )
Contrast the urbane universalism on display at
Tagore’s House ( p501 ) and the Ramakrishna
Centre ( p501 ) with the gruesome sensual
fascination of Kali Temple ( p499 )
Consider volunteering ( p502 ) to help the
destitute after a humbling visit to the
rubbish-heap ‘homes’ around former
Chinatown ( p498 )
Kewpies
Chinatown
Ramakrishna Centre
Memorial
Victoria
Bhojohari Manna
BBD Bagh
Kali Temple
Tagore's House
Hooghly River
Hazra Rd
Ga
riahat
Rd
AJC Bose Rd
Rd
herjee
Mu
Rd
Jawaharial Nehru Rd
k
Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose
Rd
G
M
485
© Lonely Planet Publications
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