Monday, January 23, 2012

Top 10 things to do in Calcutta

The Top 10 things to do in Kolkata/Calcutta India. For me the main reason why I made the trip was to volunteer with Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity. The Missionaries of Charity is an organization I have been involved with for many years. The sisters are dedicated and kind. Aside from that there are many other things to explore and enjoy in Kolkatta.

10. Visit the Victoria Museum: The architecture of the building itself is a sight to see. The well preserved paintings and art work is also enjoyable. The surrounding garden is also a lovely place to sit and relax for sometime
9. Eating Bhel Puri at a friendly Veg Walla/street vendor.....This is like Indian Chips and Guacamole.....only better and without the chips or guacamole.....
8. Sipping Indian Chai (from a Chai Walla) Normally I sip herbal tea, but in India I enjoy a tasty cup of chai....with wonderful flavors, served in a shot glass, it is always a treat.
7. Enjoying Live Indian Music Concerts: I was fortunate to hear amazingly talented banusri playing friend, Eric Fraser have a morning concert at an awesome Bookstore with the brilliant Steve Gorn. I also enjoyed a bit of the 60th annual Hindustani Music Concert, and for music lovers, musicians or anyone for that matter, it is fun to go to a music concert.
6. Eating Masala Dosa at a friendly Veg favorite Indian is like a giant rice crepe filled with potatoes etc. While this is normally considered a Kerala food, the folks in Calcutta come to a close second place for their version.
5. Exploring New Market and Sudder Street Shopping area: you will find beautiful Indian clothing, handicrafts, jewels and crystals.....Vendors are eager to make a sale, so they will pull out half the clothing items from the walls to show you.
4. Visiting the Kali Temple: This is the largest Temple for Goddess Kali in all of India. On fridays many will come to make Puja. When I went with two fellow volunteers we saw the tail end of a beautiful Hindu Wedding. There are many temples, churches, a brilliant mosque, jain Temple, and the Hoogley....all places where one can witness the depth and variety of spirituality in India.
3. Sri Aurobindo Ashram: come here to experience peace and tranquility. There are nightly meditation classes and also Indian Classical Dance lessons in the adjacent building.
2.Bengali Sweets: the most delicious bite sized sweets that taste amazing! Shops are nearly on every street.

And the number 1 thing to do in Calcutta.....

1. Volunteering: Personally I did my volunteering with The Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity. I spent time in Daya Dan with the orphan children who have mental and physical disabilities. In Calcutta there are a wide variety of Volunteer opportunities with where you can do short term or long term service. This is Karma Yoga at its finest. You will meet amazing people from all over the world, your life will be changed by the experience and you will leave with a deeper sense of connection with humanity and gratitude for your own life. While I took some wonderful pictures with the lovely children I worked with, I will not be posting the pictures on the blog, out of respect for the Mission.