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India's second largest city. Simultaneously regal and rundown, daily life in the city is a veritable feast of human existence, where poverty and prosperity sit side by side and culture and colour rebound from the crumbling colonial walls. Calcutta, by its old spelling, was a byword for shortage, but from the ashes of its colonial past has risen India's intellectual and cultural capital, where you'll find vibrant new conurbations vying for attention with colonial-era architecture.
With a jovial feel more accessible than some of India's other great metropolises, Kolkata's friendly, hurried population embraces travellers who are flooding back to enjoy the photogenic city and its many delights, including the mild, fruity Bengali cuisine and some of India's finest golf courses. If you're looking to escape the oft-rammed tourist sites of Rajasthan, or delve under the surface of a country that's rapidly progressing, yet clinging to its historic roots, Kolkata is the place to visit. To Agra's incomparable monument of love, the Taj Mahal, Kolkata offers the gleaming mass of white marble that is the Victoria Memorial. To the Red Fort, residence of the Mughal emperor of India, Kolkata offers the resplendent yet dilapidated Marble Palace, a raja's mansion stacked with statues, Victoriana and Belgian glassware. No trip is complete without a visit to Kalighat Temple, the city's holiest spot for Hindus and considered the original source for the city's name. Today's version, rebuilt in 1809, is adorned with floral and peacock motif tiles that appear more Victorian than Indian, but, as with most places in Kolkata, you're here for the atmosphere.
Our experts can tailor-make the perfect holiday to suit your individual requirements, however, if you need inspiration or a starting point, below are some of our suggested trips and experiences:
Below are some of our suggested places to stay:
Incredible Royal Escapes by Taj Hotels
Explore India with Taj Hotels, stay a minimum of six nights, four nights to be in one of the Grand Palaces in Jaipur, Udaipur, Jodhpur or Hyderabad and receive 20% discount on spa treatments and Food and Beverage ( soft drinks only). Valid for stays from now until the 15th April 2017 ( not valid for travel from 20th December 2016 to 7th January 2017). Subject to availability. Terms and conditions apply.
Incredible Royal Escapes by Taj Hotels with 1 free night in Agra
Explore India with Taj Hotels, stay a minimum of seven nights, four nights to be in one of the Grand Palaces in Jaipur, Udaipur, Jodhpur or Hyderabad and receive 20% discount on spa treatments and Food and Beverage ( soft drinks only) and one free night in Agra at The Gateway Hotel Fatehabad Road, Agra. Valid for stays from now until the 15th April 2017 ( not valid for travel from 20th December 2016 to 7th January 2017). Subject to availability. Terms and conditions apply.
25% off spa therapies, complimentary WiFi and further discounts when you stay 6 nights or more
Discover India staying with Oberoi hotels. Stay a minimum of 6 nights at selected Oberoi Hotels and receive further discounts as well as 25% off spa therapies and complimentary high speed WiFi. Valid for travel from now until the 15th April 2017. Subject to availability. Terms and conditions apply. Selected hotels are; Oberoi Amarvilas - Agra, Oberoi Rajvilas - Jaipur, Oberoi Udaivilas - Udaipur, Oberoi Vanyavilas Ranthambore, Oberoi Mumbai, Oberoi Grand Kolkata, Oberoi Gurgaon - Delhi and Wildflower Hall Shimla - Himalayas.
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Annie, Brandon, Debbie, Margaret, Vicky Hamlin, Vicky Smith and Rachel - are experts in designing travel experiences across the region to suit your personal needs, interests and budget. Their intimate knowledge of every hotel and resort featured in our Orient, India, Australasia and Indian Ocean portfolio, together with our own network of offices throughout these areas, allows us to offer unique in-depth knowledge, unparalleled insider access and the VIP service for which Abercrombie & Kent is renowned.
Read about our lastest experiences in our Travel Blog pages.
To find out more about our Orient team, click on the consultant links below or call them on 01242 547 704 or enquire online
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Our recent awards
Our driver Sonu was excellent. He more than anyone helped to make our visit comfortable. We had complete trust in him and it was helped by his excellent driving right throughout the journey- Delhi traffic or express highways. He was very courteous and thoughtful. We can't praise him enough!
- KB, London
Best time to be there
From October to March the weather is refreshingly cool with minimal rainfall in most places. India's main festivals also take place during this time, such as the Pushkar Fair in Rajasthan, the Republic Day of India and Holi, the festival of colours.
8 hours 20 minutes non-stop
GMT +5 1/2 hours
Required for UK passport holders
Yellow fever certificate if arriving from an endemic area