Chitpur is the heart of the “native” or “black” quarters of pre-independence Calcutta. It houses not only vibrant traditional bazaars, but also several palatial residences of wealthy Bengalis who lived the rich “babu” lifestyle. The area is populated by Hindus (Bengali and Marwari) and Muslims alike. The markets reflect a wide range of textiles, utensils and daily needs goods to meet the diverse needs of these communities.
During the Tour:
• Assemble outside the Marble Palace, the home of the Mullick family. Built in 1835, it has been described as “the richest, quaintest, eeriest, most haphazard and most ridiculous, most astonishing and most lovable of the palaces of Kolkata. You’re free to form your own opinion of the same!
• Walk through Chitpur Road (now called Rabindra Sarani) and see rickshaw pullers, trams, auto-rickshaws and cars, all trundling along amidst a medley of shops and people, going about their business.
• See numerous little shops selling cane baskets, pottery, ‘puja’ worship items, clothes, household wares and hundreds of other things while housewives haggle with the sellers for cheaper prices.
• See several food-stalls that are set up alongside the pavements, and popular snacks sizzling away. Tea shops do brisk business as people stop to chat over mud-cups of sweet chai.
• Visit Mechuabazaar, the wholesale fruit market, where mountains of fruit are unloaded from trucks and auctioned daily.
• Visit a traditional covered market that was built around the time of World War I, which houses lots of tiny shops selling cereals, grains, vegetables and spices and get enchanted by the humdrum that is Kolkata.
Duration of the tour : /strong> - 2 – 3 hours