If you thought Durga Puja in Kolkata was a huge affair, wait till you witness Christmas in Kolkata. It’s not called the City of Joy for nothing. The general love and affinity Bengalis and Kolkata have towards festivals, we celebrate everything like it’s our own. Park Street Christmas celebration is a story in its own.
The city decks up in its most vibrant lights and colours. Even though Saint Nicholas doesn’t come visit, people from every corner of the city are out on the streets, trying to hold on to whatever’s left of the year that has gone by. With the mild winter that the city experiences, the time is just right to reel in the hangover of the festive season and also the remnants of the long-lost colonialism. Whether or not you have your roots in the city, if you happen to be in Kolkata during Christmas, this is the only guide you are going to need.
Things to do during Christmas in Kolkata
While the entire city gets in carnival mode, how far behind can you be? If you are in Kolkata, this is a comprehensive list of all the things you should do on Christmas, including the grand celebrations on Park Street.
Take a tour of the churches
With Kolkata still reeling under the colonial hangover, the remnants are hard to miss. From small churches to big ones, you will find plenty to visit. On Christmas, they are decked up and witness a huge footfall. You might not be able to get a seat, but the visit is still worth it, for all the lights and decorations. St. Paul’s Cathedral is particularly the most famous one that you can visit during Christmas in Kolkata.
Visit Bow Barracks
What was once a part of military barracks, is a colony of red brick buildings today, with most of its Anglo Indian residents having migrated abroad. But that doesn’t stop the Christmas celebrations. The only place in Kolkata that hosts open-air dance parties during Christmas along with plenty of other events, this is as close as Kolkata can get to Goa during Christmas. If you don’t wish to participate in any of these, just take a walk around the neighbourhood to soak in the vibes.
Attend any of the numerous Christmas parties
Every place in Kolkata hosts killer Christmas parties. From clubs like the Bengal Club, the Calcutta Club, the Tollygunge Club, to bars, restaurants and resorts and properties, everyone has their own Christmas party. If you do not wish to go out in the streets, you can always get passes to any of these parties that happen during Christmas in Kolkata.
Take a walk around Park Street
Ask any Bengali what’s the ideal thing to do if you’re spending the holiday season in Kolkata, and they will all give you the same answer- take a walk around Park Street and experiencing Christmas spirit. This is an absolute Christmas essential. The best food, booze, lighting, decoration, vibes et al, Park Street is an indispensable part of the city’s cultural heritage. But disclaimer, you will feel like the entire world is right there. So, be prepared for the huge crowd and festive chaos.
Things to eat in Kolkata during Christmas
The one thing that you can trust Kolkata with is food. Not just during Christmas, but all round the year. If you grew up watching American and British sitcoms wishing to gorge on all the Christmas delicacies, Kolkata will make that dream come true. Wine, fruit and plum cakes, freshly baked breads, turkey and duck roasts, you will find them all!
Where to eat
Eating out in Kolkata is an absolute must, regardless of the festival. But when it is Christmas, it’s all about Christmas treats and brunches, and the classics of Kolkata, of course. Here are all the places you can head out to to make your Christmas extra special.
A traditional Christmas spread at Flury’s
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Address: 18A, Park St, Park Street area, Kolkata, West Bengal 700071
Christmas baked goodies and treats at the OG Jewish bakery, Nahoum and Sons.
Address: F20, Bertram St, New Market Area, Dharmatala, Taltala, Kolkata, West Bengal 700087
Christmas buffet at Mrs. Magpie
Address: 570, Lake Terrace Rd, near Vivekananda park, Golpark, Extension, Keyatala, Kolkata, West Bengal 700029
Christmas spread for breakfast, brunch and dinner at JW Marriott
Address: 4A, JBS Haldane Ave, Tangra, Kolkata, West Bengal 700105
Chelo kebabs at Peter Cat, because classics never go out of style
Address: Stephen Court Building, 18 A, Park St, opposite KFC Restaurant, Park Street area, Kolkata, West Bengal 700016
The unmatched continental fares at Mocambo, that dates back to the 1950s
Address: Ground Floor, 25B, Mirza Ghalib St, Taltala, Kolkata, West Bengal 700016
Pocket-friendly steaks, Chicken Ala Kiev and Tandoori Chicken at the OG bar of Kolkata, Olypub
Address: 21, Park St, Taltala, Kolkata, West Bengal 700016
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