Umaid Bhawan  Palace JODHPUR Logo Northindia (1)
Back to Listing


Calcutta's streets tell stories. Old mansions dripping in moss and spotted with mildew make it easy to imagine its spectacular trajectory from rural village to Imperial India's most imposing city. Set on the Hooghli River and originally leased by the British East India Company in 1690, by the late 19th century it was the capital of the Raj, with burgeoning trade and a reputation for being more cosmopolitan than the rest of India. A century later Calcutta was famous for urban chaos and poverty, but somehow it has triumphed and emerged as one of India's most creative cities: residents claim the poverty is no worse than any other major conurbation on the Subcontinent, the crumbling relics of the Raj are still there, powerful and atmospheric, and the city is acknowledged as a powerhouse of the arts.

Travel through history as you visit the Victoria Memorial, St Paul's Cathedral and the excellent India Museum, housing one of the world's finest collections of Indian art. There are also smaller treasures, such as the atmospheric South Park Cemetery, the Marble Palace (with its Western art collection) and the idol-making workshops at Kumar Tuli. A sunrise visit to the flower market on the banks of the Hoogly river will be sure to awaken your senses, as will a Hoogli sailing trip to spot Gangetic dolphins. Visit Kalighat, one of Calcutta’s oldest neighbourhoods, which is densely populated but brimming with life and soul. Explore the Raj Bhawan, Assembly House and Writers Building, and discover a holy trail of religious sites around Brabourne Road – once home to Calcutta’s many immigrants including the Chinese, Armenians, and Jews & Muslims from the Middle East – with a number of different religious structures coexisting in close proximity. Highlights here include the Magen David Synagogue and the Belur Math Shrine, which resembles a church, a temple or a mosque depending on where you are standing.

Calcutta is home to arguably the most evolved of all the Indian cuisines and it is a city obsessed with food. As soon as you enter into the smouldering heat of Calcutta you will be struck by the heady smells wafting out of its packed eateries. Explore Calcutta’s famed architecture and intoxicating culture on a walking tour as you discover its delicious food. You have authentic Bengali food and world-famous street food from Jhaal Muri to the Kathi rolls. Experience the legacy of the British through the Anglo-Indian cuisine and discover the ‘Indianisation’ of Chinese food. This state is also home to the most sought after Darjeeling tea.

Calcutta is a wonderful destination for people-watching and there is always an array of fascinating characters to be seen. Considered the intellectual capital of India, Calcutta was the birthplace of the Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore and still today her cafes are filled with debating intellectuals wearing thick-rimmed glasses. Despite its cultural prowess, Calcutta feels slightly stuck in the past, which holds huge charm. It is an intoxicating blend of British colonial history and 21st century India – eccentric, charismatic and simply one of a kind. 

>> Read our blog: Ampersand's Insider View of Calcutta

Calcutta North India 2 Calcutta North India 2
Calcutta North India Calcutta North India
Calcutta North India 3 Calcutta North India 3
Calcutta North India 1 Calcutta North India 1
I can't think of anything that excites a greater sense of childlike wonder than to be in a country where you are ignorant of almost everything.
Bill Bryson

Client Testimonials

I thought the Ampersand team was outstanding. We couldn’t have hoped for anything more.
- Mr Geoffrey Johnson, India
Everything you did for us whilst we were away was hugely appreciated, and Ampersand has been exemplary in every way. I'll always recommend you!
- Mr Richard Stoughton, Sri Lanka
We had a wonderful holiday - everything was perfect. Thank you for helping us to make a thoughtful plan to enjoy and make most out of our trip. The places we visited, the guides, the transportation and driver, the hotels selected... Everything was great!
- Jaime Benitez, South India
Ampersand provided a bespoke and flexible holiday, tailored to my every whim. Their highly professional staff had only one goal which was to arrange an exceptional holiday and some unforgettable experiences in India. I have no hesitation in fully recommending them and they will be the first company I approach in the future - 10/10
- Anonymous, India
So many highlights to choose from! The hotels were amazing but Maya Villa was a highlight… I loved just hanging out in the hammock reading my book and watching the peacocks chase the cows!
- Krista Weir, Sri Lanka
Without question, you put together the best trip I have ever taken. We were shown around like visiting dignitaries, the hotels were fantastic and the itinerary was just right. Everybody I know will hear about how amazing Ampersand is!
- Leslie Siben, India
I had a very lovely time and was looked after splendidly. My first visit to India could not have been better, save for being longer! But I shall return at some point and I shall look to you to make the arrangements.
- Matthew Nicklin, North India
Difficult to articulate just how good the service from you and your team really was. We know you will continue to do well and hope we have the chance to seek your assistance again before long.
- Mr & Mrs Manson, North India
I would recommend Ampersand without any hesitation!!! The best travel agent that I’ve ever had. Everything – from the individual care and attention in planning the trip, through to the efficiency of the agents on the ground in India – was handled brilliantly. An absolutely first-class service all round!
- Matthew Annable, Rajasthan, India
Ampersand’s preparation, attention to detail and interaction before and during our trip show exactly why good travel agents have a role in today’s internet booking age. They were a delight to deal with!
- Mr David Wallace, North India

Let us keep you up to date

Sign up to our newsletter and never miss out on unmissable exclusive luxury experiences