Calcutta dominates the political and economic life of much of eastern India, and often surprises visitors with its wonderful colonial architecture and vibrant atmosphere.
From here you can venture north to Darjeeling - famous for its tea but also as one of India’s most spectacular regions - and continue to the mountain state of Sikkim, scattered with Buddhist monasteries established on the Himalayan trade routes.
A short flight will take you to Assam, where it is possible to take a cruise along India’s longest river, the Brahmaputra, or visit Kaziranga National Park.
To the south of Calcutta Orissan architecture predominates, with awe-inspiring pilgrimage centres at Puri and Konark, while the tribal and village culture of Orissa is accessible for the intrepid.
Start planning your trip to Calcutta & East India
Visit the colonial hill stations around Darjeeling
Whilst Darjeeling was originally an army camp at the beginning of the Raj era, it expanded rapidly with the introduction of the tea industry. This region of the Indian Himalaya was popular with the early British colonists largely due to the heat, with hill stations the only escape in the hot summer months. The colonial buildings here really are a feature, whilst in the tea plantations one can relive the way of life of the British Raj.
Journey along the Brahmaputra River
A large dusty city, Guwahati is the gateway to the Northeast and is the start of one of the world's great river journeys, along the Brahmaputra. One of the most rewarding and relaxing experiences on the Subcontinent.
Discover tea at its finest at Dibrugarh
Assam is synonymous with tea and Dibrugarh is one of the world's tea capitals. A visit to a tea estate is a must. Learn how tea is processed before the all important tea tasting itself.
Taste the best of Bengali cuisine in Calcutta
A cultural hotpot and long-standing centre for learning and philosophy, Calcutta is a fascinating place to explore on a half or full day walking tour. One main aspect of any visit to this thriving city is the wonderful food on offer, and some of the best Bengali cuisine can be sampled here, including the popular kathi roll (kebab wrapped in dough) or any one of the many delicious cheese-based sweets.
Some of our favourite places in Calcutta and The East
The former capital of the British Raj, Calcutta’s colonial character is evident. The city is full of contrasts from the regal white-marbled Victoria Memorial with its impressive art collection to the busy flower market and tranquil 18th-century colonial graveyard.
For centuries, the hill station at Darjeeling has provided respite from Calcutta’s fierce summer heat. The Raj-era estates and bungalows sit comfortably alongside Hindu idols and Buddhist monasteries, with the world’s highest peaks proudly lining the horizon.
Kaziranga, famous for its one-horned rhino, is one of the most remote national parks in India. It covers some 430 square kilometres of very varied terrain. Kaziranga has a tiger count of 86, giving it the highest density tiger population in India, though the lush jungle means that it is difficult to spot them.
Great places to stay in Calcutta and The East
Kaziranga National Park