Kolkata, India

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Exploring Behala

Situated on the banks of the River Hooghly, Kolkata, or Calcutta as it was formerly called, is a large urban metropolis in East India. This city of 14 million people is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal and is the financial, commercial, political, educational, and cultural centre of the entire region. Though it experienced decades of economic stagnation after the independence of India from the British, development has since picked up following the liberalisation of the Indian economy.

One of the areas of Kolkata that is benefetting from this recent economic development is Behala, located in the southern fringes of this large urban agglomeration. Though it has long been a residential area, one of the oldest in the city, Behala, along with the rest of the southern suburbs of Kolkata, is currently experiencing a rapid growth in properties, including posh shopping malls and educational institutions.

Sights nearby

Staying at a hotel in Behala means you will have access to the posh part of the city—South Kolkata—where the largest shopping malls in the city reside. You can stay in one of the several three-star accommodation choices here, such as Hotel Pan Asia International or Shila International. Those looking for a more lavish holiday can head to the five-star Taj Bengal.

National Library of India
Kolkata, being one of the oldest centres of education and culture in India, has the largest library in the country. The scenic grounds of the library span 30 acres and are worth the visit alone. There are over 2.2 million books stored here. Collections are sorted into the many languages of India—Hindi, Urdu, Assam, Bengali, and many others. English and foreign language books can also be found here.

Birla Mandir
Birla Mandir, or Birla Temple, refers to the set of temples constructed by the wealthy Birla family in many of India's main cities. South Kolkata has one of these ostentatious white marble temples. It is set within an equally affluent neighbourhood which is home to the residences of the city's rich and famous, Queen's Park and Sunny Park.

Eating and drinking and shopping nearby

The shopping areas of Behala and greater South Kolkata naturally have most of the eating and drinking places. Notable ones include Chakhna Shakna Punjabi Dhaba, also called Flavours of Punjab, which serves North Indian cuisine or Punjabi food. Excellent Bengali food, meanwhile, can be had in Oh Calcultta! located on Forum Shopping Mall's top floor. As for entertainment, Behala is not at all bereft of culture. Theatres and other venues here regularly hold art fairs. Those looking to catch the latest Bengali flicks can head to Ajanta, Elora, and Ashoka cinemas.

Behala and the rest of South Kolkata are becoming the best places in Kolkata to indulge in shopping. This is where many of the city's largest shopping areas are located. Gariahat is perhaps the largest area in Kolkata for shopping. It encompasses malls, showrooms, and small shops. Malls here include Gariahat Mall, Pantaloons, Raymonds, and a couple of others.

Public transport

Although it lies on the fringes of Kolkata, Behala is a busy place, especially during rush hour. The main street is Diamond Harbour Road, easily the most congested route during peak times. There are many private and government buses which ply routes around the area. Autorickshaws are a popular mode of transport, too, especially for common folk commuting around the district. Taxis are certainly plentiful but most drivers charge extra for journeys away from Diamond Harbour Road. The Kolkata Suburban Railway makes a stop here at Majherhat Railway Station.

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