Calcutta Street Scenes

No other Metropolitan city in India conjures up past urban memories quite like Calcutta does, its squalour and decay notwithstanding. Which makes for eminently fascinating walks through its distinctly dissonant neighbourhoods. Here are some (more!) evocative street scenes from the ‘City of Joy’ that was once upon a time, a ‘City of Palaces’!

Early morning fog:Early morning fog

The contrasts of ‘White’ CalcuttaCobbler, KolkataA mansion gone to seed………the story of Calcutta!Street scene, CalcuttaBelying the promises of political propagandaStreet scene, KolkataAnd Mother Teresa’s enduring legacy of compassionSisters of the Missionaries of Charity, Kolkata

Click here If you are (still) game for more from Calcutta.

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Madhu is an Interior designer turned travel blogger on a long sabbatical to explore the world. When not crafting stories on The Urge To Wander, she's probably Tweeting @theurgetowander or sharing special moments on

54 thoughts on “Calcutta Street Scenes

  1. Wow, what a fantastic gallery … just as I would image Calcutta streets to be … Thanks for taking me to India. The early morning fog is magical. Have a pleasant weekend now. *smile

  2. I don’t know how you do it every time Madhu…but each photo evokes an emotion, and Gilly is right, the last one IS heartbreaking

  3. I really like how you have captured some of the personality of what looks to be a very complex city. You are inspiring me to do more street scenes.

  4. Our younger daughter was in India some years ago and loved it. So many contrasts there as you emphasize in your photos. Thanks for taking me around. There’s such a mix of beauty, poverty, decay and hope.


  5. your photos are moving, as always Madhu, we did not see Calcutta, although we were there at the airport briefly so I appreciate your views … my favourite is the first … it looks like early morning on a busy road

  6. Walking the streets “with” you is such a pleasure, Madhu. Thank you for sharing. I’ve seen sites such as: Humans of New York, Humans of Paris, etc. Have you thought of doing something similar?

  7. Wow! That first picture – a real throw back. The subsequent ones do not exactly bring one to 2014!

    That mansion promises many possibilities.

    And the mother’s compassion – that’ll be wrenching for any parent.


  8. The first picture with the fog is really eyecatching if that is the right word… very atmospheric 🙂 great pictures

  9. I last saw Calcutta (I notice you refer to it as Calcutta too!) in 1975. The Metro that everyone raves about was being excavated then. The Calcutta of our young days was indeed a magical place. Your photos of it now are beyond beautiful.

  10. I love this city. It is where my mother was born and I was the first in my family – and only one to visit it again after she left with her parents in 1947. So many places and streets she knew so well as a child were still there. It is a wonderful place 🙂

  11. I enjoyed looking at your shots Madhu – interesting. They show both the Calcutta of the past as well as the present day city. How glorious it must have been in its heyday.

  12. to me, this incredible city will always make me think of Mother Theresa and Dominique Lapierre…
    * * *
    have a great weekend and an optimistic week! cheers, Mélanie

  13. Madhu, your thought-provoking images, coupled with your insightful captions, truly create such an educationally rich story for someone who has never traveled to this part of the world. Long after reading this post, I will remember “Mansion gone to seed” and “Mother Teresa.” Powerful images.

  14. Oh they still have the Ambassador taxis!!! Love it! I can remember travelling the roads with way over capacity people squashed inside at breakneck speed on bald tyres. Great entertainment. lol

  15. Hi Madhu, I had bookmarked this from the time I got the mail notification – was caught up with so much work that I couldn’t hop into the post. Now I don’t know whether I should have or not. I am so so nostalgic – it’s beautiful – and I seem to know each and every corner of the city! I will go through all the Kolkata posts, at leisure. This is one indulgence, that can’t be hurried!

  16. A wonderful gallery of pics, Madhu. My son had to go to Calcutta on a business trip, and he was so shocked at the squalor he saw in some areas, even though he was born and brought up in Africa. It’s so sad to see how run down some of the once majestic buildings have become. Yes, that last pic is very moving, but so is the second one.

  17. This post took me back to that wonderful city where I learned to love and forget.

  18. Thank you for your amazing inspiration of Calcutta in India, we are travelling into Delhi In January and visiting India for 2 and a half months, we haven’t booked any tours, seeking all inspiration and going to places we can enjoy the culture and do some yoga! If you have anything else you would recommend please get in touch. Happy travels to you xSN

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