Outer Kolkata, India
Day 169: Country #20
On the subway ride from the airport to the city, I noticed a really densely master planned area named Bidhannagar. There also appeared to be some university areas, which I like to see.
I knew that I needed to acquaint myself with India’s bus system and by watching people jump on and off, it seemed pretty fun and straightforward, so I jumped on and watched my GPS location to ensure that I was going the right way.
My first stop was Science City, a large theme park located at the intersection where I needed to transfer buses. The entry fee was very cheap, but I soon realized that it’s a pay as you go model for each ride and additional exhibit. Nonetheless, I wanted to get a birds eye view from the cable car.I spent a bit more time than I should have, but it was cool to learn about India’s space program, walk through a house of mirrors, watch some short movies, and even learn a bit about the regions maritime history. They also had really good Samosas.
Then I headed to the southernmost tip of Bidhannagar and walked all the way north to Central Park then the Salt Lake City Center. The neighborhoods were older than I expected and also not as dense. A man told me that a lot of the ongoing construction work was pretty old, but the city is trying to build a tech center in the area.
The sights reminded me of the wealthier neighborhoods which I explored in Dhaka, Bangladesh, though a little older and some areas such as around Central Park were in a state of disrepair. All the while there was a major metro rail construction project lifting high above the ground. The pace of economic development seemed quite uneven.
After getting a sense for the neighborhood, I found a bus depot and got some conflicting directions, which took me all the way out to Ruby station where I walked around a little to find another bus going the direction I wanted. However, when I got on, I decided to take it all the way to Tollygunge, which I heard was nicer.
It was a bit dark by the time I got there so I walked around a little then hopped on the metro to get home.
If you aren’t sure what bus to take, but you know the direction you want to go, you can walk down the street a short distance in that direction and then get on the buses which turned into that street. It’s one way to filter for the buses that you want, especially if you can’t read the bus route name or number, which was the case with half the buses in Kolkata even though they’re suppose to display Arabic numerals.