If you are in Kolkata during the festive season of Christmas then Park Street is the place to be. Park street was always the nerve centre of Christmas and New Year related activities but for the last couple of years this street is getting completely decked up and bringing an absolutely transformation. For the last couple of years Kolkata Christmas Festival is celebrated at Park Street and it includes food fest, live DJ, cultural programmes, giant Christmas Tree etc.
Since I am pretty busy during this season with my own set of home and locality decorations thus it’s not possible for me to attend all the programmes in spite of my office being at Park Street. However I make it a point to visit it with my family right after Christmas and just before the onset of New Year.
For my daughter her main attraction is obviously the cotton candy and popcorn, my wife obviously loves to see the overall atmosphere and for me my main intention is to photograph the entire show and it specially includes the food stall set up by families with some delicious tasty treats.
Overall the entire length of Park Street is draped with LED lights, dripping light and colourful metal focus lights on the trees. Specially designed light gates are erected at regular interval with the logo of Kolkata Christmas Festival at the centre.
The main attraction however centres on Allen Park, right outside there is a huge Christmas Tree which welcomes all the visitors. This year the logo has a Santa Claus dressed in traditional Bengali Dhoti, rightfully converging the spirit of Kolkata and the fun of Christmas.
The main park is buzzing with activities, right before you enter you will find many street sellers selling Christmas caps and other goodies. The park is well decorated with beautifully choreographed LED light panels.
Once inside you will find various food stalls set up temporarily for the celebrations. Most of these food stalls are set up by home bakers and home cookers who bring in their specialty to the visitors. Though there are branded shops also but I make it a point to taste the goodness that these home makers bring.
The most common items on sale are Muffins, Chocolates, Cup Cakes and Momo. Apart from these you will also find Kebabs, Fish Rolls, Fish Chops, Fish Cutlets, Vegetable Chops etc.
The Indian Chinese Association for Culture, Welfare & Development have set up their own stalls and a visit to them is a must if you are a Chinese food fan. Wanton, Pao, Spring Roll, Cheese Balls etc. are being prepared fresh right in front of your eyes and served piping hot with traditional sauces.
Apart from these there are always the Bhel Puri, Batata Puri, Papri Chat & Jhal Muri seller which has its own dedicated clients. Considering all these how can the Pickle seller be far behind, with his complete collection he has set up his stall with various sweet and sour treats.
As for the kids there is the all-time favourite Pop Corn and Candy Floss. Make sure to carry a bottle of water as these candies can be real sticky and needs a quick wash down. However there are stall selling packaged drinking water so always you can pick one from them.
There in one corner you will also see a guy selling hot and fresh Waffles and since you are here in Bengal how can you miss the famous sweets of Bengal, here you will find some of the best varieties of Sandesh and a couple of them won’t do justice, make sure to carry a box full back to home.
Apart from food stalls you will definitely see some shops selling bags, Christmas decorations, lucky dip, writing your name on a rice etc.
This being a park there are plenty of benches around so if you find an empty spot just make yourself comfortable and enjoy the madness and fun all around. For the kids there is a slip and slide in shape of a huge tractor tyre and you really cannot stop the kids from taking a few turns. I just wish that I was young enough to try a couple of rounds myself.
There is also a stall dedicated to the travel and tourism in Bengal, it’s really informative and a stopover is recommended. Another reason for entering the stall is that it has some empty chairs so if you want to relax your legs you know where to go.
The main attraction inside the park is also the wonderfully decorated crib, with beautifully placed fibre glass statues the crib is one of the best that I have seen in the city and a selfie in front of it is a must.
Christmas at Park Street is not a one day affair and you can keep coming back to enjoy an evening in a magically lit dreamland.