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A homeless man sits beside the track after a cup of tea.

(Photo: Debayan Dutta)

Photos: From Dawn to Dusk, People Who Make Kolkata The City of Joy

It is the residents of the City of Joy that are the most integral part of the city and its ever-lasting culture.

3 min read

Lonely Planet describes the city of Kolkata as a daily festival of human existence, simultaneously noble and squalid.

But it is the residents of the City of Joy that are the most integral part of the city and its ever-lasting culture. From hand-rickshaw pullers to chaiwallas, every single one of them have a role to play in making India's second largest city, Kolkata.

Start on an early winter morning. The streets are mostly empty, but you won’t be the only one around. Hawkers will be setting up shops from as early as 7 am, while chaiwallas will beat them to it by an hour or more.


As the day progresses, the city starts buzzing with life. Trams coming through on one side while hand-pulled rickshaws occupy the sidelines, hint at a city stuck in time, and seemingly comfortable where it is.

Trams and hand-pulled rickshaws have survived the test of time and are still operational in Kolkata. Even though a fair number of people still avail hand-pulled rickshaws, the frequency of trams have reduced but they haven’t gone out of business.

SS Hogg Market, or locally known as New Market, is a place that is crowded at almost any time of the day. It is Kolkata’s shopping paradise with a wide range of gastronomic delicacies that have been around since the British Rule.

As the sun starts to set, it is the riverbanks of the Hooghly river that are frequented by people who are often there for some adda (chat session) over a cup of tea and a few cigarettes. This attracts food and tea vendors who camp in and around the banks. Out of the banks, it is Prinsep Ghat that is the most famous.

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