The Calcutta Times
Calcutta’s pleasure tourists
Calcutta’s Victoria Memorial
After its success of ‘pleasure tourism’ in Bombay, hotels in Calcutta have started offering its own package of ‘pleasure tourism’. The Great Eastern Hotel was the first to introduce ‘veiled walks’ around Calcutta’s heritage palaces. It was most popular among foreign tourists and among a few Indian tourists as well who wanted to experience Bengali culture, including the actress Kareena Kapoor who visited last year. Now however, the hotel has decided to give the whole package in line with the Taj in Bombay and the Intercontinental Hotel.
The manager, Girish Chander, explained to us, “Calcutta has always been at the forefront of fashion and style in the sub-continent. We felt there was great potential to explore Bombay’s version of ‘pleasure tourism’ but in Calcutta’s particular conditions. So far the response has been quite encouraging.”
Calcutta also has a thriving underground fetish scene that has seen a resurgence in recent years. Most popular among the local population are traditional Chinese binding techniques and Japanese rope art. Clarissa Wang runs a ‘bondage boutique’ tucked away in a corner of Calcutta’s Chinatown at Tiretta Bazaar. She is looking forward to the prospect of ‘pleasure tourism’ here. “Calcutta is a beautiful city and there is a really thriving fetish scene which I am sure would entice tourists. It would be great for us too, to show our work.”
Apart from bondage, another intriguing development has been the popularity of zentai in Calcutta. The city’s small Japanese population, concentrated largely in the Salt Lake suburban neighbourhood, has brought about this change. Last year, organizer Yuzura Yamada successfully organized Calcutta’s first Zentai art fest which brought together many enthusiasts. She too is hopeful for the success of this new project.
We too look forward to seeing the success of the Great Eastern’s new ‘pleasure tourism’ package.