Photo Essay of Kolkata Streets

People pictures from Kolkata!
Kolkata, they say is a ‘city of joy’!
Kolkata is nicknamed as the City of Joy after the novel City of Joy a 1985 novel by Dominique Lapierre.

People from different walks of life come to this city with dreams in eyes. How many live to see the fulfillment of their dreams! I spent a day walking through few streets of Kolkata, it is bursting with life, everybody going on with their daily routine. Here are a series of pictures.

Tea! A cup of tea costs Rs.3 if it is taken in a plastic cup, but in a kullhad (baked clay cup) costs Rs.5. and selling tea is the source of living for many in this city.

Devotion matters. Even if the little shop is on the pavement has no proper walls, the God’s picture is put on the street fence and worshiped at the start of the day.

Caught in traffic. When I saw them crossing streets I held my breath fearing they would be hit by speeding vehicles.


Life goes on with the loads on head along with loads of worries.

A shoe shine boy. I saw him earning Rs. 2 for the 10 mins he spent in shining the shoe. A 100ml cup of tea costs more than that. Assuming he is occupied for one whole hour he earns Rs.12 per hour. Make more calculations and you will be depressed. Behind him, a beggar woman taking a bite, her infant sleeping. She paused there for sometime before she was off again to beg.

A sweeper in Kolkata streets. When will poverty be swept away from India?!

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Faces of India - 163

58 Responses to “Photo Essay of Kolkata Streets

  • The streets are familiar and evokes fond memories.The one thing that I carried from Kolkata is that there is relatively no deception.People are honest.It is a city for both the rich and poor.A small packet of of jalmudi with a cup of tea is filling and enjoyed by people from all levels.
    I would have liked you to put the pics of trams if plying,the minibuses and the maidhan.

  • a bustling city of activity, but as you say, lots of poverty, too. bless them.

  • A fascinating photo essay. The city is indeed full of life, but like so many cities, it's full of poverty too.

  • For those in my country that complain and whine about their lives, I wish they could see your pics for the day!! I'd like to think it would give them a new appreciation and perspective for our lives and our world. Thank you, as always, for sharing, Indrani! Hope your new week is off to a great start!!

  • This excellent, humane post teaches much! Namaste

  • I very much enjoyed this photo essay on Kolkata Streets. Your camera did an excellent job of capturing the sights, and your words are wise as well.

  • Great post!! Boom, Bobbi and Gary.

  • Great sequence of shots. You are so good at capturing people and scenes.

  • Great people post, Indrani! It is a busy city. I hope they stay safe crossing the streets. Thanks for sharing, have a happy week!

  • Agree with Sylvia. I have not been to Kolkata (yet), but will one day, I hope. I have read City of Joy.

  • loved these and the story especially the chai ones 🙂

  • A wonderful series of shots.

  • Very insightful images. I see the beauty and the pain all wrapped together.

  • Marvelous pictures. Price of tea In Cal varies from place to place. Tea costs around Rs 3 in Khullar in suburban rly staions including Sealdoh station. Volume may vary. In elite areas it is Rs 5.

  • How I love the people of India! Their dignity and pride…even if it is shining shoes for next to nothing!
    Every visit leaves me humbled …and I can`t wait to go back! Wonderful pictures in which you show a lot of respect for the simple and poor people.

  • Beautifully captured, I went on a recent walk in Old Delhi, however, I quickly realised how tough a job it is to actually do street photography, I think I came back with no satisfactory pictures, though I think I can learn so much from this post here! Hopefully I will do such a walk again and come back with bettter pictures! 🙂

    Loved this post! 🙂

  • you bought out the grief, the misery along with the resilience, the colors and the beauty that so seamlessly co-exist on Indian streets

  • So difficult to see such poverty but your street photography is excellent, Indrani. Have you featured the shoe shiner before? Perhaps one of your Faces of India?

  • Love this series caught from life on streets! It struggles to scroll down the picture of woman with infant on street… l see the spirit of living in these photos despite any hardship.

  • Amazing captures, Indrani!
    And so much to see… I like it a lot…
    Warm greetings, Anna :-))

  • Interesting. Quite different from the way people work in the US.

  • These are such fantastic shots Indrani…

  • came back to say congrats on your POTW!

  • What a wonderful slice of life!

  • Fantastic photos of life in the city.

  • Came from Smitten. This is quite poignant and it's kind of sad to think how some must subsist. Well done.

  • these are some amazing clicks 🙂

  • Kolkata has it’s own charm. Love the way ladies dress up themselves 🙂 Beautiful shots Indrani..

  • Your pics speak louder than words. Great clicks, Indrani 🙂

  • Hard working people around truly form the backbone of any city’s existence and it’s smooth running of day to day life.. You touched the right Topic and accordingly presented a Great Post, Indrani.. Thanks for sharing!

  • Kolkata has always been alluring different people for a thousand reasons … a city steeped in art, literature, history and culture ! your essay presents an altogether different facet of this multifaceted city 🙂
    Hope to get more of it through your lens 🙂

  • As a city, I was not too happy with Kolkata. But it has always been the people in Kolkata that has added charm to this city. Glad to see it through your post.

  • Good photographs and valid questions on the future of ordinary citizens in this country…

  • Nice captures and yes some of them are depressing.

  • A wonderful post, Indrani! Thank you:)

  • Kolkata is one such places which always amazes me with its ever present & omnipresent musings!
    Thanks for thsi post!

  • Naturally beautiful and bright snapshots.

  • Fabulous pics Indrani! 🙂 How I wish to visit Calcutta soon 🙂

  • Amazing photo essay 🙂

  • This is such a beautiful post.. it’s wonderful to watch the street scene with a glimpse of the daily mundane life of the people out there! 🙂

  • Life in the corners of streets and footpaths is willingly ignored by most; forever dark and depressing.

  • This is an amazing post. I admire your observational skills.

  • Maniparna Sengupta Majumder
    2 years ago

    I love my city and these pictures are just awesome!!! Great work, Indrani… 🙂

  • Whoa!

    These pictures make up a portrait of ‘everyday Kolkata,’ I guess.
    Such telling images, Indrani. 🙂

  • vatsala mallya
    2 years ago

    Kolkata is an amazing city ,and you have captured the photos of ordinary people so well.You have rightly brought out their miseries and the hardwork they have to put on to get their bread.
    “Inke achche din kab ayenge?

  • The photographs tell the story!

  • I felt nostalgic when I saw the streets of Kolkata.. Love the city so much. Your photo essay is superb Indrani. I was touched by the man who chose hard work over begging even though it may not be enough for him. I too wonder when poverty will be swept away…

  • yogi saraswat
    2 years ago

    Nice pictures of daily life in Kolkata .

  • Tell tale pictures all. A great effort!

  • Loved the photo essay ! showed it to my son too.

  • reminded me our trip, though I didn’t click much street pics

  • Picture speaks! I
    5 years back I had visited Kolkata, the city of joy! Could not spend many days. I have missed all these views. Other side of city of joy!

  • I really love street photography, and India has so much to see. Lovely photographs.

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