Guide in Kolkata

By Norm Dailey
This item appears on page 28 of the February 2020 issue.

My wife, Susan, and I had a 22-hour overnight layover in Kolkata (Calcutta), India, in April 2019. Through the former Viator Private Tours website,* we found Deepjyoti (Deep) Biswas (, the best guide we have ever had in the world.

For $150, Deep provided us two tours of the city. The evening tour, beginning at our hotel, was a 2-hour walk around Esplanade town. Afterward, he took us to a restaurant and helped us with the menu.

Deep doesn’t just show you the sights, he is extremely open and gets into local politics, national politics and historical politics. From him, you learn the soul of what is now our favorite city in India.

The next morning, Deep met us early at our hotel and took us to the Mullick bathing ghat under the Howrah Bridge. We then walked through the flower market and onto the bridge.

We also went to the Sovabazar heritage area, the oldest part of Kolkata. During colonial times it was called Black Town.

Continuing our walk, we saw the daily street and fish markets, finally moving on to St. John’s Church, the first church in Kolkata, and seeing the mausoleum of Job Charnock, founder of Calcutta. These are in what was called White Town in colonial times, where all the original British buildings are located.

After our 3-hour tour, Deep took us to the airport to continue our travels.


Alexandria, VA

*No longer operating, Viator Private Tours ( allowed users to directly contact guides listed on the site in order to plan private, customized tours. It shut down on Sept. 3, 2019. Private, prearranged tours still can be booked on Viator (, including tours offered by guides who were previously listed on Viator Private Tours. However, tours offered on do not list the names of the guides.