Our City Guides series rolls on to the City of Joy which also happens to be the venue of the final…
Since FIFA’s declaration that the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017 will be played in India, the central and state governments have been putting a lot of effort into improving the existing infrastructure in the host cities. The U-17 World Cup, the first-ever FIFA tournament to be held in India, is set to be played in six different cities across the country in less than a month. The Mecca of Indian football, Kolkata, will be hosting the Group F matches at the refurbished Salt Lake Stadium, along with the coveted final of the tournament.
The City of Joy is set to welcome five different teams from around the globe in the tournament including Iraq, England, Chile and Mexico. The group stage of the tournament will be played out in the city on 8th, 11th and 14th October. Add to that, Kolkata will also host a game in Group E, where Asian powerhouse Japan will face New Caledonia on 14th October. The action will return to the city with a Round of 16 match on 17th October, followed by a quarterfinal game on 22nd October. The final and the third-place match will also be played in the city on 28th October, bringing to an end the 3-week long tournament.
Although the city of Kolkata is quite different from the other cities of the country, visitors would have a lovely experience for a change. Roads, trains, metro and trams connect different locations of the city, making transport easier for its general population as well as visitors. Despite the traffic jams, which tend to make life miserable at times, the different experiences of the surroundings make up for it.
Without further ado, let us start our effort to understand the venue, followed by a guide to transport, potential accommodation and some do’s and don’ts.
Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krinangan
Being one of the biggest stadiums in the world, it isn’t much of a surprise that the Yuba Bharati Krinangan, also popularly known as the Salt Lake Stadium is hosting the final of the first ever official FIFA tournament in India.
Named after the famous Indian philosopher Swami Vivekananda, the Yuba Bharati Krinangan has been home to elite Indian clubs Mohun Bagan and East Bengal for decades now. It was also ATK‘s home for the first two seasons of the Indian Super League.
Layout of the revamped Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata
The revamped Salt Lake Stadium will now seat around 66,000 fans for the World Cup matches. We are going to tell you which seats you should be looking out for. The three blocks on the left are the gallery which has also been properly redecorated. The ticket prices may vary from block to block.
Here are the stands from where you will get the best view of a game in this stadium:
West Stand, Middle Tier
East Stand, Middle Tier
West Stand, Upper Tier
East Stand, Upper Tier
There should be no hassles getting in or out of this amazing stadium, as there are five separate gates which can be accessed by the fans. Public and private buses are available almost all the time outside the gates which can take you to almost every part of the city, while taxi services or other transportation can be found nearby as well.
Getting to the Stadium
Although traveling by car is rather convenient, one may face a parking issue as there is not enough parking space around the area. But, if one insists on traveling in their own vehicle, there may be parking areas available at a little distance from the stadium. One can find ample parking areas around AMRI Hospital or on the Municipal Main Road a bit far off from the hospital. Due to the hectic environment, parking charges may be on the higher side.
While traveling by Uber/Ola or a taxi will help drop you right at the doorstep of the stadium, the most economical way of traveling to the stadium is by buses, which are a patent method of transportation around the city. There are buses which are available from any part of the city which lead you to the Salt Lake Stadium without any hitches, as both state-run and private buses make regular trips to that area throughout the day.
A bird’s eye view of the city
If one prefers a cool, calm travel experience than they might opt for the Volvo AC Buses which can be found throughout the city, and quite obviously, the prices will be higher than the regular ones. The CTC buses’ reach throughout the city is very far and these robust buses can easily take you to the Salt Lake Stadium from any part of the city.
Here is a list of route numbers which can lead you straight to the Salt Lake Stadium:
The bus routes to take you to the World Cup host stadium from various corners of the City
For Indian spectators who want to choose a pocket-friendly place to crash in Kolkata, there are several hotels in Sealdah, Dum Dum, Central Avenue and Shyambazar to provide them just that. However, the foreign sports enthusiasts who will be visiting the City of Joy for the FIFA U-17 World Cup can opt for hotels in these places as well as in Sudder Street for shelter. Moreover, if one wants to stay in more luxurious options, hotels in Salt Lake, New Town and Tollygunge will do their bidding.
Aid to Foreign Enthusiasts
International fans who will be visiting Kolkata will experience an unforgettable welcome in the city. The local authorities are experienced and cooperative and are dedicated to make their visit a memorable one. However, if foreign fans need to seek help from their embassies, here are the addresses of the missions of England, Chile, Mexico, and Japan.
British Deputy High Commission Kolkata- 1A, Ho Chi Minh Sarani, Beside Metro Plaza Mall, Kolkata, Kolkata 700071. Contact: +91 (33) 2288 5172/2288 5173-76.
Consulate of Chile- Auckland Rd, Elgin, Kolkata, Kolkata 700017. Contact: (+91) 33 2247 7898,
(+91) 33 2247 0710.
Consulate of Mexico- 1, Taratolla Road, Garden Reach, Kolkata 700 024. Contact: (+91) 33 2469 3739 / 6.
Consulate General of Japan in Kolkata- 55 M.N. Sen Lane, Tollygunge, Kolkata- 700 040. Contact: 033 2421 1970.
From the Airport
For foreign enthusiasts who may be going to the game directly from the Netaji Subash Chandra International Airport itself, there are a lot of options which can lead you directly to the Salt Lake Stadium. There’s always the option of calling for an Uber which can pick you from the airport directly, while a prepaid taxi service is also there.
The new look Salt Lake Stadium
There are a load of buses which leave from the airport throughout the day and most of them pass by the Salt Lake Stadium. Buses like V1, VS3 or CTC buses like C8A or C18 are available outside the airport throughout the day and lead one directly to the doorstep of the stadium!
Do’s and Don’ts
- Dress Comfortably.
2. Carry sunglasses, hats, and umbrellas according to the weather.
3. Carry an Identity Proof with you along with the tickets.
4. Understand which gate to enter through according to your ticket. If not, don’t hesitate to ask a person of authority for help.
5. Keep yourself hydrated at all times.
6. Reach an hour prior to kickoff in order to be perfectly set for the match beforehand.
- Don’t carry any camera, gadgets or any electronic devices apart from your mobile phone.
2. Don’t carry any eatables, plastics, cigarettes or water bottles. These things will be confiscated at the entrance and can also go against your right to enter.
3. Don’t leave any trash in the stadium. Keep your seat as clean as possible.