Kolkata or Calcutta, is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal. Located on the east bank of the Hooghly river, it is the principal commercial, cultural, and educational centre of East India, while the Port of Kolkata is India's oldest operating port as well as its sole major riverine port. As of 2011, the city had 4.5 million residents; the urban agglomeration, which comprises the city and its suburbs, was home to approximately 14.1 million, making it the third-most populous metropolitan area in India. As of 2008, its economic output as measured by gross domestic product ranked third among South Asian cities, behind Mumbai and Delhi. As a growing metropolitan city in a developing country, Kolkata confronts substantial urban pollution, traffic congestion, poverty, overpopulation, and other logistic and socioeconomic problems.
In the late 17th century, the three villages that predated Kolkata were ruled by the Nawab of Bengal under Mughal suzerainty. After the Nawab granted the East India Company a trading license in 1690, the area was developed by the Company into an increasingly fortified mercantile base. Nawab Siraj ud-Daulah occupied Kolkata in 1756, and the East India Company retook it in the following year and by 1772 assumed full sovereignty. Under East India Company and later under the British Raj, Kolkata served as the capital of India until 1911, when its perceived geographical disadvantages, combined with growing nationalism in Bengal, led to a shift of the capital to New Delhi. The city was a centre of the Indian independence movement; it remains a hotbed of contemporary state politics. Following Indian independence in 1947, Kolkata-which was once the centre of modern Indian education, science, culture, and politics-witnessed several decades of relative economic stagnation. Since the early 2000s, an economic rejuvenation has led to accelerated growth.
Kolkata, formerly spelled Calcutta in , is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal. It is located in eastern India on the east bank of the River Hooghly. The city is a colonial city developed by the British East India Companyand then the British Empire. The city was the capital of the British Indian empire till 1911 when the capital was relocated to Delhi. Kolkata witnessed a fast rise as the second city of the British Empire in the 19th century accompanied by the development of a culture that was a coalescence of European philosophy with Indian tradition. The city is also noted for its revolutionary history, ranging from Indian struggle for independence to the leftist Naxalite and trade union movements. Labelled the "Cultural Capital of India", "The City of Processions", "The City of Palaces", and the "City of Joy", Kolkata has also been home to luminaries such as Rabindranath Tagore, Subhash Chandra Bose, Mother Teresa and Satyajit Ray. Problems related to rapid urbanisation started to plague the city from 1930s and still the city is an example of an urban hotbed of the developing nations.
The rent-roll of Akbar, the 16th century Mughalemperor, and the work of a Bengali poet, Bipradas Pipilai, of the late 15th century, both make mention of the city's early name's being Kolikata, from which Kolkata/Calcutta derive.
There is much discussion about the origin of the city's name. The most accepted view is that it comes from the Hindu goddess Kali and the original name was KaliKshetra, "the place of Kali".
- The name comes from the location of the original settlement beside a khal ("canal" in Bengali)
- The place was known for the manufacture of shell-lime, the name deriving from kali ("lime") and kata ("burnt shell")
- The name is derived from the Bengali kilkila ("flat area"), which is mentioned in the old literature.
- The name came into being when Job Charnock asked a farmer the name of the area around Hooghly River. The farmer misunderstood due to language problems and thought that he was referring as to when he harvested his paddy. He proudly replied "Kal Kaata hoe chhilo" meaning "I cut it yesterday." Job Charnock thought that the name of the place is Calcutta .
Spread roughly north-south along the east bank of the Hooghly River, Kolkata sits within the lower Ganges Delta of eastern India; the city's elevation is 1.5-9 m (5-30 ft). Much of the city was originally a wetland that was reclaimed over the decades to accommodate a burgeoning population. The remaining undeveloped areas, known as the East Kolkata Wetlands, were designated a "wetland of international importance" by the Ramsar Convention (1975). As with most of the Indo-Gangetic Plain, the soil and water are predominantly alluvial in origin.
Underlying the city are quaternary sediments consisting of clay, silt, and several grades of sand and gravel. These sediments are sandwiched between two clay beds: the lower one at a depth of 250-650 m (820-2,130 ft); the upper one 10-40 m (30-130 ft) in thickness. According to the Bureau of Indian Standards, on a scale ranging from I to V in order of increasing susceptibility to earthquakes, the city lies inside seismic zone III; according to a United Nations Development Programme report, its wind and cyclone zone is "very high damage risk".
IKolkata is subject to a tropical wet-and-dry climate that is designated Aw under the KÃƒÂ¶ppen climate classification. The annual mean temperature is 26.8 Ã‚Â°C (80.2 Ã‚Â°F); monthly mean temperatures are 19-30 Ã‚Â°C (66-86 Ã‚Â°F). Summers (March-June) are hot and humid, with temperatures in the low 30s Celsius; during dry spells, maximum temperatures often exceed 40 Ã‚Â°C (104 Ã‚Â°F) in May and June. Winter lasts for only about two-and-a-half months, with seasonal lows dipping to 9-11 Ã‚Â°C (48-52 Ã‚Â°F) in December and January. May is the hottest month, with daily temperatures ranging from 27-37 Ã‚Â°C (81-99 Ã‚Â°F); January, the coldest month, has temperatures varying from 12-23 Ã‚Â°C (54-73 Ã‚Â°F). The highest recorded temperature is 43.9 Ã‚Â°C (111.0 Ã‚Â°F), and the lowest is 5 Ã‚Â°C (41 Ã‚Â°F). Often, in April-June, the city is struck by heavy rains or dusty squalls followed by thunderstorms or hailstorms, bringing cooling relief from the prevailing humidity. These thunderstorms are convective in nature, and are known locally as kal baisakhi or "Nor'westers" in English.
How to reach
Rains brought by the Bay of Bengal branch of the south-west summer monsoon lash Kolkata between June and September, supplying it with most of its annual rainfall of 1,582 mm (62 in). The highest monthly rainfall total, 306 mm (12 in), occurs in August. The city receives 2,528 hours of sunshine per year, with maximum sunlight exposure occurring in March. Kolkata has been hit by several cyclones; these include systems occurring in 1737 and 1864 that killed thousands.
The Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport (IATA code:CCU) at Dum Dum (previously known as Dum Dum airport) is the only airport in the city, operating both domestic and international flights. It is a gateway to North-East India, Bangkok, and Bangladesh. The number of people using the airport has consistently increased over the last few years and there are talks to start another airport in the southern suburbs of the city. There is a flying club in Behala. After several years of inactivity it has recently been restored.
Spread over an area of 2460 acres, Kolkata airport is the largest in eastern India and one of only two international airports operating in West Bengal, the other being in Bagdogra. It is a major centre for flights to North-East India, Bangladesh and Southeast Asia.
Kolkata is also a major port and together with the Haldia dock systems, the Kolkata Port Trust has been amongst top performers in the country. Kolkata Port has regular passenger services to Port Blair from the Netaji Subhas Docks.
Also the twin cities of Kolkata and Howrah are connected by local water ferries through the extensive ghats like Fairlie Ghat, Howrah Ghat, Shibpur Ghat, Prinsep Ghat, Cossipore Ghat, etc. Small boats are used for recreational purpose. There are plans to start utilizing the canals running through the city as water-transport network. The first service is scheduled to start from September 2006 - and would cover the Belgachhia-Laketown stretch of Kestopur Canal.
Besides all this mode of transport, like in other Indian cities, walking is very common way to commute between the workplace and nearest railway station or bus stop. Privately owned cars, though less in number and usage compared to other large cities in India, are growing by leaps and bounds and are slowly becoming the transport of choice for a large number of people being helped by the growing economy, higher per capita income and the easy availability of loans from financial institutions.
Kolkata is well-connected to the rest of India by extensive railway network of the Indian railways. Two divisions of the Indian railways - the Eastern Railway and the South Eastern Railway are headquartered in the city. The two major railway stations of the city are at Howrah and Sealdah. A third terminal called Kolkata has recently been constructed. This station is in North Kolkata and can be reached by a road opposite to the RG Kar Medical College just beyond Shyambazar.
The electrified suburban rail network of the SER and the ER is extensive and stretches far into the neighbouring districts of North 24 Parganas, South 24 Parganas, Nadia, Howrah, Hooghly etc.
The Circular Rail encircles the entire city of Kolkata, and is at present being extended. A new railway line off-shoot is under construction that would connect the airport to the lines going to Sealdah.
They sold dates to the passing caravans comming in along the commercial routes from southern part o the the Arabian Peninsula.
Today, around 120 different kinds of dates are cultivated in Madinah. `Ajwa is one of the most well-known varieties. Dates are a significant component in many desserts.
One of such desserts that are popular in Madinah is a baked cookie known as Souiyka which is made using `ajwa dates and grain flour.
Kolkata has an extensive network of government run and privately run buses. The ticketing system is not centralized one and one has to purchase separate tickets for buses, metros, trams and trains.
The bus tickets are simple paper tickets purchased from the bus conductor after you board the bus. Also there are multiple organisations running buses, a private organisation, and multiple government services like CSTC (Calcutta State Transport Corporation), CTC (Calcutta Tramways Company), WBSTC (West Bengal Surface Transport Corporation) etc. There are also various types of privately run buses.
The private-owned buses are quite typical of Kolkata. The private-owned buses are of two types, the regular ones and the mini-buses. The regular buses are coloured light-blue and yellow. The mini-buses are of brown and yellow colour, and contain lesser number of seats. The government-run buses are run by several authorities like Calcutta State Transport Corporation (CSTC), South Bengal State Transport Corporation (SBSTC),North Bengal State Transport Corporation (NBSTC), West Bengal Surface Transport Corporation (WBSTC) and the Calcutta Tramways Company (CTC). Government buses have no colour code and can be identified only by the appropriate symbol (CSTC or CTC or WBSTC) on their body. Both the name of the place where the bus is going to, as well as the name of the place where its route originated is mentioned on the bus, - which makes it easy to identify the source and destination of the bus.
used, particularly in central Kolkata. Schools in Kolkata follow the "10+2+3" plan. After completing their secondary education, students typically enroll in schools that have a higher secondary facility and are affiliated with the West Bengal Council of Higher Secondary Education, the ICSE, or the CBSE. They usually choose a focus on liberal arts, business, or science. Vocational programs are also available.
West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences
As of 2010, the Kolkata urban agglomeration is home to 14 universities run by the state government. The colleges are each affiliated with a university or institution based either in Kolkata or elsewhere in India. The University of Calcutta, founded in 1857, is the oldest modern university in South Asia. Bengal Engineering and Science University is the 2nd oldest prestigious engineering institution of the country located in Howrah. Jadavpur University is known for its arts, science, and engineering faculties. The Indian Institute of Management Calcutta, which was the first of the Indian Institutes of Management, was established in 1961 at Joka, a locality in the south-western suburbs. The West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences is one of India's autonomous law schools, while the Indian Statistical Institute is a public research institute and university.
Tourism in Kolkata is on its boom these days. There are lots of places to see in Kolkata. In this section, we will provide you with Calcutta tourist attractions guide.
There is a plethora of sightseeing places in Kolkata. We will brief you on the following popular places to visit in Calcutta
- Fort William
- Victoria Memorial
- Eden Gardens (Stadium)
- Birla Planetarium
- Howrah Bridge
- Marble Palace
- Writer's Building
- Nicco Park
- Saheed Minar
- National Library
- Belur Math
- Botanical Gardens
Fort William is a must visit tourist attraction place of Calcutta. Situated at the banks of river Hooghly, it was named after King William III of England. Fort William of Kolkata, India, was established during the tenure of British Raj in 1696. It was the guardroom of this two-storied building, where the black hole tragedy took place. During the Plassey war in 1757, Siraj Ud Daulah, the Nawab of Bengal attacked on the fort and defeated the Britishers. This paved way for the construction of a new fort by British.
The new fort was initiated by Robert Clive, which got completed by 1780. The basic purpose of setting up Calcutta Fort William was to prevent attacks from Muslim invaders. The area that was cleared around the fort became maidan, where several exhibitions and fairs take place. The foundation of the old fort is still intact. Till date, it is a military area and the Arsenal inside it is worth watching, but for that prior permission of the commanding officer is required.
Calcutta Victoria memorial hall is a fabulous museum that was established in the year 1921. The credit for designing and drawing the plan for this monument goes to Sir William Emerson, President of the British Institute of Architects. Victoria Memorial of Kolkata, India is a fantastic place that will take you into the world of past history, where you can view the photos and effigies of prominent personalities, who made an incredible contribution in the glory of India.
Today, Victoria memorial is one of the finest art museums in Kolkata. It is a 184 ft tall edifice that was constructed on 64 acres of land. The museum houses a group of mind-blowing figures above the north porch that epitomize prudence, learning and motherhood.
Eden garden of Kolkata, India is one of the major tourist attraction places of the city of joy. Eden gardens is basically a cricket stadium, where people have witnessed the history of Indian cricket. It is the oldest cricket playground in the country and also the finest one. Calcutta Eden Gardens Cricket Club came into existence in the year 1864.The first ever first-class match that took place in the Eden Gardens was in 1917-18 and the first test match to be played here was in January 1934 against Douglas Jardine's MCC. It was in February 1987, when the first ODI match was hosted here. It has undergone a tremendous modernization and infact, today it boasts of its large accommodation that can capaticitate about 1,20,000 persons. Eden gardens of Calcutta definitely falls into the category of must see places.
Birla planetarium of Kolkata, India is one of the largest museums in Asia. It came into existence in the year 1962 and the credit for establishing this wonderful center of science, communication & environment goes to Birla Education Trust. It is situated at the Eastern metropolitan bypass of Calcutta.
Birla planetarium provides a parlance where astronomical presentations take place. It provides useful piece of information about our solar system, galaxies, life span of stars, space, planets and other heavenly bodies in the most interactive manner via audio video aids. Usually the lectures are given in English, Hindi, and Bengali and occasionally in Oriya, Tamil & Gujarati.
Calcutta Birla planetarium is a single storied circular edifice designed in the typical Indian style. It is a must see place for those interested in astronomy. Its astronomy gallery maintains a huge collection of fine paintings & celestial models of renowned astronomers. It enables you to explore science outdoors.
Howrah Bridge, located over the Hoogli River in West Bengal, India, is said to be the busiest bridge of the world. It got its name owing to the fact that it connects the city of Howrah to Calcutta. Hawrah
Bridge in Kolkata, India, also known by the name 'Rabindra Setu', was set up in 1874. It stands on two 270 feet high pillars. Calcutta Howrah Bridge is a cantilever truss bridge that was constructed without using any nuts and bolts. Though, earlier it had a tram route, but presently, it is serving mainly as a Road Bridge. Howrah bridge has got two sister bridges also, namely, Vidyasagar Setu and the Vivekananda Setu that are situated at different points over the hoogly river. This bridge acts as an important symbol of Kolkata.
Location : C.R. Avenue in north Calcutta at Muktaram Babu Street, Chorabagan
Year of construction : 1835
Marble palace of Kolkata, India is a must visit tourist attraction spot. Built in the year 1835 by Rajendra Mallick, it is an exquisite art gallery. Marble palace houses the marvelous objects of art, sculptures, pictures & oil paintings. Its major highlight includes the Reuben's masterpieces. You can also find the original paintings of Rembrandt, Reynolds and Van Goyen etc. Calcutta marble palace is the one of its kinds and consists of exquisite pieces of art. It also has a zoo, where you can find different kinds of birds and animals. Infact, it has a rare collection of birds.
The construction of Writers building began as early as in 1690. It got its name owing to the fact that it served as the dwelling place for the junior writers of the East India Company. The original Writers
Building of Kolkata, India did not have any architectural beauty. It was on the same site that another Writers' Building was created later on. This Gothic structure came into existence during the tenure of Lt. Governor Ashley Eden (1877). The present Calcutta Writers' Building is located at the northern end of Dalhousie Square. Today, it serves as the Secretariat of West Bengal Government. This gigantic building is also known as 'Mahakaran', where all the important documents and other records of the West Bengal Govt are preserved
Calcutta Nicco Park, situated at Salt Lake, is an amazing amusement park. It can be said about the Nicco Park of Kolkata, India that, it is like the Disneyland of West Bengal with lots of wonderful games and rides. Its most recent addition is the Cave ride that is very interesting and adventurous. It is a spacious park covering about 40-acre land. It is one of the biggest amusement parks in the country and it was opened in the year 1991.
Nicco Park is more popularly known as Jheel Meel. It is the ultimate fun and entertainment destination for kids as well as adults. It draws huge crowds on the weekends, as it serves as the perfect place for relaxing mind, body and soul. It takes you into the world of fantasy and imagination. It provides wide choices of fun rides to choose from. To name a few, we have the Toy Train, Cable Car, Tilt-a-Whirl, Water Chute, Water Coaster, Flying Saucer, Pirate Ship and Moonraker.
Bengali traditional food, especially the yummy mouthwatering sweets are popular all over India. Bengal boasts off its cottage cheese based sweets like sandesh, rosogolla and chanar payesh. Other must try delicacies consist of Misti doi (sweetened curd) and Patali gur confectionery (date palm jaggery). When it comes to Calcutta cuisine, it can be said that each district of Bengal has its own unique dish to offer like Langcha and mihidana-sitabhog of Bardhaman, sharbhaja of Krishnanagar, chanabora of Murshidabad etc. Read on to know more about cuisine of Kolkata, India…
Calcutta will never disappoint food lovers. In Bengal, Chinese cuisine is in demand. North Indian and south Indian food can be found virtually in any restaurant. Other cuisines that Bengalis are fond of include Continental, Thai, Tibetian and Anglo-Indian. If you wish to savor the taste of these cuisines, you can visit some eating-houses in and around Chowringhee and Park Street. When it comes to the cooking specialty of Calcutta, Kathi rolls (kebabs wrapped in dough) truly deserve a special mention.
What to eat in Calcutta India
Below is given a list of some foods that you can indulge in:
- Cholaar dal
- Kochuri and alurdom
Some of the best confectionary shops of Kolkata that provide quality stuff are:
- Flury's (formerly Swiss owned) on Park Street
- Nahoum's (oldest Jewish bakery) in New Market
- Others include Uppu, Crust, Kathleen, Monginis, Jalajoga