The largest metropolis in India, Calcutta is
a vibrant city on the move, volatile and unpredictable. The Gateway
to India, till 1912, and the capital of the Raj in India, it still
bears the Victorian imprint on its streets and structures. A city
just about ready to burst at the seams, Calcutta is home to more
than 10 million people. The Ganges (called the Hooghly in Calcutta)
is still the inspiration, as it was to Job Charnok, East India Company
agent, who reached the shores in August 1690, to found the city.
Calcutta, after London, was the British Empire’s second city.
Calcutta, on-the-Hooghly, retains the aura of days long gone, weaving
the past and the present, the intense and the funloving into a charming
Home to four Nobel laureates - Ronald Ross, Rabindranath Tagore,
Mother Teresa and Amartya Sen, Calcutta is the nerve centre of intellect
and human values, where many modern movements began in art, cinema
and theatre, science and industry. India’s quest for freedom
began here. Calcutta is the gateway to Eastern India. A city with
a rich heritage, bustling streets and bewildering variety of facets.
From October to March, Calcutta wears a radiant look. Sunshine,
mild winter, lights, colours, fairs, festivals, galas and excursions,
the mood is infectious and spirit sweeping. It is the commercial
nerve-centre of the East, with major industrial plants, textile
mills and corporate units. Regal edifices, grubby alleys, bustling
bazaars, elegant hotels, people from all walks of life - Calcutta
has it all.
The city is a hub of fervent activity in the realms of music, theatre,
arts, and sports. Calcutta has always prided itself on the many
luminaries it has sent forth, be it Tagore, Satyajit Ray, or Mrinal
Sen. The intense dedication to the arts manifests itself in a plethora
of festivals, dance, music performances and other cultural events.
The Calcuttans are also famous for their all-consuming passion for
sports, especially, football and cricket. Calcutta is a city of
baffling paradoxes, a city that leaves its stamp on one's mind ...
Kolkata is not an ancient city like Delhi, with its impressive relics
of the past. In fact, it's largely a British creation which dates
back only some 300 years and was the capital of British India until
the beginning of this century.
In 1686, the British abandoned Hooghly, their trading post 38km
up the Hooghly River from present-day Kolkata, and moved downriver
to there small villages - Sutanati, Govindpur and Kailkata. Kolkata
takes its name from the last of those three tiny settlements.
Much of the Kolkata's most enduring development took place between
1780 and 1820. Latter in the 19th century, Bengal became an important
centre in the struggle for Indian independence, and this was a major
reason for the decision to transfer the capital to Delhi in 1911.
Loss of political power did not alter Kolkata's economic control,
and the city continued to prosper until after WW11.
Place to See
Only the second of its kind in the commonwealth and similar to that
in London. Regular astronomical shows are presented here with commentaries
in different languages. Shows are held on all days excluding Mondays.
According to the legend, when Lord Shiva’s wife Parvati’s
body was cut up, one of her fingers fell here. Rebuilt in 1809,
this is an important shrine of Hindu Shakti worship. The temple
is in the southern part of the city.
Named after Lord Auckland’s sister, this picturesque garden
has a tiny Burmese pagoda set in a small lake. It also houses Calcutta’s
It's among the Kolkata's best-known landmarks. The Howrah Bridge
or Rabindra Setu, a cantilever bridge, is forever bustling with
people and vehicles, and the best way for a tourist to savor this
is to walk across this engineering wonder. Keep your eyes and ears
open though - this bridge is high on traffic! You can also go for
an early-morning walk and drink in some fresh river air from this
Situated in an artistically laid-out garden, the place is full of
rare collection of antiques of immense artistic and historical value.
Wonderful curios, china and a couple of paintings by Rubens are
only a few to mention of the spectrum of attractions of the palace.
The Marble Palace is situated on Muktaram Babu Street, off Chittaranjan
Avenue. Open on all days except Mondays and Thursdays.
One of the oldest museums in Asia, the Indian Museum was founded
in 1814. You'll need an entire day, or more, to fully enjoy the
fossils, coins, stones, Gandhara art, meteors and much more that
go to make up this museum. Don't miss the 4,000-year-old mummy here,
whatever else you do! Also on display is an urn said to contain
the Buddha's ashes. Just ask anybody on the road for the way to
the "Jadughar" (literally, house of magic).
Fairs & Festivals
The most important and the most popular of all Bengali festivals
is the Durgapuja. It is celebrated throughout the state, but with
great grandeur in Calcutta. There are some ancestral houses in Calcutta
where Durgapuja is being observed over decades and even over centuries..
Rathayatra is celebrated all over the State, but the one on a grand
scale in Calcutta is organised by the International Society for
Krishna Consciousness. Three Chariots of Lord Jagannath, Balaram
and Subhadra are taken out of their temple on Albert Road to the
strip of Maidan bordering the Victoria Memorial. After seven days,
these are taken back again to the temple.
Calcutta Film Festival
Every November between 10 and 17, the Calcutta Film Festival is
a gala event, showing films in various theaters, holding seminars,
exhibitions and book bazars, attracting large crowds of film-lovers.
The hub of all activities is Nandan.
A form of entertainment, exclusive in Bengal, is Jatra. A month-long
festival of Jatra shows is held at Rabindra Kanan, Chitpur during
How to Reach
Kolkata is very well connected by Air, Rail and road, with all metros
of the country. Kolkata air-port has also become an international