Kolkata was the first capital of the British in India. It was established in 1686 when the British shifted their operations to the small villages of Govindpur, Sutanati, and Kalikata from their trading port of Hooghly. The British capital flourished till the time Nawab Siraj-Ud-Daula in 1756 attacked the town and threw the British rule away. But the British took over Kolkata again and it was then ruled by Lord Clive till 1911. Being under the British rule for so long, Kolkata boasts of a unique cultural heritage that is difficult to find in any other Indian city.
Kolkata is, therefore, a place of interest not only for the Indians but also for people across the world. The city takes pride in its several exclusive attractions such as the Victoria Memorial, a magnificent white marble structure that was built by Lord Curzon in the memory of Queen Victoria. At present, the grand structure serves as a museum that houses the most impressive collection of memorabilia from the days of the British Raj.
The most popular landmark of Kolkata is its old Howrah Bridge. The bridge is 450 m long but without any pylon in the river and is the busiest of all bridges in the world that caters around 100,000 vehicles and numerous pedestrians. The bridge is a paradigm of dexterous techniques of the engineers in early 20th century.
Calcutta, an ancient city which has seen history unfold itself in front of her. A city which has completed three hundred years of its establishment. Calcutta, which had the privilege of being the capital of British India before it was shifted to Delhi.
Calcutta, a city which has adapted to the modern trends and techniques of the world but has not shed the leisurely lifestyle and the calm which it has accumulated since ages. A city which till a few years ago was the most densely populated city in the world. Calcutta has the country's first Metro railway and also retains some of the building which is more than hundred years old. It is a city of enduring charm.
In 1696, the establishment of Fort Williams marked the birth of a new city, Calcutta. It derived its name from Kalikatta, one of the villages which were incorporated in the new settlement of Britishers. Calcutta has since developed from a fishermen's village to become one of the largest cities in the world. Being the capital of the British till 1912, the architecture here is a medley of occidental and oriental styles. Today the city symbolizes creativity and vibrancy with all the modern amenities available.
Calcutta is a city with strong cultural, literary and religious flavors. this is the home of many of India's leaders. Activities in the field of fine arts, music, dance, theatre, and writing make the city a happening place. The calm of the Hooghly combined with the rush of people in the streets makes Calcutta a city to visit. It is the city which acts as the gateway to the North East and has been coming up as a major commercial city in the nation.
Today, Kolkata is a captivating city and extremely catholic. It has the unique culture of making even outsiders close and intimate. There used to be a time when the very word Kolkata conjured up images of squalor and poverty. But not anymore. Kolkata and West Bengal is now increasingly being referred to as a resurgent, vibrant and a tourist friendly state. No trip to India is complete without a visit to Kolkata.
Kolkata has places of sheer magic - the ethereal Hooghly river, the mesmerizing sweep of Maidan, the graceful Victoria Memorial, the swanky City Center at Salt Lake to name just a few.
Formerly known as Calcutta, Dominique Lapierre’s ‘City of Joy’ Kolkata is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal. Lapierre found more heroism, more love, more sharing and ultimately more happiness than in many a city of the affluent West. Commenting on the City of Joy, The Daily Telegraph, London had this to say - "An extraordinary story, an epic in its own terms, of resilience and faith, loyalty and hope, dedication and an unquenchable thirst for festivity. The most important message M. Lapierre brings is that the saintly woman (Mother Teresa) is not alone".
Being the cultural capital of India, Kolkata has produced outstanding personalities like Nobel Laureates Rabindra Nath Tagore, Mother Teresa, and Amartya Sen. Renowned Filmmaker Satyajit Ray and Sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar have a Kolkata connection. What distinguishes Kolkata from any other metropolitan city is the element of safety.
According to Dominique Lapierre - "Fewer violent crimes are committed each year in the vastly overpopulated capital of Bengal then are committed in downtown Miami alone. Fear is by and large a stranger to Kolkata's streets. A young girl can walk Chowringhee Road or any of the city's other main through fares in the middle of the night without the slightest fear of being attacked.
It is fun to explore the culture of Kolkata India. Over here, the days begin with a cup of tea and thereafter people leave their houses to enjoy the morning breeze. They carry out their fitness workout consisting of walking, jogging, stretching etc. Bengal offers a mind-blowing variety of sweets and yummy mouthwatering dishes. Read on to know more about Calcutta culture:
Kolkata is truly a city of talent and passion, where people are lively and have the enthusiasm to live life to the fullest. If you want to get well versed in the Kolkatta culture, the best way is to look out for a friend over there and join adda i.e. the local parlance where chat sessions are held. Discussions take place on a wide variety of subjects ranging from politics, sports, religion, news, books, art, films, music, food etc. The discussions are healthy and never end with arguments or an ugly note.
Bengalis are very fond of music. In fact, if you go about visiting houses in the neighborhood, you'll find that there is an aspiring singer in almost every home. Bengalis love to indulge in yummy food. In fact, every meal ends up with some delicious dessert. For people who love eating junk food, Calcutta is just an apt place.
Festivities are an integral part of the city. Calcutta hosts a variety of fairs, film fests, music conferences and folk fairs. It houses the Marwaris, Parsis, Anglo Indians, Jews, Armenians and the joyous people of China town. Kolkata has a plethora of tourist attraction places encompassing museums, galleries, heritage buildings, amusement parks, temples, churches, and synagogues.
Eden Garden is another pleasant experience in Kolkata. It’s a small and beautifully laid out garden that once served as a gathering place of the social elite. Today it serves as a big and famous cricket ground where several matches have been played so far. Another famous attraction is the Kali Temple, also known as Kalighat which is dedicated to the Goddess of destruction (Kali) and is a place worth visiting for young as well as the old.
Not to forget in Kolkata are the world-class pulls like the Birla Planetarium which is a single storied circular structure that is one of the largest of its kind in the world; the age-old Fort William; the Indian Museum which was built in 1874 and is the oldest museum in India; the Dalhousie Square that is a hub of West Bengal’s administration and commerce.
There are also some famous tourist excursions in Kolkata such as the Shanti Niketan, the Belur Math, the Dakshineshwar Temple, the Botanical Gardens and the Bishnupur.
If you have been enticed enough and are getting desperate to visit this distinct Indian city, depending on the distance and your pocket decide the means of transport that will take you there. Kolkata is well connected with direct domestic airlines services to and from Kolkata to Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Patna, Varanasi, Lucknow etc. There are also some direct flights to most of the countries in the Southeast Asia. Trains from other parts of the country also connect Kolkata.
Getting around the city is not at all a daunting task. You can hire a cab or enjoy metro train or bus to travel from one picturesque joint to another. If you are a bookworm, it would be best to visit Kolkata during the first two months of the year because that time the Kolkata Book Fair is held. It is the largest book fair in Asia and provides ample of opportunities to explore the fascinating world of books.
Kolkata is a classy and posh, Victorian designed city. It continues to surprise and enthrall visitors from all over the world, not expecting this city to be the “New York of India.” Its grand scale approach stuns all and continues to add more pleasant shock value each year.
Kolkata is infused with creativity and inspiration, producing and generating many filmmakers, artists, poets and even Nobel Prize winners due to its motivational surroundings. People truly feel in touch with their spirit, affected by the scenery of the crumbling, historical colleges integrated with the design of the buildings from the British Raj era.
Kolkata does not hold its amazing character a secret: this city is widely known as the cultural city of India. Representing itself as a lavishly expanding city, Kolkata is made a success by building off of its prestigious roots to turn this region into an entirely new and fresh concept.
Modern Kolkata holds a very European based lifestyle, and although it is a huge city, it doesn’t lose sight of the importance of celebrating its land. Located directly along the banks of the eye-pleasing Hooghly River, Kolkata dedicates a vast amount of land (such as the parkland, Maidan) to open and breezy, green fields.
Following Maidan, you’ll find a delightful mix of memorials, forts, established clubs, gardens and high-end business offices. The variety is endless – and we all know variety is the spice of life. Kolkata will assuredly be the trip of a lifetime!
Known as Kolkata's Disney Land, Nicco Park is one of the largest amusement parks in the country. Sprawled over 40 acres, this park was established in 1991, and comprises a beautiful rose garden, a food park and numerous rides suitable for people of all age groups. The food park houses eateries that specialize in Bengali, South Indian, North Indian and Chinese cuisines. The entry tickets are priced at Rs. 50 and are inclusive of a few free rides. Located in Jheel Meel, Sector 4, Salt Lake, the park is open from 11:00am to 8:00pm during the winter, and from 11:00am to 9:00pm during the summer.
The Marble Palace, which is among the top tourist attractions in Kolkata, is an architectural beauty that was constructed from 126 different types of marbles brought from different parts of the country in 1835. Raja Rajendra Mullick Bahadur seems to have left no stones unturned to make this palace a one of a kind construction.
A room decorated with mirrors housing the works of Reynolds, Ruben and other acclaimed artists; an impressive collection of antic paintings like Ruben's Catherine's wedding; a collection of 82 different types of exquisite clocks; and a fountain in the midst of a lake are the major attractions of this tourist spot. The Marble Palace is open to visitors from 10:00am to 4:00pm on Tuesday, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays, and photography is strictly prohibited. The palace is situated at 46, Mukta Rambabu Street, Chorbagan.
Victoria Memorial was Lord Curzon's futile attempt to imitate Taj Mahal. A fine blend of European and Mughal architecture, the memorial is sprawled over 26 hectares. Victoria Memorial houses about 500 articles associated with Queen Victoria (including her dresses), as well as miniatures of Queen Mary, King George V, and Queen Victoria.
The Rosewood piano, whispering gallery, and artilleries belonging to the Victorian era are some of the star attractions of the memorial. Entry tickets for Indians and foreigners are priced at Rs. 10 and Rs. 150 respectively. One can access the memorial from 10:00am to 5:00pm in the months of March-October, and from 10:00am to 4:00pm during the remaining months. A sound and light show is conducted from 7:30pm to 8:00pm every evening.
Shaheed Minar is a 48-meter monument constructed by Sir David Ochterlony, in commemoration of his victory in the Nepal War that was fought from 1814 to 1816. Shaheed Minar literally translates to The Tower Of Martyrs and presents a striking picture when it illuminates the Maidan region in the evenings. On obtaining a special permit from the DSP, one may access the staircase that leads to the summit of the Minar and gaze at the breath-taking view of the city. The tower is open from 10:00am to 6:00pm, and no admission fees are charged. Photography is strictly prohibited.
Writers Building, the massive edifice that stands as a fine example of European architecture, houses a number of departments of the West Bengal government. Designed by Thomas Lyon in 1780, Writers Building comprises of 13 4-storied structures. The property sits on 10 acres of land and is located to the north of Lal Dighi in B. B. D. Bagh. Indian and foreign visitors may tour this tourist attraction at no cost, from 9:00am to 6:00pm. Still and video photography is prohibited in and around Writers Building.
The ultra-famous Howrah Bridge is one of the world's best cantilever bridges and is considered a fine specimen of the Cantilever Era. Howrah Bridge, in 1943, replaced Floating Pontoon Bridge which was unable to accommodate the burgeoning numbers of commuters in Kolkata. The bridge, especially when lit up in the night, presents a majestic view, standing over the Ganges.
Fort William, constructed by Robert Clive in 1781, serves as the headquarters of Eastern Command. Owned by the Indian Army, the fort is known for its serene atmosphere. The fort was constructed in an octagonal fashion, with 3 sides facing the River Ganges, allowing the British to effectively fight off the enemy.
The massive structure can be accessed through 6 gates. Besides admiring the architecture of the fort, a visitor may also tour the museum that houses arms, armors, swords, muskets, machine guns, and photographs of the Burma campaign and Bangladesh Liberation War. The fort is home to over 10,000 military personnel and is open to visitors from 10:00am to 12:00pm.
Visit Kolkata today and become impressed by its dazzling and sparkling charm.