Kolkata - at a Glance


KOLKATA is the capital of West Bengal. Located on the east bank of Hooghly River,makes it the third-most populous metropolitan area in India. 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. The city and its port were bombed several times by the Japanese between 1942 and 1944, during World War II. 

Spread roughly north–south along the east bank of the Hooghly River, Kolkata sits within the lower Ganges Delta of eastern India.Much of the city was originally a wetland that was reclaimed over the decades to accommodate a burgeoning population. The soil and water are predominantly alluvial in origin .North Kolkata is the oldest part of the city, characterizedby 19th-century architecture and narrow alleyways. Two plannedtownships in the greater Kolkata region are Bidhannagar, also knownas Salt Lake City and located north-east of the city; and Rajarhat,also called New Town and sited east of Bidhannagar. Kolkata is subject to a tropical wet-and-dry climate.Theannual mean temperature is 26.8°C,summers(March–June) are hot and humid, Winter (December and January).


Kolkata is the main commercial and financial hub of East and North-EastIndia and home to the Calcutta Stock Exchange. It is a major commercial and military port, and is the only city ineastern India to have an international airport.

Public transport is provided by the Kolkata Suburban Railway, the Kolkata Metro, trams, and buses.  Kolkata is the only Indian city with a tram network. Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport, located in DumDum, operates domestic and international flights. The Portof Kolkata, established in 1870, is India's oldest. It is thenation's only major river port.

Kolkata is known for its literary, artistic, and revolutionary heritage; as the former capital of India, it was the birthplace of modern Indian literary and artistic thought.  Thenation's oldest museum, the Indian Museum houses large collections that showcase Indian natural history and Indian art. Marble Palace is a classic example of a European mansion that was built in the city.The Victoria Memorial, a place of interest in Kolkata, has a museum documenting the city's history.The National Library of India is the leading public library in the country. During the 19th and 20th centuries, Bengali literature was modernized through the works of authors such as Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay, Michael Madhusudan Dutt; Rabindranath Tagore. Notable scholars who were born, worked or studied in Kolkata include physicists Satyendra Nath Bose, chemist Prafulla Chandra Roy and Nobel laureates Rabindranath Tagore, C.V. Raman, and Amartya Sen.The city is recognized for its appreciation of rabindrasangeet (songs written by Rabindranath Tagore) and Indian classical music; Key elements of Kolkata's cuisine include rice and a fish curry known as “machherjhol”,which can be accompanied by desserts such as roshogolla, sandesh,and sweet yoghurt commonly known as mishtidohi.Bengal's large repertoire of seafood dishes includes various preparations of ilish,a fish that is a favorite among Calcuttans. Sweets play a large part in the diet of Kolkatans—especially at their social ceremonies.The Bengali New Year, known as Poila Boishak, as well as the harvest festival of Poush Parbon are amongthe city's other festivals; also celebrated are Jagaddhatri Puja, Diwali, Saraswati Puja, Eid, Holi, Christmas,and Rath Yatra. Cultural events include the Kolkata Book Fair (Asia’s largest book fair), the Dover Lane Music Festival, and the Kolkata Film Festival.

The most popular sports in Kolkata are football and cricket.The city is a centre of football activity in India and is home to top national clubs such as Kingfisher East Bengal F.C., Mohan Bagan A.C. (one of the oldest football clubs in Asia), is the only organization to be dubbed a "National Club of India". Asin the rest of India, cricket is popular in Kolkata and is played on grounds and in streets through out the city. The city is known for its large stadiums. Eden Gardens, which has a capacity of 90,000 as of 2011, hosted the final match of the 1987 Cricket World Cup.  Kolkata has three 18-hole golf courses. The oldest is at the Royal Calcutta Golf Club, and was the first golf club to be built outside the United Kingdom. The Beighton Cup, an event organized by the Bengal Hockey Association and first played in 1895, is India's oldest field hockey tournament.

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