Known as “City of Joy”, Kolkata is one of the largest metropolises of the world. Apart from being the capital of the West Bengal, it is also a principal commercial, cultural, and educational center of East India. Located on the banks of the Hooghly, Kolkata came into prominence during British era when it emerged as a seat of power.
Well established local traditions in art, literature, drama, film, theatre of Kolkata have gained wide audiences. Popular religious and tourist destinations like Kalighat Temple, Dakshineshwar Temple, Victoria Memorial, Birla Planetarium are located in this eastern part of India.
Kolkata: Past & Present
History of Kolkatais linked with the rise of English East India Company. Its
emergence can be attributed to the establishment of English
East India Company. The city that developed over three villages
Kalikata, Gobindapur, and Sutanuti remained the capital of the British
Indian Empire until 1911 when the capital was relocated to Delhi.
Kolkata was an epicenter of the 19th- and early 20th-century Bengal
Renaissance which begun with Raja Ram Mohan Roy and continued until the
death of Rabindranath Tagore.
Bengal Renaissance contributed
tremendously in the abolition of Sati, polygamy, infanticide, child
marriage, Dowry, untouchability etc. Further it led to the establishment
of prestigious Presidency College, Kolkata (now known as Presidency
Kolkata also contributed a lot in the freedom
It was the hotbed of extremist activities and witnesses mass
movement during Partition Bengal in 1905. Sri Aurobindo Ghosh, Rash
Behari Bose, Subhas Chandra Bose, Jatindra Nath Das were some of the
popular freedom fighters hailing from Kolkata.
Following Indian independence in 1947, Kolkata saw rapid urbanization in every walk of life. It was the first city of India to launch metro rail service in 1984, followed by Delhi in 2002.
Shobhabazar, Shyambazar, Cossipore, Chitpur, Baranagar, Sinthee, and Dum Dum are some of the densely populated areas of Kolkata. The Kolkata Municipal Corporation ( KMC) which held’s jurisdiction over Kolkata also incorporate parts of the following districts: North 24 Parganas, South 24 Parganas, Howrah, Hooghly, and Nadia.
Geography and Climate of Kolkata
Lying on the eastern bank of the Hooghly River, Kolkata has a tropical wet-and-dry climate. Annual temperatures average about 79º F. (26º C). Annual rainfall is about 66 inches (1,680 mm). The city experiences summer season from March to June which is marked by hot and humid climate.
Winter season keeps the city under its grip from November to February when temperature may dip some around between 9–11 °C. At Howrah, a suburb of Kolkata you can find number of jute industry. Chemicals, Shipbuilding, Textiles are other major industries of the region.
Kolkata Art & Culture
Popularly known as “Cultural Capital of India”, Kolkata is the birthplace of modern Indian literary and artistic thought. It was the epicenter of Bengal Renaissance and made rapid strides in the field of art and culture.
The name of famous authors like Rabindranath Tagore, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, Kazi Nazrul Islam, Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay, Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay, Michael Madhusudan Dutt are associated with the city. Many Social reformers like Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Swami Vivekananda and others have also contributed in the advancement of Kolkata.
Rabindrasangeet is very popular in Kolkata. Kirtans, and Gajan festival music are also popular music of Bengal. Other popular Folk Music of Kolkata includes Baul , Bhatiali and Majlishi. Group theatres of Kolkata are very popular. Kolkata is also home to directors Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sen, Aparna Sen, Tapan Sinha, Rituparno Ghosh and many other icons of Bengali cinema industry dubbed "Tollywood" for Tollygunj. Jatra, a traditional of folk drama of Bengal is very popular in Kolkata.
Kalighat painting owes its origin to Kolkata which is amply reflected in its style and form. The painting includes variety of themes including mythology and quotidian life. Kolkata holds the distinction of being workplace of eminent artists including Jamini Roy, Abanindranath Tagore, and Nandalal Bose.
Festivals Celebrated in Kolkata
Durga Puja celebrated with fun and frolic is Kolkata's most important festival. The period witnesses the influx of tourists and visitors from across various destinations.
Kol Poila Boishak or the Bengali New Year, and Poush Parbonbthe harvest festival are also important .
Others like Jagaddhatri Puja, Diwali, Saraswati Puja, Eid, Holi, Christmas, and Rath Yatra are also part and parcel of Kolkata cultural life.
Being a hub of intellectual ideas it also hosts number of events like the Nandikar's National Theatre Festival, Dover Lane Music Festival, Kolkata Book Fair and the Kolkata Film Festival.
Places to visit in Kolkata
Famous tourist destination in the city includes Maidan, Victoria Memorial, Botanical Gardens, Aquatica water park, Science City, Birla Planetarium and many others.
Howrah Bridge, the world famous cantilever bridge located over the Hooghly River is one of the busiest bridges of the world. Popular Pilgrimage destination includes Kalighat Kali Temple, Dakshineshwar Temple, Belur Math, Tipu Sultan Shahi Mosque, Saint Pauls Cathedral etc.
Shopping in Kolkata
Shopping in Kolkatacan be quite fruitful with numerous intriguing shopping avenues. The capital of West Bengal has a lot to offer to shoppers looking for traditional and ethnic wear.
There are numerous malls and markets offering diverse array of artifacts to choose from. One can buy beautiful cotton and silk sarees from here. Apart from apparels you can also buy inexpensive electronic devices, watches and other major items.
The best thing is that most of the markets are segmented on the availability of any particular product or item, making it easy for visitors looking for any specialized goods or items.
While Gariahat and Shyambazar are known for saris, handicrafts, and terracotta items, Air Conditioned Market at Shakespeare Sarani is famous for its Electronic, Household, Watches and other products. Whenever looking for high quality and authentic jewellery, visit Bowbazar Market at B B Ganguly Street.
Forum Mall, Emami Shoppers' City, are some of the highly popular shopping destinations of attracting tourists and visitors from across country and abroad.
Transportation of Kolkata
Unlike other metro cities, Kolkata has a well developed modern transportationsystem. Buses, Kolkata Suburban Railway, the Kolkata Metro, trams, taxis are major modes of transportation in this city.
Bus terminus at Esplanade, Karunamoyee, and Babughat connects to different parts of the city. They cover stops at Park Circus, Sealdah Railway Station and Howrah.
Trams also contribute in the making the life easy and comfortable for the daily commuters. Cheap and affordable it is best for short distance. Hire Yellow colored taxi to airport hauling or for reaching the desired destination in time.
Kolkata Metro Railthat connects city from Dum Dum train station (north) to Tollygunge (south) is certainly one of the safest mode of traveling in Kolkata.
Kolkata at a glance
State: West Bengal Metropolitan Area: 1380 sq. km. (1991) Languages spoken: Bengali, Hindi, Urdu and English Altitude: 17 ft above sea level Winter temperature: 30° C - 10° C Summer temperature: 30° C - 40° C Best time to visit: October to March STD Code: 033 Major tourist attractions: Victoria Memorial, Botanical Gardens, Birla Planetarium, Belurmath, Fort William, Eden Gardens, Howrah bridge, Writer's building & Science City Major festivals: Durga Puja, Kali Puja, Saraswati Puja, Jagaddhatri Puja, Diwali, Saraswati Puja, Eid, Holi, Christmas, & Rath Yatra Major fairs: Calcutta book Fair, Poush Mela & Joydev mela