The second biggest city of the country, Kolkata was formerly called as Calcutta. Being the capital of the British Raj, Kolkata is a city that holds an extremely crucial place in the economy, politics and culture of India. Being the Capital of West Bengal, Kolkata is also known as the cultural capital of India. With a quintessential charm that it has retained apart from just the modernization, Kolkata is amongst the four metropolitan cities of India. With a dense heritage, Kolkata is densely populated and is situated at the banks of river Ganga. Being famous for its culture, Kolkata is known for its people, food, music, literature and movies as well. Being the home of few major and great thinkers, artists, film makes and writers, Kolkata is associated with Rabindranath Tagore, Bankim Chandra Chattopadhayay, Sarat Chandra Chattopadhayay and Stayjit Roy. No wonder, Kolkata is indeed an inspiration for the country in the field of art literature and theater. Considered as if Bangalore is the Seattle of India then Kolkata is the sub continent’s London. The ‘in your face’ city that leaves every single visitor in shock with its charm, abject poverty inexplicably with crumbling the gems of British Raj era, sprawling gardens and historical colleges. Kolkata is a city one can hate or love but will never forget in his lifetime.
Kolkata is a city which retains an extreme important historical significance. While Kolkata is explored, the most interesting fact about the city is none other than the era of British Raj in Calcutta. Initially this city of joy was established because of the expansion plans of British. Calcutta was the city where they first landed and made it the capital of their Raj. The city was originally founded in 1686. Later since the establishment, with Calcutta other two villages namely Sutanati and Govindpur were captured by British and since then the city was made the center of all activities of British Raj.
With a tremendous progress the city kept growing until the Nawab of Bengal, Siraj-ud-Daula conquered Bengal and the British had to make a leave from the city. As the year has its following, in 1757 in the Battle of Plessey, Robert Clive defeated the Nawab and took over Calcutta. With the establishment of the Supreme Court in 1774, the end of the battle was announced. Yet Calcutta was officially announced as the ‘base of Justice’. Because of the battle, the economy of Calcutta had a huge impact and eventually the wealth of Calcutta was drained. With the seeds of Nationalism that were growing in the hearts of people between 1820 and 1930 was on its peak in the year 1905 where the crowd went against the plan of Lord Curzon of Bengal Partition. The crowd and the nationalist movement were led by Rabindranath Tagore and the capital was shifted from Calcutta to New Delhi. Post independence in 2001, Calcutta was officially renamed as Kolkata.
Kolkata is a city that can be explored in any part of the year, yet the suggested time period is October & March.
The culturally rich city of Kolkata [a major source of joy] is dotted with numerous spots of stay. It has made sure to surround itself with several options – varying from the amenities it provides to the amount it charges. From highly-reviewed hotels to the basic ones; all are present in varied corners of this friendly city. There are various Homestays as well; serving home-made food, Wi-Fi etc.
The capital of the multi-talented state of West Bengal, situated on the east bank of the Hooghly River is blessed with art and creativity in abundance. Regardless of what time of the day you step in or which corner you step into – you will always find yourself standing in a crowd full of musical souls.
To explore the prominent tourist attractions of Kolkata – you would need two days time but if your trip to this imposing city is accompanied with a desire to understand the culture and history then you will have to plan a week-long tour [festivals are the preferential occasions to learn about a new set of values and culture].
The land of drama, art, film, theatre, literature, culture, ethnical diversity, science etc is no less in the field of shopping destinations. This soulful city belongs to all who follow a filmy kind of mood; from the street markets complemented with the eatery shops to the huge shopping complexes – this happening city is equipped with all.
The shopping spots of Kolkata offer wide range of various items [quality products in affordable range]; here are the names of some must-buy products: Conch Shell Bangles, Darjeeling Tea, Kalighat Paintings, Solapith Handicrafts, Terracotta, Sarees, Bengali sweets, Dokra Craft, Jute Products, Putul Dolls, Kantha Embroidery etc.
(1) New Market Area (2) Hatibagan Market (3) Burrabazar Market (4) Howrah Phool Bazaar (5) College Street (6) Gariahat Market
The city of art and literature is truly inspiring; to begin with, let’s start with an introduction to the Bengali New Year. It’s also addressed as the “Poila Baisakh” [the first day of the month of Baisakh]. This significant day is observed around 15th of April on the basis of the lunar calendar of Bangabda. Making prayers, distributing sweets, offering garlands in the name of God, cultural programmes etc are a part of this celebration.
Here is a list stating the Religious festivals of Kolkata [the celebratory occasions] -
(1) Durga Puja (2) Kali Puja and Diwali (3) Holi (4) Saraswati Puja (5) Rath Yatra (6) Eids and Muharram (7) Jagaddhatri Puja
Here is a list stating the cultural festivals of Kolkata [the events of appreciation] -
(1) Kolkata Christmas Festival (2) Calcutta Book Fair (3) Dover Lane Music festival (4) Kolkata International Cinema festival
(5) International History and Heritage exhibition (6) National Children’s Theatre Festival (7) National Theatre Festival
The city of Joy is soaked in the sweet Bengali language; it’s the official state language. You might come across a limited population of people communicating in other languages like – English, Hindi and Urdu.
Religions practised in this city and their respective percentages –
Hinduism – 76.50 per cent
Islam – 20.60 per cent
Christianity – 0.88 per cent
Jainism – 0.47 per cent
Others – 1.54 per cent
The pride of Kolkata is considered to be this magnificent Victoria Memorial, the former residence of Queen Victoria. Built in year 1906 and 1921, it was constructed with marble. Being the memorial of Queen Victoria, it has now been converted into a museum. Considered to be the best museum in Kolkata, it houses assortments of Queen, British Raj paintings and plenty of other items. At present, it also houses a Royal Gallery which has a plenty of paintings by Jansen and Winter Halter Paintings depicts the scenes from the life of Prince Albert.
Situated on the eastern banks of river Hooghly, this mesmerizing fort is named after King William III and was built by British East India Company in 1696. The fort is comprised of the wings and an inner Bastille that was used to haul the prisoners and thus this was also known as the ‘Black Hole of Calcutta”.
The tomb of Mother Teresa is her former residence where she used to live, worship and serve the society since 1950. Her mortal body was laid to rest in the tomb exactly where she use to live and serve. Now after many years, the Missionaries of Charity’s Mother House is a holy place of pilgrimage managed by the Missionaries of Charity and is now one of the most visited holy places in the world. With people who come down to seek a more meaningful life end their searches as soon as they come here. A place worth to visit and explore.
The oldest museum of the World and the largest museum of India is the Indian Museum was founded by Dr. Nathaniel Wallich. The only museum that houses the Egyptian Mummy in India with many other rare artifacts that includes the antiquities, skeletons, mummies, ornaments and epic paintings. Regarded as the ‘Jadugarh’ is now a alluring mansion that houses sculptures of great things from India and the other history. It is now the Ninth regular Museum of India.
A Planetarium founded by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru on July 2nd, 1963. Being one of the three planetariums that India houses, this has its land in Kolkata and is considered to be the Largest Planetarium in Asia and second Largest in the World. Also known as Taramandal, this beautiful planetarium, hosts plenty of programs in various languages that includes Hindi, English, Bengali and other regional languages.
The Howrah Bridge, popularly known as the Rabindra Setu is situated over the Hooghly River in West Bengal and it is the only bridge that connects Kolkata and Howrah. It is the busiest bridge that carries almost of 1, 00,000 vehicles and more than 1, 50,000 pedestrians.
Now, being the sixth longest bridge of its own type and was 3rd longest cantilever bridge at the time it was build. In the words of Tahir Sah, Sorcerer’s Apprentice, “Calcutta’s the only city I know where you are actively encouraged to stop stranger at random for a quick chit chat.” While Kolkata has a lot to be explored, as per the points of interests one can opt for Kolkata Sightseeing Tour and Kolkata City Tour and explore the city you won’t forget ever.
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