Kolkata, previously known as Calcutta, is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal. Kolkata is the cultural capital of India and the commercial capital of Eastern India.
It is located in eastern India on the east bank of the Hooghly River. The Kolkata metropolitan area including suburbs has a population exceeding 15 million, making it the third most populous metropolitan area in India and one of the most populous urban areas in the world. Kolkata served as the capital of India during the British Raj until 1912. If your trip only allows for a visit of one or two of India’s metropolitan cities, than definitely consider placing Kolkata on your itinerary. Love it or hate it, you definitely won’t forget the city on the Hooghly river bank.
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Kolkata as city
The city sprawls along the eastern bank of the Hooghly River, a tributary of the Ganges, which divides it from Howrah on the western bank. For travelers, the most relevant parts of Kolkata are south of the Howrah Bridge in the areas around BBD Bagh and Chowringhee. • Gurusaday Museum, Diamond Harbour Road • Jawahar Shishu Bhawan • Science City • Sabarna Sangrahashala, Barisha. A walk along Chowringhee Road sets the pace as you set out to unravel the rare beauty of this city. Across the road sweeps huge, lush green, open parkland called the Maidan, centering on Fort William, the massive and impregnable British Citadel built in 1773. The fort is still in use and retains its well-guarded grandeur. Visitors are allowed in with special permission only.
Named after Lord Auckland’s sister, this picturesque garden has a tiny Burmese pagoda set in a small lake. It also houses Calcutta’s Cricket Stadium.
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.
The Victoria Memorial, officially the Victoria Memorial Hall, is a memorial building dedicated to Victoria, Empress of India, It currently serves as a museum and a tourist attraction. It is an autonomous organization within the Government of India's Ministry of Culture.
Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture
Commemorates the birth centenary of Shri Ramakrishna Paramahansa. Religious discourses and cultural exchanges are held here among international scholars. The institute is located at Golpark.
Modeled on Akbar’s tomb in Sikandra, the red sandstone mosque has two minarets 46 mts high, a brightly painted onion shaped dome and can accommodate 10,000 people. Built in 1926 and located on Chitpur Road.
Take a walk along the river. There is a good promenade near Eden Garden. Take a stroll down memory lane at Princep ghat. Take a boat cruise in small boats under the starlit sky at Outram Ghat.
Several modern cinemas are dotted around the city, including INOX at the Forum Shopping Mall and the City Centre in Salt Lake, 89 Cinemas at Swabhumi near Salt Lake City and Fame at Metropolis Mall in Highland Park, RDB Adlabs at RDB Boulevard, Near Infinity Building in Sector 5, Saltlake, all showing Indian and American blockbusters.
Kolkata Film Festival
Nandan, the symbol of art and culture in the city and the site of the Kolkata Film Festival every November.
A festival honoring the Hindu goddess Durga, takes place in October. The biggest festival for Hindus in Bengal and Eastern India, Kolkata takes on an almost carnival like ambiance. Streets shut down for the construction of pandals, large stands that depict events from the Ramayana and crowds flock to the biggest and best ones. A great time to visit Kolkata (unless you have a fear of crowds!)
Bishnupur (140 Kms)
famous for terracotta temples, clay sculptures, and silk sarees
Santiniketan (165 Kms)
famous for the Ashramik School, and university founded by Nobel Laureate poet Rabindranath Tagore. the town is also known for its handmade leather crafts and kantha stitch sarees
North Bengal -
a mountainous region home to Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri, Lava-Lolegaon and, further south on the Gangetic plains, the historic districts of Malda and Murshidabad.
Sunderbans National Park (110Kms)
Part of the largest littoral mangrove in the world, and home to the famous Bengal Tigers
The southerrn part of the State hosts several beach towns such as Digha, Sankarpur, Junput and Mondarmoni