Facts & Figures :
||1,380 sq km
||Bengali, Hindi, and English
|Best time to visit
||October to March
||17 ft above sea level
a city that means many things to many people. For some, Calcutta is the city
of joy, while for others it is dirty, crowded, and noisy. Once the greatest
colonial city in the Orient, Calcutta was later reviled as a cauldron of
poverty, dirt, and disease. Today, it ranks among the four major metropolis
of India along with Delhi, Mumbai, and Chennai. A mere village in the 17th
century, Calcutta is not an ancient city like Delhi. Like Mumbai and
Chennai, it originated largely due to the expansionist ambitions of the
European powers, especially the British Raj. Little wonder, Calcutta has
some of the finest Raj edifices built in a variety of styles. CHENNA
he metropolitan city of Calcutta in the
eastern Indian state of West Bengal extends between the latitude 22°82'
N and longitude 88°20' E. The city is well connected to the other
cities of India through train, bus, and air services. Most of the countries
in the Asia have flight links to the city. CHENNAI
The first capital of the British in India, Calcutta
does not have an ancient history like Delhi. The city was established in
1686 when British moved to the small villages of Sutanati, Govindpur, and
Kalikata from their trading port of Hooghly. The city got its name from the
last of the settlements mentioned above. The city progressed well until 1756
when Siraj-Ud-Daula (Nawab of Bengal) attacked the town and drove away the
British. Lord Clive retook Calcutta and until 1911, Calcutta remained the
capital of the British government in India. Being the center of power for so
long created a unique culture and heritage of the city, totally unlike any
other city of India. The people here are proud of their culture and can go
to any length to defend it. The humanity of the city can be felt only
through visiting the place and not by reading.CLIMATE....
As Calcutta is near the sea, the city has uniform temperature
throughout the year. The temperature ranges from 1227°C in the
winter and 2438°C in the summer. Annual rainfall is around 160
cm. Humidity level can be very high in the summers and can make ones
life difficult. SITES TO VISIT IN CHENNAI.....
is a huge white-marble structure and the
most enduring of remains of the British Raj in India. The structure, which
is now floodlit in the night, gives a fascinating site. It has been now
converted in a museum that houses the most impressive collection of
memorabilias from the days of Raj. Indian Museum,
built in 1874, has a beautiful structure. The oldest museum in India, it has
one of the rare collections of archeological. The entrance to the museum
houses an original Lion Capitol, the national symbol of India. The museum is
opened all days of the week except Monday. The normal timing is 10 a.m. to 5
p.m. Fort William
was constructed in 1781 after the
unfortunate happenings of 1756 in which many British soldiers with their
families were killed by Siraj-Ud-Daula. Large area around the village of
Govindpur was cleared off the forests and this fort was constructed, which
for some time also lent its name to the city. The fort is still in use and
visitors are allowed inside only after getting special permits. The area
around the fort is a very large patch of green known as the Maidan
(ground). The Maidan is also known as the lung of Calcutta and stretches 1
km in width and 3 km in length. Eden Garden,
the northwest corner of the city, is a small and pleasantly laid-out garden.
The place also houses the renowned cricket ground by the same name. Birla
is one of the largest of its kind in the world, and a good
place to enjoy oneself. Regular shows in Hindi and English are held here.
is the temple dedicated to Kali, goddess of
destruction. This is the temple from which the old village Kalikata took its
name, which, in turn, also gave the city its name. Howrah
is an excellent example of engineering techniques of the early
20th century. The whole bridge is 450 m long without any pylon in the river.
The bridge also has the distinction of being the busiest bridge in the world
catering to around 100,000 vehicles and innumerable pedestrians.
Calcutta was the capital of British India, BBD Bagh
was the center
of power. This is the place that houses the now famous Writers
Building (clerks were known as writers in the British India) and the old
Fort William. Belur Math,
the headquarters of Ramakrishna
Mission, is situated in the north of the city. The place was founded in 1899
and houses a structure that was designed to be a church, temple, and mosque
all in one.
Other important sites that can be visited are
Dakshineshwar Kali Temple, Botanical Garden, Marble Palace, Tagore House,
Church of St John, Nakhoda Mosque, Raj Bhawan, Town Hall, and St. Pauls
and understand Calcutta in its eternity, one is invited to the city during
Durga Pujaa time when Calcutta becomes unforgettable. Every year, for
four days, Calcutta forgets its worries and yields to a paroxysm of
celebration and worship. This special time of the year comes just before the
full moon in late September or October. This is a special occasion because
of the transcendent place Goddess Durga holds in the Bengali imagination.
is the celebration of Saraswati, the
goddess of learning. The festival is celebrated just before the coming of
spring in the months of January or February. Calcutta Book
is the largest in Asia and provides ample opportunities to the
bibliophiles to explore the fascinating world of books. The event is held
every year in the month of January or February. Poush Mela
is celebrated in the Shanti Niketan usually on the 22nd or 23rd of December.
The three-day function marks the foundation of Shanti Niketan.
important festivals celebrated in the city are Kali Puja, Diwali, and Holi.
WHERE TO STAY....
With the growth of the
city, Calcutta provides very good choices in accommodation. Every income
group has wide spectrum of accommodation to choose from. The hotels are
convenient and provide all the modern facilities. HOW
TO REACH KOLKATA.....
Calcutta is connected with most of the Indian
cities by road. The Esplanade Terminus in the heart of the city is the main
bus terminus. A new development is the starting of DhakaCalcutta bus
service. The buses are colorful, air-conditioned, and comfortable.
of the domestic airlines have direct services to and from Calcutta to other
important cities of India such as Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Patna, Varanasi,
Lucknow, etc. Calcutta provides direct flights to most of the countries in
the Southeast Asia. The airport in Calcutta is situated at Dumdum, around 17
km northeast of the city center.
Trains from the other parts of
the country connect Calcutta. Super-fast trains such as Rajdhani Express and
Shatabdi Express join the city from Delhi and nearby cities such as Bokaro
and Rourkela. Coromandel Express and Gitanjali Express connect Calcutta to
Chennai and Mumbai respectively. The city has two major railway stationsone
at Howrah and the other at Sealdah.
Mechanized boats and ships are
available on a regular basis for Andaman & Nicobar Islands. One should
contact the offices of the Shipping Corporation of India on 13, Strand Road
for more information on schedules. Luxury cruises are also operational
between Calcutta and Haldia, a modern port city nearby.
transport, Calcutta Metro is Indias first and only underground railway
network and a good option to move around the city. Trains run from 8:15 a.m.
to 9:15 p.m. on Monday to Saturday and 3 p.m. to 9:15 p.m. on Sunday. Other
options to explore the city are taxis, trams, and buses. The services are
basic and crowded but cheap.