Kolkata General Information
- Area 185.39 sq. km
- Population 43,99,819
- Altitude 5.5 metres above sea level
- Languages Bengali, Hindi, and English
- Best time to visit October to March
- STD code 033
Introduction to Kolkata
Calcutta is one of the major metropolitan city of India located in the eastern part of the country. It has a population of around eighty million people. The British domination during the seventeenth century made their way to India by setting up the trading company in west Bengal and gave it the name The East India Company. The colonial dominations impoverished Calcutta and the whole of India . During the eighteen century Calcutta being sapped of the all the wealth became a place of exploitation, as the local the landlord paid heavily to the Britishers as tax and compensation. This further degraded the condition of the local inhabitants and city became a cauldron of dirth and filth. Before this Calcutta saw the reigns of Shiraj-ud Daulah, who made a successfull attempt and drove the British but later succumbed, as the colonial domination defeated the Nawab as lord clive and gained control over the Bengal .However the Britishers made Calcutta their capital city. Being the one of the most ancient city, Calcutta expanded the under the British expansionist policy. Calcutta also saw the rise of social reformers like the Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Ishwar Chandra vidyasagar and vivekananda who were liberal in approach and fought the existing social evils successfully. Today, it is ranked as one of the major Metropolitan city of India .The city has a carnivalistic atmosphere during the puja celebrations and one can observe the difference in ambience and atmosphere when the Durga Pujas are near. Calcutta has the countries first metro railway station. It has a few building premises Which are more than hundred years old. Calcutta has a flavor of the past and also the Present.
Places of Interest:
Victoria Memorial is an splendid structure built during the time of the colonial rule.It contains the remains of the British rule in India . This monument having built by lord Curzon has the splendour of architectural style of the west and has been dedicated to Queen Victoria . The structure which is flooded with light in the evening presents a Fascinating sight. Victoria Memorial has been converted into a museums, most impressive collection of items during the time of the British rule in India . Among the displaying items are manuscripts, paintings and sculptures, which are outstanding.
The Indian museum was built in 1874, presents a beautiful structure. Being the rarest museums in India it houses some of the rare artifacts. In the entrance of the museum thereIs the original symbol of the Ashoka stamva or the image of the lion standing in all four sides.
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 to construct this fort, 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 Kolkata and stretches 1 km in width and 3 km in length.
Named after the sister of Alexander, the Eden Gardens used to be covered by verdant trees and gardens. A major part of the garden gave way to the construction of one of the largest and beautiful stadiums of India- the Eden Gardens Cricket Stadium. Eden Gardens has seen history made and unmade. For more than a hundred years, the magic of Eden Gardens has held its sway over cricket and cricket lovers in the country.
Located at the top end of Chowringhee, it is the only planetarium in the country whose dome houses a collection of projectors and optical equipment imported from East Germany. It is the largest planetarium in South-East Asia and the second largest planetarium in the world.
Laid in 1876, extending over an area of 16 hectares, the zoological garden has a considerably large collection of animals. White tigers, reptiles and the Royal Bengal tigers are the special exhibits. During winter, birds from all over the world migrate here and are a special attraction during this time.
Nehru Children’s Museum
It’s a wonderfully entertaining place for children. Named after the first Prime Minister of India, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, it is located at Jawaharlal Nehru Road (formerly Chowringhee Road). The stories of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata have been depicted nicely with the help of animated dolls. Some science models are also on exhibition, a must see for the kids.
The largest mosque, which can accommodate 10,000 worshippers at a time, this wonder is built in the Indo-Saracenic style.
St. Paul’s Cathedral Church
One of the most prominent churches in the city, it is located between Birla planetarium and Rabindra Sadan. Constructed by Bishop Willson in 1847, it is the first Episcopal Church of the East. The Indo-Gothic style of this church is really impressive.
Kali Mandir, Kalighat
Kali temple of Kalighat continues to attract a large volume of pilgrims, local, regional as well as from all over India. A truly impressive sight, this temple is best visited during the spirited Kali puja festivities.
Built by Rajendra Mallik, the Marble Palace displays the art forms of Italy, the Netherlands, England, and other European nations. The interior of the palace the floors, walls, and tabletops are all made of marble. Formerly known as the Palace of Arts, it was named the Marble Palace by Lord Minto.
51 kms from the city is the old port. From here Hooghly turns south to merge into the sea and from here, one can take launches to Sagar island for the famous Ganga Sagar Fair.
new port is 96 kms south of the city. This place was developed as a port to avoid the silting problem in Diamond Harbour. Today the Haldia Refinery has added value to the place. There are regular bus services to both the ports.
The French trading post was handed over to India along with Pondicherry in 1951. The French settled here in 1673 and made it their trade centre. But they lost this place to the British in a conflict. Today this place along the river Hooghly has some buildings of the French era and is now famous for the artisans who make clay figurines. Chandernagore is 39 kms.
Sunderban Wildlife Sanctuary
Towards the South, rivers Ganga and Hooghly divide themselves into many distributaries and they form the famous Gangetic deltas. They provide the ideal environment for the Sundari trees to grow. Spread over an area of almost 10,000 sq kms, now shared between Bangladesh and India, the Sunderbans are home to many exquisite animals and birds.
Founded in 1786 beside the Hooghly in Shibpur, the Botanical Gardens is a major attraction in the vicinity. Covering an area of 110 hectares, it was intended to promote the study of Indian trees and herbs. The main attraction of the garden is a 250-year-old banyan tree (Ficus bengalhensis) which rises to a height of 98 feet and measures over 1,300 feet in circumference.