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Kolkata, West Bengal – Facts And History

 

Kolkata is the city of joy for its soulful embodiment of culture, love, mystery, respect, enthusiasm, and some amazing and sweet delicacies. Kolkata, earlier referred to as Calcutta, is a city that upholds a perfect closeness between the old world and the modern one. With the most enchanting landscape of sweet paddy fields, the city is home to a major slice of India’s history and is also the haven for its contemporary legendary heritage. Kolkata is the heart of Bengal but is also the capital of West Bengal.

Kolkata, the city known for its distinctive culture, has also been awarded the sobriquet of “city of joy” as well as “city of intellectuals”. Kolkata, formerly known as Calcutta, is the capital city of West Bengal and is in eastern India. It has earned itself the reputation of being the most cultured city in India and is also the home of India’s largest state-owned enterprise. Today, as you walk down the streets of Kolkata, you will be greeted with a lot of smiles, a lot of sweet tea, and a lot of love

 

Other Names Of Kolkata:

 

  • Kolkata, also known as Calcutta, has had several names throughout its history. Here are some of them:
  • Calcutta: This was the official name of the city during the British colonial period. It was derived from the Bengali word “Kalikata,” which means “the place of Kali.”
  • Kolikata: This was the original name of the city before the British arrived. It is believed to have been derived from the Bengali words “Koli” (meaning “flat area”) and “Kata” (meaning “dig”).
  • Sutanuti: This was one of the three villages that merged to form Kolkata and it means “the place of trade.”
  • Gobindapur: This was another village that merged to form Kolkata. It was named after Gobinda Chandra Roy, a local landlord.
  • Kalikata: This was the name given to the area where the Kalighat temple is located. It eventually became the name of the entire city.

 

Nicknames Of Kolkata:

 

Kolkata, also known as Calcutta, has several popular nicknames, which reflect its rich history and cultural heritage. Here are some of them:

  • The City of Joy: This nickname was coined by the French author Dominique Lapierre in his book “City of Joy.” It reflects the lively and joyful atmosphere of Kolkata despite its many challenges.
  • The Cultural Capital of India: Kolkata is often referred to as the cultural capital of India because of its rich literary, artistic, and intellectual traditions.
  • The City of Palaces: Kolkata has a rich architectural heritage, with many magnificent palaces and buildings that reflect its colonial past.
  • The Gateway to Eastern India: Kolkata is located in the eastern part of India and is often referred to as the “Gateway to Eastern India.” It is a major commercial, cultural, and educational hub of the region.
  • The Intellectual Capital of India: Kolkata has a long history of intellectual and cultural achievements. It is home to several renowned universities, research institutions, and cultural organizations, which have earned it the nickname “The Intellectual Capital of India.”
  • The City of Processions: Kolkata is known for its colorful and vibrant processions, especially during the Durga Puja festival.
  • The City of Foodies: Kolkata is famous for its delicious and diverse cuisine, which reflects its multi-cultural heritage. It is often called “The City of Foodies” because of its love for good food.

 

How to Reach Kolkata:

 

Kolkata is a major city in India and can be reached by various modes of transportation.

  • By Air: Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport is the main airport in Kolkata and is well-connected to major cities in India and abroad. Several airlines operate regular flights to and from Kolkata.
  • By Train: Kolkata is well-connected by railways to other major cities in India. There are two major railway stations in Kolkata – Howrah Station and Sealdah Station. Both stations have trains connecting Kolkata to other parts of the country.
  • By Road: Kolkata is connected by a network of national highways and state highways. You can drive to Kolkata from neighboring cities like Bhubaneswar, Jamshedpur, Ranchi, Patna, and Varanasi.
  • By Bus: There are regular bus services to Kolkata from nearby cities like Patna, Ranchi, Jamshedpur, and Bhubaneswar.
  • By Waterways: Kolkata is also connected to other parts of India through waterways. There are regular ferry services from Kolkata to other cities along the Ganges river.

Choose the mode of transportation that best suits your travel needs and budget.

 

Delicacies of Kolkata:

 

Kolkata, also known as the “City of Joy,” is famous for its unique and delicious cuisine. Here are some of the most popular delicacies of Kolkata:

  • Rosogolla: This sweet dish made of soft, spongy balls of cottage cheese in a sugar syrup is probably the most famous sweet dish of Kolkata.
  • Mishti Doi: This sweet yogurt is a popular dessert in Kolkata and is made by fermenting sweetened milk overnight in earthen pots.
  • Kathi Rolls: Kolkata is known for its delicious street food, and the kathi roll is a must-try. It is made by wrapping a paratha around spiced chicken, mutton, or paneer.
  • Cholar Dal and Luchi: This is a traditional Bengali breakfast dish made of deep-fried puffed bread (luchi) and chana dal cooked with coconut, spices, and ghee.
  • Puchka: Puchka, also known as golgappa or panipuri, is a popular street food snack in Kolkata. It is a crispy, hollow puri filled with spiced potatoes, chickpeas, tamarind water, and mint chutney.
  • Macher Jhol: This is a popular Bengali fish curry made with freshwater fish, onions, tomatoes, ginger, and spices.
  • Kosha Mangsho: This is a slow-cooked, spicy mutton curry that is a traditional Bengali delicacy.
  • Sandesh: This is a popular Bengali sweet made from chenna (cottage cheese), sugar, and flavorings like cardamom, saffron, or rosewater.

These are just a few of the many delicious delicacies that Kolkata has to offer. If you ever visit Kolkata, be sure to try these and many more tasty dishes to explore the diverse and flavorful cuisine of the city.

 

Kolkata – Heritage and History:

 

Kolkata, also known as Calcutta, is a city with a rich heritage and history. It was the capital of British India until 1911 and played a vital role in the country’s struggle for independence. Here are some of the top heritage and historical landmarks of Kolkata:

  • Victoria Memorial: This magnificent marble building is one of Kolkata’s most iconic landmarks. It was built in memory of Queen Victoria and is now a museum and art gallery.
  • Howrah Bridge: This is one of the busiest and most famous bridges in India, connecting Kolkata to its twin city of Howrah. The bridge is an engineering marvel and a symbol of Kolkata’s growth and development.
  • St. Paul’s Cathedral: This is one of the oldest and most prominent churches in Kolkata. It was built in the early 1800s and is known for its Gothic architecture and stained glass windows.
  • Writers’ Building: This historic building was originally built to house the office of the East India Company and was later used as the office of the Chief Minister of West Bengal. It is an excellent example of colonial architecture.
  • Indian Museum: This is the oldest and largest museum in India, with an extensive collection of artifacts, including archaeological finds, natural history specimens, and art objects.
  • Marble Palace: This is a magnificent mansion built in the 19th century by a wealthy merchant. It is now a museum and art gallery and is known for its eclectic collection of artwork and artifacts.
  • Fort William: This is a massive fort built by the British in the late 17th century. It was used as a military base and is now the headquarters of the Eastern Command of the Indian Army.

These are just a few of the many heritage and historical landmarks of Kolkata. The city has a rich and diverse history, and exploring its various landmarks and monuments is a fascinating way to learn about its past.

 

Kolkata – Howrah Bridge:

 

Howrah Bridge is one of the most iconic landmarks of Kolkata, West Bengal. It is a cantilever bridge that spans the Hooghly River, connecting Kolkata to its twin city of Howrah. Here are some interesting facts about the Howrah Bridge:

  • Construction: The bridge was constructed between 1936 and 1943 and was opened to the public in 1943. It was designed by the famous British architect Rendel, Palmer and Tritton.
  • Architecture: The Howrah Bridge is a cantilever bridge, which means that it is held up by horizontal beams that are anchored at one end. It has a total length of 705 meters and a width of 71 feet. The bridge has two main towers that are 82 meters high.
  • Design: The bridge was designed to withstand earthquakes, high winds, and heavy traffic. It has a capacity to carry over 100,000 vehicles and pedestrians every day.
  • No nuts or bolts: The bridge was constructed without using any nuts or bolts. Instead, the parts were welded together, making the structure more sturdy and reliable.
  • Illumination: Howrah Bridge is illuminated by thousands of lights every night, which makes it a beautiful sight to behold. The lights change colors periodically, creating a mesmerizing effect.
  • Traffic restrictions: Due to the age of the bridge, heavy vehicles are not allowed to pass over it. Moreover, the bridge is closed for a few hours every day for maintenance and inspection.
  • Iconic status: The Howrah Bridge is one of the most recognizable landmarks of Kolkata and has been featured in several films, novels, and songs.

The Howrah Bridge is not just a marvel of engineering, but also a symbol of Kolkata’s growth and development. It is a must-visit attraction for anyone visiting Kolkata.

 

Kolkata – The Taste of Bengali Food:

 

Kolkata is renowned for its rich culinary heritage, with Bengali cuisine being a significant part of it. Here are some of the must-try Bengali dishes in Kolkata:

  • Fish Curry: Bengalis are known for their love of fish, and a fish curry is a staple dish in Kolkata. Made with a variety of local fish, the curry is cooked in mustard oil and flavored with spices like turmeric, cumin, and coriander.
  • Luchi and Cholar Dal: Luchi is a deep-fried puffed bread, while Cholar Dal is a thick, flavorful lentil curry. This combination is a popular breakfast or brunch option in Kolkata.
  • Biryani: Kolkata-style Biryani is a rich, aromatic rice dish that is layered with spices, meat (often goat or chicken), and potatoes. It is typically served with a side of cucumber and onion salad and a hard-boiled egg.
  • Mishti Doi: Mishti Doi is a sweet, creamy yogurt dessert that is a favorite among the locals. It is made by caramelizing sugar and adding it to boiled milk and curd.
  • Rosogolla: Rosogolla is a soft, spongy, round-shaped dessert made from chenna (cottage cheese) and soaked in a sugar syrup. It originated in Kolkata and has since become a popular sweet across India.
  • Jhal Muri: Jhal Muri is a popular street snack in Kolkata. It is made from puffed rice, peanuts, vegetables, spices, and mustard oil. It is spicy, tangy, and crunchy.
  • Ghugni: Ghugni is a spicy curry made with boiled peas, served with chopped onions, green chilies, and a dash of lemon juice. It is a popular street food in Kolkata.

Bengali cuisine in Kolkata is full of flavors and aromas that reflect the cultural diversity of the region. So, make sure to try these dishes to get a real taste of Kolkata.

 

Kolkata – Victoria Memorial

 

The Victoria Memorial is a grand monument located in the heart of Kolkata, West Bengal, and is a must-visit attraction for anyone visiting the city. Here are some interesting facts about the Victoria Memorial:

  • History: The Victoria Memorial was built in memory of Queen Victoria, who was the Empress of India. The foundation stone was laid in 1906, and the monument was completed in 1921.
  • Architecture: The Victoria Memorial is an example of Indo-Saracenic Revival architecture, which combines different styles of architecture from India and the West. The monument is made of white marble and has a dome that is 56 meters high.
  • Collections: The Victoria Memorial houses a vast collection of artifacts, including paintings, sculptures, and manuscripts. The galleries showcase the history of the British period in India, including the life and times of Queen Victoria.
  • Gardens: The Victoria Memorial is surrounded by beautiful gardens that are spread over 64 acres. The gardens have several walking paths, fountains, and sculptures, making it a popular spot for tourists and locals alike.
  • Light and Sound Show: The Victoria Memorial has a popular light and sound show that takes place every evening, which narrates the history of the monument and the events leading up to its construction.
  • Statue of Queen Victoria: The Victoria Memorial has a statue of Queen Victoria in front of the entrance, which is made of black bronze and is 3.5 meters tall.
  • Tourist Attraction: The Victoria Memorial is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Kolkata, attracting millions of visitors every year. It is a symbol of the city’s colonial past and a reminder of its rich cultural heritage.

The Victoria Memorial is a beautiful monument that is steeped in history and culture, and a visit to Kolkata is incomplete without visiting this magnificent structure.

 

Conclusion:

 

Kolkata city is dubbed the “City of Joy”, the economic capital of Eastern India, and the “Cultural Capital of India”. The city attracts many tourists, many of whom are from Bangladesh, Nepal, and Bhutan. Kolkata is home to numerous colonial buildings, architectural marvels, and cultural sites. Kolkata’s cuisine is diverse, and it has an authentic and diverse food culture. Kolkata is called the “City of Joy” because of the cultural and traditional diversity of the city. The Bengali culture is predominant in Kolkata. Apart from Bengalis, many other ethnic communities reside in Kolkata. This has led to a rich fusion of food.

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