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 Kolkata (West Bengal)

Introduction: Kolkata is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal. It is located in eastern India on the east bank of the River Hooghly.

History: In 1690,an English merchant, Job Charnock, established a trading post in the riverside village of Sutanuti which, together with neighbouring Govindapur and Kolikata, grew into the city of Calcutta. Over the next 200 years, the city became a flourishing commercial centre with imposing Victorian Gothic buildings, and churches. Simultaneously, intellectual and cultural life bloomed, with a renaissance of Bengali art and literature, and the growth of a strong nationalist reform movement that led to the founding of the Brahmo Samaj, an enlightened off-shoot of Hinduism, and the establishment of Presidency College, then the foremost centre of English education.

Description: In 2001, Calcutta became Kolkata, the Bengali pronunciation of its name. Kolkata, the capital of West Bengal, lies on the Hoogly river. The city is crowded and dirty in places, but is nevertheless full of character. The type of Government in Kolkata is Marxist and also Kolkata has been the place of entry for the refugees of Bangla Desh and this effected the economy of West Bengal immensely. Kolkata has been the birth place of poets and artists including Rabindranath Tagore the famous "Bengali Poet", the novelist William Thackrey, etc.,

Kolkata Quick facts

  • Kolkata Geography and Climate

    Geography: Kolkata is located in eastern INdia at 22033'N, 88020'E, in the Ganges Delata at an elevation ranging between 1.5 m 5 feet to 9 m 30 feet. It spread linearly along the banks of the river hooghly in a north- south direction.

    : The Calcutta climate is basically tropical with an annual temperature of around 26 degree to 27 degree. The summer season in Calcutta is warm, humid and hot with temperature rising to above 30 degree approximately. Sometimes the temperature in summer crosses 40 degree during the May month. The monsoon season, starting in June and continuing till September, brings with it thunder storms and heavy rain that gives relief after the scorching summer. Winter, on the other hand lasts for two to three months (December and January) and the temperature ranges between 14- 16 degrees.

  • Best time to visit Kolkata

    Period between October-march is the best time to visit Calcutta. At this period, not only the weather is pleasant, but also, it is the time of festivities.

  • Kolkata Orientation

    Kollkata sprawls north-south along the eastern bank of the Hooghly river, which divides it from Howrah on the western bank. If you arrive from anywhere west of Kolkata by rail, you'll come into the immense Howrah station and have to cross the Howrah Bridge into Kolkata proper. The more relevant parts of Kolkata are south of the bridge in the areas around BBD bagh and chowringhee.

  • Kolkata Near Getaways

    Kolkata in recent is catching up with other major cities in India to attract new-age businesses and adopting fast the business culture of the modern world. Kolkata is also gateway to the Buddhist Sector of East India and hill resorts of North East India like Darjeeling, Gangtok, and Shillong.

  • Kolkata Distance(s)

    • Bardhaman: 119 km
    • Durgapur: 182 km
    • Dakshineswar: 14 km
    • Dum Dum: 10 km
    • Maniktala: 6 km

    Distance from Kolkata to
    Click on link For a list of distances from Kolkata to various cities .

  • How to reach Kolkata by Road

    Govt. buses run under the label of the state owned West Bengal Surface Transport Service Corporation (WBSTSC) and the Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation (BRTC). WBSTSC and BRTC both operate buses from Kolkata every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday at 5:30AM and 8:30AM, and 12:30PM while from Dhaka they leave on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 7:00AM and 7:30AM.

  • How to reach Kolkata by Rail

    India's first under ground Metro Rail System started in Kolkata in 1984. Yet it still has only a single route connecting the north and south of the city, from Dumdum to Tollygunge (work is in progress on the extension to Garia). There are two major railway stations in Kolkata - Howrah (not in Kolkata actually, it's in the next city Howrah) and Sealdah. The Metro rail is the city's underground system.

  • How to reach Kolkata by Air

    Kolkata's Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport is 22km from the city centre. The domestic and international terminals are housed in separate buildings but are walking distance from each other.

  • How to reach Kolkata by Water

    With its location on the Hooghly River, it is possible to enter Kolkata by boat, especially from nearby towns and cities.

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    Kolkata Festivals and culture

  • Kolkata Festivals

    Durga Puja: (October) The most important and the most popular of all Bengali festivals is the Durgapuja. During the 10 day Pooja, the Goddess Durga is worshipped, her statuesque images are created, and millions of pandals all over the city come alive to the thunderous and rousing beat of drums

    Lakshmi puja: This festival falls in the month of October, about 5 days after Mahadashami. Laxmi Puja of Kolkata India is an important occasion, in which prayers are offered to Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth, peace and prosperity. The puja of Ma Laxmi gives an opportunity to people to invite the Goddess of luck and prosperity to their homes. One or two days before the celebration of the festivity of Laxmi puja, the local markets of Kolkata are beautifully decorated. The shops get flooded with the idols of Laxmi seated on a lotus.

    Saraswati puja: This is one big occasion in Kolkata that takes place during the period between late January and early February. In fact, the day when puja of Ma Saraswati is done is declared as a state holiday. Calcutta Saraswati puja festival is celebrated with great pomp and show. It is on this day that the youngest female of the family is asked to dress up in yellow clothing. Sarswati puja of Kolkata India is dedicated to the goddess of learning.

    Kali puja: This festival is performed in the honor of Kali, the Goddess of destruction. People worship Goddess Kali with the belief that she will protect them from evils. Also, she symbolizes strength. Puja of Ma Kali is conducted at midnight on the day of the new moon in the month of Kartik. Kali Puja of Kolkata India usually coincides with Diwali. It is celebrated with splendid grandeur. People light candles, burst crackers, dress up in good clothes and offer prayers to mother Goddess Kali.

    Dol Purnima: This is like Holi festival, in which people smear each other with different colors and also spray colored water on the people passing by. It is on this festivity that people get together and share joyous moments. They drink bhang, i.e., a mild milk beverage laced with marijuana. The best part about Dol Purnima festival of Kolkata India is that, on this day, people break all social barriers of caste, creed and religion. Poor touch rich and lower caste meets and greets upper caste.

    Bhai Phota: This is the festival where the sister fasts in the morning till she applies a tilak made from sandalwood on her brother's forehead. While doing so, she prays to God for the sound health, safety and prosperity of her brother. The brother in return presents gift to her sister. Thereafter, both the brother and sister offer sweets to each other.

    : The festival of Kolkata India has a lot of significance for all. It is on this day that businessmen take their accounts books and the statues of Ganesh and Lakshmi along and visit the Kali temple for seeking the divine blessings. On the Naboborsho, the markets are beautifully decorated with garlands, auspicious mango leaves; sola pith ornaments etc. On the eve of Bengali New Year, Charak puja is conducted.

    Rathyatra: The festival of Kolkata, India is dedicated to Jagannath, an avatar of Vishnu. It is on this day that processions are conducted by the ISKON. Kalighat acts as a platform where the idols of Jagannath's chariot sell like real hot cakes on this day. Children adorn their chariots with flowers. In the chariots, they keep the clay images of Jagannath, his brother Balaram and sister Subhadra. Rathayatra is celebrated to mark the beginning of harvest season. It is owing to this fact that it is considered a very auspicious time. This festivity is of prime importance in villages and towns.

    Poila Baisakh
    : This festival is basically a harvest festivity that marks the beginning of the crop cycle in Bengal. It takes place in the first month of the Bengali calendar, Baisakh (April). Poila Baisakh is celebrated with magnificent grandeur. The first day of the month of Baisakh is known as Poila Baisakh and is celebrated as the Bengali New Year. It is on this day that wherever you go, you are offered yummy sweets.

  • Kolkata Culture

    Kolkata is truly a city of talent and passion, where people are lively and have an enthusiasm to live life to the fullest. If you want to get well versed with the Kolkatta culture, the best way is to look out for a friend over there and join adda i.e. the local parlance where chat sessions are held. Discussions take place on a wide variety of subjects ranging from politics, sports, religion, news, books, art, films, music, food etc. The discussions are healthy and never end with arguments or an ugly note.

    Bengalis are very fond of music. Infact, if you go about visiting houses in the neighborhood, you'll find that there is an aspiring singer in almost every home. Bengalis love to indulge in yummy food. Infact, every meal ends up with some delicious dessert. For people who love eating junk food, Calcutta is just an apt place.

  • Kolkata Religious Places

    Kalighat Kali temple: Located on the banks of river Hooghly, Kalighat Kali temple is a very famous temple of the city of joy i.e. Calcutta. It is dedicated to Goddess kali, who is believed to be the destroyer as well as liberator. Every year, it has been attracting more and more crowds. Infact, Calcutta Kalighat Kali temple has come in the top list of must see tourist attraction places. For Hindus, Kali temple at Kalighat, Kolkata is one of the most sacred pilgrimage destinations.

    Dakshineshwar Kali temple: Located on the bank of the Ganges, north of Belur Math in Kolkata, it is dedicated to Goddess kali. It is a spacious temple covering an area of about 25 acres. The legend associated with the establishment of the temple suggests that the queen Rasmani was all set to leave for the sacred city of Banaras to worship the divine mother and seek her blessings. During those times, going by boat was the only feasible option, as there were no railway lines between Calcutta and Banaras. But one night before, it happened that divine mother kali appeared in the dreams of Rani Rasmani and instructed her to construct a beautiful temple on the banks of the Ganges River and install her idol in it. She also said that she would manifest herself in the image over there and accept her devotion. It is one of the largest temples in Kolkata.

    Magen David Synagogue: This is located on Jewish Synagogue Street is one of the oldest pilgrimage destinations in the city. Its foundation was laid by Elias David Joseph Ezra, paying tribute to his dear father. Maghen David synagogue of Kolkata, India was made open for public visit in the year 1884. It is one of the finest synagogues in Kolkata. Lighted by gas, Magen David Synagogue provides an excellent view of this hub city.

    St. John's Church: The church is located on the Council House Street beside B.B.D. Bagh. The flooring of the church is done with stones obtained from different places. Owing to this fact, it is also sometimes referred to as the stone church. Its architecture represents Greek designing. There is a lot to explore in the St. John church of Kolkata, India. For example, the church contains the sculpture of Job Charnock, which is highly artistic. Then, there is a fabulous dome with a pitcher attached to it. You can also find the tombs of Charnock's daughters. Other attractions of Saint Johns church include the mind-blowing sculptures of British Admiral Watson, Lord Brabourne, Lady Canning and other eminent personalities.

    St. Paul's Cathedral: This is the first Episcopal Church of the Orient. Bishop Wilson patronized the construction of this beautiful church in 1839. The church is located within huge grounds, where you can also find a meditation point that has been set up in the recent times in collaboration with distinguished citizens of Tagore's Shantiniketan. The beautiful pictures describe the life and works of Saint Paul. The atmosphere of this cathedral is very tranquil. The architecture and the interim of the Saint Paul Cathedral is truly a feast for eyes.

    Nakhoda Mosque: It is the largest mosque within the city. It can capacitate about 10,000 persons. Located in Jacquaria Street, near the junction of Chitpore Road and Mahatma Gandhi Road, its foundation was laid by Abdar Rahim Osman, a resident of Cutch, in the year 1926. Nakhoda mosque is constructed on the lines of Akbar's tomb in Sikandra. Read to know more about the Nakhoda masjid of Kolkata, India.

    Belur Math: This was founded in 1938 by Swami Vivekananda, the disciple of Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa, paying homage to his guru. It is situated at a distance of about 6.4 kms from Howrah Station on the banks of the Hooghly River. This place is very easy to reach, as it is well connected by bus and train. Belur math has an amazingly big prayer hall, where you can find the awesome statue of Ramakrishna. Belur Math of Kolkata, India is a very important pilgrimage place.

    Pareshnath: The Jain temple is a very famous temple of Calcutta that was built by an art connoisseur named Ray Badridas Bahadur in 1867. Located in the northeast side of the city, Calcutta Pareshnath Jain temple is a mind-blowing place of worship, the beauty of which is enhanced by mirrors and colored stones. It houses four different temples, out of which the main temple is established in the honor of the 10th Jain Avtaar, Sri Sital Nath Ji. There is a small stream over there, which is covered by gorgeous flowers on all sides. Pareshnath Jain temple of Kolkata also contains a cozy greeting room and a museum. It is a splendid edifice that consists of mirror inlaid pillars and its windows are made from stained glass. Floral designs further adorn the marble flooring. It also has a garden that contains the blocks of glass mosaics and awesome European statues. In a nutshell, it can be said that it's a must visit tourist attraction religious destination.

  • Kolkata Monuments

    Job Charnock's Tomb: (BBD Bagh) This Tomb was built in memory of the English merchant-adventurer, Job Charnock, who founded the city of Kolkata in 1690. It is one of the oldest English monuments in the city and is located in the graveyard of St. John's Church. Today it lies almost entirely surrounded by modern constructions in a little green patch.

    Howrah Bridge: Also known as the Rabindra Setu, is a bridge over the Hoogli River in West Bengal and was completed in 1941. It is so named as it links the city of Howrah, near Howrah Station, to its twin city of Kolkata. There are no supporting pillars bellow the bridge and therefore, it looks like a hanging bridge.

    Marble palace: Marble palace of Kolkata, India is a must visit tourist attraction spot. Built in the year 1835 by Rajendra Mallick, it is an exquisite art gallery. Marble palace houses the marvelous objects of art, sculptures, pictures & oil paintings. Its major highlight includes the Reuben's masterpieces. You can also find the original paintings of Rembrandt, Reynolds and Van Goyen etc. Calcutta marble palace is the one of its kinds and consists of exquisite pieces of art. It also has a zoo, where you can find different kinds of birds and animals. Infact, it has a rare collection of birds.

    Saheed Minar: It is situated near Esplanade on the Kolkata Maidan, was initially known as Octerloney Monument. It was named after its founder, Sir David Ochterlony. This magnificent monument was established in the year 1848 so as to mark the founder's victory in the Nepal War (1814-1816). The construction of Calcutta Saheed Minar follows an architectural variety. Its foundation is based on the Egyptian style, whereas the main Shahid Minar in Calcutta and its dome follow Syrian and Turkish designs respectively.

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    Kolkata Entertainment and Night Life

  • Kolkata Adventure

    Ajodhya Hills : This place is a favorite with tourists in Kolkata, and is accessible by rail and road. Ajodhya Hills offers good trekking tracts for the adventure seeker.

  • Kolkata Nightlife

    Nightlife in Kolkata is popped with energy and excitement. The nightspots in the city are growing as more and more people come to beat the chill of the night. Fun and excitement at the rate of money is the motto of the clubs and discos in Kolkata and at large. Most nightclubs have a mix of music styles, with variations of blues, disco, hip hop, Hindi pop and remixed bhangra (Punjabi dance music). Dress code for hotel nightclubs is strictly smart casual; single males are often denied entry unless they are staying at the hotel in which the nightclub is located. Some reputed nightspots include Anticlock Dance Club, Big Ben Dance Club, British Council Dance Theatre, Incognito Dance Club,etc,. There are many bars in restaurants around Park Street, good for a few drinks.

  • Kidding around Kolkata

    Digha: It is located about 185 kms away from the city on the south east of Calcutta. In the list of must visit Kolkata excursions, Digha beach is on the top. It is a splendid beach resort consisting of a 6 km long beach. Shankarpur is the twin beach of Digha, Calcutta that is about 10 kms away. Digha, India is very well connected with Kolkata by road. Infact, its about five hours drive from there. Digha beach is worth visiting, as its shallow water will help in rejuvenating you. The whole atmosphere over there is very soothing and serene.

  • Kolkata Shopping

    College Street : This is the place to be, if you are specifically shopping for books. New Market: One of Calcutta's best shopping centers is the 'Sir Hogg Market' better known as 'New Market' is located at 19, Lindsay street and is designed by an East Indian Railway Company Architect. It was opened in 1874 and named after the commissioner Sir Stuart Hogg. There are 2000 stalls in seven blocks and the remarkable feature of these stalls is that they are arranged merchandise wise i.e. there are rows of stalls dealing with one particular line of goods. Lake Market: Located at Rashbehari Avenue, this market is famous for its South Indian coffee.

  • Famous To Eat at Kolkata

    Bengali traditional food, especially the yummy mouthwatering sweets are popular all over India.The yummy mouthwatering sweets of Bengal are popular all over India. Bengal boasts off its cottage cheese based sweets like sandesh, rosogolla and chanar payesh. Other must try delicacies consist of Misti doi (sweetened curd) and Patali gur confectionery (date palm jaggery). Kathi rolls (kebabs wrapped in dough) truly deserve a special mention.

    North Indian and South Indian food can be found in any restaurant of Bengal. In Bengal,Chinese cuisine is in demand. Other cuisines that Bengalis are fond of include Continental, Thai, Tibetian and Anglo-Indian. If you wish to savor the taste of these cuisines, you can visit some eating-houses in and around Chowringhee and Park Street.

  • Kolkata Museum and Hill Stations

    Indian Museum: The oldest and largest museum in India, the Indian Museum was founded in 1814. The imposing building, designed by Walter Granville, also the architect of the General Post Office, dates to 1875. The museum's impressive collection is noted for artifacts from the 2,500 BC Indus Valley Civilization, sculpture from Gandhara, the superbly sculpted railings from the 2,000 year old Bharhut Stupa, and a fine collection of 5th century Gupta coins. National Library: Alipore This is the country's largest library with over two million manuscripts and books. Built in the Italian Renaissance style, the original building, Belvedere, was the residence of the lieutenant governors of Bengal.

    Nehru Children's Museum: Established in 1972 and located at Chowringhee Road. The Collections of this Museum includes puppets depicting the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, dolls wearing national costumes from different countries, miniature working models of railway crossings and other novelties and an elementary science gallery.

    Asiatic Society of Kolkata: This was founded by Sir William Jones, the Chief Justice of Supreme Court, in the year 1784. Infact, it is the first edifice that was constructed on the Park Street. The basic purpose of Calcutta Asiatic society is to spread eastern education. The society brings out its own journals on a periodical basis. Anything that falls under the purview of Asia is covered in the society's journals. 'The Asiatic Society' was termed as 'The Asiatic Researches' in its initial journals.

    Kolkata Panorama: This is one perfect place for exploring the past history of Asia. It conveys the history in the most innovative and interesting manner via animated light and sound shows. Kids usually don't feel interested in knowing about the history, but if things are told to them in this manner, not only they will view the history but also be able to grasp the facts. It was built by the Kolkata Museum Society. It is a spacious museum covering an area of about 1200 sq mt. The museum portrays the complete story of Kolkata, covering every aspect.

    Science city: This is truly a unique center of science, communication and environment. This institute was built in 21st century and till date it is the only one of its kinds within the country. Calcutta science city is located on Calcutta's Eastern Metropolitan Bypass. It can capacitate about 2215 persons. The science city of Kolkata, India consists of the main auditorium, 1 small size auditorium and about 8 fully air conditioned seminar halls. These seminar halls are well equipped with latest technology audiovisual systems. It is easy to reach Science city, as it easily accessible by buses and other means of transportation. The concept of science city is simply mind-blowing. Infact, it has given a new dimension to the field of science that teaches various scientific aspects through the process of discovery and that too in the outdoor settings.

  • Gardens and Parks at Kolkata

    Botanical gardens: Botanical gardens of Kolkata, India are situated 8 kms away from the city, on the west bank of the Ganga, covering an area of about 273 acres. Laid out in the year 1787, Calcutta botanical garden is one of the oldest and largest botanical gardens of India. It contains about 12,000 living perennial plants and millions of dried out plants gathered from world over.

    Nicco ParK: Located at Salt Lake; is an amusement park with lots of wonderful games and rides. This Park is more popularly known as Jheel Meel. It is the ultimate fun and entertainment destination for kids as well as adults.


  • Lake at Kolkata

    Nalaban Lake: Located at Salt Lake City area. Spread over 400 acres, the fresh water lake reflects the beauty of the natural ambience around. Situated far from the city in an unpolluted atmosphere makes this lake an ideal destination for picnics with family and friends. Nalaban Lake, Kolkata is an ideal place for boating ranging from simple paddle boats to luxurious shikaras.

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    Kolkata Tips

  • Kolkata Travel Tips

    • Carry all your important documents and money. It is advisable to carry adequate photocopies of your passport, traveler's checks and insurance.
    • Incase you happen to lose your passport, immediately lodge a complaint at the police station and also inform your country's embassy.
    • Banks & Money Changers Foreign banks have a sizeable presence and there are more and more ATMs almost daily.
    • Banking hours usually are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday to Friday and 10 a.m. to 12-noon on Saturdays.
    • Most international banks have their offices on Chowringhee Road, Old Court House Road and BBD Bagh.
    • Changing money can be a tedious process so change substantial amounts at a time.

  • Kolkata Tourist Offices

    Govt. of India Tourist Office 4,
    Shakespeare Sarani Kolkata - 700071
    Phone : 033-2282-5813

    Tourist Centre,
    Govt. of West Bengal 3/2,
    Benoy-Badal-Dinesh Bagh (E)
    Kolkata - 700001
    Phone : 033-2248-8271, 2248-8272

    West Bengal Tourist Information Counter

    Calcutta Airport (Domestic Lounge)
    Phone : 033-2511-6026

    West Bengal Tourist Information Counter
    Howrah Station
    Phone : 033-2660-2518

    Calcutta Information Centre
    1/1, A. J. C. Bose Road
    Kolkata - 700020
    Phone : 033-2223-2451

  • Kolkata ATM's

    Citibank ATM Centers:
    Kanak Building,
    41, Chowringhee Road.

    Infinity Building,
    G P Block, Sector 5,
    Nicco Park Boundary End. I

    ICICI ATM Centers:
    B.M. Birla Heart Research Centre,
    1/1, National Library Avenue,
    Kolkata -700027 ICICI Bank Ltd.

    AC 4, Salt Lake City,
    Sector 1,
    Kolkata -700064

    ICICI Bank,
    355 Diamond Harbour Road,
    Kolkata - 700034

    HSBC ATM Centers
    New Alipore 375,
    Block G, New Alipore,
    West Bengal 700 053

  • Must do at Kolkata

    The must thing to do in kolkata is to visit the Shantiniketan which was founded by the Rabindranath Tagore, The Howrah bridge, Kali Temple.

    One should not forget to taste the Yummy mouth watering sweet dishes of Bengal which is famous all over the India.

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