About Kolkata

About Kolkata

Kolkata (Calcutta), popularly known as the 'City of Joy', is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal. Situated in the eastern region of the country, it is a key financial and commercial hub steeped in a rich cultural ethos and heritage. Kolkata is said to be the intellectual and cultural capital of the nation. Several of India's great 19th and 20th Century heroes were Calcuttans, including guru-philosopher Ramakrishna, Nobel Prize-winning poet Rabindranath Tagore and celebrated film director Satyajit Ray. Dozens of venues showcase Bengali dance, poetry, art, music, film and theatre.

Calcutta was founded by Job Charnock of the English East India Company in 1690 and was once called by Lord Macaulay "the city of palaces", for its magnificent heritage of public buildings. As the former capital of British India, Kolkata retains a feast of dramatic colonial architecture.

Today Kolkata, as it is known, is a bustling urban city well connected by air, road and railways, a major commercial and military port with the only international airport in the region. It is a city where the modern underground subway system co-exists with the traditional tram network.

Despite its commercial progress, what the city really prides itself upon is its passion for literature, arts and culture. Music, poetry, cinema and learning are not only encouraged but also celebrated. Some of the noted cultural festivals in the city include - the Kolkata Book Fair, the Dover Lane Music Festival and the Kolkata Film Festival. Sport is another activity that triggers enthusiasm among Calcuttans. While cricket and football are universally popular, golf, tennis and rowing find plenty of enthusiasts among select city dwellers. The football stadium in Salt Lake has the second highest capacity in the world. Kolkata also boasts world-class facilities for cricket and horse racing.

A few historical landmarks in Kolkata include Victoria Memorial, built as a tribute to Queen Victoria of England, Indian Museum - the oldest museum in Asia, the National Library, Jorasanko Thakur Bari - now a museum and the birth place of Rabindranath Tagore - noted poet, novelist, playwright, painter and musician. The city is also home to the Missionaries of Charity established by Mother Teresa.

Being one of the highest populated cities of India, Kolkata is quite abuzz with activity. It enjoys pleasant winters, humid summers and a prominent monsoon season. There is a harmonious co-existence between modernity and tradition which can be experienced through the neighborhood culture of adda or freestyle discussion, through a local rock bands performance at one of the live music clubs or by simply taking a quiet stroll across the city's ever- changing landscape.

Since 2001, the city has begun to experience economic renewal and urban regeneration and the evidence can be seen in the sudden growth of shopping malls, apartment blocks, hotels and restaurants, sporting and cultural facilities, and infrastructure projects such as the underground railway extension and new airport construction.

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