As the capital of the British Raj, the city of Kolkata once was the largest remote trading place in Asia, and currently, retains elements of its double Indian and British heritage. Kolkata, formerly known by its British name of Calcutta until 2001, has endured an exciting alteration over the last decade.
No longer recognized with slums, poverty, and the inspiring work of Mother Teresa, Kolkata has grown into the cultural capital of India. It’s a dynamic yet intimate city, full of captivating soul and crumbling buildings. The decay has vanished in many parts of the city, and its plethora of historical, cultural and religious buildings are worthy of extended visits. Kolkata is a destination you will never forget. Besides, Kolkata is the only city in India to have a tram car network, which adds to its traditional grace.
Although the date of birth of this city is unknown, it could be fixed 300 years ago. Next to the bank of the river Hooghly. The city was born from the union of the Sutanti, Gobindapur and Kalikata peoples. At first, it became a kind of British port that little by little turned the area into a famous mall. Today it remains one of the most important cities in India, a city with a soul, a legendary past, and a rich artistic tradition. Just over 15 million people are living in Kolkata, making it India’s third largest city after Mumbai and Delhi.
Great wealth and immense culture live together directly. The antique shops are interspersed with the modern underground system they own. If you are concerned about shopping, even if it is not the most appropriate destination, Kolkata also has some of the most fashionable boutiques of the moment. Kolkata can be called as a ‘shopping paradise’ for those who want the value for their money. There are many stalls spread all over the city. From ‘cucumbers’ to ‘cargos’ and from ‘shoe-strings to ‘sarees’ everything is accessible under one roof at this century-old market.
The city also enjoys an excellent reputation as the cultural and intellectual capital of India. Home to the Nobel Prize winner for poetry Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) and the famous film director Satyajit Ray (1921-1992). Outside the subcontinent, the city is mainly known for its communities and the work done there by Mother Teresa.
Climate and Weather!
Kolkata has a tropical climate that’s very hot, wet and humid during the summer, and cool and dry during the winter. The weather in April and May is unendurable, and travel to Kolkata should be avoided during that time. Temperatures can exceed 40 degrees Celsius during the day and hardly drop below 30 degrees Celsius at night. Humidity levels are also uncomfortably high. The best time to visit Kolkata is from November to February.
How to Reach Kolkata?
By Air: The airport in Kolkata was originally known as Dum Dum Airport before being renamed as Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport. It is located around 17 km from the city center.
Flights to Kolkata: Most of the domestic airlines have uninterrupted services to and from Kolkata to other important cities of India such as Delhi, Mumbai, Patna, Lucknow, Chennai, Varanasi, etc. Kolkata also renders international flights to most of the countries in Southeast Asia.
By Train: Kolkata is well connected with the rest of India by the widespread network of Indian railways. The city has two major railway stations-one at Howrah and other at Sealdah.
Trains to Kolkata: Trains from other parts of the country are regularly available for Kolkata. Super-fast trains such as Rajdhani Express and Shatabdi Express connect the city to major towns and states in India. The Kolkata Circular Rail encircles the entire city, and currently, its route is extended.
By Road: Kolkata is linked with most of the Indian cities by road. The National Highway number 2 and 6 connect the city with other towns and states in India. Kolkata has a vast network of government and private buses.
The Calcutta State Transport Corporation (CSTC), Calcutta Tramways Company (CTC) and West Bengal Surface Transport Corporation (WBSTC) run regulars bus service in the city. The Esplanade Terminus in the heart of the city is the main bus terminus.
Getting Around in Kolkata!
The comfortable way to travel around Kolkata is to take a taxi. Kolkata also has auto-rickshaws too, but unlike in other cities such as Mumbai and Delhi, they operate on fixed routes and do share with other passengers. The Kolkata Metro, India’s first underground rail network, is added advantage for those requiring to travel north or south from one side of the city to the other.
What to Do in Kolkata?
Kolkata offers a diverse blend of historical, cultural, and spiritual attractions. Begin your Bengali explorations at Calcutta’s most famous monument and symbol of the Raj: the Victoria Memorial. Don’t miss next post about compelling places to visit in Kolkata and things that wouldn’t get anywhere else other than Kolkata.