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Kolkata - Quick Facts

Area: 187 Sq. Km.
Population: 6,80,77,965
Altitude: 17 feet above sea level
Season: October to March
Clothing: Summer- Light cotton, Winter- Heavy woollen
Rainfall: 150 cms average
Languages: Hindi, Bengali & English

Kolkata the “City of Places” was the capital of the British Empire up to 1911. It was at one time, the industrial, cultural and intellectual hub of the country. As retaliation for being the nucleous of the first mass movement against the Raj, which reversed Curzon’s move to partition Bengal, the city lost its sttus. This teaming inland port city of than ten million is now the capital of West Bengal.Kolkata has the reputation of being India’s friendliest and most vibrant metropolis. It is regarded as India’s cultural capital. Among many other proud distinctions the city has produced to the Nobel Laureates Ronald Ross, Rabindranath Tagore, C V Raman, Grass, Mother Teresa and Amartya Sen.

Located at the tip of the sprawling Ganges delta which flows into the Bay of Bengal, the city hugs the eastern bank of the massive Hooghly tributary. The Howrah bridge which connects the mega-city to an industrial township on the opposite bank is a signature land mark.Kipling wrote, “from the mid-day halt” of British merchant adventurer Job Charnok “grew the city” fabled to be “Calcutta”. The city abandoned its British imposed name of Calcutta in December 2000 and restored its traditional identity – Kolkata. The name Kolkata is said to be derived from the name Kalikshetra or the seat of goddess Kali.

By Air
It is completely accessible by air. Netaji Subash Chandra Bose Airport is Located at Dum-Dum(30 kms) There are a number of domestic airlines that connect Kolkata with other major cities of India like Ahmedabad, Bagdogra, Bangalore, Bhubaneswar, Chennai, Delhi, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Lucknow, Mumbai, and Port Blair.

By Rail
 Kolkata is well linked to other parts of the country by railways. There are super fast trains like Rajdhani Express and Shatabdi Express that join Calcutta from Delhi and other nearby places. Calcutta consists of two major railway stations; one is located in Howrah and the other at Sealdah.

By Road
The city of joy is well linked with almost all the cities of India by road. The Esplanade Terminus is the main bus terminus that lies in the heart of the city. The latest development is the starting of Dhaka-Calcutta buses, which are fully air-conditioned and also very comfortable. Some important road distances are-Siliguri-651 km, Darjeeling-731 km, Gangtok-771 km, Kalimpong-721 km, Mirik-703 km, Guwahati-1164 km, Gaya-475 km, Gopalpu-664 km, Patna-604 km, Puri-531 km, Durgapur-162 km, Shantiniketan-211 km.

Tourism in Kolkata is on its boom these days. There are lots of places to see in Kolkata. In this section, we will provide you with Calcutta tourist attractions guide. There is a plethora of sightseeing places in Kolkata. We will brief you on the following popular places to visit in Calcutta.

Fort William
Fort William is a must visit tourist attraction place of Calcutta. Situated at the banks of river Hooghly, it was named after King William III of England. Fort William of Kolkata, India, was established during the tenure of British Raj in 1696. It was the guardroom of this two-storied building, where the black hole tragedy took place. During the Plassey war in 1757, Siraj Ud Daulah, the Nawab of Bengal attacked on the fort and defeated the Britishers. This paved way for the construction of a new fort by British. The new fort was initiated by Robert Clive, which got completed by 1780. The basic purpose of setting up Calcutta Fort William was to prevent attacks from Muslim invaders. The area that was cleared around the fort became maidan, where several exhibitions and fairs take place. The foundation of the old fort is still intact. Till date, it is a military area and the Arsenal inside it is worth watching, but for that prior permission of the commanding officer is required.

Victoria Memorial
Calcutta Victoria memorial hall is a fabulous museum that was established in the year 1921. The credit for designing and drawing the plan for this monument goes to Sir William Emerson, President of the British Institute of Architects. Victoria Memorial of Kolkata, India is a fantastic place that will take you into the world of past history, where you can view the photos and effigies of prominent personalities, who made an incredible contribution in the glory of India. Today, Victoria memorial is one of the finest art museums in Kolkata. It is a 184 ft tall edifice that was constructed on 64 acres of land. The museum houses a group of mind-blowing figures above the north porch that epitomize prudence, learning and motherhood.

Eden Gardens
Eden garden of Kolkata, India is one of the major tourist attraction places of the city of joy. Eden gardens are basically a cricket stadium, where people have witnessed the history of Indian cricket. It is the oldest cricket playground in the country and also the finest one. Calcutta Eden Gardens Cricket Club came into existence in the year 1864. The first ever first-class match that took place in the Eden Gardens was in 1917-18 and the first test match to be played here was in January 1934 against Douglas Jardine's MCC. It was in February 1987, when the first ODI match was hosted here. It has undergone a tremendous modernization and infact, today it boasts of its large accommodation that can capaticitate about 1,20,000 persons. Eden gardens of Calcutta definitely falls into the category of must see places.

Birla Planetarium
Birla planetarium of Kolkata, India is one of the largest museums in Asia. It came into existence in the year 1962 and the credit for establishing this wonderful center of science, communication & environment goes to Birla Education Trust. It is situated at the Eastern metropolitan bypass of Calcutta. Birla planetarium provides a parlance where astronomical presentations take place. It provides useful piece of information about our solar system, galaxies, life span of stars, space, planets and other heavenly bodies in the most interactive manner via audio video aids. Usually the lectures are given in English, Hindi, and Bengali and occasionally in Oriya, Tamil & Gujarati.

Howrah Bridge
Howrah Bridge, located over the Hoogli River in West Bengal, India, is said to be the busiest bridge of the world. It got its name owing to the fact that it connects the city of Howrah to Calcutta. Hawrah Bridge in Kolkata, India, also known by the name 'Rabindra Setu', was set up in 1874. It stands on two 270 feet high pillars. Calcutta Howrah Bridge is a cantilever truss bridge that was constructed without using any nuts and bolts. Though, earlier it had a tram route, but presently, it is serving mainly as a Road Bridge. Howrah bridge has got two sister bridges also, namely, Vidyasagar Setu and the Vivekananda Setu that are situated at different points over the hoogly river. This bridge acts as an important symbol of Kolkata.

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.

Writers Building
The construction of Writers building began as early as in 1690. It got its name owing to the fact that it served as the dwelling place for the junior writers of the East India Company. The original Writers Building of Kolkata, India did not have any architectural beauty. It was on the same site that another Writers' Building was created later on. This Gothic structure came into existence during the tenure of Lt. Governor Ashley Eden (1877). The present Calcutta Writers' Building is located at the northern end of Dalhousie Square. Today, it serves as the Secretariat of West Bengal Government. This gigantic building is also known as 'Mahakaran', where all the important documents and other records of the West Bengal Govt are preserved.

Nicco Park

Calcutta Nicco Park, situated at Salt Lake, is an amazing amusement park. It can be said about the Nicco Park of Kolkata, India that, it is like the Disneyland of West Bengal with lots of wonderful games and rides. Its most recent addition is the Cave ride that is very interesting and adventurous. It is a spacious park covering about 40-acre land. It is one of the biggest amusement parks in the country and it was opened in the year 1991. Nicco Park is more popularly known as Jheel Meel. It is the ultimate fun and entertainment destination for kids as well as adults. It draws huge crowds on the weekends, as it serves as the perfect place for relaxing mind, body and soul. It takes you into the world of fantasy and imagination. It provides wide choices of fun rides to choose from. To name a few, we have the Toy Train, Cable Car, Tilt-a-Whirl, Water Chute, Water Coaster, Flying Saucer, Pirate Ship and Moonraker.

Saheed Minar
Saheed Minar, 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.

National Library
National Library in Kolkata, India is the largest library of our country that is supported by the Dept of Culture, Ministry of Tourism & Culture, and Government of India. It is constructed on 30 acres Belvedere Estate in Kolkata. It was basically set up to collect, distribute and preserve material that is produced within the country. There are no special criteria for membership of Calcutta national library. Infact, any person who is above the age of 18 can become its member. However, to avail the facilities of reading room and lending, separate membership is required.

Nabadwip and Mayapur
Nabadwip 114 km north of the Kolkata has an important Hare Krishna pilgrimage centre. The town attracts devotees from all over the country to its many temples. An ancient centre for Sanskrit culture, the last Hindu king of Bengal had his Capital here. Across the river at Mayapur is the international society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), where budget accommodation can also be found. Tours to Nabadwip and Mayapur are organised from Kolkata during the winter.

When it comes to excursions in Calcutta, the mention of Shantiniketan is like a must. Shantiniketan in Calcutta is mainly known for Vishva-Bharati University that provides a platform for the convergence of western and eastern culture. Its foundation was laid by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore. The best part about this international university is that it exhibits the Indian tradition in the most modest manner, while simultaneously incorporating the best of other cultures. The best time to visit this soothing place is between November to March. Set up in the midst of green lushy fields and forested land, it makes an excellent landscape. Initially, Shantiniketan of Kolkata, India was an ashram that was started by Maharishi Devendranath Tagore in 1863.

Later in 1901, Shantiniketan underwent a modification when Rabindranath Tagore conducted experimental open-air classes to promote education. His effort didn't go wasted and he gradually kept widening the scope. An interesting feature of Shantiniketan consists of the awesome sculptures, mural paintings and frescoes of Rabindranath, Nandlal Bose, Ramkinkar, Bindobehari Mukhopadhyaya and others.

Sunderbans is a very famous wildlife sanctuary of our country. It is the habitat of the Royal Bengal Tiger and owing to this fact; it is also referred to as Sunderbans tiger reserve. In the Calcutta Sunderbans national park, you can find the estuarine crocodile, wild boar and several varieties of birds and snakes. It is located on the south of Kolkata, India and stretches till Bangladesh. Also, Sunderbans is the largest delta of the world formed by the unification of three rivers-the Ganga, Brahmaputra and Meghna.

Digha Calcutta
Digha 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.

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. The main attraction of the botanical gardens is the giant size banyan tree that is said to have the second largest canopy in the world. Over here, you can find a plethora of beautiful orchids and other colorful flowers. The garden also has a library, where you can find a valuable collection of books on botany. The botanical garden of Calcutta houses trees of rarest variety.

New Market Kolkata oldest municipal market offers leather goods plastic toys, fancy silverware,jewellery,garments,fabric,confectionery,clothing,dryfruits,poultryproducts,fish,meat,flowers etc.Gariahat,Bou Bazaar,Bara Bazaar,Haati Bagan are the best place to hunt for sarees especially the famous Bengali “Tangayls”,Dhonekahlis” and the beautiful silk “Baluchories”.College street is the best place to bargain for books.

Dakshinapan market houses most of the government emporia. The place is well known for its handlooms,textiles,Handicrafts, cosmetic jewellery,fancy goods,objects dart,etc. besides there are the Bengal Home Industries association,Central cottage industries,Tantuja and Handloom House in central Kolkata and Refugee handicrafts on Gariahat Road.

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