Kolkata over the years

 

West Bengal’s capital city, Kolkata, is one of India’s most famous cities. It has a strategic location in the eastern part of India bank of Hooghly river – the upstream of the Bay of Bengal. This city has witnessed a significant history. This is why it holds some important place in the sequential description of the entire storyline of the Indian subcontinent and the rest of the world. Kolkata has also experienced some very well-known kingdoms and rulers, which have influenced the culture very much.

Kolkata, one of India’s largest cities ‘The City of Joy’ is formerly known as Calcutta. An interesting note is that earlier the city Calcutta was the capital of India during the British Rule in the year 1772.

 

In the early years of the Indian struggle for independence, being the capital of the East India Company, Calcutta was almost the ideal center of the freedom movement and nationalist thought. 

During the time of the Bengal Renaissance, Calcutta served as the source of socio-religion throughout the British Raj. Prominent names include Raja Ram Mohan Roy, the social reformer, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, of the Widows’ Remarriage Act, and Swami Vivekananda, a pioneer of Indian religious philosophy in the west. During the same period, Calcutta pretty much became the cultural center of the Indian Subcontinent.

The city of Kolkata can be defined as heritage itself. The birthplace of many great people, great minds, great ideas, revolutionary ideas, and revolutions.

 

Kolkata is one of India’s largest and most popular cities with some spectacular landmarks like the Victoria Memorial, Maidan, Fort William, Indian Museum, Eden Gardens, elegant Cathedral Churches, the Howrah Bridge, and Pilgrimage spots like Kalighat, Dakshineswar, Belur Math all of these has been exerting its mesmerizing charm to the discerning international tourists as well.

Kolkata is one Indian city that is fast catching up with other fast-moving cities like Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore in the terms of development and business.

 

Kolkata is famous for its culture, food, films, poetry, art, dance, and music all of which have their enthusiast here. It is a city full of soul and spirit. As dance and music play a big part in culture, the Baul tradition is a legacy in Bengali folk music. There are many folk kinds of music such as Bhajan, Kirtan, and many more. Rabindra Sangeet is an inseparable part of the city. West Bengal’s pride is the Bengali film industry which is located in the south of Kolkata Tollygunge known as Tollywood. One of the important film industries of Indian film production. The Bengali film industry is known for making incredible cinema that stands worldwide. The number of movie producers in Kolkata makes non-commercial gems that stand up to anything produced for sophisticated western movie-goers.

 

Like other cities, places and people are surrounded and all they have there is a very particular place. As Central Kolkata can be considered as the business hub of the district which merges historic buildings with residential complexes, South Kolkata is the house of the city’s wealthy and has an urban park in the city, You can see the modern Kolkata here. And, North Kolkata is all about the traditional culture which can give a nostalgic vibe to every Bengali. This is the place of Ganga, Kumartuli, Raj bari, etc.

 

Kolkata has several historical buildings, which are still standing strong. A significant number of European-style buildings were built during the colonial period. Evolution can be noticed through eighteenth-century buildings, like Fort William, and the Victoria Memorial, built during the last decades of British Rule.

Despite the western influence Kolkata also has its architectural style. The city can develop its own distinct. This Kolkata culture can be seen in buildings like the Jorasanko Thakur Bari, Tagore’s childhood home, Shobhabazar rajbari, the temples, the old aristocratic houses, and mansions. There are also planned areas like Salt Lake City and modern houses and 21st-century residential buildings.

 

Art and literature are something in which Kolkata takes part actively. This city saw the literal movement in the 19th century. The birth of Rabindranath Tagore and his achievement of the Nobel prize for Gitanjali in 1913. Bengali literature is blessed by some excellent novelists such as Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay, Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay, Abanindranath Tagore, Sukumar Roy, Satyajit Ray, and many more.

When the city has this much history it also needs someplace to showcase it. This city has 30 museums. Each of them is carrying a vast field of knowledge. One of them is the Indian museum itself, a legend and the oldest museum in India. Victoria Memorial Hall shows the connection of India with the British and not to forget the biggest science museum in Asia is Science City. And there are many more cultural places around the city which will attract you. 

 

Kolkata witnessed numerous festivals throughout the year. As there is asaying in Bengali “Baro mase tero parbon” means in 12 months there are 13 festivals. This shows the nature of festive loving Bengali. But there is something that Bengali and the city itself wait for a year and that is Durga puja. Kali puja, Saraswati puja, and others are there. The city of Durga puja is known all over the world for its 5 days of grandeur celebration. The artistic pandals and idols of the Goddess are the main attraction for local and international tourists. Durga Puja is the most important festival in Kolkata. This is the festival that celebrates the victory of good over evil. This festival is celebrated in a grand way for five days and is marked by prayers to the goddess Durga, feasts, music, dance, and drama. The festival is to propitiate the Goddess Durga for her blessings and also celebrate her victory over the demon Mahishasur. According to myth, it is also believed that Lord Rama had worshipped the Goddess Durga to seek divine blessings before undertaking the battle against the demon Ravana. The most important days in the festival are known as starting Mahalaya, Shashthi, Maha Saptami, Maha Ashtami, Maha Navami, and Vijayadashami. Durga puja begins with Mahalaya the day potters draw eyes on maa Durgas idol. According to myth on this day god Bramha, Vishnu, and Shiv created Maa Durga to defeat the demon king Mahishasur. It is the end of pitripaksha, from that day Maa Durga comes to earth and stays here to bless people.

While talking about Kolkata and Durga puja, the place where all things are incomplete is Kumartuli. A place of idol making. You still can find the old Kolkata here. This place is located in the middle of Bagbazar and Shobabazar beside the river Ganga. This is a 300-year-old potter’s place. The beautiful Durga idols you find in Puja pandals across the city are crafted here with Ganga Mati (mud). The logic behind the name Kumartuli. Tuli means a small place where potters stay, and Kumar means potter. The city is renowned for its sculpting prowess. The traditional potter community doesn’t only make idols, they export them to foreign also, as our peoples are settled around the world.

Kolkata Kumartuli is well known for handicrafts also one of them is a clay mask. The masks are made of clay and then sun-dried and finally colored and decorated with sponge wood or foil. Potter has been receiving a lot of attention for sculpting Bengali deities. Kalighat pot painting is another art attraction in Kolkata. Dokra is another unique folk art of West Bengal.

 

When we talk about Bengali, we can’t forget the food habit. Each Bengali is a heart food lover. The cuisine of Kolkata is fusion as it is influenced by the Mughals, Armenians, and British. You can define Kolkata with its only “Roshogulla” and “Sondesh”. “The City of Joy,” for a reason which has a great cultural history. It also has one of the most delicious food in the whole country.

 

An interesting fact about Kolkata even today is that the city has the highest concentration of Indian Chinese people in the country. The first wave of immigration was of the Hakka Chinese in the late 18th century, who came to work on a sugar plantation. Mao Zedong’s communist regime and the First World War amongst other events were responsible for continued immigration in the early 1900s. 

 

Kolkata has the largest book market in India and the second largest book market in the world. College Street, known as “Boi-Para ” book mart. People from the whole city and different parts of the state gather here for their books. You can get all kinds of books here from books on your syllabus to any story novels or any kind of new and old book. You also can reseal your old book here. This is a dream place for every book lover. Once you visit college street don’t forget to visit The Indian Coffee House, a cafe that has stood since the independence of India. A place which will always be in Bengalis’ hearts with the college days remembered with that golden song of Manna Dey “Coffee houser sei addata aaj aar nei”. 

Not only for book lovers Kolkata has been Placed for shopaholics also. Newmarket, Hatibagan, Barabazar, and Gariahat are places to shop for garments & accessories, flowers, Home decor, and different food items, including raw meat, fish, vegetables and fruits, and even spices. 

 

Kolkata is a city where people like sports activities. Eden Gardens, the famous stadium of Kolkata is the ground in India that has witnessed the most number of international cricket matches. The first match played at the Eden Gardens was the January 1934 India-England Test match. The third-largest stadium in India. 

Howrah Bridge is one of the huge attractions of the city, one of the oldest hanging bridges in the world with no pillars supporting its suspension over the Hooghly River. It is the sixth-longest bridge of its type in the world.

Another British architectural example we found is Princep Ghat. The place was built in 1841 bank of the Hooghly River in Kolkata during the British period in the memory of Anglo-Indian scholar and antiquary James Prinsep. 

 

The city never stops wandering you with its beauty. Some of the most iconic places of the city are given below.

 

  •  Victoria Memorial Hall

  • Mother House

  • Dakshineswar Kali Temple

  • Park Street

  •  Eco-Tourism Park

  • Howrah Bridge

  • Eden Gardens

  • Arenas & Stadiums
  • Science City

  • College Street
  • Prinsep Ghat

  •  New Market

  • Rabindra Sarovar

  • Jain Swetamber Dadajika Temple

  • Birla Planetarium

  • Jorasanko Thakur Bari

  • Kolkata Zoo & Zoological Garden

  • Indian Museum (Jadu Ghar)

  • Malik Ghat Flower Market

  • Baps Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Kolkata

  • Birla Industrial & Technological Museum

  • Paul’s Cathedral
  • Netaji Bhawan

  • Salt Lake Stadium

  • ISKCON Kolkata, Sri Sri Radha Govind Temple

  •  Birla Temple

  • Nicco Parks & Resorts Limited

  • Marble Palace Kolkata

  • Biswa Bangla Gate

  •  Fort William

  • National Library

  • Shobhabajar Rajbari

  • Writers’ Building

  • Floating Market Patuli

  • Shaheed Minar

  • Raj Bhavan

  • Lake Town Clock Tower

  • Rabindra Bharati University Museum

  • Tippu Sultan’s Mosque

 

 

 

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