India Destinations Tour
India Destinations Tour
India Destinations Tour
India Destinations Tour
India Destinations Tour

Kolkata (Calcutta)

Densely populated and polluted, Kolkata is often an ugly and desperate place that to many people sums up the worst of India. Yet it's also one of the country's more fascinating centres and has some scenes of rare beauty. Certainly the people are a friendly bunch and Bengali humour is renowned throughout India.

During the British Raj Kolkata was known as the Jewel of the East and was the capital of the country till 1911. It still bears the Victorian imprint on its streets and structures. Today, it is still the most important city in the east, the nerve center of trade and industry of the State.

Economically, Kolkata is suffering: the port has been silting up, making navigation from Kolkata down to the sea steadily more difficult and limiting the size of ships that can use the port. Electrical power in Kolkata is so on-again off-again that virtually every hotel, shop or small business has to have some sort of standby power generator or battery lighting system. Despite all these problems Kolkata is a city with a soul, and one which many residents are inordinately fond of. The Bengalis, so ready to raise arms against the British in the struggle for independence, are also the poets and artists of India. Amongst the squalor and confusion Kolkata has place of sheer magic: flower sellers beside the misty, ethereal Hooghly River; the majestic sweep of the Maidan; the arrogant bulk of the Victoria Memorial; the superb collection of archaeological treasures exhibited in the Indian Museum. They are all part of this amazing city, as are massive Marxist and trade union rallies which can block traffic in the city centre for hours at a time.

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