is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal.
Kolkata is the cultural capital of India and the
commercial capital of Eastern India. It is located in
eastern India on the east bank of the Hooghly River.
The Kolkata metropolitan area including suburbs has a
population exceeding 15 million, making it the third
most populous metropolitan area in India and one of the
most populous urban areas in the world. The city is also
classified as the eighth largest urban agglomeration in
Kolkata served as the capital of
India during the British Raj until 1911. Once the centre
of modern education, science, culture and politics in
India, Kolkata witnessed economic stagnation in the
years following India's independence in 1947. However,
since the year 2000, an economic rejuvenation has led to
a spurt in the city's growth. Like other metropolitan
cities of India, Kolkata continues to struggle with
urbanisation problems like poverty, pollution and
The name Kolkata and the anglicised
name Calcutta have their roots in Kalikata, the name of
one of the three villages (Kalikata, Sutanuti,
Govindapur) in the area before the arrival of the
British. "Kalikata", in turn, is believed to be a
version of Kalikshetra "Land of [the goddess] Kali".
Alternatively, the name may have been derived from the
Bengali term kilkila ("flat area"). Again, the name may
have its origin in the indigenous term for a natural
canal, Khal, followed by Katta (which may mean dug).
Another theory is that the place used to specialize in
quicklime (kalicun) and coir rope (kátá) and hence the
place was called Kalikátá.
While the city's name was always
pronounced "Kolkata" or "Kolikata" in the local Bengali
language, its official English name was changed from
"Calcutta" to "Kolkata" in 2001, reflecting the Bengali
Kolkata at a glance
·State: West Bengal
·Summer temperature: 30° C - 40° C
·Winter temperature: 30° C - 10° C
·Metropolitan Area: 1854 sq. km. (2005)
·Languages spoken: Bengali, Hindi, Urdu and
·Altitude: 17 ft above sea level
·Best time to visit: October to March
·STD Code: 033
·Major tourist attractions: Victoria memorial,
Fort William, Eden gardens, Birla planetarium, Howrah
bridge, Belur math, Botanical gardens, Writer's building
& Science city
·Major festivals: Durga Puja, Kali Puja,
Saraswati Puja, Poila Baisakh, Makar Sankranti,
Vishwakarma Puja & Lakshmi Puja.
·Major fairs: Calcutta book Fair, Poush Mela &
Puja of Ma Durga is
a major festival of Bengalis, for which they keep
waiting the whole year. Kolkata Durga Puja festival is
celebrated on a large scale with great pomp and gaiety.
It is celebrated to worship mother Durga, the Goddess of
power (Shakti). It celebrates the victory of ma Durga
over the demon Mahishasura. The festival usually takes
place during the autumn period from September-October.
The weather is pleasant, giving air a festivity touch.
Though the festival of Durga puja is celebrated
throughout Bengal, it is special in Kolkata. Durga puja
involves the performance of a long series of rituals
every day, starting from the day of the Mahalaya, the
days of Sashthi, Satami, Ashtami, Navami and Dashami or
Bijoya Dashami has its own set of rituals. Durga puja is
a time for socializing with friends, family and
relatives. People dressed in their new clothing, visit
pandals, eat mouthwatering food and enjoy the drumbeats.
It is truly the best time to catch up with your old
friends. Indians abroad send gifts to Kolkata in large
number and the locals also distribute sweets and
exchange gifts with the loved ones.