2011-02-25 13:22
Kolkata (File)


Kolkata, capital of West Bengal 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. With the Information Technology centers in Kolkata growing at an incredible 70% per annum, Kolkata is showing every sign of recovery from its previous state, with massive investments in the fields of luxury housing, IT enabled services, finance, business outsourcing and also the learning and knowledge sector.

Kolkata is noted for its revolutionary history, ranging from the Indian struggle for independence to the leftist and trade union movements.

Eden Gardens

Public transport is provided by the Kolkata suburban railway, the Kolkata Metro, trams and buses. The suburban network is extensive and extends into the distant suburbs. The Kolkata Metro, run by the Indian Railways, is the oldest underground system in India since 1984. It runs parallel to the River Hooghly and spans the north-south length of the city covering a distance of 22.3 km. Buses are the preferred mode of transport and are run by both government agencies and private operators. Kolkata is India's only city to have a tram network, operated by Calcutta Tramways Company.  The slow-moving tram services are restricted to certain areas of the city. Water-logging due to heavy rains during the monsoon sometimes interrupts the public transport.

Kolkata has long been known for its literary, artistic and revolutionary heritage. As the former capital of India, Kolkata was the birthplace of modern Indian literary and artistic thought. Kolkatans tend to have a special appreciation for art and literature; its tradition of welcoming new talent has made it a City of Furious Creative Energy. For these reasons, Kolkata has often been dubbed as the Cultural Capital of India or the Literary Capital of India.

A characteristic feature of Kolkata is the para or neighbourhoods having a strong sense of community. Typically, every para has its own community club with a clubroom and often, a playing field. People here habitually indulge in adda or leisurely chat, and these adda sessions are often a form of freestyle intellectual conversation. The city has a tradition of political graffiti depicting everything from outrageous slander to witty banter and limericks, caricatures to propaganda.

Kolkata has many buildings adorned with Gothic, Baroque, Roman, Oriental and Indo-Islamic (including Mughal) motifs. Several major buildings of the Colonial period are well maintained and have been declared "heritage structures", while others are in various stages of decay. Established in 1814, the Indian Museum is the oldest museum in Asia and houses vast collections of Indian natural history and Indian art. The Victoria Memorial, one of the major tourist attractions in Kolkata, has a museum documenting the city's history.


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