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Kolkata
( General Info )

General Information
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.

History
Kolkata is not an ancient city like Delhi, with its impressive relics of the past. In fact, it's largely a British creation which dates back only some 300 years and was the capital of British India until the beginning of this century.
In 1686, the British abandoned Hooghly, their trading post 38km up the Hooghly River from present-day Kolkata, and moved downriver to there small villages - Sutanati, Govindpur and Kailkata. Kolkata takes its name from the last of those three tiny settlements.
Much of the Kolkata's most enduring development took place between 1780 and 1820. Latter in the 19th century, Bengal became an important centre in the struggle for Indian independence, and this was a major reason for the decision to transfer the capital to Delhi in 1911. Loss of political power did not alter Kolkata's economic control, and the city continued to prosper until after WW11.

Orientation
Kolkata sprawls north-south along the eastern bank of the Hooghly River, which divides it from Howrah on the western bank. If you arrive from anywhere west of Kolkata by rail, you'll come into the immense Howrah Station and have to cross the Howrah Bridge into Kolkata proper.
The more relevant parts of Kolkata are south of the bridge in the areas around BBD Bagh and Chowringhee.

Population: 113 Lakh

STD Code: 33

Altitude: 6m. (20 ft.)

Weather : The weather is very Indian, slightly on the humid side. Summers are hot, the temperatures fluctuating between max. 30c - 35c and a min. 14c - 25c. The rainy season begins in the month of June and lasts up to October bringing in moderately severe rains. The temperature is also moderate.

Location: Near the eastern coast of India, in the state of West Bengal.

Languages: Bengali, English, Hindi.

Clothing:
Summer - Light cottons
Winter - Light woolens

Cities in West Bengal :-

 

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