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iXiGOers Dec 09 2012

What is the history and culture of Kolkata (Calcutta)?

Reema Bhalla DEC 10 2012
0 people found this answer useful Useful ?Yes

Dotted with bright yellow cabs, Kolkata, the bustling capital city of West Bengal, is the hub of Bengali culture in India. The city boasts of a rich cultural heritage, evident in its distinct cuisine, clothing, lifestyle, its literature and even architecture. The cradle to Communist parties in India, the city is an embodiment of its ideologies, which grants it uniqueness in terms of the pace of life.

Arrival of the British

The origins of this city are dated back to the 17th century, when it was just a number of simple farming villages to dot the landscape. The place started evolving with the arrival of the British in 1690 and thats when the
British romance with Kolkata started. Almost a century later, the British had established their foothold in the city and Calcutta was declared the administrative capital of India in 1772. Thanks to the Raj, a number of modern amenities like transport and decorative monuments like statues and memorials started decorating the cityscape, making Calcutta one of the most developed cities in India back then. In 1857, the Calcutta University was established here and Kolkata started evolving as a hub of fine arts and literature.

Departure of the British

In 1911, the
British decided to partition Bengal into two separate entities. Outraged by this proposal, the locals banned all British goods and there were major protests which often translated into cold blooded sacrilege. Considering the circumstances, the Britishers moved the capital to Delhi. After decades of downfall and a brutal partition in 1947, Calcutta hit rock bottom with violent Maoist protests till the 1970s. The 1980s saw this strong city brace up and move towards development once again and today it stands as the business, commercial and financial capital of Eastern India. The name of the city was changed from its English version Calcutta to the Bengali original Kolkata in 2001.


The multi-ethnicity of Kolkata lends to the city a warm shawl of beautiful colours. There is a popular bengali adage that says
“Baro mase, tero parban” which means, Kolkata is the land that celebrates 13 festivals in 12 months. And it is true, for one of the first things that are symbolic of Kolkata is its fervent celebrations. From ancient temples to mesmerising cathedrals and from historic monuments to modern marvels the city has all and more to woo every person who walks into its folds. Join in during exhilarating aartis, take self reflective walks in the green gardens, watch the Missionaries of Charity spread love, watch a fine work of theatre or take a Dinghy ride over River Hoogly and bear in mind that you just spent the holiday of a lifetime in Kolkata.

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