Kolkata, known as the city of Joy is considered to be the cultural capital of India. The city was India’s capital during British rule. Kolkata is widely known for its energy and vibrancy. Filled with British architectural monuments, churches to city halls , Kolkata has everything to offer.
It is home to renowned revolutionaries and legends in the field of art, poetry, music etc. From world famous author and poet Rabindranath Tagore to film maker Satyajit Ray, it is the origin of many eminent personalities India has seen. Bengal Renaissance is a historically important movement that witnessed an awakening in the field of cultural, political, artistic and intellectual of Bengal. Kolkata has contributed to the culture and upliftment of India as we see of today.
Festivals of Kolkata
Durga puja is the main festival of Kolkata. The city of Kolkata lights up in colourful hues during the festival. It is said that the vibe of Durga puja is infectious. People from all around the globe come together to celebrate this 10 day festival! It is filled with ringing of bells, smoke from the incessant sticks and an energized crowd.
Christmas and New-Year eve is also celebrated grandly in Kolkata. The Park street of Kolkata converted to walk only street is decorated with lights and filled with stalls, live music and a giant Christmas tree during Christmas Eve. Midnight mass at St. Paul church is very crucial to the celebration of Christmas in Kolkata.
Music and dance
Music, dance and literature is an integral part of Kolkata’s culture. Classical music dwell in the heart of the people of Kolkata. Other than those folk songs, Rabindra Sangeet, Bhaul, Bhatiali and Nazrul Geeti are equally famous in Kolkata.
Various forms of dances are prevalent in the history of Bengal. Folk dances like Brita dance, Gambhira dance, Tusu dance, Santhal dance are all originated from West Bengal. But one of the most famous dance forms in Kolkata is the devotional dance during Durga puja called “Dhunuchi Naach”. The devotee hold incense burner called Dhunuchi in their hands and dances for the goddess.
The clothes of Kolkata represent the rich weaving history of the city. The Bengali women dress in authentic white and red sarees with red bindis to complete the attire. The traditional attire for men is a long dhoti that is loosely tied around the waist paired with loose fit silk or cotton Kurta. Gariahat in Kolkata is the best place to buy these authentic attires.
Food of Kolkata
Kolkata has a variety of food to offer to its guests ranging from traditional food to street food.
Traditional food: It is a well-known fact that Bengalis are lovers of fish and rice. They are the keepers of a list of fish dishes like eelish shorshe bata, eelish bhap and eelish-er paturi etc .Sweet desserts also play an important role in the cuisine namely Roshogolla, chum-chum and Sandesh. Other than fish, chicken and mutton dishes are also prepared in a very tasty and innovative manner. Biriyani is also a traditional food of the Muslim community of Kolkata which is very popular in the city.
Street food: Kolkata is the best destination for delicious varieties of street food according to the survey ’Taste of travel’ by Times of India
Stalls in Kolkata are filled with mouth-watering Egg rolls, chaat, jhaalmuri, Telebhaji,, Kathi rolls, fish fry, Ghugni, Puchkas , singara and many more.
Kulhad chai is chai served in clay pots and is found in every street of Kolkata. This hot chai is everyone’s favourite during a hustle day.
Must visit places
The great Banyan tree: The botanical garden in Kolkata is home to 255 year old banyan tree which is the widest tree in the world according to the Guinness book of records. It is also called as walking tree as it keeps growing towards the direction of Sunlight.
Eden garden: It is the one of the most iconic and 3rd largest cricket stadium in the world. It was initially named as “Auckland circus garden and later renamed to “Eden” Garden after the sister of General Auckland. It is a beautiful stadium with its path decorated with lush vegetation.
Science City Kolkata: It is the largest science centre in the Indian subcontinent. It showcases different wonders of science that revokes interest in everyone irrespective of age.
Howrah Bridge: It is one of the most famous landmarks of Kolkata. The bridge connects twin cities of Kolkata and Howrah. It is one of the largest cantilever bridge in the world. The bridge has been witness to many historic events as it was established in pre-independence 1943. It opens up a scenic view to the river Hooghly.
Museums: The rich culture of Kolkata is preserved in a number of museums in the city. Victoria Memorial, Nehru museum, Maulana Abdul Kalam museum, Raja Ram Mohan museum, Birla technological and industrial museum are some of the famous museums in Kolkata. Visiting these well maintained museums is a great way to understand the history of the city.
Fort William: The magnificent Fort William was established in 1696. The building is adorned with beautiful stones and is now under the control of Indian army.
Belur math: It is one of the most famous historical placed in Kolkata. It is founded by Swami Vivekananda and is the headquarters of Ramakrishna Math and Mission. The architecture of the building incorporates motifs of various religions symbolizing religious harmony.
Tagore’s house: Popularly known as Jorasanko Thakur Bari, it is the family mansion of the world famous poet Rabindranath Tagore. Now it has been converted into a museum and is maintained and run by Rabindra Bharathi University.
Shaheed Minar: It is one of the oldest and tallest monuments in Kolkata. It was initially known as Ochterlony monument. It has been host to various political meetings and rallies thus playing a huge rule in the history of India.
Some amazing facts about Kolkata
- Kolkata Is the Only City in India to have a Tram Network. Established on 1843, it is the oldest running tram in Asia and the oldest mode of modern transportation system. A total of 170 trams are running on the streets of Kolkata which is maintained by government undertaken company Calcutta Tramsway Company.
- Kolkata Metro is the first Underground Metro Railway System in India. It opened its service to public in 1984. As of now; it carries 5 lakh passengers a day. It is the second busiest metro system in India.
- The Royal Calcutta Golf Club is the oldest golf club in India and outside Great Britain. It was established in 1829. The Golf club was originally located near Kolkata airport, but moved to Tollygunqe its present location. It is a paradise for the golf lovers. The most suitable time for play is October through March.
- Salt Lake Stadium widely known as Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan is the Second Largest Football Stadium in the World. It’s the largest stadium in India with seating capacity of 120,000. It was established in 1984 and has been playground for various International games.
It is difficult to capture the uniqueness and diversity of Kolkata within a small phrase. More than everything, it is the land of some of the most welcoming people in India and their great hospitality is highly spoken about. One should visit this cradle of culture at least once in a lifetime. Being chaotic and crowded the place is, it is safe to plan the trip ahead. Pre-booking tickets and rooms in good Hotels in Kolkata, can avoid the last minute rush and can make the trip a memorable one.
Have you ever been to India and Kolkata? Let us know in the comment section below.
As always, thank you for visiting and have a great day!
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