60 Interesting Facts About Kolkata

Facts About Kolkata: Kolkata capital of the eastern Indian state of West Bengal the east bank of Hooghly River When Kolkata is mentioned, It also includes the surrounding suburbs and therefore its total population exceeds one and a half crore, making Kolkata third largest India's audio speaker icon  Becomes the largest city to come. And it is this status that makes it the 7th most populous city in the world as defined by the United Nations.

During the British Raj. Calcutta remained the capital of India till 1911. Once the hub of modern education, industry, science, culture and politics, Kolkata has long been a silent witness to intense political violence, conflict and sluggish economy. With the economy recovering from the year 2000, the city's growth has begun to pick up again. Like other metros in India, Kolkata continues to face urbanization problems such as poverty, pollution and traffic congestion.

Kolkata's name has been associated with various movements throughout history, such as the Indian Freedom Struggle, leftist (communist) politics and the trade union, etc.

60 Interesting Facts About Kolkata

Suprising Facts About Kolkata

  • This is the second oldest Consulate of the U.S. Department of State.
  • The Eden Gardens Cricket Stadium has the third most sitting capacity in the world with around 67,000 people.
  • Kolkata is home to India’s first newspaper- the Bengal Gazette, which started publishing from the city in 1780.
  • The Zoological Garden, Alipore has been a major tourist attraction for centuries. It’s India's oldest zoological park.
  • The ever classic Tram of Kolkata has been serving the city since 1902. Around 125 trams are running by covering 25 routes.
  • Did you know Calcutta, now known as Kolkata was formed by merging three villages namely--Kalikata, Gobindapur, and Sutanuti?
  • The literacy rate of Kolkata is 87.54% according to the Census 2011. This figure is way above the national average of 74.04%.
  • This is India’s busiest station. Additionally, the Howrah Junction of this station is also the largest and oldest complex in India.
  • It has trams, it has metros, it has taxis, but Kolkata still depends on its traditional hand-pulled rickshaws to commute, the only one in India.
  • Until 1911, Kolkata was the capital of India due to its trade importance during the British Rule in India. Later, Delhi was made the capital of India.
  • The “Indian Museum” situated in Kolkata is considered India’s oldest museum that houses large collections; showcasing India’s natural history and art.

Historical Facts About Kolkata

  • Kolkata Book Fair is said to be the most attended book fair in the world. With around 2 million visitors, this Fair is well known for its non-trade book fair.
  • The East Kolkata Wetlands, a complex of natural and human-made wetlands, was designated a “wetland of international importance” by the Ramsar Convention (1975).
  • Even though Delhi has introduced metros in recent years and Mumbai is just getting used to the recent addition of metros, Kolkata had it more than 2 decades ago.
  • Shocked! Polo is not usually associated with India, but Kolkata holds an exception. Established in 1862, the Calcutta Polo Club is the oldest polo club in the world.
  • Did you know that world’s second-oldest tournament in the Calcutta Football League? Established in the year 1898, it is also the country’s oldest football tournament.
  • For a long time, Kolkata had enjoyed the status of India’s most populous city. However, during the mid-1980s, Bombay (now Mumbai) overtook Kolkata as India’s most populous city.
  • Kolkata’s marvelous architecture, delicious cuisines, Intellectuals like Rabindranath Tagore, and a blend of various cultures; making it the scientific and cultural capital of India.
  • Although Saree is worn throughout India, when it comes to the traditional Indian sarees, the Bengali sarees have a unique place, and Kolkata is considered the most affluent market of Bengali sarees.
  • No surprise, being the motherland of great authors and poets, Kolkata is a book reader’s dream place. It has the world’s second-biggest used book center where almost any book in the world can be found.

Amazing Facts About Kolkata

  • Kolkata, being a passionate football City, used to own the world’s 2nd biggest football stadium called the Salt Lake Stadium with the capacity of around 120,000 people until 2015 when it was downsized.
  • The world’s first Polo Club was instituted in Kolkata or rather than Calcutta. It is the Calcutta Polo Club. While the Royal Calcutta Golf Club was the first one to be built outside the United Kingdom.
  • Durga Puja is the most awaited and fascinating festival of Kolkata. During the Navratri festival, the entire city becomes illuminated with numerous Puja Pandals. This is the best time to feel the spirit of the city.
  • Kolkata is often referred to as the city where specialized sweet delight Bengali Rasgulla (pronounced as Rosogolla) is made. Invented by Nobin Chandra Das way back in 1868 is an ever-refreshing sweet delight till now.
  • The Indian-Chinese cuisine that we today gorge ourselves on originated right here in Kolkata. Kolkata is home to a huge Chinese population - a fact that became the reason for the institution of India’s only Chinatown in Kolkata.
  • One of the ill-fated places in Kolkata, the metro station is said to be haunted. Unfortunately, the station holds a high record of suicides. It is said that you can witness certain figures vanishing afar with the last metro of the day.
  • Being a coastal city, sea trade has always been popular here. Situated in the central-west area of the city, The Kidderpore Port (Port of Kolkata), which got its name from Lord Kyde (a 19th-century engineer), is the oldest port in India.
  • Nobel Laureate, Mother Teresa, came here in 1929. She was so much touched by the poverty conditions of this city that she decided to serve humanity here. She spent a major fraction of her life here, which is considered as her 2nd hometown.

Geographical Facts About Kolkata

  • Situated in the Indian Botanic Garden near Kolkata, the Great Banyan Tree is the largest tree as far as area coverage is concerned around 14,500 square meters. It is estimated to be around 1200 years old tree with around 3300 roots falling to the surface.
  • One of the best architectural marvels in Calcutta is the Howrah Bridge that doesn’t have a single nut or bolt. It was built by riveting the whole structure in 1943. However, in 1965, it was renamed Rabindra Setu after the renowned poet Rabindranath Tagore.
  • Calcutta was a colonial city developed by the British East India Company. Job Charnock, who was the administrator of the East India Company, is credited as the founder of the city. In fact, he was also buried in the premises of St. John's Church in Kolkata.
  • Calcutta was the first Indian city to have an underground metro railway, with its foundation laid by Indira Gandhi in 1972. However, the services began much later in 1984. It is still considered as the cheapest and fastest mode of transportation in the city.
  • We all address Kolkata as The City Of Joy, but very few know how it got the name. The city derived its name from Dominique Lapierre’s novel, ‘City Of Joy’, which was based on the struggles of a rickshaw puller and the hardships of slum dwellers in the city. 
  • Although cricket is the most popular sport throughout India, Kolkata’s heart beats for football. It is so popular that it runs a football league which is the second oldest in the world. From a tea-seller to an entrepreneur, everyone is a football fan in Kolkata.
  • We all know that Kolkata is the only Indian state to serve the busy bees with the Tram service besides other modes of travel. But do you know that it has been operating since the year 1902! The Calcutta Tramways Company today runs the oldest electric trams in Asia.
  • Kolkata the word was derived from the term ‘Kolikata’. The term ‘Kolikata’, which according to some means the ‘Field of Kali’, was one of the three villages that today unite to form the city of Kolkata. The names of the other two villages are Sutanuti and Gobindapur.
  • This is the first Western-style varsity to impart secular education in Asia! Established in the year 1857, here are some of the luminaries who were closely associated with the university - Rabindranath Tagore, Amartya Sen, C. V. Raman, Satyajit Ray, and Aditya Birla.

Strange Facts About Kolkata

  • Chess is one of the common games played in a Bengali household. And the madness runs such deep that chess is played right in the middle of roads in Gariahat. It is a craze - people while returning from their offices come up to this place and wait for their turns to play.
  • The world-famous Kolkata cuisines make it a haven to food lovers. Whether it’s Machher Jhol (rice and fish curry), Mishti Doi (a sweet yogurt), Phoochka Panipuri Golgappa, or desserts such as Roshogolla and Sandesh, all are iconic dishes that give Kolkata its unique flavor.
  • In 1911, Mohun Bagan became the first Indian club to win the IFA Shield. The Indian team led by Shibdas Bhaduri, played barefoot to beat the East Yorkshire Regiment. It was a feat that shook the entire British empire and is considered a big part of India’s freedom struggle.
  • From Royal Bengal to the greatest species of animals, the Alipore Zoo is literally something to be proud of. However, little do Kolkatans know that it also happens to be the oldest zoo in the country. So as a brand, Alipore's tagline can be - entertaining everyone since 1875!
  • Kolkata is the center of Rabindra Sangeet. Rabindra Sangeet has a distinctive place in the music of Bengal. Rabindra Sangeet contains the songs written and composed by the Bengali polymath Rabindranath Tagore and most frequently deals with transcendental love and spirituality.
  • Kolkata is surely a paradise for book lovers. It houses the country's largest second-hand book market and world's second largest. Another reason why flocks of bibliophiles come to this city all year round. Added fact, National Library is the country's largest and oldest public library. 
  • Kolkata and its neighboring country Bangladesh have a lot in common; as they share similar kind of topography, cuisine, language, etc., but, do you know, the capital of Bangladesh, Dhaka is named after a form of Goddess Durga “Dhakeshwari” Devi and Durga Puja is a rich part of their culture too?

Information About Kolkata

  • Kolkata was home to the oldest and largest banyan tree in the world for the past 342 years. The Great Banyan Tree had been drawing tourists for centuries. It survived two cyclones in 1864 and 1867, but unfortunately, the Amphan cyclone in West Bengal this year severely damaged the density of the tree’s peripheral stem and branches.
  • Indian ports are getting drastically strong and beautiful. With the increase in trade and commerce, the sea and river ports have flourished and emancipated since the times of independence. Despite all these, very few people know that the country's only riverine port is at Hooghly called the Khidderpore Port which also happens to be the oldest port in India.
  • Yes, that was Calcutta! The raging hub of all cultures, trade, flourishing cultures and people in India during British Raj. It is said that Calcutta, the then capital of EIC India, was the second most important city in the British colonies all over the world after London. Major universities, economic industries and other major institutions were constructed here. 
  • If anyone asks you, where is the largest tree in the world in terms of area covered, then your answer should be The Great Banyan Tree at Botanical Gardens, Kolkata. Another astonishing fact for you - the tree is over 250 years old. That's insane, isn't it? You can walk among the shady paths and witness how long this tree has been witnessing the richness of Bengal. 
  • Right now, India might not have such a name in the world of Polo, but surely, it all first started from our city. The world's first Polo club was established by the British in Calcutta in 1858. Since then, there have been many competitions and the advent of Europeans to popularize the sport further. This sport was especially famous among the royals and Nawabs of Bengal. 
  • The father of Roshogolla was Sri Nobin Chandra Das. Like a true Bengali, he had offered a merchant who had come to his place, a plate of this white-colored sweet along with a glass of water. The merchant immediately fell for the lovely spongy sweets and took home a good quantity of the same. And ever since then, Roshogolla become the iconic sweet of West Bengal for eternity!

Facts About Kolkata Culture

  • After the Great Bengal Famine of 1770, another infamous Bengal Famine of 1943 had killed up to 3 million people in which the city of Calcutta and its nearby areas were the most affected. The astonishing fact about the fact is that it was the only one in modern Indian history not to occur as a result of serious drought, Churchill-era British policies were a significant factor contributing to the catastrophe.
  • Asia's oldest electric running tram is not in Mumbai or Delhi, but only in Calcutta operating across the City of Joy since 1902. Now, the bygone trams have been revamped and presented with their AC version which makes it further enjoyable and comfortable. It's not just the trams but Kolkata is the only city in the world where you can ride on hand-pulled rickshaws, running on the city streets since the British times. 
  • When Rudyard Kipling published his short story, City of Dreadful Night, he referred to the Great Eastern Hotel as the Jewel of The East. This grand hotel was established in 1841 and has been serving most of the most prominent personalities including writers, painters, governers, sportsmen, politicians, sculptors, scientists, etc. from all around the world. To add, The Great Eastern Hotel was Asia's first hotel which was opened to the public. 
  • Kolkata has always promoted science and technology and the city has seen some of the most renowned scientists coming out of Kolkata. Now, we have Asia's largest planetarium known as Birla Planetarium and it also happens to be the second largest in the world. Constructed in 1963, it was inaugurated by the then Prime Minister, Jawahar Lal Nehru himself. Let us also tell you that Science City is the largest centre for the culture of science in the Indian subcontinent. 
  • The reason was laid down in a letter by Lord Hardinge, the Viceroy of India, to the Earl of Crewe, Secretary of State for India, sent from Shimla to London on August 25, 1911. In the letter, Lord Hardinge argued that amidst the rising importance of elected legislative bodies, Britain needed to find a more centrally located capital. Also, the mass protest after the partition of Bengal in 1905 along religious lines made the city a less hospitable place for the British.
  • The land of bookworms Kolkata, or Calcutta, is still lovingly called by the Bengalis, College Street or ‘Boi Para’ (Colony of Books) is the largest book market in India. In effect, it happens to be the world’s largest second-hand book market that sprawls over an expansive area of 1.5km in central Kolkata. Be sure to get your hands on any book, new as well as old under the sky, written in any Indian language. Also, you will get books written in other languages such as French, Russian and German, just to name a few!
  • Despite the business life, you will see, that people in Kolkata regardless of day and time, will stop right in the street for a little chit-chat. And around the early evenings, inside the neighborhoods, you can notice people coming out of their house, assembling to sit down on the cemented seats erected right in front of their houses to partake in a session of ‘Goppo’ (conversation). And these sessions are always accompanied by rounds of tea and beguni, shingara, peyaji, muri makha, aloo chop, and other different kinds of savories.
  • Let's know something about cricket and football in Kolkata. In terms of the seating area, Eden Gardens is the third largest cricket ground in the world. The Calcutta Cricket and Football Club (CCFC) is the second oldest cricket and football club in the world, after the most popular MCC. To add to that, Calcutta Football League is the oldest football championship help in the country since 1898 and second oldest in the world. Need more facts? Here another one, Salt Lake Stadium is the second largest football ground in the world in terms of the seating area. 
  • Although the city has many positives, there are many famous visitors who have vilified the city. The city was once called “the home of everything in the world worth hating” by French anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss. Woody Allen, an American filmmaker, noted about the city that “They have 100 unlisted diseases.” V.S. Naipaul, a winner of the Nobel Prize in literature, said, “I know not of any other city whose plight is more hopeless.Günter Grass, a German literary colleague of V.S. Naipaul, went even further and did the worst insult of all by saying- “It’s a pile of crap dumped by God.” Even the former Prime Minister of India, Rajiv Gandhi, called it a “Dying City.”

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