Kolkata, the capital of West Bengal, is a dynamic city rich in culture and history. It is a city that surprises you on all fronts; be it its crumbling but grand buildings or the lip-smacking street food. Seeming on the verge of collapse, Kolkata continues to stay true to its essence of electrifying culture and cosmopolitanism. Here’s a list of 15 interesting things that you must know before you step into the city of joy.
1. A Visual Treat
Kolkata is a city that will awaken your soul and electrify your life. With the streets bustling 24/7, you’ll always hear the honk of the traffic everywhere you go. Every street is a feast for your eyes with towering and grand historic buildings rounding every corner. From the street-side tea stalls to a rickshawala pulling his passenger on his rickshaw; there are hundreds of interesting stories all around you.
2. Delicious Bengali Cuisine
Image sources: https://www.archanaskitchen.com/aar-macher-jhol-recipe-bengali-fish-curry & https://bengali.oneindia.com/news/features/rosgulla-festival-will-be-held-west-bengal-from-next-year-027100.html
If you’re a lover of fish, Kolkata is the right place for you! With a perfect fusion of spices and flavors, the Bengali cuisine uses a lot of mustard and poppy seeds to prepare its famous fish dishes. In fact, Kolkata is one of the best cities in India where you can find delectable freshwater fish recipes. Macher jhol is the city’s most favorite dish and is easily available in all the local restaurants and street joints. Another thing Kolkata is best known for its varieties of finger-licking sweets. From roshogolla to sandesh, the city has it all!
3. Experience the Ghats
Ghats are nothing the flight of stairs that leads down to a river. And Kolkata is filled with them! These embankments stretch along the Hooghly river and have become a hot-spot for locals and tourists alike. From buying cheap baubles or toys to catching up with friends, the ghats are an all-encompassing package to the true culture of Kolkata. You can find teenagers convening at Prinsep Ghat, the most-visited ghat in the city and enjoying a relaxing view of the historical Vidyasagar Bridge.
4. India’s First Newspaper
Image source: https://asianreviewofbooks.com/content/hickys-bengal-gazette-the-untold-story-of-indias-first-newspaper-by-andrew-otis/
Kolkata is the proud home of the country’s very first newspaper. The Bengal Gazette was published in the city in the year 1780 but was discontinued just 2 years later.
5. India’s Only Chinatown
Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiretta_Bazaar
Did you know that Kolkata is home to the country’s only Chinatown? Once home to more than 20,000 Chinese Indians, Kolkata now the population is approximately 2000. Terreti Bazaar or Old Chinatown, the once flourishing Chinese part of the city is now one of the best places to visit for some authentic Indo-Chinese food.
6. Busiest Cantilever Bridge in the World
The Howrah Bridge is a 74-year-old cantilever bridge connecting Kolkata to Howrah city over the Hooghly lever. It spans over 1500 feet and services more than 100,000 vehicles and 150,000 pedestrians in a day; making it the busiest cantilever bridge in the world.
7. A City of Names
Image source: https://www.gqindia.com/magazine-story/design-special-kolkata-city-art-culture-design-food/
The city of joy is not the only moniker that Kolkata is known as. It is famously known as the literary capital of India, having produced some of the greatest literary figures of India. Kolkata is also known as the cultural capital of India and the city of furious, creative energy.
8. Oldest Railway Network
Image source: https://www.iamrenew.com/environment/howrah-station-receives-coveted-cii-igbc-silver-rating/
Built in 1854, Howrah Junction railway station is India’s oldest and busiest train station in terms of passenger volume per day. The station also has the country’s highest train handling capacity amongst other railway stations with 23 active platforms.
9. Football Fan Forever
Image source: http://legacy.cricxtasy.com/blog/food%20and%20travel/kolkata-diaries-the-story-of-a-soulful-city-and-her-tryst-with-football-and-cricket-2
While the rest of India is engrossed with cricket, Kolkata cherishes football like no other city in the country. Founded in 1898, the Calcutta Football League is the oldest association football league in Asia.
10. Hand-pulled Rickshaws
Kolkata is the only city in the country where you will still find hand-pulled rickshaw carts. While this mode of transport has sparked debates in the past, these rickshaws continue to add an old-time charm to the city of joy.
There is no doubt that Kolkata is a historically influential city in India. It has impacted the literacy world by producing writers like Rabindranath Tagore and Satyajit Ray, along with the culinary world with its world-famous dishes like macher jhol and kosha mangsho.
Visit the city of joy and immerse yourself in culture and history like never before.