Formerly Calcutta, Kolkata is acknowledged as the cultural capital of India and its friendliest metropolis. It is also home to India's heaviest concentration of political activists, poets and artists.
In 1696, the establishment of Fort Williams marked the birth of a new city, Calcutta. It derived its name from Kalikatta, one of the villages which was incorporated in the new settlement of British.Calcutta has since developed from a fishermen’s' village to become one of the largest cities in the world. Being the capital of the British till 1912, the architecture here is a medley of
occidental and oriental styles. Today the city symbolises creativity and vibrancy with all the modern amenities available.
Kolkata is located just above the Bay of Bengal, where India and Bangladesh meet at the many mouths of the holy Ganges on India's east coast. The city sprawls along the eastern bank of the Hooghly River, a tributary of the Ganges, which divides it from Howrah on the western bank. At a mighty altitude of 6m (21ft) and too far south of the Himalayas to receive their cooling effect, Kolkata is remarkably temperate all year round.
Kolkata is an ancient city which has seen history unfold itself in front of her. A city which has completed three hundred years of its establishment, Kolkata has had the privilege of being the capital of British India before it was shifted to Delhi. Calcutta is a city which has adapted to the modern trends and techniques of the world, and has not shed the leisurely life style and the calm which it has accumulated since ages. Kolkata is a city, which till few years ago, was the most densely populated city in the world. Calcutta has the country's first Metro railway and also retains some of the buildings which are more than hundred years old. It is a city of enduring charm.
Calcutta is a city with strong cultural, literary and religious flavours. This is the home of many of India's leaders. Activities in the field of fine arts, music, dance, theatre and writing make the city a happening place. The calm of the Hooghly combined with the rush of people in the streets make Calcutta a city to visit. It is the city which acts as the gate way to the North East and has been coming up as a major commercial city in the nation.
Kolkata is famous as a shopper’s paradise. The markets of Kolkata are full of items which can be taken home as decorative pieces or gift items. Calcutta has been attracting the tourist attention for its handicrafts. The 'Tant' sarees are the speciality of West Bengal and Calcutta provides you the best market for the purchase these sarees. The Tant sarees are popular not only among the Bengali women but are liked all over India for their unique appearance and colours. Calcutta offers great bargains in items made from cotton and handloom. The famed Baluchari work is something which every traveller to this place looks for. The silk from West Bengal is a shoppers delight.
Though the real pleasure of shopping in Calcutta is on the road side shops which surprisingly come up with good stuff, there are the big names and showrooms which provide the customer with the latest fashion wears and dress material. The government owned emporiums give good offer in handicrafts and other decorative items. The Bankura Horse in Calcutta is easily identifiable and captures the imagination. Brass figurines can also be included in the shoppers list. The leather wears are very cheap and durable. Calcutta is also famous for the jewellery. There are very old as well as new shops in the heart of the Calcutta city which offer you good quality gold & silver jewellery and ornaments. The intricate work on the jewellery items attracts buyers far and wide. The China Town in Calcutta is famous for the Chinese (imported) goods. This place gives a Chinese experience if one walks down the lanes.
The nightlife of Kolkata rocks and now there are many good night clubs, pubs and bars. In the budget-oriented Sudder Street precinct, the open-air bar at the Fairlawn Hotel is wonderful for sun-downers and early-evening drinks. It's not for nothing that the Park is the place to hang out after hours -- despite a postage stamp-size dance floor, Someplace Else rocks all night long. Together with Tantra, it attracts the city's hippest crowd.
Theater, music, dance, and poetry recitals all thrive here. The Rabindra Sadan concert hall hosts regular theater and musical events, as well as dance-drama performances and local-flavored Bengali poetry evenings. Cultural events also take place at the Academy of Fine Arts. The British Council is often responsible for staging plays and performances in English. Bengali and English dramas are often performed at the Kala Mandir.
Considered the art capital of India, Kolkata hosts an unimaginable number of art exhibitions. The best cinema complex in the city is Nandan, with excellent screens and a fantastic sound system. Nandan also regularly hosts art-film screenings and retrospectives. There are a number of cinemas in Chowringhee where you can watch movies in the company of feverishly excitable Indian audiences.
Once a swampy stretch of land on the eastern fringe of Calcutta, today Salt Lake City is the dreamland of many a hearts. Modernisation, self-sufficiency with lush greeneries, chirping of birds along with a gale of fresh air defines this posh, hi-fi city.
The tremendous pressure of accommodating the ever-increasing population in the city of Calcutta contributed to the emergence of this dreamland. The then Chief Minister of West Bengal, Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy came up with the idea of satellite townships. Salt Lake City was one of them.
Cognizant Technology Consultants, HCL Infosystems Ltd., Price Waterhouse Associates and Tata Consultancy Services amongst other big IT companies have their offices in Sector V, Salt Lake City.