History of Kolkata
Kolkata, formerly known as Calcutta in English, is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal and is located in eastern India on the east bank of the River Hooghly. The city was a colonial city developed by the British East India Company and then by the British Empire. Kolkata was the capital of the British Indian empire until 1911 when the capital was relocated to Delhi. Kolkata grew rapidly in the 19th century to become the second city of the British Empire. This was accompanied by the development of a culture that fused European philosophies with Indian tradition.
Kolkata is also noted for its revolutionary history, ranging from the Indian struggle for independence to the leftist Naxalite and trade-union movements. Labelled the “Cultural Capital of India”, “The City of Processions”, “The City of Palaces”, and the “City of Joy”, Kolkata has also been home to prominent people such as, Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, Rabindranath Tagore, Keshub Chandra Sen, Jagadish Chandra Bose, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Sarada Devi, Swami Vivekananda, Sister Nivedita, Sri Aurobindo, Subhas Chandra Bose, Satyendra Nath Bose, Swami Sri Yukteswar Giri, Paramahansa Yogananda, Anil Kumar Gain, Kazi Nazrul Islam, Jibanananda Das, A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar, Mother Teresa, Satyajit Ray, Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, Ustad Vilayat Khan and Pandit Ravi Shankar. Problems related to rapid urbanization started to plague Kolkata from the 1930s and the city remains an example of the urbanization challenges of the developing nations.
As a nucleus of the 19th- and early 20th-century Bengal Renaissance and a religiously and ethnically diverse centre of culture in Bengal and India, Kolkata has local traditions in drama, art, film, theatre, and literature. Many people from Kolkata—among them several Nobel laureates—have contributed to the arts, the sciences, and other areas. Kolkata culture features idiosyncrasies that include distinctively close-knit neighbourhoods (paras) and freestyle intellectual exchanges (adda). West Bengal’s share of the Bengali film industry is based in the city, which also hosts venerable cultural institutions of national importance, such as the Academy of Fine Arts, the Victoria Memorial, the Asiatic Society, the Indian Museum and the National Library of India. Among professional scientific institutions, Kolkata hosts the Agri Horticultural Society of India, the Geological Survey of India, the Botanical Survey of India, the Calcutta Mathematical Society, the Indian Science Congress Association, the Zoological Survey of India, the Institution of Engineers, the Anthropological Survey of India and the Indian Public Health Association. Though home to major cricketing venues and franchises, Kolkata differs from other Indian cities by giving importance to association football and other sports.
Food of Kolkata
Bengali cuisine is a culinary style originating in Bengal, a region in the eastern part of the Indian subcontinent, which is now divided between Bangladesh and the West Bengal state of India. Other regions, such as Tripura, and the Barak Valley region of Assam (in India) also have large native Bengali populations and share this cuisine. With an emphasis on fish, vegetables and lentils are served with rice as a staple diet.
Bengali cuisine is known for its subtle (yet sometimes fiery) flavours, and its spread of confectioneries and desserts. It also has the only traditionally developed multi-course tradition from the subcontinent that is analogous in structure to the modern service à la russe style of French cuisine, with food served course-wise rather than all at once.
Festivals of Kolkata
Kolkata holds many festivals throughout the year. . Durga Puja is the largest festival of West Bengal, and it features colourful pandals, decorative idols of Hindu goddess Durga and her family, lighting decorations and fireworks. Other major festivals are Kali Puja, Holi, Diwali, Saraswati Puja, Jagaddhatri Puja, Rath Jatra, Kojagori Lakshmi Puja, Poush Parbon, Poila Boishakh, Eid, Muharram, Christmas etc. Kolkata Book Fair, Kolkata International Film Festival and Dover Lane Music Festival are major annual cultural events of the city.
The Bengali New Year or “Poila Baisakh” (the first day of the month of Baisakh) is celebrated around 15 April on the basis of the lunar calendar of Bangabda. Visitors to homes are greeted with sweets, and trade establishments are decorated with auspicious garlands of marigold and ‘aam’ leaves. Shop-owners and businessmen offer puja at Dakshineshwar Kali Temple and Kalighat Kali Temple in the morning with new ledgers(Halkhata).