Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) is the capital of West Bengal and the second largest city in India (after Mumbai).
If Bangalore is the Seattle of India, than Kolkata is the sub-contintent's New York. It is an 'in your face' city that shocks and charms the unsuspecting visitor. Abject poverty mix inexplicably with crumbling British Raj-era gems, sprawling gardens and historical colleges.
Long known as the cultural capital of India, Kolkata continues to spawn generations of poets, writers, film producers and Nobel Prize winners. If your trip only allows for a visit of one or two of India's metropolitan cities, than definitely consider placing Kolkata on your itinerary.
Love it or hate it, you definitely won't forget the city on the Hooghly.
Although the Govt claims that Kolkata is fast developing into a modern infotech city with various private sector companies setting up shop here, it seems the city is stuck somewhere in the 70's. The landscape of the city is also fast changing with flyovers, gardens and several new commercial establishments. Kolkata city itself has expanded into its suburbs, with the Greater Kolkata stretching from Kalyani (in Nadia District) in North to Diamond Harbour in South (in the South 24 Parganas District).
The city's fortunes have looked up since the early nineties, coinciding with the liberalization of the Indian economy. Its economy has been amongst the fastest growing in the country. The New Metro city is characterised by popular spots like Inox Multiplexes, Nandan, Tantra, Barista Coffee Shops, Sourav's Pavilion and Science City.
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