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Kolkata (Calcutta)

Kolkata : the human city

The Ganges (called the Hooghly in Kolkata) is still the inspiration, as it was to Job Charnok, East India Company agent, who reached the shores in August 1690 finally, to settle here.he City was founded 300 years ago out of 3 villages namely Sutanati, Gobindapur and Kolikata. Once the capital of British India, the capital of undevided Bengal and now the capital of West Bengal since Independence. Kolkata, on the east bank of river Hooghly, retains the aura of days long gone, weaving the past and the present, the intense and the funloving into a charming fabric.

Home to f ive Nobel laureates Ronald Ross, Sir C.V. Raman, Rabindranath Tagore, Mother Teresa and Amartya Sen, Kolkata is the nerve centre of intellect and human values, where many modern movements began in art, cinema and theatre, science and industry. India's quest for freedom began here. Kolkata is the gateway to Eastern India. A city with a rich heritage, bustling streets and bewildering variety of facets. From October to March, Kolkata wears a radiant look. Sunshine, mild winter, lights, colours, fairs, festivals, galas and excursions, the mood is infectious and spirit sweeping.

How to Reach
By Air : The city is serviced by 10 international airlines from both the East and the West, apart from Air India and the country’s domestic airlines.

Domestic: Indian Airlines operate air services between Kolkata and Agartala, Ahmedabad, Bagdogra, Bangalore, Chennai (Madras), Delhi, Dibrugarh, Guwahati, Imphal, Mumbai (Bombay), as well as Bangkok, Dhaka, Kathmandu, Singapore, Yangon. Air India operates service between Kolkata and Mumbai. Services are operated by Alliance Airlines (between Kolkata and Agartala, Ahmedabad, Aizawl, Bhubaneswar, Chennai, Delhi, Dimapur, Hyderabad, Imphal, Jorhat, Lucknow, Jaipur, Patna, Port Blair, Silchar, Tezpur, Visakhapatnam), Jet Airways (between Kolkata and Nagpur, Bangalore, Chennai, Bagdogra, Delhi, Imphal, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Jorhat, Mumbai), Sahara Airlines (between Kolkata and Lucknow, Mumbai, Patna, Vishakhapatnam).

By Rail : Kolkata is a major railhead and is linked to all parts of the country by an extensive network of trains. The two important stations are Howrah and Sealdah. Local trains are best for connecting to nearby places.

Enquiries: For information of running of E.R. & S.E.R. trains, please dial 2204025 (manual; Fairlie Place), 6603535 (computerised; Howrah), Howrah Station: 660-2581/3542/7412 (manual); Bidhan Nagar: 1311 (manual); Dum Dum Junction, 1312 (manual). In addition, dial 1310 (manual) & 1331 (recorded Information) for train running. Train service enquiry at Sealdah : 3503535/37. Public Information Centre (Sealdah): 3503536/6825/8828/8836/8876/9736. Public Information Centre (Howrah New Complex; SE Railway): 6602217. Central Enquiry (Kolkata; manual): 1310; Central Enquiry Kolkata; recorded announcement):1331. For information about reservations on Eastern Railway and South-Eastern Railway trains, dial 138, the computerised interactive voice response system (48 lines). Timings: 8 am to 8 pm on weekdays and 8 am to 2 pm on Sundays and gazetted holidays.
Things to see

Kalighat : According to the legend, when Lord Shiva’s wife Parvati’s body was cut up, one of her fingers fell here. Rebuilt in 1809, this is an important shrine of Hindu Shakti worship. The temple is in the southern part of the city.

Dakshineswar Kali Temple Belur Math : Built in 1847, on the banks of the Hooghly, north of Kolkata, the temple is associated with Shri Ramakrishna, the eclectic 19th century saint who revived Hinduism during the British Raj. Across the river stands Belur Math, headquarters of Ramakrishna Mission. The Monastery is a haven of peace and religious harmony.

Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture : Commemorates the birth centenary of Shri Ramakrishna Paramahansa. Religious discourses and cultural exchanges are held here among international scholars. The institute is located at Golpark. More>>

Tourist Information
Tourist Centre, Govt. of West Bengal
(Open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.) More>>
Cuisine

The Bengali fondness for good food is legendary. Exotic Bengali cuisine is available at selected restaurants like Suruchi and Aheli (Peerless Inn). To experience the true taste of traditional cooking, it is best to befriend a Bengali. His hospitality will definitely include a meal! More>>

Fair & Festivals

The festive spirit sets in with Durga Puja , a five day ritual and celebration for the ten armed goddess Durga. A major festival when excitement and activity touches a feverish pitch. Diwali , the festival of lights is the worship of goddess Kali. Clay lamps and firecrackers are a part of the festival. Rathajatra , is Lord Jagannath's Car festival. More>>

Where to stay
ASTOR HOTEL
15, Shakespeare Sarani,
Kolkata - 700 0 71
Tel: 2 2 8 2-9950/57/59
Telex: 021-2020 K-COL IN
Fax: 2 2 8 2-7430
More>>

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