"Calcutta(Kolkata) - The Dream City" Top 5 Page for this destination Kolkata (Calcutta) by Kumarjit
Kolkata (Calcutta) Travel Guide: 694 reviews and 2,329 photos
Calcutta or Kolkata as we call it now, is a city of many moods and many memories. When the foundations of the city were first laid by the British, little did they know that Calcutta would one day become a bustling metropolis. Having spent more than 20 years in the city, I have noticed the different images of Calcutta - its joys and agonies, horrors and unmatched beauty. It is a city that epitomises India, in terms of society, culture, politics and throbbing life. A visit to India is totally incomplete without a visit to this "City of Joy".
The city has changed drastically over the past few years. The change has occured not only in the mentalities of the people, but also in their lifestyle. Colourful shops, huge shopping centres and a lot of FDI has completely changed the face of Calcutta from what it was ten years back. Criss-cross flyovers throng the city and the cars stuck in the traffic jams, like cans in a supermarket, wail painful horns for the signal to turn green. One wonders whether the flow of life in Calcutta can ever be punctuated! A visit to the city leaves one wondering about its contrasts and unparallel beauty. The local people of this city did not realise that a drastic change was engulfing the city gradually - and Calcutta slowly transformed into Kolkata. Calcutta was all about tradition, culture and conservatism, while Kolkata is very mod, tech-savvy, chic and happening. This amazing metamorphosis is definitely progressive and is irreversible. People who have visited the city five years back, will be unable to recognise it now - "is this the same Calcutta that we came to a few years back?" - is the usual question that I get to hear from most of the foreigners and the people coming to the city from other parts of the country. It is a city where every place has its own distinct features, be it sizzling Park Street or bustling Minto Park.
Still, the old heritage is prominent in some parts of this metropolis. As one walks through the busy streets of Dalhousie Square or through Esplanade, he sees skyscrapers and billboards that adorn the road on either side. Suddenly, he comes across an old building - something of Victorian era - struggling to maintain its existance among the gigantic modern highrises that threaten to engulf it! Yes, my dear traveller, look intently. This building, perhaps, was built in times of Queen Victoria, by the British themselves. Every stone that it is made with has its own story to tell, every corner has a history that has been pent up for hundreds of years. That's Kolkata's charm, unavailable in any other Indian metro. Several Gothic structures can be found in the centre of Kolkata - The Writers' Building, The GPO - infact, many. So, as you prepare to come to this 'City of Wonders', make sure you get to experience these charms that cannot be neglected, that will make you feel:'you can check in any time you like, but you can never check out' of The City of Joy.
Travelling in Calcutta is very convenient, infact, more convenient than any other Indian city. The metro railway or the underground railway system runs accross the length of the city. Yellow cabs, taxies, buses and other means of travelling within the city provides releif to the commuters. And if you have your own vehicle, it is even better. However, for the tourists, I would suggest that they use the underground railway and the yellow cabs.
The skyline of the city may not be comparable to that of New York or Toronto, but when compared to the other Indian cities, the Kolkata skyline definitely seems to be remarkable. The city has been developing significantly for the past fifteen years, and the results are now very clear- huge shopping centres, skyscrapers standing high and flyovers penetrating through the heart of the city.
One who has visited Calcutta five or ten years back, will definitely find it difficult to recognise Kolkata now. Such are the drastic changes that have taken place !
As Calcutta has been developing substantially, the traffic has also been increasing proportionately. Today more than 5 million vehicles ply in the roads of the city everyday. Many steps have been taken to solve this problem - construction of flyovers, making new roads, employing more traffic police accross the city, etc. These have solved the problem to some extent.
However, the greatest relief to the citizens is the Underground Railway system in the city. It not only gives relief form the traffic jams, but is fast and scruplously clean as well. Hats off to The Calcutta Metro Rail!
- Pros:More than just a city, Kolkata's a city with a large heart which welcomes people from all corners of the world with open arms.
- Cons:Traffic perhaps!
- In a nutshell:More than just another city with highrises and traffic, Kolkata's an enigma - unfathomable, unpredictable.
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