Kolkata is one of India’s most vibrant and fascinating metropolis cities. As the capital of West Bengal, it has a rich history and culture that dates back several centuries. That is why there are plenty of fascinating facts about Kolkata to learn about.
From being the original capital of British India to the home of Nobel Peace Prize winner Mother Teresa, Kolkata has long been a hub for arts, literature, and intellectualism in the subcontinent.
Beyond its storied past, the modern city boasts art galleries, shopping malls, and energetic nightlife.
Historical Facts About Kolkata
Kolkata is one of the oldest cities in India. Whether you’re a lifelong resident or planning your first visit, these fascinating facts about Kolkata will give you a new appreciation for it.
Calcutta Polo Club Is The Oldest In The World
Two British soldiers – Captain Robert Stewart and Major General Joe Sherer founded the Calcutta Polo Club in 1862. It is the oldest polo club still in existence and was very active during the British rule.
Kolkata Was Once The Capital Of India
Did you know that New Delhi wasn’t always the Indian Capital? The Mughals shifted their capital from Agra to Delhi in the later years of their empire.
However, during British rule, Kolkata served as the capital of India from 1772 to 1911. It was the center of British power and trade in the region.
The City Had The First Printed Newspaper Of Its Region
Kolkata had the first-ever newspaper of not only India but Asia as well. It was called Hicky’s Bengal Gazette.
The publication was started by an Irishman, James Augustus Hicky, back in 1780. At one point in time, Hicky’s Bengal Gazette was the best source to get the latest information about Kolkata.
It Had The Oldest Operating Tram System In India
Established in 1873, Kolkata Tramways is the oldest operating tram network in India. The iconic trams remain a mode of heritage transport to this day.
You can also find hand-pulled rickshaws and tuk-tuks, alongside more modern transportation in Kolkata, making for a unique blend of past and present modes of transport in the city.
Cultural Facts About Kolkata
Kolkata is a vibrant city with a blend of different cultures. Here are some neat little tidbits about the different heritage, traditions, and societal challenges.
Kolkata Is A Great Place For Sweet Lovers
One of the most exciting facts about Kolkata is that it is renowned for its sweets, such as rasogolla and mishti doi. Dessert-making is a distinct, long-standing tradition of Bengali cuisine.
Don’t miss out on the colorful street food and flavorful traditional Indian dishes as well.
Kolkata Has The Largest Used Book Market In The World
Are you a bookworm? Then you’ll surely love this used books market, located on College Street.
Here you can find a variety of rare and antique books at reasonable prices. If you can’t find a book anywhere else, chances are good that you’ll be able to find what you’re looking for at College Street in Kolkata.
There Are A Lot Of Scam Centers In Kolkata
This is one of the facts about Kolkata that the general public isn’t overly proud of. The city has hundreds of different scam centers that carry out all sorts of scams in India and abroad.
They usually pretend to be someone from the FBI, Amazon, or other official organizations and institutions, who will then ask people to send them money in various ways.
The police have been carrying out raids, but some of the scam center owners are well-connected and can get released just a few days after their arrest, whereupon they start a new scam center under a different name.
It Was Previously Known As Calcutta
Kolkata was previously known as Calcutta. Up until 2001, when the state government decided to change it to Kolkata so that it would match the Bengali pronunciation of the name.
Simple Facts About Kolkata For Kids
Here are some fun things about Kolkata for kids to learn.
It Has India’s Largest Planetarium
Kolkata is home to the Birla Planetarium, which is not only the largest planetarium in India, but also all of Asia. The planetarium uses modern projection equipment to provide an immersive experience about astronomy.
It Has India’s Second Largest Cricket Stadium
Cricket is the most popular sport in India. People watch it religiously, so it comes as no surprise that India has some of the largest cricket stadiums in the world.
The Eden Gardens Cricket Stadium was once the largest cricket stadium in India, although that spot was taken over by Narendra Modi Cricket Stadium in 2020. Eden Gardens is now the second-largest cricket stadium in India and third largest in the entire world.
Kolkata Is Known As “The Football Of India”
Another great Calcutta fact is that it’s often referred to as the “football capital” of India due to its rich legacy and culture around the sport.
Football was introduced during British rule in the 19th century, leading to some of the oldest clubs being established here, such as Mohun Bagan and East Bengal.
Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan, also known as The Salt Lake Stadium, is the largest football stadium in the country.
Useful Kolkata Facts For Travelers
Here are some fun facts about Kolkata that’ll help prep you for your trip.
The Great Banyan Tree Is Located Here
The 250-year-old Great Banyan Tree, located in the Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Indian Botanic Garden, is considered the oldest banyan tree in the world.
A rather fascinating fact of India, people from all over the world visit Kolkata to see this stunningly beautiful natural landmark.
The Oldest Museum In India Is Located Here
Simply named the Indian Museum, it is the oldest and largest museum not only in India but all of Asia. It has rare collections which include antiques, armor, and ornaments.
The museum was founded in 1814 by the British and was known back then as the Imperial Museum of Calcutta. It is one of the most iconic landmarks in India.
Mother Teresa Lived Here
Here’s a heartwarming Kolkata fact for you. Even though Mother Teresa was born in North Macedonia, she spent a good amount of her life in Kolkata. She lived and worked in Kolkata to care for the poor for over 40 years.
The headquarters of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity is located here. Kolkata is also her resting place, and devout Christians from all over the world travel there to visit it.
Howrah Bridge Is A Great Feat Of Architecture
The Howrah Bridge is one of the most well-known landmarks in Kolkata. It is located on the Hooghly River and connects Kolkata and Howrah.
This is also one of the busiest bridges in the world, accommodating over 100,000 vehicles and pedestrians daily.
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Explore More Fun Facts About Kolkata
Kolkata has a population of nearly 15 million. This is why the city faces issues such as congestion and poverty.
The city has been modernized in recent years, but it also retains its colonial-era architecture. If you want to experience the vibrant local culture, then this is one destination not to miss.