It is also known as Calcutta the official name until 2001 is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal. Known as the ‘City of Joy’, Kolkata holds an important place in the economy, politics and culture of India. The capital of West Bengal, Kolkata is one of the four metropolitan cities in India and has retained its quintessential charm despite modernization. Located on the east bank of the Hooghly River, it is the principal commercial, cultural, and educational centre of East India, while the Port of Kolkata is India's oldest operating port and its sole major riverine port. The city is widely regarded as the "cultural capital" of India, and is also nicknamed the "City of Joy". In 2011, the city had a population of 50 Lakh million, while the population of the city and its suburbs was 14.1 million, making it the third-most populous metropolitan area in India. During the mid-1980s, Mumbai (then called Bombay) overtook Kolkata as India's most populous city. Located along the banks of river Hoogly, Kolkata is connected to Howrah by the iconic Howrah bridge.
In the late 17th century, the three villages that predated Calcutta were ruled by the Nawab of Bengal under Mughal suzerainty. After the Nawab granted the East India Company a trading licence in 1690, the area was developed by the East India Company into an increasingly fortified trading post. Nawab Siraj ud-Daulah occupied Calcutta in 1756, and the East India Company retook it the following year. In 1793 the East India company was strong enough to abolish Nizamat (local rule), and assumed full sovereignty of the region. Under the company rule, and later under the British Raj, Calcutta served as the capital of British-held territories in India until 1911. Calcutta was the centre for the Indian independence movement; it remains a hotbed of contemporary state politics.
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. 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. Kolkata has produced some finest sportsmen who have represented India. It is also home to some of the most popular international sports stadium like Eden Gardens and Salt Lake stadium.
Kolkata offers innumerable accommodation options to suit everyone’s budget and needs. Budget accommodation is available on Chowringhe Road and Sudder Street. There are quite a few mid-range accommodation options near Dalhousie Square. Apart from these, Kolkata also has innumerable luxury hotels in different parts of the city. There are several luxury hotels near the International Airport as well. One can find eateries serving delicious authentic Bengali cuisine, Indian and other international cuisines. Most of the famous eateries are over hundred-years-old. Park Street is the most famous place to eat at, in Kolkata.
Shopping Malls in Kolkata are Quest Mall, South City Mall, City Centre, New Town, Mani Square mall, Avani Riverside Mall Howrah, City Centre Mall, Acropolis Mall, Forum Courtyard, Lake Mall, Diamond Plaza, Axis Mall, Merlin Homeland Mall, Shree Ram Arcade, Metropolis Mall, La Vida Mall, Gariahat Mall, Star Mall
Few of the places of tourist interest are some of the following like Taki: The Magical Beauty of Rustic Bengal, Bishnupur: The Terracotta Land, Piyali Island: The Gateway to Serene Sunderbans, Mukutmanipur: An Escape Into Quietude, Bakkhali – A Retreat for the Sea Fanatics, Dooars – An Arch To Untainted Placidity, Palm Village - Picturesque greenery of the palms at Bhasa, Vedic Village Resort at Rajarhat, Ffort Resort, Raichak, Kali Temple at Dakshineshwar, Bawali offers an overdose of serenity and surplus of greenery, Nirala resort at Subarnarekha River bank, Sunderbans the world heritage site, Digha, Bakkhali and Mondarmoni beaches, Frasergunj is a place very close to the ‘Mohana’ or delta, Tajpur, Taki, Shantiniketan, Mayapur, Nabadwip, Krishnanagar, Bandel, New Town Eco Park, Chintamani Kar Bird Sanctuary, Barrackpore, Boro Kachari Temple, Neeldeep Garden, Joypool Village, Serampore, Piyali are few more places of interest.
The nearest Airport is Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport (CCU) is linked with Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai, Regular flights to Northeast India, Bhutan, Nepal, China and Southeast Asia operates daily. It is nearly 18 kilometers from the heart of the city. The Major Railway Stations of Kolkata are Sealdah Railway Station (SDAH), Howrah Railway Station (HWH), Kolkata Railway Station (KOAA) & Shalimar Railway Station (SHA). Sealdah Railway Station (SDAH), Howrah Railway Station (HWH), Kolkata Railway Station (KOAA) & Shalimar Railway Station (SHA) are linked with Express, Passenger, Shatabdi, Rajdhani Train . Nearly all major cities, Towns and Villages of India are linked with Daily train. Few Trains are Weekly or Biweekly or Tri Weekly but most are daily based. Metro Railway & Local Train alsoi link up whole of West Bengal and neighbouring states. All the State Capitals are linked with Trains . Except North Eastern State Capitals where few state do not have railways. Hence they have daily direct flights at subsidised rate.