Whenever we claim of knowing a place perfectly, we basically rejoice in knowing only the locally known facts. None of us actually do a deep research and delve into the not-so-known aspects of the place.
Well, let’s do that now, and what’s a better place than Kolkata to start with: the perfect amalgam of old world charm and modernity.
Move over Mumbai and Bangaluru; in terms of area covered, Kolkata is the second-largest city in India, after New Delhi.
To the British rulers, Kolkata, the then Calcutta, was the most important city in India (it was India’s capital too), and the second most important city of the whole British Empire, after London.
You often refer to the city as the “city of joy”, but did you know its other names—“city of palaces”, “city of processions” and the “cultural capital of India”?
In terms of the unique trains it daily handles, the Howrah Station is the busiest in India.
Did you know, till 2006, Kolkata hadn’t had any “Kolkata” station? For mails and expresses, one had to board trains either at the Howrah Station, located at the twin city of Howrah, or at the more local, Sealdah Station. The current Kolkata station was a railway goods terminal, referred to as the Chitpur Station.
All the Kolkatans might just hate the zoo for being filled with dust, but little do they know about the fact that it has the oldest zoo in the country!
The Howrah Bridge seems to be the identity of the city—but did you know that it’s the one of the largest cantilever bridges in the world, and the largest (and perhaps the only) one in the country?
In Sir Ronald Ross, C.V. Raman, Rabindranath Tagore, Amartya Sen and Mother Teresa, Kolkata has found five brilliant scholars and Nobel laureates — the most in any Asian mainland city (except Tokyo and Kyoto). Satyajit Ray was one of the first Oscar winners in the country.
The National Library of India, situated in Kolkata, is the largest public library in the country.
Calcutta might not have been the city of princes, but the Calcutta Polo Club is the oldest one in the world!
The Royal Calcutta Golf Club is the first golf club ever, outside the United Kingdom.
If you’re a cricket buff, then you must know the fact that in terms of seating arrangement, it has Eden Gardens – the 3rd largest in the world.
When talking about cricket, there’s one fact which even many cricket buffs do not know: the Calcutta Cricket and Football Club is the second oldest cricket club in the world after MCC: the Mecca of Cricket.
Founded in 1898, the Calcutta Football League is the oldest football tournament in the country, and the second oldest in the world!
India might still have to wait long before competing in the Football World Cup or hosting a world cup, but the Salt Lake stadium is surely ready to host such an event, being the second largest football stadium in the world, in terms of seating capacity!
Kolkata is a book lover’s paradise. In fact, College Street is widely referred to as the second largest second-hand book market in the world where, if you search properly, you’ll be able to find the first edition of even the rarest of the rare books! Regarding College Street, there’s a saying that if you didn’t find a book in College Street, that book probably have never existed!
Calcutta is one of the fewest cities in the world, to have Trams.
There’s a saying that what Calcutta thinks today, India thinks tomorrow—true that! After more than 2 decades of the metro railways (or the rapid transit system), Delhi has had one, and Mumbai is thinking of having one!
You might term this one as a pro or a con; nevertheless, it’s quite true that Kolkata is the only city in India with hand-pulled rickshaws.
The botanical garden of Kolkata has been the house of the world’s largest tree: An enormous banyan tree whose circumference is more than 330 meters!
Kolkata might be the city of temples and palaces, but little known is the fact that the Birla Planetarium in Kolkata is the largest planetarium in Asia, and the second largest in the world!
Founded on 19th November, 1792, the U.S. Consulate in Calcutta is the second oldest consulate of the U.S Department of State. It is located on the Chowringhee Road, near Maidan.
After the Frankfurt Book Fair and the London Book Fair, Kolkata Book fair is recognized as the world’s largest conglomeration of books! Besides, it’s one of a kind and Asia’s largest book fair—it is also the most-attended book fair in the world!
The Kolkata Book fair is the world’s largest non-trade book fair.
The Khidderpore Port is the oldest port in India besides being the only riverine port in the country. Besides, the replica of the Hooghly River Port is the only representative of India at the Asian Cities Sector in the Metropolitan Museum (MET), New York.