If Kolkata doesn't manage to raise your heartbeat at least a little bit, we fear that no city in the world will be able to excite you. It is a love-it-or-hate-it combination of (sometimes decaying) British colonial buildings, magnificent gardens, temples and bustling markets paired with extreme poverty, pollution, congested roads and chaos.
Kolkata, former Indian capital that is with a metropolitan population of 14 million firmly part of the mostly Asian collective of world megacities and India's third largest, lies in the most eastern part of India. From here it is about 60 kilometers or 40 miles to the country's border with Bangladesh. And indeed the city (which used to go under the more familiar name of Calcutta) does often conjure up images of abject poverty and slums. This is, after all, where Mother Theresa did her work. Things have improved, but with the number of homeless people still as high as an entire small city, there is a long way yet to go.
Nevertheless, a beautification drive has in recent years made the city far more presentable. Things are getting better here, and that some of the sights are spectacular cannot be denied: the white marble Victoria Memorial is by far its best known. This grandiose building incorporates both British and Mughal elements and was built between 1906 and 1921 as an ode to Queen Victoria. Other spectacular must-see attractions include the pretty Dakshineswar Kali Temple, Belur Math, the Indian Museum and the Kalighat Kali Temple. Make sure to also spend some time around the Hoogly riverfront (itself a prime target of the city's beautification projects) where you can for instance check out the Howrah Bridge, one of the city's more famous landmarks. [Review by travelindicator]
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- Kolkata is a city in India's region of West Bengal. It has a population of 4,631,392, is situated at an altitude of 46ft and the best airport to fly into is CCU (Netaji Subhas Chandra, Kolkata)
- The currency used in India is the Indian rupee (INR)
Other cities in the region (West Bengal, India)
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