Kolkata, the City of Joy has different faces. It is not just about fish-lovers and roshogollas and Durga Puja. The city has much more to offer. It is a confluence of culture and enterprise, history and achievements, literature and arts, science and technology. Unfortunately, to some extent, these lovely aspects of Kolkata are gradually getting lost somewhere between dirty politics and reluctance of political parties to accept new developments on an ongoing basis. Since we are not interested in politics, let us take a look at 30 little known and interesting Kolkata facts that do make us proud to be a Calcuttan.
Interesting Kolkata Facts: 1-10
1. The Khidderpore port in Kolkata is India’s only riverine port and also the oldest port in the country. The Metropolitan Museum in New York has a replica of this port which represents the whole of Asian Cities Sector.
2. Kolkata Book Fair is world’s 3rd largest books conglomeration. London Book Fair and Frankfurt Book Fair take the 2nd and the 1st positions respectively. In terms of non-trade book fair, Kolkata Book Fair is world’s largest.
3. Kolkata Book Fair is the largest in Asia. In terms of attendance, it beats the entire world.
4. Located in Ho Chi Min Sarani, the US Consulate of Kolkata is world’s second oldest established by US State Department. It was established in 1792 on November 19.
5. Kolkata’s Birla Planetarium is world’s second largest and Asia’s largest.
6. Kolkata’s Botanical Garden boasts the world’s largest tree, measured in terms of area covered. It is the massive banyan tree that spans over an area of 330+ meters of circumference.
7. India’s only city to have hand-pulled rickshaws is Kolkata.
8. This city is also the only city in whole of India as well as whole of South Asia to boast trams.
9. In the entire world, Kolkata takes the 8th position in terms of world’s largest agglomerations.
10. In terms of total number of seats, the famed cricket stadium, Eden Gardens in Kolkata is the world’s 3rd largest.
Interesting Kolkata Facts: 11-20
11. The first ever golf club was in United Kingdom. The first ever outside UK was Royal Calcutta Golf Club.
12. In terms of number of seats available, the football stadium known as Salt Lake Stadium in Salt Lake, Kolkata is world’s 2nd largest.
13. Calcutta Football League is world’s 2nd oldest and India’s oldest football tournament to exist. The tournament was founded back in 1898.
14. The oldest surviving Polo Club in whole world is Calcutta Polo Club.
15. Kolkata’s National Library is India’s largest public library in existence.
16. Mecca of Cricket or MCC is world’s oldest cricket club. The second spot is taken by CCFC or Calcutta Cricket and Football Club.
17. Nothing to be proud of but Sonagachi in Kolkata is the biggest known red-light district in whole of Asia. It is a licensed place and here are many hundreds of multistoried buildings that are actually brothels.
18. Kolkata was the first city in whole India to introduce metro train or mass rapid transit system. Delhi took over 2 decades more to introduce its own metro after Kolkata did and Mumbai is currently in the process of introducing metro. Unfortunately, since its introduction, the only development seen in Kolkata metro is the introduction of AC trains. That’s all!
19. There is a popular saying that if a book cannot be found in College Street, the book was possibly never brought into existence. World’s 2nd largest marketplace for second-hand books, College Street where one can find even RAREST of books.
20. Kolkata stands second, just after New Delhi as the largest city in India in terms of area covered.
Interesting Kolkata Facts: 21-30
21. During the British Rule, British Empire considered London as its most important city and then Kolkata as its second-most important city. Kolkata was once the capital city of India.
22. Kolkata is popular worldwide as City of Joy but it also has other names like “Cultural Capital of India”, “City of Processions” and “City of Palaces”.
23. Alipore Zoo in Kolkata is India’s oldest zoo.
24. The oldest and largest museum to exist in India is Indian Museum in Kolkata.
25. The Howrah Bridge in Kolkata is the 6th largest (in terms of main span) cantilever bridge in world and the only one in India.
26. Apart from Kyoto and Tokyo, Kolkata is the only Asian Mainland City to have five Nobel Laureates – Mother Teresa, Amartya Sen, Rabindranath Tagore, C.V. Raman and Sir Ronald Ross.
27. Calcutta Medical College or Medical College and Hospital, Kolkata was Asia’s second medicine college that taught European Medicine and was the first in Asia to teach European Medicine in English language.
28. Science City in Kolkata is Indian subcontinent’s largest science center.
29. South Asia’s oldest known institution for imparting western education is Kolkata’s Presidency College (now known as Presidency University, Kolkata).
30. Kolkata is the birth place of fusion cuisine. Today we know it by the name Indian-Chinese. Some people from China’s Hakka or Haka came to Kolkata and in order to suit the Indian taste palate, they prepared their cuisines with Indian elements which gave birth to the Indian-Chinese fusion.