About The City : : Kolkata

Kolkata, is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal and was capital of British India until 1912. The city’s name was officially changed from Calcutta to Kolkata in January 2001. Despite the new name being phonetically closer to the Bengali version, many people and organizations still refer to it as Calcutta. In Hindi, the city is referred to as Kalkatta.

Kolkata also refers to the name of the Kolkata administrative district of West Bengal that part of the city lies in. The urban agglomeration of Kolkata covers several municipal corporations, municipalities, city boards and villages and is the third largest urban agglomeration in India after Mumbai and Delhi. As per the census of 2001, the urban agglomeration’s population was 13,216,546 while that of the city (Municipal Corporation of Kolkata) was 4,580,544. Kolkata city’s population growth has been pretty low in the last decade.

The city is situated on the banks of the Hoogli River (a distributary of the Ganges). Some of the renowned engineering marvels associated with Kolkata include the bridges that span across this river to its twin city of Howrah (which is routinely considered as part of greater Kolkata): the Howrah Bridge (Rabindra Setu), Vivekananda Setu and Vidyasagar Setu.


In 1690, Job Charnok, an agent of the East India Company chose this place for a British trade settlement. The site was carefully selected, being protected by the Hooghly River on the west, a creek to the north, and by salt lakes about two and a half miles to the east. There were three large villages along the east bank of the river Ganges, named, Sutanuti, Gobindapur and Kalikata. These three villages were bought by the British from local land lords. The Mughal emperor granted East India Company freedom of trade in return for a yearly payment of 3,000 rupees.

What was Calcutta like before the British came ? It was just a village, the capital city of Bengal was Murshidabad, around 60 miles north of Calcutta. In 1756, Siraj-ud-daullah, nawab of Bengal, attacked the city and captured the fort. Calcutta was recaptured in 1757 by Robert Clive when the British defeated Siraj-ud-daullah on the battle field of Plassy. In 1772, Calcutta became the capital of British India, and the first Governor General Warren Hastings moved all important offices from Murshidabad to Calcutta. Till 1912, Calcutta was the capital of India, when the British moved the capital city to Delhi. In 1947, when India gained freedom and the country got partitioned between India and Pakistan, Calcutta was included in the Indian part of Bengal, West Bengal. Calcutta became the capital city of the state of West Bengal.