Kolkata | India
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Kolkata (Bengali: কলকাতা Kalkātā, Hindi: कोलकाता Kolkātā), formerly Calcutta, is the capital and largest city of West Bengal and the cultural capital of India. Kolkata is an "in your face" city that shocks and charms the unsuspecting visitor. Long known as the cultural capital of India and home to the Bengali Renaissance, the "City of Joy" (the sobriquet became more famous after the publication of a novel of the same name) continues to spawn generations of poets, writers, film directors and Nobel Prize winners. If your trip only allows for a visit to one or two of India's metropolitan cities, then definitely consider placing Kolkata on your itinerary. Kolkata is arguably one of the most socially, culturally and politically progressive cities in India. Love it or hate it, you definitely won't forget the "City of Joy".


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Planning a Trip

Orientation[edit] .mw-parser-output .pp_infobox{color:#333;background-color:#effafa;font-size:90%;border:1px solid #ccc;padding-left:1em;padding-right:1em;text-align:left;width:100%}html.skin-theme-clientpref-night .mw-parser-output .pp_infobox td{color:inherit!important;background-color:inherit!important}@media(prefers-color-scheme:dark){html.skin-theme-clientpref-os .mw-parser-output .pp_infobox td{color:inherit!important;background-color:inherit!important}} Kolkata can be roughly divided into two sections along Park Street. North of Park Street is the more congested part of the city. South of Park Street is the slightly better-planned section of the city. South Kolkata is better planned with wider roads and a better-equipped police force for keeping law and order. The better planning in South Kolkata is because it was built much later. The North is the real, old Kolkata and most of the oldest families and buildings are there. Over the past several years the city has expanded to the south and the east, with the Greater Kolkata region spanning over 1,880 km2 (730 sq mi), from Kalyani to Jaynagar Majilpur. The region also includes the planned townships of Bidhannagar and New Town. Kolkata consists of neighbourhoods (Bengali: পাড়া, para) that possess a strong sense of community. They have their own community clubs and sometimes, playgrounds. Between the river Hooghly and Chowringhee Road, the Maidan (open field) is said to be the lungs of Kolkata. The lush green meadow also houses Victoria Memorial, Eden Gardens, and several sporting clubs. Kolkatans love to stroll in the Maidan. Heavy construction activity along the Eastern Metropolitan Bypass has been changing the face of the city. Luxury hotels, convention centres, speciality hospitals, condominium complexes, malls and multiplexes are coming up at a rapid pace. The city's expansion on the eastern side is spearheaded by the construction of a new satellite township called New Town adjacent to the well-planned Bidhannagar. It is one of the largest planned urban developments in India. The residential buildings are mainly low-rise and comprise older colonial buildings and numerous new four-storied apartment blocks. 10- to 12-storey apartment blocks have come up in large numbers in South Kolkata. The city has relaxed its rules on high-rise construction and 20-storey buildings are becoming more common. However, slums and dilapidated structures exist in many pockets of the city and house over 25% of the city's population (2001 census). Slum redevelopment schemes have helped improve living conditions to a small extent, but efforts to shift slum dwellers to newer developments have often met with resistance and failure because many of the slums are in prime areas of the city and the slum dwellers who are integrated into the social structure of the neighbourhood do not want to shift.


Getting Around

Contents 1 By train 1.1 Howrah railway station 1.2 Kolkata railway station 1.3 Sealdah railway station 1.4 Santragachi Junction railway station 1.5 Shalimar railway station By train[edit] See also: Rail travel in India Kolkata is served by five major railway stations across the urban agglomeration, which connects the city to almost all the major stations in India. Most local trains serving Greater Kolkata run from Howrah and Sealdah stations. The trains run as far as Lalgola (near Murshidabad) at the north, Hasnabad at the east, Namkhana at the south, Midnapore at the southwest and Bardhaman at the west. Howrah railway station[edit] Howrah railway station (New Complex) in 2012 22.58287188.3428111 Howrah railway station (station code: HWH), Lower Foreshore Rd, Howrah. The largest railway complex in India with over 600 trains arriving per day, including local trains. There is a Yatri Niwas (railway's travellers' lodge) with accommodation.   (updated Nov 2018) Transport options to central Kolkata: By bus: There's a huge bus terminus between Howrah station and the Howrah Bridge. Air-conditioned buses are available between Howrah Station and Kolkata Airport. By car: The station platforms have carriageways for cars within the complex. Salkia Flyover at the end of the platforms allows the cars to exit the complex quickly. After exiting the complex, take the Howrah Bridge and cross the Hooghly River. By taxi: There's a big taxi stand outside Howrah station, where iconic yellow Ambassador taxis are parked in long queues. By ferry: There are ferries (₹5) opposite the station that can get you to the opposite side of the river, from where you can arrange onward transport with anything from taxis to public buses to rickshaws. By metro: Howrah is served by the East–West Metro  2  since 2024. The metro station is inside the old complex, at platform no. 15. The metro service terminates at Esplanade, and you have to take other modes of transport to reach other parts of the city. Kolkata railway station[edit] Kolkata railway station in 2021 22.60127788.3841472 Kolkata railway station (station code: KOAA), Chitpur. Opened in 2009, it receives a number of trains which used to terminate at Sealdah station. The station is linked to the Sealdah-Ranaghat Line and is served by the Eastern Railway for trains to Bandel, Kalyani Simanta, Santipur, Krishnanagar, Dankuni, Bangaon, Hasnabad and others. There are five platforms in the station. The first two platforms are used by only suburban trains and the remaining three are used by long-distance trains. Kolkata station runs many long-distance express trains including two pairs of the Garib Rath Express, the Khwaja Garib Nawaz Madar–Kolkata Express etc. and one long-distance passenger train to Lalgola. There are two international trains from Bangladesh, the Maitree Express runs from Dhaka three times per week and the Bandhan Express runs from Khulna once per week.   (updated Oct 2022) Transport options to central Kolkata: By bus: The bus routes from the station are: K1: Hatishala–Kolkata Station, via Newtown, Karunamoyee, City Center I, Ultadanga Station, Shyambazar and RG Kar Hospital KB22: Kolkata Station–Jamirgachi, via RG Kar Hospital, Shyambazar, Ultadanga Station, City Center I, Central Park, Karunamoyee and Newtown Sealdah railway station[edit] Sealdah railway station 22.56796688.3711053 Sealdah railway station (station code: SDAH), APC Rd, Sealdah. One of the busiest railway stations in India with a huge number of people commuting to the city for work. The station is divided into Sealdah North, Sealdah Main and Sealdah South. There are 21 platforms in the station, five of which are in Sealdah North, nine in Sealdah Main and seven in Sealdah South. Sealdah North and Sealdah Main terminals are used for most local and express trains, while Sealdah South terminal is used for the local trains from South 24 Parganas.   (updated Oct 2022) Transport options to central Kolkata: By bus: Although there's a bus stop named Sealdah, the stop is about 500 m (1,600 ft) north of Sealdah station. The nearest bus stop to the station is at Sealdah Court. By metro: Sealdah is served by the East–West Metro  2  since 2022. The metro station can be accessed within the railway station or outside the railway station. One can take a metro from Sealdah to reach their destination in East Kolkata. By taxi: Although there's a taxi stand near the station, never hire a taxi from there as they ask for exorbitant fares for taxis. There are pre-paid taxis to enter the city. The pre-paid taxi stand is just outside the station's main entrance. The counter is under a tin shed. Santragachi Junction railway station[edit] 22.583888.28434 Santragachi Junction railway station (station code: SRC), Santragachi, Howrah. Most all Howrah/Shalimar bound express/mail trains stop here. Also serves local trains from Howrah, Purba Medinipur and Paschim Medinipur districts. A few trains from Ajmer, Porbandar, and Nanded and a Vivek Express from Mangalore Central terminate here. There are taxi stands and bus stands, and a Volvo bus service to connect this area to Kolkata Airport.   (updated Dec 2022) Shalimar railway station[edit] 22.55638988.3147225 Shalimar railway station (station code: SHM), Shibpur, Howrah. A small railway station compared to Howrah station, which handles a few EMU trains and a few express trains.   (updated Dec 2022)