Calcutta holds a charm like no other Indian city. It was renamed as Kolkata (the Bengali equivalent of Calcutta) in January 2001 as part of the Central Government’s decision to change Indian English names to an alternative local name. Kolkata is close to Kalikata, the name of one of the three villages that originally formed Calcutta. It was founded as a trading post of the East India Company in 1690 and later became the capital of the British Raj from 1773-1911.
Located in West Bengal on the banks of the Hooghly (tributary of the Ganges River), the city offers residents and visitors a tasteful blend of history and modernity in it’s architecture, cuisine, art, lifestyle and culture. According to the 2011 census,there is a population of 4.5 million in the city and 14.5 million including it’s suburbs. It has been and is home to many famous personalities including writer/composer Rabindranath Tagore, economist Amartya Sen, social reformer and Christian saint Mother Teresa, film-maker Satyajit Ray, dancer/choreographer Uday Shankar and cricketer Sourav Ganguly to mention just a few.
There is a different rhythm to the city and an eclectic array of experiences and impulses that Kolkata will gift you. Some of the niceties of being in Calcutta include a walk by or a boat ride down the Hooghly from James Princep Ghat, a visit to the beautiful grounds and museum of The Victoria Memorial and The Marble Palace, or spend some time wandering through the Indian Museum. One can go shopping at both local markets like the New Market or posh arcades like Quest Mall, enjoy a delectable breakfast at Flurys ( A Swiss confectionary and restaurant on Park Street),
or spend an afternoon at one of the many art galleries the city hosts such as CIMA, The Harrington Arts Centre, ICCR and Aakriti art gallery. Tasting new sweets and savouries is a must when in Kolkata, and some of the best are from K.C. Das, Haldirams or Mouchak. A few other things not to be missed are a leisurely tram ride through the city, sipping tea or chai from earthenware at a street-stall, looking at the ornate lights and decorations through different religious and festive occasions, and stopping by bookshops like Oxford Bookstore and Starmark that keep you browsing for hours on end. One can also enjoy a restful break at quaint and cosy coffeshops sprinkled through the city like 8th Day Cafe & Bakery in West Range or Sienna Cafe in Hindustan Park as well as all kinds of lively and engaging, traditional and contemporary music, theatre, dance and film performances and festivals.
For an artist visiting for the first time or for someone revisiting Calcutta, the warmth of the city’s people and climate, can be both endearing as well as disconcerting. As in many other Indian cities one will often encounter heavy traffic, an unending song of honking cars, crowded streets bustling with people and pollution over one’s comfort level. Inspite of this there is something heartwarming and inspiring about the city that only an experience will explain. We welcome you join us for Dance Bridges Festival 2024 and hope your visit to Kolkata is something you will always remember with fond memories.