Kolkata’s Lifestyle -
Kolkata has matured as the most soulfully vivacious city of India. The exemplary cultural and cognitive capital of India from prehistoric time presents an eclectic mix of the old stereotyped and the new contemporary with culture, art, cricket, football and festivity ingrained deeply into the ethos of the city, the city is multifaceted in the true sense of the term. The city is the provenance of modern Indian literary and artistic thought and of Indian nationalism, and its native have taken great endeavor to safeguard Kolkata culture and legacy. The harmonious blending of Eastern and Western culture has galvanized the creation of innumerable and distinct institution that have been instrumental in formation of Kolkata’s cultural aesthetic life. It has created several eminent personalities of multifarious discipline. From the age of Kalidasa, Jayadeva to the reign of Sasanka, Sirajuddaula, Bengal had seen several succession of socio-cultural component. After the British invasion, Bengal’s culture was remarkable influenced by western designs. But the socio-cultural elements of Kolkata digested the disparity of west and entered into a new generation where we can see the evolution of pinnacle personalities like Tagore. The economic and geographical conditions also influenced its socio-cultural elements.
Aesthetic innovative evolution:
Kolkatan’s have long been vigorous in pursuing its literary and artistic genre. The city saw the dawn of the mid-19th-century literary maneuver that triggered a cultural renaissance throughout India. The chief maneuver of this movement was Rabindranath Tagore, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature of 1913, whose sensational mesmerizing creativity in poetry, music, painting and drama continues to enthrall the cultural life of the city. Kolkata remains at the vanguard of artistic movements in the country, and several artists’ and societies perform numerous shows and exhibit performances throughout the year. The tradition of Jatra is still watched and appreciated in West Bengal. Jatras are folk-theatres with epic four-hour-long plays featuring loud music, harsh lighting and dramatic props played on giant outdoor stages.
Kolkata is the hub of traditional and contemporary dance, music and art. In 1934 Tagore inaugurated the first All-Bengal Music Conference in Kolkata. Since then, a number of classical Indian music convocation have been held every year. Kolkata has a strong musical 'counterculture' in the form of original English Rock music, which has talented bands like Cassini's Division, Skinny Alley, Insomnia, The Supersonics and Crystal Grass.The lineage of many classical dancers, Kolkata was the genesis of Uday Shankar’s experiments at revamping Western theatrical techniques to traditional dance forms. The school of music, dance and drama created by him has been functioning in the city since 1965.
Professional drama originated in Kolkata in the 1870s with the formation of the National Theatre (later replaced by the Minerva Theatre). Modern dramatic forms were spearheaded in the city by playwrights such as Girish Chandra Ghosh and Dirabandhu Mitra. Kolkata is still an important centre of professional, skilled and of empirical cognitive drama. The city also has been a pioneering centre of motion-picture production in India. The avant-garde film directors Satyajit Ray and Mrinal Sen have been applauded internationally. Kolkata Film Festival, held annually across several cinema theatres in the city serves to the taste of Kolkata people for cinema from all over the world. Nandan is a well-liked cinema complex in the premiers of Rabindra Sadan, which is conserved by the state government. This theatre complex holds regular shows of national and international cinema. There are scores of cinema and theater in the city, which regularly show films in English, Bengali, and Hindi.
City old incarnating charm & grandeur
It has a plethora of colonial buildings that amalgamate Gothic, Neo-Classical, Oriental and Islamic styles of architecture. Heritage structures like the Writers' building, GPO, Insurance Building, High Court, Governors' house and Town hall have truly stood the test and stand tall giving the city its dazzling unique character.
The city at the pristine Victoria Memorial (built in 1921). Spotlessly clean, this museum lure and enchant tourists from across the world. The beautifully kept gardens and the roads that surround the Memorial are reminiscent of the days of the British Raj.
Taking a stroll down the lively and bubbly Park street to savoring the chocolates at Flurry's, visiting the flower market at Mallik Ghat to the captivating creation of the idol makers in Kumartuli, the city has many memorable experiences to enchanted and thrilled. A visit to Jorasanko Thakur Bari, the ancestral home of Rabindranath Tagore and the Kalighat temple were some of predilection.
The City’s captivating Adda Culture
‘Adda’, which means debates and discussions in Bengali, is an intellectual conversation highly loved, appreciated and cherished by the city and its people. The consultation can be wide-ranging — from cricket to politics, music, literature, movies, and games of which the Kolkata football is most captivating subject.
The nostalgic rich flavor and aura of Kolkata’s adda culture can be experienced in the revamped 1876 Albert Hall, now known as the Coffee House. The cafe, today hosts the new genre scholars, artists, editors and writers like Aparna Sen, Goutam Ghosh, Joy Goswami, and Amartya Sen, but once frequented by personalities like Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sen, Narayan Gangopadhyay, and Ritwik Ghatak, The Coffee House in College Street, facing renowned Presidency College, provides Kolkata its intellectual vibrancy that has shaped and cultivated numerous cultural and political movements even relevant till date.
Euphoria and Religious Celebration
It’s always a merriment and party time in Kolkata but the grandest and brightest of all is the Durga Puja. The city, during the Pujas, goes into a frenzy with millions of people hitting the street, “pandal-hopping,” shopping, and enjoying the diverse culinary culture of the city — from street-side delicacies to fine dining.
Besides, the local clubs and associations, Kolkata’s housing complexes offer a great opportunities for people of all caste, creed, and religion to absorb the vigorous multi-cultural activities of the city. Be it Tagore’s birthday, Poila Boishakh (the Bengali New year), Holi or Diwali — residents of housing complexes and apartments all come together to celebrate the joyous festival with passion and vehemence.
Kolkata's Traditional Dress
The first picture of traditional dress conjured by a non-Bengali of Kolkata is the rich classic maroon bordered white Bengali saree. However, few people outside the state understand the significance of this particular colour combination. With the white symbolising purity and the maroon or red symbolising fertility, the saree is a celebration of the feminine. It may only be during festival season that traditional attire truly makes a statement in today’s Kolkata, yet the region’s distinct styles of clothing is symbolic of its contribution of a rich cultural heritage to the rest of the country.
Women’s traditional dress
Traditional attire for any Bengali women is usually the saree, made of cotton or silk. While sarees are worn by women across India, the Bengali style of pleating and draping a saree is quite unique and distinct. The state has a rich history of weaving silk.
Men’s traditional dress
Traditional attire for Bengali men usually consists of the dhoti, a piece of cloth tied around the waist and then wrapped around like a loin cloth between the legs – is unique. Dhotis are paired with a silk or cotton Punjabi or kurta – a loose fitting shirt going down to the knees. While white and off-white are the traditional colours preferred for dhotis and Punjabis. Today’s Bengali men style their liberties with colours in their traditional attire.
Food in Kolkata has evolved over the years to suit a variety of tastes: Pan-India, as well as internationally. Prime portion of Kolkata's cuisine comprise of rice and macher jhol (an authentic fish recipe), with 'chutney' and 'mishti doi' as dessert. Bengal's wide repertoire of fish recipe include various eelish(hilsa) preparations (a favourite among Bengalis). Common street foods like rolls (mutton roll, egg roll, chicken roll) and phuchka are very popular. Phuchka (also called golgappa or panipuri in other parts of India) is a nicely fried whole-wheat hollow crispy ball which is filled with spicy potato filling and dipped in tamarind water when serving. A Bengali meal is incomplete without sweets.Most adored sweets include Roshogolla, sandesh mishti doi (sweet curd), etc.
One common feature of Kolkata cuisine today originates from Tibetan regions – momo and thuppa. The Elgin Road offshoots have a lot of outlets specialising in the delicious steamed dumplings (pork, chicken, vegetarian) called momos – typically served with a clear stalk soup and often served with spicy chutneys. Thuppa is a clear soup spiced with noodles, vegetables and other herbs. Due to the high popularity, momos are now available all over the city, and are even served as street food at some places.
Towards the east zone of the City of Joy lies another landmark Tangra Chinatown, of Kolkata. Well-known for the tanneries established at this locality, Tangra at present gets these in surplus.However, there is a reason behind the name of this area as Chinatown. Since the local inhabitants of Tangra is dominated by the East Asians who have settled here, the area is known as the Chinatown of Kolkata. For Chinese community established in the state and beyond, there is no place better than Tangra in Kolkata.
In the last few decades, Tangra Chinatown,of Kolkata has been undergoing speedy changes. Regarding the pulse of this place, it has to be admitted that the long-established professions as well as values have been nearly deserted and the township is fast pulling itself on the lies of modernity. And this is happening because of an increase in the commercial and trade activities. Schools, Colleges and technical institutes have multiplied many folds.
However, one of the famous foods to be found at Tangra Chinatown, Kolkata is the traditional Chinese food. The eateries in the area have been serving the popular Chinese preparations for years. Some young entrepreneurs that have migrated to other parts of India have earned a name for themselves and the food which everyone relishes.
The best joyfull way of starting a day is with some outstanding, refreshing, freshly homemade authentic Chinese food is Tiretti Bazaar a foodie’s paradise.
Regularly opening from 5am in the morning, the foodie extravaganza is located at Sunyet Sen Street.
From fresh steaming dumplings to authentic fishball soups, breaded pork chops, coconut white balls, rice and sesame seed flavoured sweet balls, the place serves veritable Chinese food that are lovingly home cooked and also amazingly sumptuous.
The Chinese have bountyfully lent their impact to Kolkata’s cuisine with dishes like Indo-Chinese Hakka Noodles, Chilli Chicken inundating the market, in the process adding a magical element to it, but they have also managed to preserve a selection of original recipes that are innately reminiscent of their culture and heritage.A mixture of complex aromas and flavor that epitomise the pedigree of their culinary heritage.
Spear headed Education modus operandi:
During the Bengal Renaissance science also clichéd a height in advancement by the influence of several eminent Bengali scientists such as Satyendra Nath Bose, Anil Kumar Gain, Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis, Jagadish Chandra Bose and Meghnad Saha.
Anil Kumar Gain and Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis were leading mathematicians and statisticians of their time. Gain laid the stone of Vidyasagar University, while Mahalanobis laid the foundation of the Indian Statistical Institute. A unique institution devoted to the research, teaching and application of statistics, natural sciences and social sciences. Founded by Professor P.C. Mahalanobis in Kolkata on 17th December, 1931, the institute achieved the stature of an Institution of National Importance by an act of the Indian Parliament in 1959.
The Bengal Engineering College established in the year 1856. However, considering the year of graduation our B.E.College stands as the 2nd oldest Engineering College in India. Engineering colleges
Visva – Bharati Universiy:
It was founded by Rabindranath Tagore who named it Visva-Bharati, which literally means the communion of the world with India. Until independence it was a college. Soon after independence, in 1951, the institution was given the status of a university and was renamed Visva-Bharati University. It became one of India's most prestigious and renowned places of higher learning, with a list of alumni that includes Nobel-winning economist Amartya Sen, globally renowned filmmaker Satyajit Ray and many others. Rabindranath Tagore believed in open air education and had reservations about any teaching done within four walls. This was due to his belief that walls represent conditioning of mind. Tagore did perceive a positive outlook about the Western method of education evolved from the british amalgamation.
Another milestone was Presidency University, Kolkata, formerly Hindu College and Presidency College. The college was established in 1817 with the money sponsored by Rani Rashmoni, Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Raja Radhakanta Deb, David Hare, Sir Edward Hyde East, Baidyanath Mukhopadhya and Rasamay Dutt.The College formally started operating from 20 January 1817 with only 20 'scholars'. The foundation committee of the college, which oversaw its establishment, was overseen and managed by Raja Rammohan Roy.
University of Calcutta is one of the three universities in modern India, set up in the British era in Kolkata in 1861 acted as a channel of spreading western philosophical conception among the elite in India.
Kolkata is vibrant, uplifting and probably the friendliest city in the subcontinent. Strangers will invite for a chai just to talk and exchange ideas. Friendships are struck up in an instant and the city is abuzz with intellect and creativity. Kolkata is a bed of roses for the rich and heaven for the impoverished. It is a merger of millions of people of diverse culture, social and cultural backgrounds. Kolkata might shock or seduce you but it will leave an ineradicable feeling on the outsider. This impermeable world of art, architecture, music and movies will first confront you, and then leave you amazed.