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When referred to as "Kolkata", it usually includes the suburbs, and thus its population exceeds 15 million, making it India's third-largest city and urban agglomeration.This also makes it the world's 14th largest metropolitan area.

Calcutta served as the capital of India during the British Raj until 1911. Once the centre of modern education, industry, science, culture and politics in India, Kolkata has witnessed intense political violence, clashes and economic stagnation since 1954. Since the year 2000, economic rejuvenation has spurred in the city's growth. Like other metropolitan cities in India, Kolkata continues to struggle with the problems of urbanisation: poverty, pollution and traffic congestion.

Kolkata is noted for its revolutionary history, ranging from the Indian struggle for independence to the leftist and trade union movements.

Although Calcutta is known for its poverty, it's a compelling city, a city with a soul, and a visit there can be one of the richest experiences on Earth. Your first impressions might be overwhelming; expect a bit of a shock.

In many ways Calcutta seems familiar: the English street names, the architecture, the English language. At the same time the context is so foreign. The effect is very odd, sometimes even frightening to the Western visitor.

Bengali culture is magnificent. Bengali is spoken by more people than is French or Japanese.

 

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