When we claim to know everything about a city, we only make such a claim based on our knowledge of a few locally known facts. But how many of us conduct an in depth research to find out about some weird and amazing unknown facts about the city? The answer is quite embarrassing. So today, let us make an effort. Today, we are going to take a look at the top 10 amazing facts about Kolkata, which even not many Kolkatans know. So read on to find out more.
The Khidderpore Port in Kolkata is the oldest port in the Indian subcontinent, and holds the prestigious title of being the only river port in India as well. Also, this port on the Hooghly River is the only Indian transport system to have a replica at the Metropolitan Museum in New York under the Asian Cities Sector category, which is definitely a fact to be proud of.
The Kolkata Book Fair has the honour of being the third largest books conglomeration in the world, just after the Frankfurt Book Fair and London Book Fair. Also, it is known to be a one of a kind book fair, and certainly Asia’s largest fair, with the highest number of attendees or visitors. Kolkatans proud themselves on having such a world-renowned book fair right in their backyard.
Kolkatans as well as tourists from foreign countries might know the city to be home to magnificent palaces and temples, but what they do not know is that Kolkata is also home to the largest planetarium in Asia. The Birla Planetarium, established in 1963, is not only the largest Asian planetarium, but is the second largest planetarium in the world as well.
Kolkatans believe in a simple proverb – What Kolkata Thinks Today, India Thinks Tomorrow. Surprisingly enough, this proverb is absolutely true. The underground metro railway system has been in existence in Kolkata since 1984. But other major cities of India only received their first metro network more than two decades later, viz., Delhi Metro in 2002, Mumbai Metro in 2014, Bengaluru Metro in 2011, Gurgaon Metro in 2013, Jaipur and Chennai Metro in 2015, and Kochi, Lucknow and Hyderabad Metro in 2017, with more networks coming up in the next few decades.
Kolkata has always been known as a paradise for book lovers of all sorts. And it is no surprise that there will be a market in the street dedicated completely to books. College Street in north Kolkata is a market where only books are sold, and is considered to be the second largest book market in the world for second-hand books. It is said that if you can search in a proper manner, you can get a second hand copy of the first edition of any rare book you can imagine or think of. It is said that if you cannot find any book in any of the shops in College, then that book simply does not exist – such is the stock of books available at College Street.
If you are a football fan living in Kolkata, you must have heard of Yuva Bharati Krirangan, or better known as Salt Lake Stadium, or must have visited the place at least once in your lifetime to watch a football match between East Bengal and Mohun Bagan. But did you know that Salt Lake Stadium is the second largest football stadium in the world in terms of audience capacity?! Yes, you read it correct – it is globally the second largest stadium. And with several U19 World Cup matches already played in the stadium this year, it has truly risen to a global scale.
In terms of cricket, many Kolkatans are not really aware of the fact that the Calcutta Cricket and Football Club, located at Gurusaday Dutta Road off Ballygunge Phari, is the second oldest cricket club in the world. The club comes right after the Mecca of Cricket on the list – MCC, or the Marylebone Cricket Club. So in all actuality, CCFC can actually be called the mini Mecca of Cricket.
Kolkata has the pride and honour of being home to five brilliant scholars and Nobel Laureates, namely, Mother Teresa, Amartya Sen, Rabindranath Tagore, C V Raman, and Sir Ronald Ross. This number is higher than any other Asian mainland city, which is if you do not county Kyoto and Tokyo. The city is also home to Satyajit Ray, the eminent filmmaker, who was the first Indian to win an Oscar.
Kolkata is recognised by quite a few landmarks, but one of the prime landmarks that make Kolkata the City of Joy and gives it its own identity is the Howrah Bridge. The bridge, built in 1943, is the sixth largest cantilever bridge in the world, and is definitely the busiest and only cantilever bridge on Indian soil. At 705 metres, this bridge is maintained by the Kolkata Port Trust, and is officially known as Rabindra Setu.
Until the year 2006, the city of Kolkata did not have a railway station of its own, or even by the name KOLKATA. The two main railheads of the city were Howrah Station, across the Howrah Bridge in Howrah City, or the suburban Sealdah station in North Kolkata. In 2006, the railway goods terminal of Chitpur was refurbished and the new Kolkata Station was inaugurated as one of the 5 main railheads serving Kolkata, namely, Howrah, Sealdah, Kolkata, Santragachi and Shalimar.