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Student life in Kolkata

Updated on: Feb 27, 2014
Living in Kolkata

Kolkata, the capital of West Bengal, is India's third most populous metropolitan area. The metropolitan region has a population of approximately 157 lakh. During British rule, Kolkata was the capital of the country for 150 years, before the capital was changed to Delhi. In 2001, the name of the city officially changed from Calcutta to Kolkata. Located in East India on the east bank of the Hooghly River, the city is known for its art, literature and cultural heritage.


Kolkata has many opportunities for outings, with bookstores, music shops, shopping malls and markets. The city has an Oxford Bookstore, coffee shops and cinemas. Coffee shops in Kolkata include Wise Owl, The Coffee Shop; Barista, Cafe Coffee Day (CCD) and the well-known Indian Coffee House. American fast food in the city includes KFC, McDonald's and Pizza Hut.

Cinemas in Kolkata include INOX, Globe Cinema and Star Theatre, to name just a few. There are also several multiplex malls, including Dakshinapan complex, City Centre, Forum Shopping Mall, Charnock City and Shreeram Arcarde. Some of these malls also provide air conditioning, making for a pleasant respite in the summer months. Other places for shopping include College Street for book shopping, New Market for saris and various foods, as well as AC Market for all types of goods.

Cost of living

The cost of living in Kolkata depends on the area and your budget. The cost index of some items is listed below.

Base: 2001=100

June 2012

Cost index by category




Clothing, bedding and footwear

Medical Care

Education, recreation and amusement

Transport and communication

General index











Delhi Government Portal


Kolkata has the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport, which recently inaugurated a new terminal. The airport is located about 16 kilometers northeast of the city.

Within the city, you can take buses, the metro, taxis, the tram, rickshaws or auto rickshaws. Over 70 old bus routes will soon be reinstated, and double-decker buses may return. For travel by train to and from the city, Kolkata has the Howrah Junction (Howrah Railway Station) and Sealdah Railway Station. Both stations are about 13 kilometers from the airport.

The city

Regarded as an intellectual capital and deemed "India's cultural bedrock" by the New York Times, Kolkata has given the country luminaries such as Rabindranath Tagore, Satyajit Ray and other great writers, filmmakers, thinkers and artists. The city has great book shopping, music festivals and literary festivals. The average literacy rate as of the Census 2011 was 88.33 percent.

Kolkata City


Bangla (Bengali) and Hindi are spoken in the city, although many other languages are spoken and recognized in the state of West Bengal. Hindi, Urdu, Gurmukhi, Santhali and Odia were recently given second language status by the state in areas where over 10 percent of the population speaks those languages.


In late January, Kolkata holds the famous Dover Lane Music Conference, which has presented classical music in honor of Rabindranath Tagore for over 60 years. The city also holds the Sufi Sutra International Sufi Music Festival, a free festival with performances and music workshops. As of 2013, a new festival has begun in order to celebrate Bangla music, with nine days devoted to the event.

Other festivals include the Kolkata Film Festival in November and Kolkata Boi Mela (Kolkata Book Fair), a huge book fair held in January for ten days. Religious events in Kolkata include Durga Puja, Eid and Kali Puja. Nabobarsho (Bengali New Year) is celebrated in April. The city is home to the Kalighat Kali Temple, the Nakhoda Mosque, St. Paul's Cathedral and the Tipu Sultan mosques (at Anwar Shah Road and Esplanade).

Museums in the city include the Asiatic Society, the Calcutta Indian Museum and Nehru's Children Museum. A new museum is planned for 2014 in Rajarhat, called the Kolkata Museum of Modern Art (KMOMA). The museum is being designed by Herzog & de Meuron. Another great resource is the National Library of India.


Kolkata has quite a variety of street food, with singara (samosa), phuchka (gol gappa or pani puri), chow mein, maach-bhaat (fish and rice), momos and many others. Decker's Lane is a particularly good spot to find these foods, and other items such as lassi and sweets. Types of cuisine you can find in the city include Chinese, Bengali, European, Mughlai, American, Lebanese, Italian and Tibetan. Some restaurants to visit are Barbeque Nation, Oh! Calcutta and Mainland China.

The city has a propensity for sweets, and visitors are also drawn to the mithai shops. Actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui says "You can't refuse the food here," and that he ate an endless amount of sweets when he was filming in Kolkata for "Kahaani."


Football is popular in Kolkata, with teams such as Mohun Bagan AC, East Bengal FC and Mohammedan Sporting Club. The Kolkata Maidan is where many major football clubs and other sporting clubs play. For cricket fans, the city is home to the Kolkata Knight Riders. The 2013 opening ceremony for the Indian Premier League (IPL 6) was held in Kolkata at the Salt Lake Stadium. In 1987, the final match of the Cricket World Cup was held at the city's Eden Gardens.

Golf is another Kolkata sport, with the Royal Calcutta Golf Club being the oldest golf club outside of the British Isles. The club was founded in 1829. Kolkata golfer Neha Tripathi recently competed in the Hero Women's Pro Golf Tour.

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