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Why Kolkata is an amazing city of firsts


Are you keen to learn about why is Kolkata a heritage city? A visit to the city through this article highlights a list of fascinating facts and figures about Kolkata and learning about it would make you nostalgic due to its immense historical relevance.

Kolkata, the capital city of West Bengal in India, has a lot to offer. It is not just an ordinary city but a land of prominence. It consists of numerous facts and figures when unfolded then it reflects a deep-rooted history which makes Kolkata a heritage city of India. Birth of the Greats, memorable events and landmark projects have made it a great spot to travel.

What Kolkata is all about

Till some years back Kolkata was known to be discovered by Job Charnock during the East India regime, but Kolkata High Court in 2003 rejected the claim. It opined that even before Charnock came to Kolkata, it had a developed society.

Kolkata is a witness to many firsts. Let's divide it into three categories:
1. The city as a first landmark site
2. Produced the first winners
3. Held first important events

Let's discuss the first category -

Kolkata, as a first landmark site

It is the place which has become the testament of the construction of some historical buildings, great establishments, and valuable assets for the first time in India. Thus, Kolkata became iconic.

Here are some facts:

The first capital city of British India

In 1772 Calcutta, now Kolkata, became the capital, and it remained so till 1911. Later, Delhi became the capital and Kolkata remained the capital of the whole of Bengal which includes West Bengal and East Bengal which is presently known as Bangladesh.

Indian Museum

The Indian Museum in Kolkata started in 1814 is not only the first museum but also the largest one in the Indian subcontinent and within the Asia-Pacific region. The museum has six sections named Art, Archaeology, Anthropology, Geology, Botany, and Zoology. It has a collection of skeletons, mummies, coins, bronze articles, Mughal paintings, ornaments, armour and many more.

PresidencyCollege/University

The British established the college on 20th Jan 1817 at Kolkata. It was then known as the Hindu College, but later in 1855, it became Presidency College. Earlier it was under Kolkata University, but from 2010 it has become an autonomous body known as Presidency University. It was all-boys' college for a very long period, and then in 1944, it became a co-educational college. The British founded two Presidency Colleges during their rule. The Presidency College of Kolkata is the first one, and the second one is the Presidency College, Chennai.

Royal Calcutta Golf Club

It is the first golf club in India and also the first one away from the United Kingdom. RCGC is its popular acronym. It came into existence in 1829, and since then it exists as a prestigious golf club.

Kolkata Medical College

The Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education & Research (JIPMER) in Pondicherry is the first medical school in India. It began on 1st Jan 1823. The city was the French colony at that time, and the French Imperial Government of India opened the medical college, but only for the French. In Jan 1835 Kolkata Medical College was founded, and the Indians were allowed to study in it. It's not only the first medical college in India but among South Asia too which grants MBBS degree. The medium of instruction is English.

Calcutta University

The functioning of the university started on 24th Jan 1857. It is the oldest university in India. There were two more universities: Mumbai and Madras, which also started operating in 1857 but on 18th July and on 5th Sept respectively.

Kolkata High Court

In the year 1862, three High Courts came into existence in India. Kolkata, Bombay, and Chennai High Courts founded on 1st July, 14th Aug and 15th Aug respectively. It makes the Kolkata High Court as the oldest High Court in India. West Bengal along with Andaman and Nicobar Islands come under the jurisdiction of the Kolkata High Court.

Eden Gardens

It is the first cricket stadium of India. It came into existence in 1864. The first official Test Match played in Eden was in 1934 between India and England. The seating arrangement was about 40, 000 from 1864 till the beginning of the 1987 World Cup then it went up to 94,000. Before the 2011 World Cup, the seating capacity came down to 68,000 due to the setting up of chairs according to the International Cricket Council (ICC) standard. It is known as the "Lord's of the subcontinent".

Kolkata Port

It is India's oldest port. It began functioning in 1870, and the British East India Company created it. The port is far away from the sea and situated on the bank of the Hooghly river. That's why it is a riverine port.

Mohun Bagan Sporting Club

It was Bhupendra Nath Bose who was an advocate and politician started the club on 15th Aug 1889 in Kolkata. He named it Mohun Bagan Sporting Club. It is India's and also Asia's oldest football club. Although there were a few football clubs before it, none exists now.

Victoria Memorial

The building is the only monument built in India as a homage to Queen Victoria. It is one of the beautiful monuments of the city. The structure is of white Makrana marble and is now a museum. The Viceroy of India Lord Curzon came up with the proposal of the monument after Queen Victoria's death. The construction work started in 1906, and in 1921 it was completed. There is a figure of 'Angel of Victory' at the top of the monument, which revolves around the wind.

Indian Statistical Institute

The Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) is a brainchild of Professor P.C. Mahalanobis. It is one of its kind institution which deals with the application of statistics in different fields of natural sciences and social sciences. On 17th Dec 1931, it started functioning, and in 1959 the Indian government granted it the status of National Importance.

The first cantilever bridge in India

It is the Howrah Bridge over the Hooghly River, built-in 1943. It is presently known as the busiest bridge in India connecting the two cities, Howrah and Kolkata, of West Bengal. In 1965 it was renamed as Rabindra Setu as a tribute to Rabindranath Tagore though it is still very popular as the Howrah Bridge.

Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management (IISWBM), Kolkata

It began in April 1953. Before it in 1949 the Xavier's Labour Relation Institute (XLRI), Jamshedpur was founded, but it offers postgraduate diploma and not an MBA degree. Thus, the IISWBM is the first Management Institute, which gives the Master's degree.

Indian Institute of Management (IIM)

The institute at Joka, Kolkata is the first IIM in India. It started on 13th Nov 1961. It is not only the oldest IIM in India but also the only management school in the country to get triple accreditation. IIM-C is a highly prestigious college. IIM-Ahmedabad was the next IIM which was established in 1961 only but on 11th Dec.

Birla Planetarium

It is the largest in Asia and the second largest in the world. The structure of the planetarium is like the Buddhist Stupa at Sanchi. The first planetarium of India opened in 1954 in Pune, which is the oldest in Asia. In 1963 the Birla Planetarium in Kolkata came into existence. It has an audience capacity of 6800. It offers various astronomical projects and has a gallery full of paintings and celestial models of great astronomers.

Vidyasagar Setu

It is a toll bridge and known as the Second Hooghly Bridge. It joins both the cities, Kolkata and Howrah, like the Howrah Bridge. It is the longest cable-stayed bridge in India. Although the Howrah bridge is a cantilever bridge and constructed during the British regime in 1943, the Vidyasagar Setu is a cable-stayed bridge and opened for transportation in 1992. The name of the bridge is on Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar who was an educationist during the 19th century.

The Science City of Kolkata

It is a huge one with a lot to offer to science enthusiasts. It is the largest science museum in the Indian subcontinent. In 1997 it came into existence, and from then on it has become a major touring spot. It offers an experience of a lifetime with a vast range of scientific exploration and a science park.

Salt Lake Stadium, Kolkata

It is the largest football stadium in India whose official name is Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan which was set up in 1984. The seating capacity was 120, 000 and was the largest football stadium in the world. During a renovation in 2011, the bucket chairs got installed, so the seating capacity went down to 85,000. Due to security reasons, the authorities restricted the viewership to 66,687 in place of 85,000 during the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2017.

It is a great experience to have a glimpse of Kolkata itself because time and again, the city has proved its worth on the Indian map quite strongly. All the said office buildings, sporting venues, and other landmark sites are worth a watch. Every single spot mentioned above has some historic tale attached to it. Thus, the visit to the metropolitan city, Kolkata, becomes priceless.


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