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Kolkata: The City of Joys and its lesser-known facts

AN ELGIN EXCLUSIVE FEATURE

Kolkata, India’s original capital, popularly known as the city of joy got its name because of its diversity in culture, its contributions to art, and its rich heritage. But it is not just the city of Joy, it is full of little-known wonders. First off, the name  City of Joy is also believed to be a result of Dominique Lapierre’s 1985 novel by the same name, set in the city. 

Photograph by @shutter_explored

Kolkata city of yellow cabs and Joy.

Another fun fact that sets Kolkata apart is the presence of the world’s second-oldest US consulate. The US consulate in Kolkata was established in 1792. Not just that it served as the US embassy for India up until the country’s independence in 1947. 

Photograph by @indiawalla

TheBirla Planetarium.

Kolkata has been known for its scientific and cultural predominance in the sub-continent for ages. The city houses some of the oldest and largest institutions in the country and sometimes in Asia. For instance, The Birla Planetarium in Kolkata is Asia’s largest planetarium. Kolkata is also house to India’s Oldest Library. 

The city is also known for its many sports enthusiasts. This does not stem simply from interest but Kolkata’s long history and association with sports. For instance, Calcutta cricket and football Club is Asia’s oldest football club, since 1792. As an extension, the Calcutta Football League, which began in 1892, is Asia’s oldest football league. Also, the Salt Lake Football Stadium in Kolkata is the second-largest football stadium in the world owing to its seating capacity. 

Photograph by @icc

Eden Gardens.

It is not all about Cricket either, Kolkata is also home to the world’s third-largest cricket stadium. With a seating capacity of 80,000 people, making Eden Gardens a glorious institution in the history of Kolkata and cricket. 

Photograph by @calcuttapoloclub

Ezra Cup.

Manipur, India is known to be the birthplace of Polo but it is Kolkata that has the world’s oldest Polo Club. The Calcutta Polo Club, established in 1862, was the brainchild of officers of the British East India Company. The Calcutta Polo Club’s, Ezra Cup is also the first official polo trophy in World History. 

Kolkata has always been known for its eccentricities, this adds to the city’s uniqueness. Gariahat Chess Club is one such eccentricity. Under the Gariahat Flyover, the Chess Club sees many people enjoying the sport, novice, and professionals. The Gariahat Chess Club that started as an unofficial club in the middle of a busy street, due to its long history and popularity was officiated in 2006. Its popularity is such, that Grandmaster Ding Lirren and Grandmaster Hikaru Namura have also visited and played a few games there. 

Photograph by @toddlerstravel

Trams in Kolkata.

It is a well-known fact that Kolkata has a long history, thanks to that Kolkata has the oldest electric tram system in the entirety of Asia since 1902. Not only that Kolkata is also one of the only places to still have a working tram system in the world and also the only functioning tram system in India.  

India has a unique fusion of Chinese cuisine that graces the streets and restaurants across the country. However, Kolkata is the birthplace of said cuisine. The Indian style of Chinese food is essentially a derivative of Hakka cuisine, which was brought to the country by Hakka people who settled in Kolkata as early as 1820. 

Kolkata is known to be a heaven for book lovers, with the likes of College Street, where you can find just about any book you might be looking for. But what makes Kolkata singularly the mecca for book lovers is the world’s most attended non-trade book fair, with an average of 2 million visitors, the Kolkata Book Fair. 

While these are some lesser-known facts about the City of Joy, the city is still as mysterious as it is joyous. To unravel the cities best-kept secret, it is about time you visit Kolkata. 

Kolkata has always been known for its eccentricities, this adds to the city’s uniqueness. Gariahat Chess Club is one such eccentricity. Under the Gariahat Flyover, the Chess Club sees many people enjoying the sport, novice, and professionals. The Gariahat Chess Club that started as an unofficial club in the middle of a busy street, due to its long history and popularity was officiated in 2006. Its popularity is such, that Grandmaster Ding Lirren and Grandmaster Hikaru Namura have also visited and played a few games there.