Vir Sanghvi, said in one of his articles, “You want your cities clean and green; stick to Delhi. You want your cities, rich and impersonal, go to Bombay. You want them high-tech and full of draught beer, Bangalore’s your place. But if you want a city with a soul, come to Calcutta.”
Mysterious, respectful, enterprising, enthusiastic, and amazing food are some of the adjectives that very aptly describe Kolkata and bring out its true essence. Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) is the capital of India's West Bengal state. Founded as an East India Company trading post, it was India's capital under the British Raj from 1773-1911. Today it’s known for its grand colonial architecture, art galleries and cultural festivals. It’s also home to Mother House, headquarters of the Missionaries of Charity, founded by Mother Teresa, whose tomb is on site.
Kolkata the city of joy as it is called is also commonly considered as the 'Paris of the East' as there's a happy amalgamation of different cultures, styles and moods, coupled along with numerous forms of industries and commerce and politics. Kolkata mainly gained importance in the times of British rule as it had been the capital of India till the year1912. At present, although it is no more the capital of India, it is the capital of West Bengal and is one of the most important places of cultural workshop and industrial center.
While Kolkata was one of the best examples of British rule in the past, at present it is a kaleidoscope of contrasting ideas, life and culture, which would be found nowhere else in the world. Kolkata is the best example of both the old and new, the orient and the occident, where lives both the poor and the rich. Kolkata mirrors warmth, culture, creativity, intellectualism and artistic development considering that Kolkata is the home to four best Nobel laureates - Rabindranath Tagore, Ronald Ross, Mother Teresa and Amartya Sen.
However, it is the Durga Puja during which Kolkata is at its best and the most resplendent. Still, it doesn't in any way lag behind during either Eid or Christmas or New Year. Irrespective of where you are from, you will feel at home in this city - in Kolkata. Furthermore, there are so many places to be visited in this city of joy that you will be spoilt for choice.
France and West Bengal share a deep rooted cultural and historical link…which dates back to 1634 when Dupleissis acquired a piece of land in Chandennagore on behalf of Franch East India Company and in 1730 as the Governor of the State, this area flourished commercially.
The strong literary and cultural links may be discerned from the affinity of the Universalist Approach in the works of Rabindranath Tagore and Romain Rolland in the 20th Century.
The mutual admiration between Satyajit Ray and Jean Renoir is a well known fact…and a profuse use of French music permeates Ray’s work.