The glitter and misery of the gorgeous Calcutta


Calcutta is beautiful and terrible at the same time. This is the most contrasting city in India, from those where I visited. In the past, the largest and richest city, the capital of British India. What today? Today the city is experiencing not the best of times. It is curious that in 1985, Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in the light of the social and political problems of Calcutta called him a "dying city" ... Some wits call it "the cemetery of the British Empire.
Frankly, foreign tourists do not indulge their presence in Calcutta. It is felt even at the airport. Minimum foreigners, low prices compared to other cities, simplified infrastructure, illiterate taxi drivers, who aurally determine the addressee ... While we were driving in traffic jams in the good old Ambassador of the late 60s with open windows, breathing in local ecology and looking at unpromising poverty Calcutta slums, there was only one thought in my head: "Where are we going?" Maybe that's why there are not so many tourists in Calcutta ...However, having finally reached the historic, colonial center, and having rested a bit in a hotel, I begin to notice the old beauty of the rich capital of British India. And it seems to fall in love with Kolkata, that's exactly what the city is called since 2001.
01.Church of the Lord Jesus, 1818. It was Sunday, got into the service of the Protestant style.

02. Since Sunday, there are not many people on the streets, and it's hot. Police cars in front of the building of the House of Writers of the East India Company.

03. However, this is in the past, now the government offices of West Bengal and clouds of ghosts are quartered here, according to rumors.
04. Local Savings Bank Reserve Bank of India.

05. I can’t even believe that this is the center of Calcutta, and that literally two steps from this place the poor live on the sidewalks all the time ... Post Office Post Office building, 1868.

06. Dedicated line for public transport?

07. It seems the building of the Court. Look at the sidewalks, the poor live there all the time.

08. So around the center. Wooden flooring, covered with cardboard, stretched tarpaulin, simple household goods, kitchen, brew in a vat ... Honestly, it's not easy to photograph everything, because people live like that all the time. And someone lives right in the car, in the working Ambassador Ambassador taxi ...

09In Calcutta, as a rule, no one walks on the sidewalks. Not accepted, and busy. Because pedestrians share the road with transport, in general, the risk of being under the wheels of a dinosaur.

10. The railway station on the other side of the Hooghly River, one of the branches of the sacred Ganges.

11. Howrah Bridge, such as the largest cantilever bridge in the world, spanning the Hooghly River with a single span of 705 meters. What will the famous bridge builders say to this? ;)

12. Local fleet.

13. Suddenly, the present PARAMHAMSA cruise ship of Unique World Cruises, I don’t know if it works?

14. On the other side, another grand cable-stayed bridge Vidyasagar Setu. This one seems to be the longest in India (823 m), and paid. )

15. Passenger ferries plow the river expanses.

16. Although not very good, they are the fastest way to cross the Hooghly.

17. Metcalfe Hall, if I am not mistaken, the public library, located in a building built in 1844.

18. New Secretariat Building, obviously some kind of state institution.

19. How did it happen that the richest city in India has become one of the poorest cities in the country?

20. After losing its status as a capital in 1911 (according to one of the versions because of Bengalis' claims of independence), Calcutta remained the largest and richest city in British India, until the thunder of religious unrest of 1946-1947 broke out, bringing all of India to section.As a result, Bengal Muslims rushed to East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), and millions of Hindu refugees poured into Calcutta. Then a second wave of refugees after the 1971 Indo-Pakistani war. The already overloaded city plunged into the abyss of chaos and extreme poverty.

21. Most of the colonial buildings until the end of the nineties stood in a depressing state, absolute desolation. Supreme Court Building.

22. And only from the beginning of the nineties the colonial center began to slowly recover,

23. returning the former colonial splendor. Residence of the Government of West Bengal.

24. In parallel, a new Kolkata is being built, adjacent to one of the outskirts of the city. And between the two centers is located the endless kingdom of sometimes overt slums.

25. The lush Metropolitan building, the largest department store in Asia in the past, has been almost completely restored. At the beginning of the 20th century, Europeans drove into the building for a "decent lifestyle." Today, the building is leased to numerous shops and offices. And right in front of the entrance is the spontaneous bazaar, which turns into a communal apartment at night ...

26. However, only twenty years ago the building looked like this.

Photos from the Internet
27.Feel the difference.

28. Kolkata today is the fourth largest city in India (after Mumbai, Delhi, and Bangalore), with about 5 million citizens.

29. Perhaps that despite all the known problems, the city slowly rises from the absolute bottom (if this of course exists). The famous Calcutta tram.

30. Especially in the center, this dynamic begins to be felt, looking amongst the colonial masterpieces overgrown with antiquity,

31. here and there, a restored former splendor appears, such as the headquarters of CESC (Calcutta Electric Supply Corp) located in the historic building of Victoria House.

32. Or here is a relic of architectural and cultural heritage, the Tipu Sultan mosque, built in 1842.

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