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Calcutta Third Largest City in India
by Douglas Scott

Calcutta, is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal. It is located in eastern India on the east bank of the River Hooghly. The city has a population of almost 11 million, with an extended metropolitan population of over 14 million, making it the third largest urban agglomeration and the third largest city in India.

Calcutta is well known for the poverty to be found on its streets, but seeing it for real can still come as a shock to visitors to the city. Its important that visitors do go there but they know before going what to expect. The tourist industry is a vital part of the economy.

It has stunning buildings, vibrant atmosphere, world class entertainment facilities and the kindness of people in the streets, bars and restaurants but you cannot turn a blind eye to the desperation which also exists in this city.

Some families live, sleep, eat and wash on the streets. Young children cry and roam around naked in the middle of the most popular tourist areas. You can be oblivious to the problems whilst wandering around the market on a Saturday afternoon, admiring the beautiful colours in hand made Indian garments, until you notice a person without limbs screaming in pain on the pavement.

In many ways Calcutta seems familiar the English street names, the architecture, the English language. At the same time the context is so foreign. The effect is very odd, sometimes even frightening to the Western visitor.

Bengali culture is magnificent. Bengali is spoken by more people than is French or Japanese.

It has a tropical climate.

Eden Gardens is the oldest cricket ground in India and is also considered one of the finest in the world. The history of the Indian Cricket is irrevocably bound up with that of Calcutta Cricket Club, which did the pioneering work in cricket not only in Calcutta but in the whole of the eastern region of India. The present Eden Gardens Cricket Club came in existence some time in the year 1864. It is not certain as to whom the land belonged to although some records show that it was the property of then Maharaja of Cooch Behar while some other records state that it belonged to the Auckland Family. However, the fact remains that the land was effectively passed into the hand of the Governor General's family who in turn presented it to the citizens of Calcutta for recreation. In course of time Calcutta Cricket Club established with its headquarters at the Eden Gardens. The pavilion was built in 1871 and cricket was played for a long period in Sylvan surroundings.

In November 1993, a five nation tournament was played in India to celebrate the CAB Diamond Jubilee, where day night one day international matches were played at this ground, thanks to the installation of four gigantic floodlights. It can now also legitimately boast of having one of the largest accommodation in the world for viewing the game.