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. When referred to as "Kolkata", it usually includes the suburbs, and thus its population exceeds 15 million, making it India's third-largest city and urban agglomeration.
Calcutta served as the capital of India during the British Raj until 1911. Once the centre of modern education, industry, science, culture and politics in India, Kolkata witnessed intense political violence, clashes and economic stagnation from the years starting 1954 and continuing till this day.
The discovery of the nearby Chandraketugarh, an archaeological site, provides evidence that the area has been inhabited for over two millennia. The city's documented history, however, begins with the arrival of the British East India Company in 1690, when the Company was consolidating its trade business in Bengal. Job Charnock, an administrator with the Company was traditionally credited as the founder of this city. However some academics have recently challenged the view that Charnock was the founder of the city.
Kolkata is located in eastern India at [show location on an interactive map] 2233'N 8820' / 22.55, 88.333 in the Ganges Delta at an elevation ranging between 1.5 m (5 ft) to 9 m (30 ft). It is spread linearly along the banks of the River Hooghly in a north-south direction. Much of the city was originally a vast wetland, reclaimed over the decades to accommodate the city's burgeoning population. The remaining wetland, known as East Calcutta Wetlands has been designated a "wetland of international importance" under the Ramsar Convention.
Like the most of the Indo-Gangetic plains, the predominant soil type is alluvial. Quaternary sediments consisting of clay, silt, various grades of sand and gravel underlie the city. These sediments are sandwiched between two clay beds, the lower one at depths between 250 m (820 ft) and 650 m (2,133 ft) and the upper one ranging between 10 m (33 ft) and 40 m (131 ft) in thickness.
Kolkata has a tropical wet-and-dry climate. The annual mean temperature is 26.8 C (80.2 F); monthly mean temperatures range from 19 C (66.2 F) to 30 C (86.0 F). Summers are hot and humid with temperatures in the low 30's and during dry spells the maximum temperatures often exceed 40 C (104 F) during May and June. Winter tends to last for only about two and a half months, with seasonal lows dipping to 9 C 11 C (54 F 57 F) between December and January. The highest recorded temperature is 43.9 C (111.0 F) and the lowest is 5 C (41.0 F).On an average, May is the hottest month with daily temperatures ranging from a low of 27 C (80.6 F) to a maximum of 37 C (98.6 F), while January the coldest month has temperatures varying from a low of 12 C (53.6 F) to a maximum of 23 C (73.4 F). Often during early summer, dusty squalls followed by spells of thunderstorm or hailstorms and heavy rains with ice sleets lash the city, bringing relief from the humid heat.
Residents of Kolkata are called Calcuttans. As of 2001, Kolkata city had a population of 4,580,544, while the urban agglomeration had a population of 13,216,546. The sex ratio is 828 females per 1000 males which is lower than the national average. comprise the majority of Kolkata's population (55%), with Marwaris,Oriya and Bihari communities forming a large portion of the minorities (20%)
Durga Puja is the most important and the most glamourous event in Kolkata. Other notable festivals include Jagaddhatri Puja, Diwali, Eid, Holi, Christmas, poila boishak (new year), Saraswati puja, Rath Yatra and Poush parbon (harvest festival). Some of the cultural festivals are Kolkata Book Fair, Dover Lane music festival, Kolkata Film Festival and National Theatre Festival.
Kolkata has nine universities; numerous colleges are affiliated to these nine or to other universities located outside of Kolkata.
The University of Calcutta (founded in 1857) has more than 200 affiliated colleges. Bengal Engineering & Science University, West Bengal University of Technology and Jadavpur University are notable engineering universities. Calcutta Medical College is the first institution teaching modern medicine in Asia. Other notable institutions are Presidency College and St. Xavier's College. Some institutions of national importance are the Asiatic Society, Bose Institute, the Indian Statistical Institute, the Indian Institute of Management, the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science, the Variable Energy Cyclotron Centre, the Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics, the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta, the West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences, the Marine Engineering and Research Institute , the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research , the S.N. Bose National Centre for Basic Sciences , the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management and the National Institute of Fashion Technology.