Calcutta, India is a city known for having a serious poverty problem. While this is true, there is much more to the place.
Calcutta is a colonial city organized during the period of British rule, which means a great majority of it is only one to two hundred years old. Unfortunately, the upkeep in the city has been seriously lacking. Frankly, the place appears to be falling down in most places.
Rejecting the British moniker, the Bengali locals have moved to successfully change the name of Calcutta to Kolkata. The change hasn’t really been picked up with any gusto, but there you go.
Kolkata is bursting with people. There may be as much as two times the number of people the city was designed to hold. Unfortunately, a large number of these people live in abject poverty. The poverty level you’ve seen in movies and heard about through the work of Mother Teresa exists in spades. It is very bad. If you’re ever disappointed about your station in life, just investigate or visit Calcutta. You’ll find you have nothing to complain about.
From a traveler’s perspective, Calcutta is a place that should either be avoided at all costs or a must visit. If you can stand the mass poverty, the city has a surprising artistic underbelly. Art galleries, wild paintings and classic Indian music are on the menu. Huge festivals such as Durga Puja have to be seen to be believed.
If you are going to give Calcutta a go, do not go at any point during June, July or August. While this is the coolest time of the year, it is also monsoon season. Drenching rain and Calcutta are not good mixes.