"As the traveler who has once been from home is wiser than he who has never left his own doorstep, so a knowledge of one other culture should sharpen our ability to scrutinize more steadily, to appreciate lovingly, our own." (Margaret Mead)
The ability to learn about other cultures by actually experiencing them through travel is undoubtedly a great gift. By actually perceivingfirst hand the aspects of a completely different society from yours will teach you more than any book could ever do, and it is for this reason that I genuinely believe that this "City of Joy" trip will be one of the most beneficial experiences you will have. Nevertheless, background knowledge of the place you are visiting would be advantageous in your journey to the fascinating Calcutta.
Calcutta can be known as "the city of contradictions" and this theme could actually be expanded to encompass all of India (Tharoor). The reason for this is although India is a land of much cultural richness and diversity and it is a home for many industries, it also has qualities that can be seen in an opposite light such as poverty, overpopulation, corruption, and intolerance to name a few. There are many aspects of India and Calcutta that you will encounter including social/cultural, economic, political, and geographic components, and a knowledge of these various aspects beforehand will prepare you for what you are about to see.
Calcutta, whose name has actually been changed recently to Kolkata because the name Calcutta is anglicized, is the capital of West Bengal. The city boasts being the nation’s largest metropolitan in area. Calcutta is located on the eastern bank of the Hooghly River, an arm of the
Ganges, about 96 miles upstream from its mouth at the head of the Bay of Bengal. This river port is the most important urban center of Eastern India. Although Calcutta is favorably located for trade, its low, swampy, hot, and humid rive…