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Kolkata vs. Calcutta: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on February 19, 2024
Kolkata is the official and local name for the city in West Bengal, India, since 2001, while Calcutta was its former English name used during the British colonial period.

Key Differences

Kolkata is the officially recognized name, reflecting the city's native Bengali pronunciation. Calcutta, the city's former name, was used during British rule and is an Anglicized version of the original name.
The name Kolkata represents a return to cultural roots and post-colonial identity. In contrast, Calcutta symbolizes the city's colonial past and British influence in India.
Kolkata's name change signifies respect for local language and culture. Calcutta, while historically significant, is often associated with the city's colonial history.
Today, Kolkata is recognized globally as the city's official name, used in international forums and publications. Calcutta, though still known, is primarily used in historical contexts.
The residents of the city primarily refer to it as Kolkata, aligning with regional linguistic practices. Calcutta is now more often used when referring to the city in a historical sense.

Comparison Chart

Name Origin

Bengali origin, reflecting local pronunciation
Anglicized version of the Bengali name

Name Length

Seven letters, three syllables
Eight letters, three syllables



Usage in Literature

Used in contemporary context, post-2001
Often seen in historical and colonial-era texts

Cultural and Political Implication

Signifies post-colonial identity and cultural revival
Associated with the colonial era and British rule in India

Kolkata and Calcutta Definitions


Kolkata is the capital city of West Bengal, India.
Kolkata is renowned for its cultural festivals and historical architecture.


Calcutta was the former name of Kolkata until 2001.
Calcutta was the capital of British India until 1911.


Kolkata is a major hub for arts, commerce, and education in India.
The prestigious University of Kolkata attracts students from all over the country.


Calcutta reflects the city's historical period under British rule.
Many colonial buildings in Calcutta are now major tourist attractions.


Kolkata is known for its rich cultural heritage and literary history.
Kolkata's annual book fair is one of the largest in the world.


Calcutta is often used in historical contexts and literature.
Calcutta plays a central role in many British-era novels and stories.


Kolkata serves as an important center for traditional Indian music and dance.
Rabindra Sangeet, originated in Kolkata, is a key part of the city's musical tradition.


Calcutta was known for its strategic importance during the British Empire.
The port of Calcutta was a major trading hub during the British colonial era.


Kolkata has a diverse culinary scene, famous for its Bengali cuisine.
The streets of Kolkata are filled with the aroma of delicious Bengali sweets.


Calcutta symbolizes the colonial heritage of the city.
Calcutta's Victoria Memorial is a reminder of the city's colonial past.


The largest city in India and one of the largest cities in the world; located in eastern India; suffers from poverty and overcrowding


(pool) A form of auction in which people invest in a player's success


The largest city in India and one of the largest cities in the world; located in eastern India; suffers from poverty and overcrowding


Is Kolkata different from Calcutta in any other aspect besides the name?

The name change symbolizes a shift from a colonial past to a post-colonial identity, but it refers to the same city.

What is Kolkata?

Kolkata is the current name of the capital city of West Bengal, India.

When was the name changed from Calcutta to Kolkata?

The name change from Calcutta to Kolkata officially occurred in 2001.

Is Kolkata a cultural hub in India?

Yes, Kolkata is considered a major cultural hub in India, known for its literature, arts, and festivals.

What is the significance of Calcutta in Indian history?

Calcutta holds historical significance as the capital of British India and a major center during the colonial era.

Why was Calcutta renamed Kolkata?

The name was changed to reflect the correct Bengali pronunciation and cultural identity.

What role does Kolkata play in the Indian economy?

Kolkata is a major commercial and financial hub in Eastern India.

What are the major attractions in Kolkata?

Major attractions in Kolkata include the Victoria Memorial, Howrah Bridge, and Indian Museum.

What was Calcutta?

Calcutta was the former English name of Kolkata, used during the British colonial period.

How is Kolkata important in Indian politics?

Kolkata plays a key role in Indian politics as the capital of West Bengal and a significant political center.

What is the linguistic difference between Kolkata and Calcutta?

"Kolkata" aligns with the Bengali pronunciation, while "Calcutta" is an Anglicized version.

How is Calcutta depicted in literature?

Calcutta is often depicted in literature as a city with rich history and colonial influences.

What is the climate like in Kolkata?

Kolkata experiences a tropical wet-and-dry climate, with hot summers and mild winters.

How do locals refer to their city, Kolkata or Calcutta?

Locals predominantly refer to their city as Kolkata.

Are there any colonial remnants in Kolkata?

Yes, Kolkata still houses many colonial-era buildings and structures.

Was Calcutta ever the capital of India?

Yes, Calcutta was the capital of British India until 1911.

How has Kolkata evolved since the colonial era?

Kolkata has evolved into a modern city while retaining its historical and cultural heritage.

What is the population of Kolkata?

Kolkata is one of the most populous cities in India, with a diverse population.

What are the educational institutions like in Kolkata?

Kolkata boasts several prestigious educational institutions, including the University of Calcutta.

What cuisines are Kolkata famous for?

Kolkata is famous for its Bengali cuisine, including dishes like fish curry and sweets like roshogolla.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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