Kolkata (Bengali: কলকাতা [ˈkolkat̪a]), formerly known as Calcutta, is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal and a Gamma World City. Kolkata is the commercial capital of East India, located on the east bank of the Hooghly River. The Kolkata metropolitan area, including suburbs, has a population exceeding 15 million, making it the third most populous metropolitan area in India and the 13th most populous urban area in the world. The city is also classified as the eighth largest urban agglomeration in the world.
Kolkata served as the capital of India during the British Raj until 1911 when due to geographical disadvantages and growing nationalism in Bengal the capital was shifted to New Delhi. The city is noted for its revolutionary history, ranging from the Indian struggle for independence movements. Once the center of modern education, science, culture and politics in India, Kolkata witnessed economic stagnation in the years following India's independence in 1947. However, since the year 2000, an economic rejuvenation has led to an acceleration in the city's growth. Like other metropolitan cities of India, Kolkata continues to struggle with urbanisation problems like poverty, pollution and traffic congestion. Kolkata city, under the jurisdiction of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC), has an area of 185 km2 (71 sq mi). The Kolkata conurbation (Kolkata Metropolitan Area), however, is spread over 1,750 km2 (676 sq mi), and comprises 157 postal areas, as of 2006. The metropolitan area is formally administered by several local governments including 38 local municipalities. The urban agglomeration comprises 72 cities and 527 towns and villages. The suburban areas of Kolkata metropolitan district incorporates parts of the districts North 24 Parganas, South 24 Parganas, Howrah, Hooghly and Nadia.
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