Kolkata formerly known as Calcutta is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal. Located on the east bank of the Hooghly river, it is the principal commercial, cultural, and educational centre of East India. Kolkata city and its suburbs, are home to approximately 14 million, making it the third-most populous city in India.

Kolkata is a surprisingly pleasant place to visit and has some wonderful street shooting opportunities. Many associate Kolkata with Mother Teresa and her Missionaries of Charity which began here, when she established Nirmal Hriday (Holy Heart): The Home for the Dying & Destitute. (story and photos here).

In addition to Nirmal Hriday, Mother Teresa’s started a Leprosy Colony (see story I shot for CRS here) to provide work for Kolkata’s lepers.

Another well known “institution” in Kolkata are the ubiquitous rickshaw wallahs. More than 10,000 hand pulled rickshaws are active in the city. For decades, there has been talk of banning the hand pulled rickshaw, but this legislation has yet to be enacted, so for now, the rickshaw wallahs continue working as they have for decades, on the streets of the city. During the monsoon season, when the streets in some areas of Kolkata are flooded, the hand pulled rickshaw is not only the preferred mode of transport, but also the only way to get through high water, where taxi’s and motorbikes cannot pass.

The rickshaw wallahs are hard working, friendly, and often eager to be photographed, especially if you ask for a ride.














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