Street / Documentation

Spirit of Kolkata


Kolkata(Calcutta) is the largest city in the historic region of Bengal (today’s West Bengal and Bangladesh). Just over a century ago it was the “second city” of the British Empire and the capital of India until 1911. It is an ‘in your face’ city that shocks and charms the unsuspecting visitor. It is well-known as the City of Joy – The “Cultural capital of India”.

Culture of Kolkata reveals the drama, theatre, art, music and ‘adda’. The unique culture of Kolkata upholds the very spirit of Kolkata as a breeding ground of the literary and artistic thoughts.

However, for me, personally, Kolkata is defined by its wonderful people and its typical congruous street and daily life. I see a strong sense of community in the neighbourhoods of north Calcutta. Locally it is known as ‘Para’ culture. In the social life of Kolkata, the ‘Para’ culture shares a significant position. ‘Adda’ is an inseparable part of Para. People here habitually indulge in ‘Adda’ or leisurely chat.

I always wonder how everything coexist here in perfect harmony. Many people here are still living in the colonial buildings.

I really love to see the vibrance of daily life as it happens on the streets of Kolkata. I love the way people live here in harmony and come together in various events and festivals to celebrate life. It forms a grand social assembly in different festive times when heritage meets modernity.

Here in this documentary project, I’ve tried to visually express the harmonious ’Social Life’ of Kolkata. Basically, I’ve tried to capture the Social Culture of Kolkata that I’m fond of. For me that’s the “real” Spirit of Kolkata.


Sudarshan Mondal
May 18, 2018 at 9:35 am

Saumalya, in this series each photo depicts the spirit of Kolkata, it’s harmony and it’s vibrance of daily life as it happens on the streets of Kolkata. Wonderful work in a very classic street photography format. Loved your work very much.

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