I have been to Kolkata last summer and it was one mixed experience. To start with, I was depressed by the poverty there. Many parts of India have always been below poverty line but this city which is called a Metro beats every other city and town in that matter. Problem is that people from extreme north-east India come to this city for employment and thus the population is high there. Not to forget the immigrants from Bangladesh. What struck me first, even before i went there, was the use of Paisa ( coins ) in the markets there. You can still buy vegetables for 25 paisa and 50 paisa. My in-laws were there for almost a year and half and whenever my Mother-in-law was here, she would collect all the coins and take them with her. There aren't good medical facilities available to everyone, infact most of the people there and those from the lower class families ( which is the general population there usually, infact most of the populaiton there ) depend on old Indian methods to get rid of their diseases.
One end of the city is with narrow lanes and people sleeping on pavements and toiling to earn their daily bread where on the other end there are skyscapers, security gurads at the main gates of multi-storied apartment buildings.
One of the best things of the city is the culture and art. The Begalis are full of art, be it in any form. The nation today has many singers and dancers from there participating in reality shows. Not to forget the painters and poets and film makers. The architecture can not just be described in words. You need to visit the place to see what I'm trying to put in here.
I havebeen to Vivekananda Museum which is called Belur Mutt Museum. The whole experience was just awesome. There are rooms which have been modelled in the way they have been kept by Swamy Vivekananda and his desciples. The Belur Mutt is by the river and to reach there we took a boat from Kali ghat. Kali temple at Kali ghat is the temple of Goddess Durga ( Kali ) as she is called. The pictures I have included in this post have been taken on a bost from Kali Ghat to Belur Mutt.
There is one more Kali temple in the city called CulCutta Kali which is very famous.
Another best thing about the city is shopping. I meant it when i said Kolkata is shopper's paradise. You should be good at bargaining to get the stuff at very low rates. The place is famous for Bengal cotton sarees which keep getting softer and softer as you wash them. I also bought jute bags and some jewellery on the road side. All in all a very mixed experience. It is a must visit place for everyone.
Oh by the way, I forgot to mention the climate there. It is very humid, being on the sea side. Summers a very hot and muggy and winters are very cold, chilly infact. I would still suggest going there in winters than in summers.