Strolling through Kolkata's colonial past

KOLKATA, India — The British left footprints across their far-flung colonial empire from Toronto to Yangon.

But nowhere is there as vast and varied a collection of heritage architecture than in Kolkata.

Thousands of buildings — homes, churches, palaces and even synagogues — survive here from the days of the Raj, when Britain ruled India.

This marvelously exuberant, maddeningly chaotic city began as a small trading post in the 1690s, rose to become the seat of British power and now ranks as India's third largest city, a megalopolis of some 15 million people.

Unlike countries which opted to eradicate the physical legacies of colonialism, India has accepted these colonial-era buildings as witnesses to history.

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