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The oldest of the Indian Institutes of Technology, founded in 1951, IIT Kharagpur is also the largest and one of the most prestigious.
It is located in Kharagpur, a city with more than 200,000 inhabitants, which lies about 72 miles (116 kilometres) west of Kolkata.
The university has 19 departments, which offer undergraduate and postgraduate teaching, plus a number of specialist centres of excellence. The departments mainly cover science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines, but IIT Kharagpur also offers courses in humanities and social sciences.
It has an extension centre in Kolkata, which offers continuing education programmes, and distance learning courses.
The institute is fully residential, with students accommodated in halls of residence on campus, and it also boasts a central library with about 300,000 volumes on its shelves.
IIT Kharagpur is one of the few educational institutions in the world to be based in a former prison, occupying the site of the Hilji Detention Camp, which the British colonial regime used to detain independence campaigners.
The institute started its life with 224 students and 42 academics in the buildings of the prison camp, before the present campus, which covers 2,100 acres, was laid out under the guidance of the Swiss architect Werner Moser.
The motto of IIT Kharagpur is “Yoga Karmashu Kaushalam”, which literally translates to “Excellence in action is yoga”; meaning that doing your work well is true yoga.
The city of Kharagpur is notable for having the third-longest railway platform in the world, stretching to 1,073 metres.