The state of West Bengal is a vibrant, lively and beautiful state with the most heartwarming people around. It is a hub of rich culture, tradition, literature, art, music and heritage moving in pace with the modern, fast and hi-tech world. It is a traveller’s paradise proving all facets of enjoyment, knowledge and experiences.
A state with strong ethical values and culture, it has proved to be one of the top travel destinations of India for its natural beauty, heritage sites, hill stations, pilgrimage, mangrove and forests, cosmopolitan life, planetarium, trams, food, shopping and so on. Kolkata, the city of joy is the capital and largest city in this state and a wonderful place to visit any time of the year.
Knowing the State
Situated in the eastern part of India, this state is fortunate to have river Ganges flowing in the south and the Himalayan and sub-Himalayan region in the north on its soil. The neighbouring countries adjacent to it are Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh.
It is during the British rule when the state’s city Calcutta (now known as Kolkata) was the capital of British India. The Battle of Plassey was fought in this state in 1757. After independence, Bengal was partitioned on religious disagreements as East Bengal (Bangladesh) and West Bengal.
West Bengal is the country’s fourth most populous state at present. This place can be referred to as the mini India, as people from around the country reside here in unity. Agriculture is the main occupation in the rural parts. On the other side, the fast industrial growth and emergence of information technology has given havoc employment opportunities to the people of this state. Rice, jute, oil, chemical, fertilizers, fruits, vegetables, tea, silk, etc. are cultivated and grown here in abundance.
People & Religion
The residents of West Bengal are called Bengalis and bengali is their the local language. English, Hindi, Nepali and Santhali (local dialect) are the other spoken languages for many. Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism, Buddhism and Jainism are the main religions followed by people in different regions.
This state is a home to well-known preachers, poets, singers, film makers, sportsman, saints, academicians, politicians and so on. Rabindranath Tagore, Mother Teresa, Swami Vivekanada, Shri Ramakrishna, Amartya Sen, Leandar Paes, Satyajit Ray, Sourav Ganguly, Mamata Banerjee, Jyoti Basu to name a few are the proud legends from this soil. The people of Bengal are fun loving and they heartily welcome any visitor as a new member of the place.
Climate & Season
West Bengal experiences a tropical weather. Spring, summer, monsoon, autumn and winter (mild & severe) are the six types of seasons that sweep over this soil.
It is hot during the summers from March to June and cool in winters from November to mid-February. Monsoon season is predominant in this region of India from July to early October. The highest temperature reaches over 42 degree centigrade, while the lowest falls below 15 degree on the plains. The Himalayan region is cold throughout the year with temperature below zero degree.
Places to Visit
City & Towns
Darjeeling is the most popular hill station in West Bengal. It is in the northern end of the state with the beautiful Himalayan range. To view the magnificent Mount Everest, you can visit Tiger Hills in Darjeeling and experience the beauty of nature.
Don’t miss the journey by toy train here. Kalimpong is another hill station for enjoying the misty, relaxing and natural bliss. Mt. Kanchenjunga can be viewed from this place. Mirik is another wonderful place known for its beautiful mountains, lake and orange fruit.
The world’s largest mangrove forest, the Sunderbans, is situated here across the river Ganges. This is an attractive and adventurous tourist spot to see wildlife, especially the popular Royal Bengal Tiger.
Digha, Mukutmanipur, Mandarmani, Bakkhali, Tajpur,etc., are the major beaches to visit in this state.
Forests & Parks
Apart from the famous Sunderbans, there are a number of other forests and wildlife parks like Jaldapara Wildlife sanctuary, Dooars, Buxa Tiger Reserve, Neora Valley, Singalila National Park, Botanical Garden, etc.
Monuments & Museum
West Bengal houses some of the important and popular monuments and museums like the Victoria Memorial, Birla Planetarium, Howrah Bridge, Vidyasagar Setu, St. Paul Cathedral, Raj Bhavan, Shahid Minar, BBD Bagh, Hazarduari Palace, Marble Palace, Writer’s Building, National Library, Tomb of Sher Afghan, etc.
Dakshineshwar Temple, Kalighat Temple, Addyapeeth Temple, Belur Math, Tarakeshwar, Mayapur, Nabadwip, Tarapith, Furfura Sharif, etc., are some of the pilgrimage spots to offer prayers and seek blessings.
How to Reach
You can reach this wonderful place easily by air through major airports in Kolkata and Siliguri. There are a number of airlines that connect Kolkata with other cities in India and foreign countries. West Bengal is also well connected to other parts of the country by railways and by road (bus, taxi, van, etc.)
Food, Festival & Art
Bengalis love to celebrate and enjoy. They have numerous events to fill their lives with moments of joy. Durga puja is the main festival of West Bengal, whereas other occasions of celebration include Bengali New Year’s day, Kali Puja, Guru Purnima, Rakhsha Bandhan, Rathayatra, Lakshmi Puja, Ganesh Chaturthi, Bhai Phonta, Janmashtami and so on.
This place is known for its tasty and variety of food. If you visit this state, don’t miss the special sweets and savouries. Non-vegetarian people must try the fish recipes.
Literature, art, music, dance, drama, theatre cinema, singing and many other activities are a part of West Bengal’s heritage that they love to pursue with pride and interest.
It can be rightly said that West Bengal is the place of culture, modernity and fun. All travel-loving people must experience the beauty of the place and its people.