West Bengal is a state in the eastern region of India and is the nation's fourth-most populous. It is also the seventh-most populous sub-national entity in the world, with over 91 million inhabitants.Spread over 34,267 sq mi it is bordered by the countries of Nepal, Bhutan, and Bangladesh, and the Indian states of Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar, Sikkim, and Assam. The state capital is Kolkata . West Bengal encompasses two broad natural regions: the Gangetic Plain in the south and the sub-Himalayan and Himalayan area in the north.
3/3/13WEST BENGALBASIC INFORMATIONLocation: Eastern IndiaCapital: KolkataArea: 88,752 sq. kmClimate: Tropical and humidBest Months to Visit: October toFebruaryLanguages spoken: Bengali,Hindi & EnglishAirport: Netaji Subhash ChandraBose International AirportRailway Stations: HowrahSealdahKolkata
3/3/13ADVENTURE• Darjeeling• Dooars• TajpurMOUNTAINS•Darjeeling•GhumWILDLIFE•Sunderbans•Darjeeling•JalpaiguriHERITAGE•Kolkata•Murshidabad•ShantiniketanSPIRITUALITY•Kolkata•DarjeelingPLACES FAMOUS FOR
3/3/13KOLKATA- City of JoyVICTORIA MEMORIAL•Collection of paintings, sculptures andmanuscripts from British period.•Open on all days except Mondays and secondSaturdays of the month•Timings: 10 am to 4pm (Jan- Feb) & 10am – 5pm(rest of the year)•Entry fee: Rs. 10(Indians)Rs. 150( Foreigners)FORT WILLIAM•Houses arms and armors, swords, muskets andphotographs of the Burma campaign and BangladeshLiberation War.•Open all days, 10am to 5.30pmWRITER’S BUILDING•Built in1770, served as office to writers of British EastIndia Company.•Currently, seat of the West Bengal Secretariat
3/3/13KOLKATA- City of JoyST. PAUL’S CATHEDRAL•First Episcopal church in Eastern world•Replica of Bell Harry Tower of CanterburyCathedral, Kent, UK.•Pictures and representations of St. PaulKALIGHAT KALI TEMPLE•Dedicated to Goddess Kali, about 200 years old.•One of the 51 Shaktipeeths of India•Right toe of Dakshayani or Sati is said to havefallen here.PARESH NATH JAIN TEMPLE•One of the rare Jain temples of India•Consists of 4 temples of which the main oneis dedicated to the 10th Jain avatar Sri SatalNath ji.
3/3/13KOLKATA- City of JoyINDIAN MUSEUM•Anthropological, art, botany, geological andzoological sections•Entry fees: Rs.10(indian)Rs.150 (Foreigners)HOWRAH BRIDGE•Open throughout•Boat rides through the river Hoogly frommorning to evening.GREAT BANAYAN TREE•The largest Banyan Tree in India and perhaps Asia islocated in the Botanical Gardens of Kolkata.•Widest tree in terms of its canopy•About 200 to 250 years old!!
3/3/13MURSHIDABADHAZARDUARI- PALACE OF THOUSANDDOORSBuilt as a residence for Nawab NazeemHumanyun Jha, a magnificent marblestructure, having 900 doors!!BADA IMAMBARAParallel to the north face of the HazarduariPalace, stands the Nizamat Imambara,built by Nawab Nazim Mansoor Ali Khan,the largest in Bengal and perhaps in India.KATRA MOSQUEMosque and tomb of Nawab Murshid QuliKhan, where he was buired under the stepsto the entrance of the mosque
3/3/13MURSHIDABADKolkata to Murshidabad-236Kms.Murshidabad can be reached from Kolkata by varioustrain services like Hazarduari Express and BhagirathiExpress, from Kolkata to Murshidabad, which coversthe distance in 4 hours. Another option is to hire a private taxi and it willcharge around Rs.4,200 inclusive of a returnjourney.SBSCT buses ply frequently from Kolkata toMurshidabad.
3/3/13SHANTINIKETANCHHATIMTALA•Meditation room of Maharishi Devendranath, father ofRabindranath Tagore.•Students of Vishwa Bharati University have theirconvocation and prayers here.UTTARAYAN•Designed by poet ‘s son Rabindranath Tagore.•5 abodes of Tagore’s- Udayana, Konarka, Shamali,Punassha and Udichi.•Some of the oldest sanctums where Rabindranathused to meditate and leisure.BICHITRA (RABINDRA BHAVAN)•Research Centre and Museum exhibitingbelongings of Tagore- paintings, his literary works,clothes and utensils used by him•Timings: 7am-11am(summer)10.30am-4.30pm(winter)Wednesday closed
3/3/13SHANTINIKETANKolkata to Shantiniketan- 212Kms.Closest airport is the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Airport,KolkataThe nearest railhead is Bolpur, 2 km away. There are trainsconnecting Bolpur with Howrah/Sealdah (Calcutta), Sealdah-Mughalsarai Exp, Kanchenjunga Exp., Shantiniketan Exp.,Danapur Fast Pgr. and Tarapith Passenger.Good motorable roads connect Shantiniketan with Calcutta Touristcars and cabs are available from the Manager, Tourist Lodge. Farewould be approx. Rs.3700( Non A/C) and Rs.5100 (A/C)State owned buses connect nearest cities with Santiniketan. Manytourist service providers arrange package tours by A/C deluxe busesto Santiniketan from Kolkata. They charge about Rs 4 per km.
3/3/13DARJEELING- Queen of HillsDARJEELING TOY TRAIN•UNESCO world heritage site•b/w Darjeeling and Ghum, to/from Jalpaiguriand Jungle Safari•Best Season: Sept to JuneDARJEELING ROPEWAY•Plies between Darjeeling & Singla•Beautiful views of the hills & valleys•Timings: 10am to 2pm•Rates: Rs.120/- for adultsRs.60/- (children 3-8yrs)TEA GARDENS & CHOWRASTAYou can walk through the lush Tea gardensof Darjeeling and the Chowrasta to get thebeautiful view of the valley and Tibetanartifacts and handicrafts to buy.
3/3/13DARJEELING- Queen of HillsDHIRDHAM TEMPLE•Nepali style Hindu temple of Lord Shiva.•Opens only in mornings and evenings for aarti.ST. COLUMBA’S CHURCH•Estd. In 1894•Belongs to Eastern Himalayan ChurchCouncil•You can also visit:•The Yiga Choeling Monastery or more famously known asthe Ghum Monastery, in Ghum, located at a distance of 8kmfrom Darjeeling.•The Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Gardens whichis home to the Siberian Tigers and the rare Red Panda.
3/3/13DARJEELING- Queen of HillsKolkata to Darjeeling - 634 Kms.The closest airport to Darjeeling is Bagdogra near Siliguriand is connected to Kolkata airport. From the airport taxisare available for Darjeeling which charges around Rs.1,200Siliguri Jn (SGUJ) and New Jalpaiguri are the nearestrailheads connecting to Kolkata. Trains are also available fromSiliguri and New Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling.A taxi can also be hired from Kolkata which costsanywhere between Rs. 12,000 to Rs. 17,000 (for around trip).Regular bus service connects Darjeeling andKolkata.
3/3/13SUNDERBANSKolkata to Sunderbans- 112KmsCanning Railway Station is the closest to Sunderbansand is connected by regular trains from Kolkata andHowrah.Sunderbans is also well linked to all major cities by busservices.SUNDERBANS TIGERRESERVE•World’s largest delta•UNESCO World Heritage site.•Home to the largest concentration of tigers•2585 sq-km range of semi submergedmangroves•Open to visitors in the month of October.
3/3/13TAJPURTajpur is the latest addition intourist map of Bengal. Tajpur offersvarious adventure sports options likepara-gliding, rafting, rock-climbingand other activities.•The prime attraction of Tajpuris its pristine sea beach fringedwith a dense forest of tamarisktrees.•The beach is infested withinfinite number of red crabswhich play hide and seek in thesand.
3/3/13TAJPURKolkata to Tajpur- 170KmsAll buses to Digha from Kolkata would also drop youat Balusai More and from Balusai More you cancatch a local van to take you to TajpurIf you are travelling by train, then you can get downat Digha and hire a trekker to Tajpur.The trainsconnecting Kolkata and Tajpur are Digha Expressand Howrah Digha Express(Only Sunday)Closest airport to Tajpur is the Netaji SubhashChandra Bose Airport, Kolkata
3/3/13HANDICRAFTSTERRACOTTAPOTTERIES ANDARTIFACTSFinest patterns of Terracottapanels found in Murshidabad,Bishnupur, Birbhaum,Hooghly and DighaDOKRA METAL•Artifacts made by thetraditional metalsmiths ofBengal- Dokra Damar tribe.•Can be bought from thedistricts of Burdwan, Bankuraand Midnapur.SHOLA PITH•Shola pith is a milky-white sponge-wood whichis carved into delicate andbeautiful objects of art.•Sold in Murshidabad
3/3/13TEXTILESBALAUCHARI SAREE•One of the most exquisite sarees in India, created bycraftsmen of this place. The silk strands are dyed separatelyand then put into a loom.•One saree may have an entire episode from the Mahabharatawoven into its border and pallu.MURSHIDABAD SILK SAREES•The Baluchari sarees are figured silk saree produced in the townof Baluchar in Murshidabad district.•These sarees have a silk base with silk brocaded designs withrespect to their colours.KANTHA EMBRIODERY•Type of embroidery and thread work popular inwest Bengal•Specialty of Bolpur.
3/3/13FAIRS AND FESTIVALSPoush Mela is an annual fair and festival thattakes place in Shantiniketan to mark theHarvest season. It lasts for 3 days and includeslive performances of Bengali folk music- Baulmusic.You can witness West Bengal at it’s best,during Durga Puja time, when the city comesalive with colour and joy!!Book lovers can also visit the Kolkata Book Fairthat takes place in January. It is the third largestannual conglomeration of books in the world!
3/3/13DANCESThe Chaau is a masked dance and is centered around thePurulia region. It is a very vibrant dance form and is usuallyperformed with the accompaniment of drum beats or themusic of bamboo flutes. No song accompanies the dance, andthe dancer has to communicate the emotions and tensions ofthe character he portrays only through body movements.The Santhals are worshippers of nature, and to that end, thecommunity (mostly women) performs different kinds of vibrantdances to the sound of sweet music.Gaudiya Nritya is a classical Bengali dance. Originating inGaur, West Bengal, the ancient capital of the region, it is an all-pervasive form which eventually gave rise to presentday Odissi, Manipuri and Kuchipudi and contributed to thedevelopment of many classical dance forms.
3/3/13CUISINEFor those who of youwho have a sweet tooth,West Bengal has quite awide variety of sweets tooffer on it’s plate!!Titillate your taste budswith Sandesh, Payesh,Roshogollas, ChamCham, Mau, Patishapta& Naru.Fish and sweets are the two things,Bengali food never misses. Do try outout the Roshogollas, Sandesh andCham-Cham and street food like AloorChop, Kathi Roll and Phuchka.Rosgullas PatishaptaCham Cham Sandesh
3/3/13MUST-DOs BEFORE YOULEAVE WEST BENGALDo visit the famous Indian CoffeeHouse, the once meeting place offreedom fighters.Do take time out to ride thetram that runs through the city.Kolkata is the only city in Indiawhere trams still function!!If you’re into adventureactivities, do gotrekking on Tiger Hillin Darjeeling and waterskiing and parasailingat Digha beach!!!
3/3/13TRAVEL TIPSDON’Ts•Do not attempt to travel without tickets in public transport.•Avoid to commute in the peak office hours as the streets are often jammed withtraffic.•Kolkatans are very particular about their culture. Do not make any kind of nuisanceregarding the popular culture.DOs•If you are planning for a visit to the city then winter season is the most appropriate time.The summers are hot and humid and in monsoons there is lot of down pouring. October toFebruary is the best time to move into the place.•Before starting the journey be sure to carry minimum of the luggage. Kolkata is a verycrowded place and to carry heavy luggage means lots of hassles.•The public transport is very crowded and there are good chances of your pocket beingpicked in buses and metro. So act wise and travel by taxi.
3/3/13Where To StayDarjeelingGlenburn is a heavenly little plantation retreat that lieson a hillock above the banks of the River Rungeet, highin the Himalayas, overlooked by the mightyKanchenjunga mountain range.Glenburn Tea EstateTumsong Chiabari Tea RetreatTumsong Chiabari Tea Retreat is a beautiful heritage teahouse, professionally managed by Chamong Group. Thisis a family owned property, now in its 6th generation andhas been in the tea business for almost a century.Snow Lion HomestaySnow Lion Homestay is owned and managed by aTibetan family. The Snow Lion, a mythical creatureof Tibetan lore, is the national symbol of Tibet. TwoSnow Lions appear on the national flag of Tibet.
3/3/13KolkataHomestay Kolkata - Hasting 4BHK Apartment is aluxury service apartment, situated right at the centreof town surrounded by area full of greenery. Theproperty is closest to the most important & one of thebusy happening place in between Central and SouthKolkata.Homestay Kolkata Hasting Spandan is a beautiful 1 BHK apartmentlocated in Action Area III of Rajarhat, ownedand maintained by Shapoorji Paloonji & Co.Ltd. An ideal place, economical, affordableand yet with uncompromising comfort for theperson seeking rest from hectic city life.Spandan Service Apartment
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