(Last Updated on : 01/02/2010)
West Bengal, the state in eastern India is endowed with uniqueness in its diversity. It offers its visitors a matchless geographical variety. The state is a tourist`s paradise which includes hill stations, religious centers, wild life sanctuaries, and sea beaches. West Bengal is a land of magnificent landscape, flora fauna amidst the undulating terrains of the north as well as the effervescent seas in the south. This state is an exceptional amalgamation of culture, entertainment, artistry and boundless life. The streaming populace of the streets offers a strange beauty of the urban milieu, whereas the remote hill stations and sea beaches are perfect retreat for that very hectic urban population. West Bengal has everything of its own to offer through its impeccable natural beauty.
Pilgrimage Tourism in West Bengal
West Bengal is a home to many pilgrimage places and every year thousands of pilgrims come here to offer their prayers. Owing to the amalgamation of several cultures there are religious centers for all religious groups such as Hindus, Muslims, Christians and Sikhs. Bishnupur
in West Bengal has many Hindu temples that are renowned for their exclusive terracotta works. The temples are built mostly of brick, laterite, clay and sometimes wood and bamboo. Lord Krishna
, an incarnation of Vishnu and his love Radha, are deified in most of these temples. The Murali Mohana temple and the Madana Mohana temples in Bishnupur are popular religious sites for the Hindu pilgrims. The Shyama Raya temple built in the 17th century is the most visited religious site of this place. Religious centers in Kolkata
in West Bengal reflect the secular nature of the city. The Dakshineshwar temple
is regarded as one of the major Hindu religious places. The Kalighat temple, well known for its Kali idol is visited by numerous devotees. The Nakhoda mosque
in Kolkata draws maximum Muslim devotees of the city. It has a very big structure and more than ten thousand men can perform the `Namaaz` in the prayer hall of the mosque. Numerous ruins of mosques are still available at Malda in West Bengal. The St. Paul`s cathedral in is one of the most important Christian religious center of Kolkata. People who come all across the globe and have a glance of the church get astonished at its beauty. The Shitalanatha temple of Kolkata is a Jain temple and is visited by many Jain disciples. The Gurudwara Bari Sangat in Kolkata attracts Sikh disciples from all over India. Murshidabad
, a prosperous district in West Bengal houses the famous Katra Mosque that attracts numerous Muslim pilgrims. West Bengal is a home to Buddhist pilgrims as well. There are a large number of Buddhist monasteries in Kalimgpong and Gangtok
in West Bengal, which are some of the finest Buddhist pilgrimage centers in India. The religious places in West Bengal will give the tourists an insight about the cultural heritage of the place.
Leisure Tourism in West Bengal
A dream destination for vacationers, West Bengal is endowed some wonderful hill stations and beaches. The most well-known of all hill stations is Darjeeling. Tourists from all across the world come here to witness the breathtaking views of sun rise on Eastern Himalayas. The toy train ride in Darjeeling contributes to the perfect choice for leisure tourism for the visitors. This magnificent hill resort is a heavenly retreat, bathed in hues of every shade. The burning red rhododendrons, the dazzling white magnolias, the interesting forests of silver fir, the miles of surging hillsides covered with emerald green tea bushes make Darjeeling
the queen of hill stations. Darjeeling summons thousands of tourists for a leisurely relief from the hustle and bustle of the madding crowd. The traveler, whether a tourist or a trekker, an ornithologist or a photographer, a botanist or an artist will discover in Darjeeling an experience which will stay etched in ones memory eternally. Kalimpong is another famous hill station of West Bengal. Hidden under the shadows of Eastern Himalayas, the white snow covered hill stations of West Bengal are the main stay of tourism in the state. Mirik and Sandakphu are among the other popular hill stations of West Bengal. The exquisite beaches in West Bengal are a major crowd puller. The Southern West Bengal is gifted with the most well-known beach on the eastern coast of India, which is Digha
. This beach town is crowded almost all throughout the year by local visitors as well as tourists from outside the state. Shankarpur, a virgin beach is a recent discovery. It is a twin beach of Digha. It is now developed as a sea resort with hotels, tourist lodges and other facilities. Bakkhali is a popular sea resort of West Bengal. The quiet and charming environment of this place attracts thousands of tourists every year. West Bengal is also noted for some magnificent historical monuments. The district of Murshidabad is a legendary spot in West Bengal which attracts many tourists. The Hazarduari palace of Murshidabad is a famous historical monument and a much visited site for the tourists. It lies amidst extensive gardens and is a fairly flawless example of Italian-style architecture. Plassey is a place of great historical importance. This historic battlefield is still preserved and is visited by many enthusiastic tourists. In the north of West Bengal, the town of Coochbehar is a store house of numerous historical monuments and buildings. The most important landmark of this very old princely state that stands majestically is the splendid Raj Bari or the palace of the kings. The Firoze Minar of Malda in West Bengal is a small imitation of the Qutub Minar
and is an interesting place to visit. Thus West Bengal has the widest variety of attractions in terms of tourist spots.
Nature Tourism in West Bengal
When it comes to nature tourism, the state of West Bengal has a lot to offer. The wild life of this state is a major source of its economy. The state is endowed with rich and bewildering diversity of wildlife. From the famous Royal Bengal in the Gangetic delta, to the one-horned Indian Rhinoceros and the leopard lurking in the foothills of the Himalayas, West Bengal boasts an astounding assortment of flora and fauna that rivals the finest such collection of species anywhere in the world. West Bengal is home to the world heritage site Sunderbans. The Sunderbans are a part of the world`s largest delta formed by the rivers Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna. It is a heaven for forest lovers and the place owes its name to the Sundari trees. Other than a vast growth of these trees, the forest consists of a large flora population like Genwa, Passur, Dhundal, Garjan and Kankra. Apart from these trees, the dense Goran trees of 1.8 meter to 3.6 meter height cover almost the entire Sunderbans. It is one of the most distinctive eco systems in this part of the world. The Dooars region of West Bengal presents a plethora of wild life. It is visited by tourists from all over the world. This is also a very good place for excursion activities. Rare species of birds are found in these forests and it is indeed a traveler`s paradise. The Jaldapara wild life sanctuary situated in Alipurduar Sub-Division of Jalpaiguri district in West Bengal is another lucrative place for the visitors. The sanctuary was constituted in the year of 1941 for the protection of wild life, especially the single horned Rhinos. The Torsha River runs through this river rain forest sanctuary and the vicinity is mostly covered with tall grasses. The wild life consists of single horned rhinos, Royal Bengal tigers, wild elephants, deers, wild pigs, hog deers, swamp deers, bisons and a number of birds, pea-fowl and so on. The best time to visit this place is from October to May. The Buxa Tiger reserve
of West Bengal Reserve was set up in the year of 1982-83 at the north eastern corner of West Bengal. This picturesque reserve is best known for its phenomenal Terai, Bhabar and the hilly landscape. The variable flora and fauna of these wet forests attracts tourists and nature lovers every year. Apart from Bengal Tiger one can see leopard, fishing cat, Indian civet, leopard cat, jungle cat, palm civet and others. The migratory beautiful Black Stork often visits this area. Padmaji Naidu Zoological Park
in West Bengal is the only place in the world to breed Tibetan wolf in captivity. It is a popular tourist destination. The Gorumara National Park is a National Park in northern West Bengal. Indian Rhinoceros are the major attraction of this place. Rare species of birds enhance the popularity of the park. The Zoological gardens in Kolkata is one of the oldest and the largest Zoos of India. It also has many varieties of birds and reptiles other than the interesting flora and fauna. The Zoological Garden is a perfect tourist`s spot which attracts a lot of people from all over the world.
Visiting information on West Bengal
HOW TO REACH
: The international airport of West Bengal is at Kolkata which is called the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport
and another domestic airport is at Bagdogra near Siliguri, in the North Bengal. These two airports are served by nearly all public and private airlines and linked to major Indian cities like Mumbai
, Bangaluru, Chennai
and many more. Within West Bengal most of the destinations are located at convenient distance from Kolkata to Bagdogra.
: The state of West Bengal has good network of railways. Two railway stations namely: Howrah and Sealdah near Kolkata and New Jalpaiguri, close to Siliguri, are the major railway stations in the state. There are several other railheads that are served by important trains from all over the country and connect major destinations within the state.
: The state of West Bengal has an extensive road network system that covers the entire state. A number of National Highways and State Highways crisscross the territory. It is well linked with its neighbouring states like Bihar
. Cross border road transportation is also equipped with neighbouring countries like Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh.
West Bengal is a shopper`s destination. The state is well-known for the beautiful items of clay, shoal and conch. The Baluchari saris or Bengali silk saris are the main shopping item for the travelers. It is an eminent for its exquisite design and wonderful weaving techniques. These saris are mainly produced at Baluchar town of Murshidabad district of West Bengal. Another major handicraft item of West Bengal is Batik. It involves a Japanese style of work, which comprise wax painting. The delicate look of the fabric is bound to mesmerise the shoppers. The most popular embroidery type of West Bengal is the Kantha stitch which is usually done with folk motifs. Other varieties of embroidery include Chikan work, zari work and the kashida. The cane mats are exclusive items of West Bengal. The design of these mats consists of sequence of motifs of animals, and human and are a must buy for the shoppers. The Darjeeling tea is a hot favourite among the tourists who make it a point to buy some before leaving the state. The vest time to visit West Bengal is during the months of September-October and December-January. The state of West Bengal is finely equipped with an abundance of hotels which offers best of accommodation facilities and services.