New horizon, vibrant state, colourful people with their rapidly changing lifestyle, modernisation -- in one word metamorphosis – this is our new West Bengal. On one hand it has fascinating culture, rich history and heritage and on the other hand it has modern, techno-savvy, upwardly mobile people. The land of West Bengal has in it intricately woven stories of many civilisations and settlements which left their footprint here. With the memory of that rich history West Bengal boasts of different ethnicity, culture, religion and languages and most importantly the diverse landscape -flanked by the Himalayas as the top and decorated by the natural beaches and a unique biosphere, the Sunderbans in the south. Let us unfold the true Bengal – its history, its real nature, its culture - the canvas with all colours.
West Bengal is dotted with a number of beautiful destinations. These destinations make West Bengal, one of the most visited states in India. The place offers great opportunities to every traveler to explore its beauty, cultural heritage and architectural marvels. This is why, people visit the place from all across the world. The best time to visit the place is during the winter season as the weather remains cool and pleasant.
Darjeeling conjures visions of snow peaks, serenity of vibrant green hills steeped in splendour, a land of breathtaking beauty crowned by the majestic Himalayas. Darjeeling is one of the most magnificent hill resorts in the world. This heavenly retreat is bathed in hues of every shade. Flaming red rhododendrons, sparkling white magnolias, miles of undulating hillsides covered with emerald green tea bushes, the exotic forests of silver fir - all under the blanket of a brilliant azure sky dappled with specks of clouds, compellingly confounds Darjeeling as the QUEEN OF HILL STATIONS. The crest of Kanchenjunga shining in the first dawn light truly supports the title.
Darjeeling beckons thousands today for a leisurely respite from the bustle of the madding crowd. The traveler - whether a tourist or a trekker, an ornithologist or a photographer, a botanist or an artist - will find in Darjeeling an experience which will remain etched in ones memory - forever.
Kalimpong is a sleepy little town that is situated at an altitude of 1,200m and at a distance of 50-odd km to the east of Darjeeling. It was once the hub of the trans-Himalayan trade between India and Tibet-merchants used to ferry goods by mule caravans over the Jelepla Pass on the Sikkim-Tibet border.
The name of this town has historic significance. Kalimong was once the headquarters of a Bhutanese Governor. The word "kalim" stands for "the King's minister" and the word "pong" means "stronghold"; hence "Kalimpong" means "the stronghold of the King's minister".
The dense forests of goldenoaktrees that are offset by the rich undergrowth of moss and lichen are an ideal setting for balmy walks on the thick cushions of russet leaves. One comes to Kalimpong to slow and be pampered amid nature's bounties.
The Sunderbans are a part of the world's largest delta, formed by the mighty rivers Ganga, Brahmaputra and Meghna. Situated on the lower end of Gangetic West Bengal, the Sunderbans is criss-crossed by hundreds of creeks and tributaries. It is one of the most attractive and alluring places remaining on earth, a truly undiscovered paradise. The Sunderbans is the largest single block of tidal, halophytic mangrove forests in the world. The name can be literally translated as beautiful jungle. The name may have been derived from the Sundari trees that are found in the Sunderbans. The Sunderbans is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is spans a vast area covering 4.264 sq. km in India alone. It is the largest Tiger Reserve and National Park in India.
Kolkata is the capital of West Bengal and the second largest city in India. If Bangalore is the Seattle of India, then Kolkata is the sub-contintent's London. It is an 'in your face' city that shocks and charms the unsuspecting visitor. Abject poverty mixes inexplicably with crumbling British Raj-era gems, sprawling gardens and historical colleges. Long known as the cultural capital of India, Kolkata continues to spawn generations of poets, writers, film producers and Nobel Prize winners. If your trip only allows for a visit of one or two of India's metropolitan cities, than definitely consider placing Kolkata on your itinerary. Love it or hate it, you definitely won't forget the city on the Hooghly.
The last capital city of independent Bengal before British rule was named after Nawab Murshid Quli Khan, the Dewan of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa. Situated on the banks of the Bhagirathi, it is a city of splendours and is famous for its silk. It was made the capital of Bengal in 1717. The British shifted the capital to Kolkata in 1773. Plassey (Palashi), where the historic battle was fought in 1757 between Nawab Siraj-ud-Doula and Lord Clive of the East India Company, is only 40 km south of Murshidabad.
The district of Hooghly is just 47 km north of Kolkata and is steeped in history and heritage. Dotted with several small but important towns, the district is testimony to the rule of foreign settlers-the British and Portuguese at Hooghly, the Dutch at Chinsurah, the French at Chandernagore, and the Germans and Austrians at Bhadreswar. The Portuguese were the first to settle here in 1537, but were defeated by by Shah Jahan in 1632. The British East India Company then followed and set up a factory here in 1651. The Hooghly, as the Ganga River is called here, dominates the landscape and people use ferries to cross from one town to another.