Tourist attractions in West Bengal

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Tourist attractions in West Bengal refers to the tourist attractions in the Indian state of West Bengal. West Bengal is a state in the eastern region of India and is the nation's fourth-most populous.[1] It is also the seventh-most populous sub-national entity in the world, with over 91 million inhabitants.[1] It is bordered by the countries of Nepal, Bhutan, and Bangladesh, and the Indian states of Orissa, Jharkhand, Bihar, Sikkim, and Assam. The state capital is Kolkata (formerly Calcutta). West Bengal encompasses two broad natural regions: the Gangetic Plain in the south and the sub-Himalayan and Himalayan area in the north.

During the British colonial era from 1700–1912, Kolkata (then known as Calcutta) enjoyed the privilege of being the capital of British India and witnessed a spate of frenzied construction of buildings,[2] largely influenced by the conscious intermingling of Neo-Gothic, Baroque, Neo-Classical, Oriental and Islamic schools of design. Unlike many north Indian cities, whose construction stresses minimalism, the layout of much of the architectural variety in Kolkata owes its origins to European styles and tastes imported by the British and, to a much lesser extent, by the Portuguese and French.

Kolkata - now the state capital, is considered to be an ideal hub to cover all the destinations in West Bengal.[3] The following is a list of some of the attractions of West Bengal:

Attraction(s) Location Image
Darjeeling Darjeeling Mt. Kanchenjunga.jpg
Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (Toy Train) New Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling DHR 780 on Batasia Loop 05-02-21 08.jpeg
Cooch Behar Palace Cooch Behar Cooch Behar Palace in Cooch Behar.JPG
Dooars Dooars Tea garden in dooars.jpg
Jaldapara National Park Jalpaiguri district Wild Elephants at Jaldapara.JPG
Gorumara National Park Jalpaiguri district Gorumara Deep Forest Arnab Dutta.JPG
Hazarduari Palace Murshidabad district (Murshidabad) Hazarduari01 debaditya chatterjee.jpg
Nizamat Imambara Murshidabad district Nizamat Imambara 2.jpg
Katra Mosque Murshidabad district Katra Mosque - Murshidabad.jpg
Adina Deer Park Maldah district Deers at Adina Deer Park, Malda.jpg
Adina Mosque Maldah district Adina mosque, gour, malda district of west bengal.JPG
Gaur Maldah Entry gate at Gaur, Malda..jpg
Bangarh Gangarampur Broken Palace of Bangarh.jpg
Shantiniketan Birbhum Poush Mela Bazaar.JPG
Bishnupur Terracotta Temples Bankura Rasmancha (eastern view) Arnab Dutta 2011.JPG
Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Indian Botanic Garden Howrah (Shibpur) Kolkata botanical garden pathway.jpg
The Great Banyan Tree Howrah (Shibpur) Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Indian Botanic Garden - Howrah 2011-01-08 9728.JPG
Howrah Bridge Howrah to Kolkata Image-Kolkata Bridge.jpg
B. B. D. Bagh Kolkata Kolkata BBD Bagh2.jpg
Dakshineswar Kali Temple North 24 Parganas district (Dakshineswar) Kolkatatemple.jpg
Second Hooghly Bridge Kolkata to Howrah Vidyasagar-Setu.jpg
Belur Math Howrah (Belur Math) Ramakrishna Belur Math, Howrah.jpg
Victoria Memorial Kolkata Victoria Memorial Kolkata panorama.jpg
Sunderbans delta of India South West Bengal Sun in Sunderbans.jpg
Digha West Bengal New Digha Beach 0221.JPG
Mandarmani West Bengal Mandarmani Sea Beach.jpg
St. Paul's Cathedral Kolkata St Paul's Cathedral, Kolkata.jpg
Sundarbans National Park Sunderbans delta of India Sundarban mangrove.jpg
Mayapur Nabadwip Samadhi Mandir of Srila Prabhupada, Mayapur 07102013.jpg
Kumortuli North Kolkata Kumortuli1.jpg
Salt Lake Stadium Bidhannagar Salt Lake Stadium - Yuva Bharati Krirangan , Kolkata - Calcutta.jpg
Howrah station Howrah Howrah Station.jpg
Eden Gardens Kolkata Eden gardens ipl 2011.jpg

West Bengal stretches to the Bay of Bengal in the south.[4] The coastal strip of West Bengal, extending from the Gangetic Delta to the border of Orissa has some beautiful coastal settlements namely Digha, Shankarpur, Mandarmani, Bakkhali, Gangasagara, Tajpur and more others.[5]

Tourist attractions also include some more geographical indications like Nakshi Kantha(Handicraft), Darjeeling tea (Agricultural), Santipore Saree (Handicraft), Shantiniketan Leather Goods (Handicraft), Fazli Mango (Agricultural), Khirsapati or Himsagar Mango (Agricultural), Laxman Bhog Mango (Agricultural), Baluchari Saree (Handicraft), and Dhaniakhali Saree (Handicraft).[6]

Face of the idol of Goddess Bhavatarini from the Dakshineshwar Kali Temple

Other attractions include the culture of West Bengal. It attracts tourist for pilgrimages to the holy places of different religions. People from different sections of the world come to West Bengal for holy pilgrimages as Kolkata is one of the four adi Shaktipeethas. Among the other 52 shaktipeethas some are located in West Bengal. The notable Hindu temples include Kalighat Kali Temple, Tarapith, Belur Math, Mayapur ISKCON Temple, Hangseshwari Temple, Tarakeshwar Temple and Dakshineswar Kali Temple.

The Nizamat Imambara is the largest one in India and Bengal

West Bengal also has countless mosques like the Nizamat Imambara and Katra Mosque in Murshidabad, Furfura Sharif and Tipu Sultan Shahi Mosque in Kolkata.

Baul singers at Basanta-Utsab, Shantiniketan

Other pilgrim destinations include Gurdwaras for Sikhs and churches like the The Basilica of the Holy Rosary in Bandel, St. John's Church, St. Jame's Church (Jora Girja), St. Paul's Cathedral and Church of the Lord Jesus.

Buddhist Monasteries in West Bengal are especially located in the hilly regions like the Ghoom Monastery, Bhutia Busty Monastery, Mag-Dhog Yolmowa Monastery, Tharpa Choling Monastery, Zang Dhok Palri Phodang and more others.

Notable festivals include Durga Puja in October is the most popular festival in the West Bengal.[7] Poila Baishakh (the Bengali New Year), Rathayatra, Dolyatra or Basanta-Utsab, Nobanno, Poush Parbon (festival of Poush), Kali Puja, SaraswatiPuja, LaxmiPuja, Christmas, Eid ul-Fitr, Eid ul-Adha and Muharram are other major festivals. Buddha Purnima, which marks the birth of Gautama Buddha, is one of the most important Hindu/Buddhist festivals while Christmas, called Bôŗodin (Great day) in Bengali is celebrated by the minority Christian population. Poush Mela is a popular festival of Shantiniketan, taking place in winter.

Being home to notable people like Rabindranath Tagore, Asia's first Nobel laureate and composer of India's national anthem and Swami Vivekananda, a key figure in introducing Vedanta and Yoga in Europe and USA[8] there houses and residencies like Shantiniketan and Jorasanko Thakur Bari are world famous and attract many tourists.

West Bengal also has a long tradition of popular literature, music and drama largely based on Bengali folklore and Hindu epics and Puranas.

Kolkata, the state capital city, was also the workplace of several social reformers, like Raja Ram Mohan Ray, Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar, and Swami Vivekananda. These social reforms have eventually led to a cultural atmosphere where practices like sati, dowry, and caste-based discrimination or untouchability, the evils that crept into the Hindu society, were abolished.

Patisapta - A kind of Pitha; which is a popular sweet dish in West Bengal during winter.

West Bengal is also known to make distinctive sweetmeats from milk products, including Rôshogolla, Chômchôm, Kalojam and several kinds of sondesh. Pitha, a kind of sweet cake, bread or dimsum are specialties of winter season. Sweets like coconut-naru, til-naru, moa, payesh, etc. are prepared during the festival of Lakshmi puja. Popular street food includes Aloor Chop, Beguni, Kati roll, and phuchka.[9][10]

The variety of fruits and vegetables that Bengal has to offer is incredible. West Bengal is also famous for its costumes.

Seven wonders of West Bengal

NDTV along with the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India conducted a nationwide campaign for searching the "Seven Wonders of India in 2008-09. The campaign started with shortlisting 200 places from all of the Indian states and then inviting public to cast their vote for their favorite places. It also included seven wonders of particular states. In West Bengal a total 13 were selected of which the "Seven Wonders of West Bengal" were shortlisted. The list of the 30 selected places are as follows:

The shortlisted list, compiling of the "Seven Wonders of West Bengal" as per the votings is as follows:

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b "India: Administrative Divisions (population and area)". Census of India. Archived from the original on 17 December 2012. Retrieved 10 August 2012. 
  2. ^ "Kolkata was the capital of British India". Retrieved 10 Aug 2012. 
  3. ^ Britannica. "Kolkata is the capital of West Bengal". Retrieved 10 Aug 2012. 
  4. ^ "West Bengal stretches to the Bay of Bengal". Retrieved 10 August 2012. 
  5. ^ Government of West Bengal. "Sea beaches in West Bengal". Retrieved 10 August 2012. 
  6. ^ "Karnataka gets highest number of GI tags". Business Standard. 11 April 2008. 
  7. ^ "Durga Puja". Festivals celebrated throughout West Bengal. Department of Tourism, Government of West Bengal. Retrieved 10 August 2012. 
  8. ^ Georg, Feuerstein (2002). The Yoga Tradition. Motilal Banarsidass. p. 600. ISBN 3-935001-06-1. 
  9. ^ Saha, S (January 18, 2006). "Resurrected, the kathi roll – Face-off resolved, Nizam's set to open with food court". Calcutta, India: The Telegraph (Kolkata). Retrieved 10 August 2012. 
  10. ^ "Mobile food stalls". Bangalinet.com. Retrieved August 10, 2012.