A dream destination for vacationers, West Bengal is a gift of nature unlike any other. Nestling on the eastern side of India, West Bengal is bordered by Jharkhand and Bihar to the west and Nepal to north east and extends from Himalayas till Bay of Bengal. With such varied geography, West Bengal has some of the best hill stations crowning its head and exquisite beaches washing its foot. The most famed of all is Darjeeling; arguably the best tea producer in the world. Overlooking the mighty Mt. Kanchenjunga, it offers breathtaking views of sun rise on Eastern Himalayas. Along with the splendid Darjeeling tea, what brings glory to this jewel of East India is the Darjeeling Toy Train. Run by Darjeeling Himalayan Railways, the train has been operating for almost a century now and has been recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Darjeeling is surrounded by many other scintillating hill stations like Kalimpong, and Siliguri.
Nature did not restrict its endowments to north of Bengal only. One of nature's best wonders lies abreast with Bay of Bengal. The world's largest mangrove forest and India's largest national park, Sunderbans, lies on the Gangetic plains. Sunderbans National park is famous for the mysterious Royal Bengal Tigers, coined the man eaters. The wildlife park has the highest number of Royal Bengal Tigers in India. This ecological giant is has been awarded the status of a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
More than anything else, West Bengal flaunts its history and culture as its most prized possessions. Like anywhere else, West Bengal too is a mix of its past and present. However, there are not many places like Bengal where past glory is more prominent and stands with the same glory and aura. Especially the capital city of Kolkata, where century old buildings stand shoulder to shoulder with the flashy new glass buildings. The former capital of British India, Kolkata was earlier called as Calcutta. The greatest attractions of Kolkata are its heritages like Victoria memorial, Town Hall, the famous Indian Museum and Rabindra Setu (Howrah Bridge). The strategic position of west Bengal made it an important gateway into India. Not only did British come to India through here, many others like Portuguese and French too used Bengal as their settlement. They too left their mark on West Bengal which can still be seen. History of West Bengal is incomplete without a mention of legendary personalities that made the history so special. Noble Laureate Rabindranath Tagore, Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay, and Satyajit Ray have all taken West Bengal to the world.
The state is called the cultural and intellectual capital of India. And if you wish to know the reason why, visit West Bengal during the five day Durga Puja celebrations held during September-October months, precisely during the Navaratris. The energy, enthusiasm and devotion will take you to a different dimension of experiencing. Religion of West Bengal is not the only aspect this festival shows us. It brings forth the exquisite cuisine, rich art and crafts, music and dance, traditions and creativity of Bengali people.
West Bengal is a state with uncountable attractions to see and even more things to do. A lifetime in West Bengal seems less to experience this one of a kind state in all its colors and fervors. Start your journey in West Bengal from any corner and by the time you are through with attractions of the state, you will crave to start it all over again.