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Tourist Places To Visit In West Bengal
West Bengal, also known as Paschimbanga, is India's fourth most populous state, and is located in the eastern region. With Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) as its capital, Paschimbanga is home to the ferocious Bengal Tiger, the famous mishti doi and roshogolla, and the world renowned Durga Pooja. Exquisitely slow-paced and bursting-at-the-seams with people, West Bengal is also known for its sweetness and poise, qualities that make it a place one must surely visit. Here are the top tourist places to visit in West Bengal for you, from Kolkata to Jalpaiguri, Darjeeling to Mirik.
The capital of West Bengal with a name that rolls beautifully on the tongue, Kolkata is a place you just cannot afford to miss. Most cricket fanatics might know Kolkata for the famous cricket stadium, Eden Gardens. But Kolkata is much more than that; it houses honey-tongued people, nostalgia inducing streets and a vintage aura that will take your breath away. And if you are the romantic kind, a walk along the Hooghly river, a boat cruise under the starlit sky at Outram Ghat or a ride in a tuk tuk will make Kolkata all the more memorable for you.
The first thing that comes to mind when you think of Darjeeling is the region's wonderful tea. A quaint little mountain city in West Bengal, Darjeeling is all they make it out to be in the movies - nippy, picturesque and home to the world's best tea! Internationally known for its cultural diversity and the elegant Buddhist monasteries, Darjeeling will fill you with an awe that you will not be able to shake off for a long time. Do not conclude your West Bengal trip without visiting this neat little Himalayan city.
A scenic city nestled at the Himalayan foothills; Siliguri is a contemporary town showing off a number of gorgeous condominiums lined along the landscape. Widely known for its lush tea gardens and the Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary, Siliguri will take your breath away with its prominent old-world charm blooming into something modern and cosmopolitan. Take in the fresh air and sumptuous greenery in and around this town for your West Bengal trip to really feel complete.
A large, plush mangrove forest spread across Bangladesh and West Bengal in India, the Sundarbans also enjoy pride of place as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Home to Bengal Tigers and Spotted Deer, the Sundarbans are everything you imagined and much more. Bask in the pristine air while being cocooned in the lushness of this forest, and go for a wildlife safari for your most impressive West Bengal experience.
An official city all on its own, Howrah is obviously known for the Howrah Bridge on the river Hooghly. Located on the western bank of the river, Howrah is known for its olden aura despite being a twin city to Kolkata. This vintage appeal is a very distinguishing quality that separates it from the rest of the Paschimbanga cities.
A coastal town in West Bengal, Digha is the refreshing getaway any state needs. With its stunning beaches and a chill out vibe, the resort town attracts visitors from far and wide, especially in hot summer months. Some of its highlight tourist places include the Old Digha Sea Beach by the Bay of Bengal, New Digha Sea Beach, Chandaneswar Shiv Temple and the Amarabati Park. Also, do visit the Marine Aquarium and Regional Centre (MARC) that houses some sea snakes, rays and even sharks.
Kalimpong is a quiet hill town, with its Himalayan foothill-type of climate and the British era houses, roads and churches. A definite summer destination to escape the heat of plains, Kalimpong fascinates travellers with its mix of sights; from the Teesta River to the Durpin Monastery, MacFarlane Memorial Church to the lush and beautiful Deolo Park. There are bazars here as well as fruits orchards, nurseries with blooms in every season and quaint hillocks to picnic. It is an all-round hill station spot.
Cooch Behar draws its massive popularity from its royal family, and the fact that it is the hometown of Gayathri Devi, the most beautiful princess India has ever known, who married into the royal family of Sawai Madhopur. Cooch Behar is a mix of traditional Bengali lifestyle and royal remnants, from palaces to summer houses, temples to royal courts. Visit Rajbari, which is the royal palace of the Kings of Cooch Behar, surrounded by royal buildings. There are also a few temples of devi and Madan Mohan (Krishna) for you to explore.
A district in West Bengal, Jalpaiguri lies on the border of India with Bhutan and Bangladesh. A part of this district went to East Bengal during partition, which later became Bangladesh. Jalpaiguri is famous for its wildlife sanctuaries (Chapramari and Gorumara), forests and elephants, villages that resemble paintings and river-filled valleys. Winter is the best season to visit Jalpaiguri and you can enjoy the tea gardens, forests and safaris here to your heart’s content.
Bagdogra, a hill-station in the Himalayas is located in its fragrant verdant foothills. It is around 11 km from Siliguri and makes for an offbeat location as most tourists prefer the famous Darjeeling. Clouds engulf the peaks here and tea estates sprawl as far as the eye can see. The Teesta River makes its way through the hills of Bagdogra and tourists enjoy a session or two of river rafting on it. Toy train rides and hikes fill other outdoorsy days here as places like Jorpokhri Wildlife Sanctuary and Himalaya World Museum beckon travellers.
Mirik, better known as the valley of the sun, is a town located atop a hill, by a lake. Now isn’t that the description of a fairytale town? Some would say this is exactly that — a fairytale town. With its romantic mountains and meadows, boating on lakes and treks up hills, temples and gardens, Mirik is best visited for a relaxing chill holiday when in West Bengal.
The erstwhile seat of Bengal’s Nawab, Murshidabad is quaint in its own sweet way. Located on the free-flowing Hooghly’s bank, this town was the capital of erstwhile Bengal Presidency before Calcutta. The sericulture industry here is thriving and hence you get great silks. Sightseeing-wise, there are streams, bird-watching spots, palaces, gardens and much more. Do visit the Hazarduari Palace, Nizamat Imambara and Nasirpur Palace.
Also known as Hooghly-Chinsura, this is a good place to enjoy the enriching experience of Bengal’s history, culture and tradition. The city lies on western side of Hoogly river and tucks around the five river tributaries. While there are cascading waterfalls and lush forests here, there are also colonial buildings that look right out of Victorian England. Do visit the Bandel Church, Tarakeswar, Banabithi Park, Shandeswar Siva temple and Hooghly Mohsin College. Adventure sports like kayaking, canoeing and trekking are famous in monsoon around here.
Jaldapara National Park
If you are excited about Bengal’s wildlife then Jaldapara National Park is the stop for you. Home to some exotic animals like the Royal Bengal tiger, cobras, spotted deer, geckos, wild boars, crested eagle and the elusive one-horned rhinos, this park is nestled in the foothills of Eastern Himalayas. The thick woods, gurgling streams and animals sounds make your safari a memorable one. Elephant safaris are allowed, and are a better experience than car safaris. Except the months between June and September, the national park is open all year round.
Once the hub of Malla kings, Bishnupur today is the trade centre of Bengali artisanship, pottery and terracotta. The temples, monuments and verdant views only add to the charm. Winter vacation to spend some quiet idyllic time here is perfect. Do visit Rasmancha, the oldest building around here. Explore Madanmohan Temple and Jorbangla Temple, take heritage walks down its ancient streets and trek through the beautiful Susania Hillocks. There is much to do and it all encompasses rich history and nature.
Another east-Himalayan hill station, Dooars is actually a flood-plain. With its Savanna grasslands and rivers, Dooars makes for a complete eco-tourism delight. Wildlife sanctuaries home to tigers, cheetals, leopards and one-horned rhinos, coupled with quaint village life, tea gardens and betel nut orchards — Dooars is your perfect eastern holiday. This town is bordered on Bhutan and makes a gateway of sorts. Winter is best to visit, but monsoons are quite fun.
Digha is a beach town, with its sandy shores and temples, sea resorts and untouched sunset spots. Located on the shore of Bay of Bengal, Digha offers you a beach holiday without you having to shell much in terms of heavy money. Its solitude and virgin beaches come to you without the bustle of too many tourists, while family weekends here prove a great reboot to your fast life.
Kurseong is a hill station that is home to white orchids, hence famous for them. Other than these flowers, Kurseong also houses some of the most gorgeous temples and Buddhist gompas along with waterfalls and streams on the side. The weather here is mild almost all through the year, with some days in the monsoon being extra rainy. But even they are beautiful. You are bound to enjoy the hills of Kurseong, populated with white orchids through and through, tea estates fragrant enough to make your skin catch the scent, and churches that look right out of the British colonial era.
Mukutmanipur, literally means the town of crown’s gemstone, and is located in lush forests that sit at the confluence of river Kangsabati and Kumari. The Mukutmanipur dam here is worth visiting, the second largest in the whole of India. The rivers that pass through this dam supply water for irrigation and livelihood to all nearby towns and villages, a feat that is well and truly commendable. Peace and serenity is what people come here for, and peace and serenity is what they get here in spades.
Santiniketan, the house of peace, is Rabindranath Tagore’s abode, university and hermitage. The beautiful campus, now a town of its own, is located in Birbhum and houses the Visva Bharati University. Established by Tagore’s father, the University here radicalised the Indian education system under the British rule. Nowadays Santiniketan is the hub of art, culture, history and Indian freedom movement memorabilia, all living among the precious bougainvillea-filled walls of the campus.