“Explore the colors of West Bengal“, is what the West Bengal Tourism Department expresses about tourism in West Bengal. The state of West Bengal is a complete package for tourism including the misty great Himalayas, attractive mangroves, beautiful sea beaches, breathtaking forests with wildlife sanctuaries, magnificent heritage sites, and enchanting pilgrim destinations. Thus, one can enjoy each form of happiness in West Bengal whatever their interest may be. However, people often find problems while planning their trip to this state. Insufficient knowledge about the places to visit in this state often creates confusion among tourists.
Major Cities in West Bengal
Kolkata: Capital of West Bengal, Kolkata is world famous as “The Cultural Capital of India”. The city is also well known by several other names such as “The City of Processions”, “City of Joy”, etc. The presence of this city can be tracked down from the 1690s when it was ruled by the Nawab of Bengal. The East India Company then conquered this city in 1772. Kolkata served as the capital of the East India Company and later the British Raj until 1911. During this period, several monuments and architectures were created in this city which to date stand still and are worth watching.
Places to Visit: There are several worth seeing places in and around Kolkata. Some of them include Birla Planetarium, Victoria Memorial, Fort William, Eden Gardens, Howrah Bridge, BBD Baug, Dalhousie Square, Raj Bhavan, Indian Museum, Jorasanko Thakur Bari, Marble Palace Mansion, Sabarna Sangrahashala, Shobhabajar Rajbari, Rabindra Sarovar, Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary, Kali Mata Temple, Nakhoda Mosque, and St. Paul’s Cathedral.
Modes of Transport: Kolkata is one of the major airports in West Bengal. Other modes of transport in Kolkata include metro trains, trams, railways, taxis, cabs, buses, auto rickshaws, and cycle rickshaws.
Midnapore: Midnapore is one of the major districts in West Bengal, which is divided into two major parts: East Midnapore and West Midnapore. The district of Midnapore is one of the major tourist attracted places in Bengal, as it has a long coastline and some fantastic beaches.
Places to Visit: Some of the major tourist attractions and must-visit places in the east as well as west Midnapore include Chilkigarh, Hatibari forest bungalow, Belpahari, Gurguripal heritage park, Chandaneswar, Jhargram, Rameshwar temple, ECO park Durgahuri, Bisnu temple, Gopegarh Heritage Park, Mandarmani, Tamralipta, Digha, Radhakrishna memorial, Gourya temple, and Parimalkanan park.
Modes of Transport: The nearest airport to Midnapore is Netaji Subhash Chandra Airport, Kolkata. One can then take up a road or rail route to reach Midnapore.
Darjeeling: Darjeeling is also famously known as the Himalayan City and is well known for its Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, which is one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. The city of Darjeeling is situated in the lower ranges of the Himalayas which has an average approximate elevation of 6700 feet. Darjeeling is also famous for its tea industry and one can experience the fascinating view of the deep tea-cultivated valleys.
Places to Visit: Some of the places to visit around Darjeeling include Bagdogra, Gangtok, Kathmandu, Kurseong, and Kalimpong. The Darjeeling ropeway is another major attraction that was closed in 2003 and reopened in February 2012.
Modes of Transport: The nearest airport to Darjeeling is Bagdogra. One can then take the railway route to Siliguri or New Jalpaiguri, which are 80 kilometers and 88 kilometers from Darjeeling respectively. Local buses and private taxis are the other major modes of transport for site seeing.
Howrah: This city is the second largest city and second smallest district in West Bengal. It is considered the twin city of Kolkata, as it is situated on the opposite bank of river Hoogley. The two cities are connected to each other by four major bridges: Howrah Bridge or the Rabindra Setu, Hooghly Bridge, or Vidyasagar Setu, Bally Bridge, or Vivekanand Setu, and the Nivedita Setu.
Places to Visit: Some of the worth visiting places in Howrah include Rabindra Setu, Vivekanand Setu, Nivedita Setu, Belur Math Temple, Indian Botanical Garden, Panitras Samtaber, Gadiara, and Garchumuk.
Modes of Transport: Netaji Subhash Chandra Airport of Kolkata is the nearest airport to reach Howrah. One can then take private taxis or various public means of transport available to reach this city.
Murshidabad: Murshidabad is well known as the capital of Bengal during the reign of the Mughals. The city still possesses the magnificent royal buildings of the Nawabs of Bengal. Murshidabad has always been a major tourist attraction in West Bengal and a major attraction to researchers and archaeologists. One can always visit the city of Murshidabad to experience the huge historic mansions, gardens, palaces, and temples.
Places to Visit: The major tourist attractions of this city include Hazarduari Palace, Imambara, Nashipur Rajbari, Kathgola, Jahan Kosha Cannon, Roshnibag, Khoshbagh, Azimganj, Jiaganj, Sagardighi, Kandi, Karnasuvarna and Dhuliyan city.
Modes of Transport: The Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport is the closest airport to Murshidabad. One can then hire tourist taxis, cars, and frequent buses from Kolkata.
Must Visit Places in West Bengal
Sundarbans National Park: The Sundarban National Park is one of the top five must-visit national parks in India. Its uniqueness is the splendid tangle of mangrove jungle found here, which is one of its kind in the world. The forest is only accessible by water route and experiencing it is a lifetime experience. One of the best ways to reach Sundarbans is by cruising down the Hooghly river from Kolkata. Lucky ones often get to see the magnificent Bengal Tigers during their excursion in this park.
Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary: Want to go on an elephant safari? Try Jaldaapara wildlife sanctuary. This sanctuary is the second most famous sanctuary for one-horned rhinoceros after the Kaziranga National Park in Assam. The sanctuary is located at the foothills of the Eastern Himalayas. One can stay in these forests under the Forest Department-operated Hollong Forest Bungalows. This stay will be one of the most adventurous stays in your life. One can get to see several wild lives wandering around these bungalows. Months of March and April are the best months to visit this sanctuary.
Fort William: One of the magnificent architectures from the British Period, this fort is a worth visiting place in West Bengal. Situated in the city of Kolkata, the fort was named after the King William III of England. Fort William stretches around three kilometers in the north-south direction and is around one kilometer wide. The fort today is under the direct authority of the Indian Army and is the headquarters of the Eastern Command. The six gates of this fort including the Plassey Culcutta, Water Gate St Gorges, Chowringhee, and the Treasury Gate are worth watching. One must definitely pay a visit to this fort on their visit to West Bengal.
Jalpaiguri: Jalpaiguri is another worth visiting place in the state of West Bengal. It is situated between Sikkim and Darjeeling Himalayas. The place contains several tourist attractions such as Malbazar, Bhutan Ghat, Buxa Tiger Reserve, Bindu, Jhalong, Jaldhaka, Champramari Forest, Chalsa, Jaigaon, Garumara Wildlife Sanctuary, Jalpesh, Mongpong, Toto Para, Rabindra Bhavan, River Teesta, Kali Temple, and Samsing. The great mount Kanchanganga can also be seen from the city of Jalpaiguri.
Purulia: Want to experience the land of natural beauty? Visit Purulia. This place is full of green landscapes, dense forests, verdant hills, and peaceful surroundings. One can also get to see several archaeological excavations in this part of the state. The major attractions in this area include Ayodhya Hill, Garh Panchakot, Rekh Deul, Deulghata, Telkupi, Kairabera, Murguma, Duarsini, and Joychandi Hill. The deer park near Kangsabati dam, Pakhi Pahar, Kangsbati reservoir, and Panchet reserve is some of the other worth visiting places in Purulia.
Malda: Previously known as the English Bazaar, Malda today is one of the richest historical heritages and also one of the most attractive tourist destinations in West Bengal. Several nearby attractions like Gour, Bara Sona Mosque, Dakhil Darwaza, Gomti gate, Firoz Minar, Lattan Masque, Qadam Rasul Masque, Pandua, Adina Mosque, and Eklakhi Mausoleum are also worth visiting. One should also not miss their visit to Qutwali Gate, 12 gated mosques, Nimai Sarai Tower, Lost Monastery, Chanchal palace, and the Aquatic Bengal.
West Bengal is a complete package that offers its visitors a combination of arts, mountains, nature, countryside, and urban life. One can truly enjoy one’s visit to this state. The Tourism Department of West Bengal, on the other hand, carries out several provisions for the visitors to make their journey easy and unforgettable.