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West Bengal

Travel Guide Asia India West Bengal

Streets of Calcutta

Streets of Calcutta

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Geography

West Bengal stretches some 600 kilometres from the Bay of Bengal to the Himalayan hills of Darjeeling. It is bordered by Orissa and Bihar in the west, Nepal, Sikkim and Bhutan in the north, and Assam and Bangladesh in the east.

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Sights and Activities

The Sundarbans

The Sundarbans mangrove forest is one of the largest forests of its kind and is located in the west of India and the southwest of Bangladesh on the delta of the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna rivers on the Bay of Bengal. The Sundarbans are shared with Bangladesh and form a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It contains a complex network of tidal waterways, mudflats and small islands of salt-tolerant mangrove forests and has a high biodiversity with a wide range of flora and fauna. Animals include 260 bird species, the Royal Bengal tiger and other threatened species such as the estuarine crocodile and the Indian python. Some of the wildlife though is very elusive and it is a matter of luck for example to see a tiger. It is best to arrange tours from Dhaka or Kulna which can last for a week if you want.

Other Sights and Actitivies

  • Bay of Bengal
  • Jaldhapara Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Toy train to Darjeeling
  • Hillside Tea Plantations
  • Kanchenjunga views

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Events and Festivals

  • Holi is quite popular in the Indian sub-continent and is traditionally celebrated on the day after the full moon in the month of Phalguna (early March), according to Hindu calender. Holi is a thanksgiving festival, where people offer prayer to God for good harvest and fertility of the land. Holi is a festival of freedom from social norms and caste inhibitions are shed for a day as people indulge in fun and merry-making. Colors and 'gulal' are showered on the people dressed up for the occasion and the whole community seems to merge into one big family under the guise of colors, without any distinction whatsoever. Children with face smeared with colors run around with 'pichkaris' (big syringes to splash colored water) and play amongst themselves. People exchange good wishes, sweets and gifts. Holi is also marked by vibrant processions which are accompanied by folk songs, dances and drum beating. Parties are also organized where snacks and the traditional milk-based drink “Thandai” is served which is often intoxicated with “Bhang”. Of late, lots of foreigners have started taking interest in this festival and they even enjoy the colors and the intoxicating drink. It is advised to cover your hair with a cap and eyes with sunglasses to avoid the colors splashing the eyes and damaging the hair.
  • Republic Day - Republic Day is a national holiday in India every January 26 to commemorate the adoption of the Constitution in 1950 and the declaration of independence in 1930. The capital of New Delhi is the focus of the celebrations, including a flag raising ceremony, wreath laying, 21-gun salute, Presidential speech, and presentation of awards for selflessness and bravery. A massive military parade includes elephants ridden by children who have received national accolades.
  • Gandhi Jayanti - Gandhi Jayanti is a national public holiday commemorating the birth of the peaceful activist, Mohandas Gandhi on October 2, 1869. The celebration coincides with the United Nations’ International Day of Non-Violence. In India, Gandhi is remembered through statues, flower and candle offerings, prayers and singing the devotional hymn Raghupati Raghava Raja Ram. The Indian government issues special mint rupees and postage stamps bearing his picture.
  • Diwali - Diwali is the five-day festival of lights held in India in late October or early November each year. The widely celebrated Hindu event marks Lord Rama’s victory over the demon Ravan. Homes and streets are decorated with lights, candles and small clay lamps, and new clothes are worn and sweets are exchanged.

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Sleep

Quick Facts

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Population
75 million
Area
87,853 sq km

Contributors

as well as Lavafalls (2%)

West Bengal Travel Helpers

  • AbhiB

    I am a photographer cum traveller from kokata west bengal and my favourite travelling places are North bengal-Himalayan ranges (mountain), Jungle (Dooars), Sunderban and many places . I am travelling these places from my birth and travelling and photography is a passion to me.
    call me any time as i love travelling just like a traveller so i think i can clear all doubts of every traveller...thats why i can answer questions about bengal.

    Ask AbhiB a question about West Bengal
  • HeinzMarmite

    I have spend many months in this wonderful state. I know my way around, especially the south.

    Ask HeinzMarmite a question about West Bengal

This is version 6. Last edited at 14:59 on Dec 27, 16 by Utrecht. 14 articles link to this page.

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