Surrounded by the great Himalaya in the north and the Bay of Bengal in the south West Best could be your perfect destination for holiday. You have the choices of enjoying your time in a sea beach or do some adventure and meet the great Royal Bengal tiger in the Sundarban or explore the beauty of The Himalayan rain forest. If you like visiting historic places and museums then West Bengal has it too. I’m listing tourist places in West Bengal in four categories i.e. Hill Station, Sea Beach, Wild Life and Historical Places.
Hill Stations in West Bengal
Situated in lap of the Himalayan Darjeeling is one of the most famous hill stations in the World. Stunning beauty of the Himalayan range can be experienced here. Watching The Sun rise from Tiger Hill is a unforgettable experience. 96 kilometers long Toy Train in Darjeeling is listed as World Heritage Site by UNESCO. That is not all you have many more like – Himalayan Zoological Park, Bastasia Loop, Shingamari Rope-way(India’s oldest rope-way), Lloyd`s Botanical Garden, Monasteries and of course the world famous Tea Gardens. Read more Places to visit in Darjeeling.
Kalimpong one of only three echo-regions in India. Neora Valley National Park is one of the best attractions because of tigers. The Rishi Bankim Chandra Park is an ecological museums here. Deolo Hill, Zong Dhog Palri Fo Brang monastery are some more tourist spot here.
Land of the White Orchids is 47 KM from Siliguri is famous for its pleasant weather throughout the year. Eagle’s Craig, Deer Park or DowHill Park, The Kholas (Water Falls – Springs) are some natural sites to visit here. Temples like The Ambhotia Shiva Temple, Giddapahar Durga Mata Mandir,Jagdish Mandir , St. Paulseak Church, Buddhist Gompa in Montieviot, Juma Mosque etc. are on the list as well. You may try Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Museum and N S C Bose Institute of Asiatic Studies.
Lava and Lolegaon
Lava is about 30 KM away from Kalingpong. The place is famous for its proximity to the Neora Valley National Park and its beautiful view of the Jelep La and Rechi La passes. Loleygaon is a small town 12 Km away from Lava. Common tourist places around Lava include Ratnarishi Gumpha, Neora Lake, Silviculture Research Centre, and Chhangey falls. Lava is also known for its leaches. If you visit her in the monsoon then you have to careful enough to stay away from them. The image here is the Canopy walk bridge in Loleygaon inside the heritage forest
Mirik Lake is the biggest natural lake in West Bengal. Original name of the lake is Sumendu lake and this is the main tourist attraction. Most people today know this lake as Mirik Lake. Some people says that the lake was named after a fish named Mrigal found here. But today there is no such evidence for this. There is a arching footbridge named Indreni Pull (Rainbow Bridge) over the lake. Length of this bridge is about 80 meters. You can enjoy pedal boating here.
Sea Beaches in West Bengal
Bakkhali and Frazerganj
135 kms from Calcutta, Bakkhali is one of the islands of the Sunderbans delta region. Bakkhali is one of the most secluded white sand beaches in India. It is lined with casuarinas and one can enjoy a fantastic sunset here. During the day, you can visit the crocodile propagation centre at Bakkhali. Jambu Dwip, unpopulated and wooded isle out in the sea is also can be a good destination also. Henry’s Island and temple of Banabibi is located near by.
Digha is the most famous and most visited sea beach in West Bengal. Thousand of tourist come here every year and it is one of the favorite honeymoon spot for many as well. You may also go to Talsari Beach, Temple at Chandaneswar, Marine Station – Aquarium of Zoological Survey of India from here. Udaipur is also a beautiful sea beach very close to Digha. Large sea beach filled with sand and big waves of the bay of Bengal will make your journey memorable for ever.
Junput is about 40 km away from Digha by bus. This beach of the bay of Bengal is still unpolluted. Because of least crowd here you can enjoy a better experience than Digha. Brackish water fish cultivation and research are done here by the State Government Fisheries Department. Junput also has a farm for breeding ducks. Come here enjoy your vacation and learn something as well.
Though the place is famous for Sgardwip mela during Makar Sankranti you can come here to spend a holiday at any time. 128kms away from Kolkata Sagardwip is small island in the Sunderban surrounded by the Ganga(Ganges). Famous Kapil Muni Temple, Ramakrishna Mission and Ramakrishna Mission are places of interest here. The image is of shadhus at Sagardwip during Sagardwip mela.
Shankarpur sea beach is one of the least crowded beaches in the country. Main attraction in the beach is Red crabs. You can see thousands of red crabs on the beach. Its almost impossible to catch even a single one if you try to run and catch. They can run even faster(not really) than you. Its a must visit place for younger members in your family if you come to Digha.
Wild life in West Bengal
Duar means door in Assamese, Nepali, Bhojpuri, Magahi and Bengali languages. The floodplains and foothills areas of the eastern Himalayas in North-East India is called Duars as it is the gateway/door to Bhutan. Manas National Park in Assam, Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary, Buxa National Park, Gorumara National Park, Chapramari Wildlife Reserve and the Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary all are located in this region. A number of rare endangered species of animals like tiger, rhinoceros and elephant make their habitat in the forests of the Dooars. Other animals includes different types of deer, bison, birds and reptiles.
Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary
Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary is a protect park situated at the foothills of Eastern Himalayas in Alipurduar Sub-Division of Jalpaiguri District in West Bengal and on the bank of river Torsa. The main attraction of the sanctuary is Asiatic one-horned rhinoceros. The other animals consists of Royal Bengal Tigers, elephants, deers, sambhar, barking deer, spotted deer and hog deer, wild pig, bisons. Jaldapara is a paradise for bird watchers. Birds found here are the Crested Eagle, Pallas’s Fishing Eagle and shikra, besides Jungle fowl, peafowl, patridges, Bengal Florican and lesser Pied Hornbill. Python, monitor lizards, kraits, cobras, geckos and about 8 species of fresh water turtles have also found sanctuary here.
Sundarban is the largest single block of tidal halophytic mangrove forest in the world. It is the home for the great Royal Bengal Tigers. The Sundarbans provides a unique ecosystem and a rich wildlife habitat. According to the 2011 tiger census, the Sundarbans have about 270 tigers. Sundarbans supports diverse biological resources including at least 150 species of commercially important fishes, 270 species of birds, 42 species of mammals, 35 reptiles and 8 amphibian species. If you have the courage and you are brave enough then come here and experience one of the worlds richest wild atmosphere.
Historical and Heritage places in West Bengal
No introduction need for the city. Its the heart of East India. Tourist attractions here are Fort William, Victoria Memorial, Eden Gardens (Stadium), Birla Planetarium, Howrah Bridge, Marble Palace, Writer’s Building, Nicco Park, Saheed Minar, National Library, Botanical Gardens, Science City, MP Birla Planetarium, Indian Museum (Jadu Ghar), Alipur Zoo and many more.
Murshidabad was the last capital city of independent Bengal and was named after Nawab Murshid Quli Khan, the Dewan of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa. After the historic battle of Palashi in 1757 between Nawab Siraj-Ud-Daula and Lord Clive, of East India Company British got the ultimate supremacy in India. Hazarduari Palaceor( the palace with a “thousand doors”) is the main tourist attraction here. It was built in 1837 by Duncan McLeod for the Nawab Najim Humaun Jah, descendent of Mir Zafar. It is now converted to a museum and has an exquisite collection of armor – including 2700 weapons and armor, swords used by Shiraj-ud-Daulla and his grandfather. Other places to visit are Wasef Manzil by the bank of the Ganga, Tripolia Gate, the Dakshin Darwaza, the Chak Darwaza, the Gharighar (the Clock Tower), the Bachchawali Tope (a canon manufactured in the 12th and 14th centuries and required 18 kilograms of gunpowder to fire a dingle cannon ball), Katra Mosque etc.
Attracted by the natural beauty of this place, Rabindranath Tagore’s father Maehashi Debendranath Tagore established Shantiniketan (abode of peace) in 1863. Today the place is know as second home of Rabindranath Tagore. Vichittra and Art Gallery – Nandan will take you closer to the great poet. Natural beauty of Shantiniketan is still mesmerizing. You may visit to the Deer Park or Ballavpur Wildlife Sanctuary where you can found Black Buck, spotted deer, jackals, foxes and a variety of water birds. If you have time then you may consider going to Kenduli. Kenduli is the birth place of Bengal’s first famous poet – Jaydev. Jaydev composed the famous Geeta Govinda.
Festivals and Religious tourist spots in West Bengal
Belur Ma?h is the headquarters of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission. It was founded by Swami Vivekananda. The temple is notable for its architecture that fuses Hindu, Christian and Islamic motifs as a symbol of unity of all religions. Situated by the bank of the Ganga Belur Math has its own words that will take you to a new world.
Durgapuja is the biggest festival in West Bengal. If any one want to know how it is celebrated then s/he must come to Bengal during the puja. You will find at-least one temple and statue of Maa Durga in every single village or colony. During this session West Bengal completely surrender it self to Maa Durga. Now a days budge for some puja pandals crosses 1 crore($2.5 million) Rupees in Bengal. Come to Bengal in September/October and experience Durga Puja you cant even imagined of.
Mayapur, Nabadwip and Krishnangar
The Vaishnav pilgrimage center in Nabadwip is located in Nadia district. This is the birth place of Mahaprabhu Sri Chaitanya, the founder of Vaishnavism. Mayapur is the headquarters of ISKON. Beautiful temples dedicated to Lord Krishna can be experienced here. Chandroday Temple is also a famous name here. Sonargouranga, the temple with the golden statue of Sri Chaitanya, is the most important shrine here. Krishnanagar on the banks of Jalangi river was the residence of Maharaja Krishna Chandra. Jhulan Mela(in July/August) is celebrated inside the Baj Bari every year.
Tarapith, Kali ghat, Dakshineswar
All three temples are dedicated to the Lord Kali Maa. Though Tarapith is dedicated to lord Tara but she is also Maa Kali’s avatar(I guess). All of this three temples has huge spiritual impact on Bengalees. Tarapith is located at Rampurhat in Birbhum District and Kalighat and Dakshineswar are located near Kolkata.