West Bengal is an Indian state located in Eastern India on the Bay of Bengal. It is India’s fourth most populous state, with over 91 million inhabitants (as of 2011). It has an area of 88,752 km2 (34,267 sq mi). A part of the ethno-linguistic Bengal region, it is bordered by Bangladesh in the east, and Nepal and Bhutan in the north; it shares borders with five Indian states: Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar, Sikkim, and Assam. The state capital is Kolkata (Calcutta), the seventh-largest city in India. As for geography, West Bengal includes the Darjeeling Himalayan hill region, the Ganges delta, the Rarh region, and the coastal Sundarbans. The main ethnic group are the Bengalis, with Bengali Hindus forming the demographic majority.
Ancient Bengal was the site of several major janapadas. In the 2nd century BCE, the region was conquered by the emperor Ashoka. In the 4th century CE, it was absorbed into the Gupta Empire. From the 13th century onward, the region was ruled by several sultans, powerful Hindu states, and Baro-Bhuyan landlords, until the beginning of British rule in the 18th century. The British East India Company cemented their hold on the region following the Battle of Plassey in 1757, and Calcutta served for many years as the capital of British India. The early and prolonged exposure to British administration resulted in an expansion of Western education, culminating in developments in science, institutional education, and social reforms in the region, including what became known as the Bengal Renaissance. A hotbed of the Indian independence movement through the early 20th century, Bengal was divided during India’s independence in 1947 along religious lines into two separate entities: West Bengal – a state of India – and East Bengal – the part of the newly created nation of Pakistan that later became Bangladesh. Between 1977 and 2011 the state was administered by the world’s longest elected Communist government.
A major agricultural producer, West Bengal is ranked sixth in terms of contributions to India’s net domestic product. The state’s cultural heritage, besides varied folk traditions, includes notable authors in literature, including Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore. Kolkata is known as the “cultural capital of India”. West Bengal is also distinct from most other Indian states in its enthusiasm for the sport of association football, as well as cricket, the national sport.
Indian independence and afterwards
When India gained independence in 1947, Bengal was partitioned along religious lines. The western part went to the Dominion of India (and was named West Bengal), while the eastern part went to the Dominion of Pakistan as a province called East Bengal (later renamed East Pakistan in 1956). The latter became the independent nation of Bangladesh in 1971. In 1950 the Princely State of Cooch Behar merged with West Bengal. In 1955 the former French enclave of Chandannagar, which had passed into Indian control after 1950, was integrated into West Bengal; portions of Bihar were also subsequently merged with West Bengal. Both West and East Bengal experienced large influxes of refugees during and after partition in 1947. Refugee resettlement and related issues continued to play a significant role in the politics and socio-economic condition of the state.
The Darjeeling Himalayan Railwaywas designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999.
During the 1970s and 1980s, severe power shortages, strikes, and a violent Naxalite movement damaged much of the state’s infrastructure, leading to a period of economic stagnation. The Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971 resulted in the influx of millions of refugees to West Bengal, causing significant strains on its infrastructure. The 1974 smallpox epidemic killed thousands. West Bengal politics underwent a major change when the Left Front won the 1977 assembly election, defeating the incumbent Indian National Congress. The Left Front, led by the Communist Party of India (Marxist), governed the state for the next three decades.
The state’s economic recovery gathered momentum after economic liberalisations were introduced in the mid-1990s by the central government. This was aided by the advent of information technology and IT-enabled services. Starting in the mid-2000s, armed activists conducted minor terrorist attacks in some parts of the state, while clashes with the administration took place at several controversial locations over the issue of industrial land acquisition, which became a decisive reason behind the defeat of the ruling Left Front government in the 2011 assembly election.
-: HIMALAYAS :-
Darjeeling :- Darjeeling conjures visions of snow peaks, serenity of vibrant green hills steeped in splendour, a land of breathtaking beauty crowned by the majestic Himalayas. Darjeeling is one of the most magnificent hill resorts in the world. This heavenly retreat is bathed in hues of every shade. Flaming red rhododendrons, sparkling white magnolias, miles of undulating hillsides covered with emerald green tea bushes, the exotic forests of silver fir – all under the blanket of a brilliant azure sky dappled with specks of clouds, compellingly confounds Darjeeling as the QUEEN OF HILL STATIONS. The crest of Kanchenjunga shining in the first dawn light truly supports the title.
Darjeeling beckons thousands today for a leisurely respite from the bustle of the madding crowd. The traveler – whether a tourist or a trekker, an ornithologist or a photographer, a botanist or an artist – will find in Darjeeling an experience which will remain etched in one’s memory – forever.
It is 11 km (6.8 miles) from the town of Darjeeling Tiger Hills and can be easily accessed through roadways from Darjeeling. After the Ghoom station, it can be reached either by jeep or by foot through Chowrasta, Alubari or Jorebangla and then climbing up the incline to the summit. you will need to take the narrow uphill Senchal road on the right. It takes about 40 minutes from Darjeeling town to reach to the summit by car.
Hired car or a shared jeep from the club side taxi stand at the base of Nehru Road below the Mall and tax from Chowk Bazaar area is also available.
Railway Loop is feat of engineering 5 kms from Darjeeling, is a marvellous feat of engineering. It is fascinating to watch the toy train round the loop. Tahe town and glorious view of snowy peak can be seen from here. The War Memorial constructed in the memory of brave sons of Darjeeling who died in different wars since 1947.
Darjeeling Himalayan Railway–
It is popularly known as toy train. It is one of the main attractions and best hill railway in India . The track on which the train runs is only 600 millimeters wide which was made in 1881. Narrow Gauge trains are used in India to travel to hill stations. UNESCO has declared the DHR as a World.
Japanese Peace Pagoda is located on the slopes of the Jalapahar Hill the pagoda can be reached by foot or on taxi. The Shanti Stupa was established by Nipponzan Myohoji, a Japanese Buddhist order. It also showcases the four avatars of the Buddha.
This stupa was constructed during 1972-1992. There is a buddha temple and a pillar. After the temple there is the beautiful stupa (Pagoda). The stupa is located at significant height and beautiful views of the surroundings and mount Kanchanjunga is visible from here. This is one of the best places to visit in Darjeeling.
Ghoom is a small hilly locality in the Darjeeling Himalayan hill region of West Bengal. Ghoom railway station of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is the highest railway station in India. It is situated at an altitude of 2,258 mtrs (7,407 ft). The place is the home of the Ghoom Monastery and the Batasia Loop, a bend of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway.
The Chowrasta or the Mall is the heart of Darjeeling town. Located on top of Nehru Road, this is a nice flat land where tourists and locals come to lounge in the sun, take a seat on one of the many benches along the periphery, and watch the wonderful views of the mountain peaks and valleys all around and take the pony ride around the Mall. The Brabourne Park is attached to the Chowrasta and now features a musical fountain. This place is an open space and free from vehicular movements.
Kurseong is a hill station (and sub-divisional town) situated in Darjeeling District of West Bengal, India. Located at an altitude of 1458 meters (4864 ft), Kurseong is just 30 km from Darjeeling. It has a pleasant climate throughout the year and the winters are not as severe as Darjeeling’s. The local name of Kurseong is “Kharsang” which in the Lepcha language means “Land of White Orchids”. Kurseong is about 47 kms from Siliguri and is connected to the city by road and the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway. The nearest airport is at Bagdogra. The Land of the White Orchids nearest major railway station is New Jalpaiguri (NJP) railway station, which is about 53 km from Kurseong. The town is based mainly on schools and tourism. The best times to visit Kurseong are between March end and May and between the end of August and October. The Chogyal (Monarch) of Sikkim ceded Kurseong to the British Empire in 1835. Later in 1880, this small hamlet became a tourist destination for the colonial authorities and was a preferred place for sanatoriums where the sick would recuperate.
Kalimpong is a beautiful place of grate attraction. this sleepy little town situated at an altitude of 1,200 mtrs, some 50 kms to the east of Darjeeling. It once used to be the hub of the trans-Himalayan trade between India and Tibet when merchants used to ferry commerce by mule caravan over the Jelepla pass on the Sikkim-Tibet border.
The places to visit are Kalimpong Arts and Craft Center for handicraft goods, Tharpa Choling Monastery, a repository of old scriptures, and documents Thongsa (Bhutan) Monastery, the oldest in the area Dharmodaya Vihar, a Nepalese Bhuddhist Temple Parnami Mandir and Mangal Dham, Durpin Danda from where the mountain ranges of Sikkim, including Jelepla, Tiger Hill and the confluence of the Relli, Riang and Tista rivers can be views. Zong Dog Palri Fo Brang Monastery at Durpin Danda, deolo View Point for magnificent views: and Kalimpong famous flower nurseries.
Rishop is a tourist village in the Lava – Lolegaon Circuit in Kalimpong sub-division. This used to be an inaccessible village with few households and step farming dependent on monsoon rain till tourists discovered this hidden treasure of Eastern Himalay. The main attraction of staying at Rishop is the serene environment and great views of snow capped Himalayan mountain range from here. The surrounding destinations of Lava, Lolegaon, Pedong, Rishi, Aritar are all within close distance and can be visited as part of a day sightseeing tour. During the initial days, one had to trek about 5 km from Lava to reach here. Today you can drive to Rishop (9 km) through a motorable road from Lava. The village is full of small resorts that offer basic rooms and amenities.
Rimbik is a small town in the Singalila National Park area of Darjeeling District. The small town is a tourist hub for trekkers travelling to the Singalila National Park area including Sandakphu. In the recent past there has been some interest from the offbeat leisure tourists who want to explore the region beyond traditional tourist destinations. Rimbik is perched on a hill above river Rammam flowing from Sikkim to Bengal. The small town is the last major hamlet in the Bengal side and is close to Nepal and Sikkim boarders. The villages in the surrounding area depend on Rimbik market for their regular supplies.
Rimbik town itself does not have too many tourist attractions to offer. There are two trek routes which connect Rimbik with Sandakphu. One is a direct forest trail coming from Bikebhanjan to Rimbik. The other trek route reaches Rimbik via Gurdung and Srikhola. The second trek route although longer, is preferred by most trekkers. From Rimbik an uneven road takes you to Srikhola (about 7 km) from where you can start your trek. Gurdung is just 3 km trek from Srikhola towards Sandakphu. Some tourists prefer to trek only till Gurdung thus combining thrill of the Sandakphu trek without getting out of the Leisure tour mode altogether. Between Srikhola and Gurdung lies the small village of Timbure where tourist accommodation is also available. Srikhola and Gurdung offers basic tourist accommodations, Rimbik also has a number of basic tourist accommodations.
Surrounded by virgin pine forests and often hidden in mists and clouds at an altitude of 2,350 meters, this small village lays few away from Kalimpong on the old trade route to Bhutan. It has a beautiful monastery of Bhutanese origin and a Nature Interpretation Centre. Popular for nature exploration and bird watching, it is also the starting point for treks into the Neora National Park, which abounds with floral and faunal wealth.
It is the entry point to the Neora Valley National Park from Kalimpong. The route to Lava is scenic with the change in vegetation from tropical deciduous to the wet alpine trees of fir, pine and birch. The verdant forests are a popular spot for picnic, trekking and bird watching. Lava has now become a favorite tourist destination for people living on the coast of West Bengal and tourism has become the source of living for the inhabitants.
A small peaceful hamlet in the Kalimpong sub division of Darjeeling District, Lolegaon is nature’s paradise on its own with beautiful landscape, comprising lush green forest and serene valleys. The peaks of Kanchenjunga rise majestically in the morning mist. Lolegaon is a one hour journey from Kalimpong and Lava through the serpentine forest road. Lolegaon offers small treks and trails. An Ideal destination for unwinding & relaxation.
Lolegaon is a beautiful Lepcha village of scenic spledour. It is situated in an extreme end of a Himalayan Ridge & located at a distance of 24 km from Lava lying at an altitude of 1,675 mtrs. It comes under the Kalimpong I block in the Darjeeling District of West Bengal. Lolegaon can be reached from Siliguri with a 4 hour drive covering 124 km via Kalimpong and Lava. Kalimpong, the nearest town is 55 kms from Lolegaon. Lolegaon is locally known as Kaffer. Lolegaon stands along a lovely forest drive. It has a heritage forest and an observation point called Jhandi Dara, for viewing the snow peaks of the Singalila Range. According to some, it offers an even better view of the sunrise than Tiger Hill.
Mirik is a picturesque tourist spot nestled in the serene hills of Darjeeling district in West Bengal, India. The name Mirik comes from the Lepcha words Mir-Yok meaning “place burnt by fire”. Mirik has become a popular tourist destination for its climate, natural beauty and easy accessibility. The centre of all attraction is the Sumendu lake, surrounded by a garden on one side and pine trees on the other and linked together by an arching footbridge called Indreni Pull (Rainbow Bridge). A 3.5-km-long road encircles the lake and is used for walks with the view of Kanchenjunga on the far horizon. Boating on the quaint shikaras and pony riding are available. It is a hill resort at an altitude of 1767 m with its own special charms. The distance from Darjeeling is around 49 km, Ghoom 41 km, Kurseong 46 km, Bagdogra 55 km, and Siliguri 52 km. Another attraction of Mirik is its 5 acres of plain land with a natures gift, Samendu Dhap. Sa=soil, Mendu=non-existent, Dhap=pond or marsh or Lake. In Mirik silver- white peaks of Kanchenjunga are clearly seen from Ramitey dandra (mountain top) ascending uphill after crossing Samendu Dhap. At Ramiteydandra, sunrise and sunset are really beautiful so is the panoramic view of the valley. Mirik actually has several sightseeing and tourist places other than the lake. Lovely view points to watch sunrise, sunset and the landscape, several nearby tea gardens, monasteries and temples, orange orchards, flower gardens including orchids and more.
Sandakphu is the highest peak in the state of West Bengal, India. It is the highest point of the Singalila Ridge in Darjeeling district on the West Bengal-Nepal border. The peak is located at the edge of the Singalila National Park and has a small village on the summit with a few hostels. Four of the five highest peaks in the world, Everest, Kangchenjunga, Lhotse and Makalu can be seen from its summit.
From Sandakphu, the best view of the mountain Kanchenjunga is possible, which is known as the Sleeping Buddha or the Sleeping Shiva.
Sandakphu, situated at a height of 3636 mtrs above sea level, might not be famous for any tourist destinations, but is a true paradise for all adventure lovers. Trek to the highest point on this hill station and you will get the never seen before views of the Himalayan Range. A long stretch of Himalayas starting from Bhutan till Mt. Everest is visible. River Teesta flows through Sandakphu at quite a pace. The thundering River Teesta also offers a great option for adventure sports especially river rafting. Sandakphu is the only place in the world where you will find a rhododendron and silver fir forests. To reach Sandakphu, one has to nearly trek for 12 hrs from Maneybhanjan, which is the gateway to Sandakphu.
-: DOOARS :-
The Dooars or Duars are the foothills of the eastern Himalayas in North-East India around Bhutan. Duar means ‘door’ and the region forms the gateway to Bhutan from India. There are 18 passages or gateways through which the Bhutanese people can communicate with the people living in the plains. This region is divided by the Sankosh River into the Eastern and the Western Dooars. The Western Dooars is known as the Bengal Dooars and the Eastern Dooars as the Assam Dooars. Dooars is synonymous with the term Terai used in Nepal and northern India and form the only nitrate rich plain in India.
The Dooars region politically constitutes the plains of Darjeeling Himalayas, the whole of Jalpaiguri district and Alipurduar district. The altitude of Dooars area ranges from 90 to 1,750 m. Innumerable streams and rivers flow through these fertile plains from the mountains of Bhutan. The major river is the Teesta besides many others like the Jaldhaka, Murti, Torsa, Sankosh, Dyna, Karatoya, Raidak, and Kaljani rivers, among others. Monsoon generally starts from the middle of May and continues till the end of September. Winters are cold with foggy mornings and nights. Summer is mild and constitutes a very short period of the year. Dooars is the ideal place in Bengal for monsoon travelling.
The economy of Dooars is based on three “T”s – Tea, Tourism and Timber. The main industry of the Dooars region is the tea industry. Thousands of people are engaged in the tea estates and factories. Several people are also engaged in the cultivation of betel nuts which contributes to the economy. Cultivation of other crops is done mainly for local consumption.
The area is dotted by several national parks and wildlife sanctuaries which attract a lot of tourists from all over India and abroad, making it an important contributor to the economy and also employer of a number of people. The timber industry, flourishes in this region. A number of saw mills, plywood industries and other allied business also act as an important contributor to the economy.
Dooars act as a doorway to Bhutan; thus, export-import industry also flourishes in the area. The towns of Jaigaon, Siliguri and Phuntsholing are important hubs of the export-import industry.
Jayanti is a small forest village within Buxa Tiger Reserve in Alipurduar district of West Bengal, India. It is located along the Jayanti River, forming a natural border with the Bhutan hills. It is popular with hikers for its beautiful views of the surrounding landscape and wild fountains.
Bhutanghat is situated nearly 45 km from Alipurduar and 218 km from Siliguri in West Bengal, India. It is approachable from Siliguri, Alipurduar and Cooch Behar by railway and roadways. Known for its scenic beauty it is ideal for leisure holiday and angling. Strategically located near the border with Bhutan the region is blessed by the scenic beauty and the swift flowing River Raidak. There is a beautiful forest bungalow built in 1904 close to the River bank and is best to stay is during monsoon or just after the rains. It is located in a mountainous terrain, flanked by hills covered with luxurious green forests. It also serves as the elephant corridor and is an attractive destination for wildlife lovers. It is only an extension of or is a part of the Buxar Tiger Reserve. West Bengal Forest Development Corporation has resort but with basic facilities only. Winters are cold with foggy mornings and nights. Summer is mild and constitutes of a very short period of the year; hence the climate is always conducive to tourism. Endangered species of animals like tiger, rhinoceros, elephant, make their habitats in the forests other animals include different types of deer, bison, birds and reptiles. Bhutan Ghat is well connected by roads and to rest of India and national highway number 31 is the main highway of the area.
At a distance of 55 km from Siliguri and 65 km from Jalpaiguri, Malbazar is one of the most important towns in Dooars. The town is strategically located on the NH31 providing close access to major tourist attractions around. The town itself does not have much to offer to the tourists except for the beautiful Mal Park. If you are planning to visit Eastern Dooars, Gorumara National Park, Chapramari Wild Life Sanctuary, Gorubathan, Jhalong, Bindu, Samsing, Suntalekhola; Malbazar can easily be your base. Kumlai is a famous picnic spot of Malbazar. The Siliguri – Alipurduar broadgauge inter city express passes through Malbazar. This is one of the most beautiful train rides anywhere. The train passes through some of the best forests of the region. Unfortunately accidents on this line are not uncommon leading to death of wildlife, mainly elephants. Malbazar is the most important town in Western Dooars area. All the tourist destinations of Western Dooars can be accessed from Malbazar within a drive of an hour or less. The town itself does not offer many tourist attractions. Mal Udyan next to the Malbazar Tourist Lodge is worth a visit. There are large numbers of tea gardens in and around Malbazar that can also be visited by tourists. The town has large population of Bengali community. There are substantial populations of Adivashis working in the Tea gardens around, Rajbanshis, the original inhabitants of the area as well as migrant Nepali, Bihari and other communities constitute the rest of the population. Tea is the backbone of the economy of Dooars including that of Malbazar.
Buxa Fort (About 30 km from Alipurduar), famous for the ruins of the Detention Camp used by the British Government for detaining freedom fighters of our country.
Buxa Fort is located at an altitude of 867 meters in the Buxa Tiger Reserve, Alipurduar. Buxa fort is about 30 km from Alipurduar town and about 18 km from Rajabhatkhawa. From Rajabhatkhawa, you have to enter the forest and drive for about 14 km to reach Suntalabari. From here a trek of about 4 km will take you to the fort.
Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary
Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary is habitats of the rare one-horned rhinoceros, the mighty bison, leopard, spotted deer, sambar, hog deer, reptiles, huge wild tuskers, wild boars, and the rarest variety of birds, including peacocks. Elephant riding through the Jaldapara forest in search of wild animals, particularly the one-horned rhinos, is specially popular among tourists. Other places of attraction in and around the region include Jayanti, (30 km from Alipurduar) is a beautiful spot.
Gorumara National Park
Gorumara National Park is an important national park of North Bengal. It is situated just at the foothills of Eastern Himalaya in Terai region, on the flood plains in Murti, Raidak. Jaldhaka a Tributary of Brahmaputra flows just beside the National Park. Gorumara has mixed vegetation of forest & grassland. It is famous for its good population of One Horned Indian Rhino. Ministry of Environment and Forest has declared Gorumara as the best among the protected areas in India for the year 2009. Gorumara was declared a reserve forest in 1895. In 1949 it was given a status of a wild life sanctuary. Later on Gorumara was declared as National Park in 1994.
Chalsa is a small town situated just on the foot of the Himalayas in the Dooars in Jalpaiguri district in West Bengal. This small town is surrounded by hills, tea gardens, rivers and forests. One part of the town is surrounded by Gorumara National Park and other part with Chapramari Wildlife Sanctuary.
Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary
Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary in Darjeeling district was established as a game park in 1955 and got the status of a sanctuary in 1959. The sanctuary has over 158 sq. kms of forests which vary from riverine forests dense mixed-wet forests in the Latpanchar area which is the highest point in the sanctuary, located at 1219 m above sea level in the Kurseong hills.
Chapramari is a forest in Dooars area of North Bengal. The forest is a continuation of the Gorumara forests. The two forests are separated by the Murti River which passes through the otherwise continuous forest.
Jorpokhri Wildlife Sanctuary
The Himalayan Newt or Salamander, once thought to be extinct was found near a small lake at Jorepokhri, 28 kms from Darjeeling town, in 1964. It is called ‘goro’ by the local people. The sanctuary has gained prominence for its scenic beauty and is a popular picnic spot. The WBFD Rest House at Lepchajagat, is just 4 kms away. DGHC also has a comfortable tourist lodge at Sukhia Pokhari, 2 kms from the sanctuary.
-: HERITAGE :-
The present Sovabazar Rajbari, a Grade I heritage building built by Raja Naba Krishna Deb is situated at 33R/1A, Raja Naba Krishna Street. Its architecture represents an ensemble of Hindu, Moorish and colonial traditions. Raja Naba Krishna Deb was Lord Clive’s ‘Munshi’ or tutor in Bengali, Persian, as well as the close confidant. During his lifetime this Rajbari played important role in the cultural and social life of Bengal. He was one of the first residents of Kolkata to celebrate Durga Puja in 1757 on a grand scale after the British defeated Siraj-ud-daulah at the battle of Plassey. Many renowned English men like Lord Clive and Warren Hastings were in the list of invitees during this festival, thus making it ‘sarbojonin’.
It was here that the first civic reception of Swami Vivekananda after his return from Chicago Parliament of Religions was
organized in 1897 by Raja Binoy Krishna Deb Bahadur.
Jorasanko Thakurbari on 6B, Dwarakanath Tagore Lane off Rabindra Sarani was the home to the Tagore’s since the end of 18th Century. It’s inhabitants occupied the most important positions in the different aspects of social and cultural life of the19th Century Bengal, the most renowned being Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore. Today the premise houses Rabindra Bharati University, inaugurated by Jawaharlal Nehru on Rabindranath Tagore’s birth centenary on 8th May, 1962. In the Maharshi Bhaban, named after Maharshi Debendranath Tagore, Rabindranath Tagore was born and breathed his last. The building and the ‘Bichitra’ has turned into a museum named ‘Rabindra Bharati Museum’, which is a major repository of memorabilia, paintings etc. of the Tagores.
The first of the prominent old Bengali residences as one move northward along Rabindra Sadan (or Chitpur Road, the oldest road of Kolkata) is the Jorasanko Rajbari of the family of Rajendra Narayan Roy. It has a nice colonnaded front with verandas, terraces fitted with delicate cast-iron grills.
Marble Palace(Mallick Bari )
Rajendra Nath Mullick’s Residence, turned into a museum situated on 46, Muktaram Babu Street is one of the most elegant palatial nineteenth century mansions in North Kolkata. Built by a French architect in 1835, the enormous facade of the palace has an imposing portico with stucco work and six fluted Corinthian columns, topped by an elaborately ornamented triangular pediment. The garden encircling the palace is dotted with marble fountains, statues of gods and goddesses from Greek and Hindu pantheon, notable among which is a stunning statue of “Leda and Swan”. The garden houses a zoo. It is learnt that 90 varieties of patterned marble had been used on the floors of the mansion and hence, Lord Minto called it a Marble Palace. Inside, the walls have ornate stucco mouldings and the museum is a treasure trove of curios, statues and paintings including oil paintings by Rubens and Joshua Reynolds.
House of Gokul Mitra
At the junction of Rabindra Sarani and Madan Mohan Tala Street, this house dates back to 1730s. The house belonged to Gokul Mitra who acquired the Chandni Chawk Bazar in a lottery in 1784. It has a temple of Madan Mohan and a large ‘thakur-dalan’ with columns rising up to second storey. The story has it that the King of Bishnupur pawned the original idol of Madan Mohan to Gokul Mitra when he fell in hard times .
The Colonial rule in India was started by the European countries like France, Portugal, Denmark and Dutch in 15th century, later British came to India and emerged as the dominant power in 18th century suppressing dominance of other European countries. This colonial rule continued till mid 20th century when India finally got independence in 1947. Though colonial rule ended but lots of buildings and other heritage was left behind by these countries which represents the colonial heritage in India.
The Portuguese were the first Europeans to settle in Bengal and also have the distinction of building the first Christian Church in Bengal.The Church of Our Lady of the Happy Voyage was initially constructed in 1599 and demolished by the Mughals in 1632 and was rebuilt the same year. Sadly, the Church has been reconstructed several times and today represents a modern structure. It is popularly known as the Bandel Church. The word Bandel means ‘mast’ in Portuguese. The Bandel Church compound houses a mast, which was gifted by a Portuguese ship captain, after his ship was damaged in a storm in Hooghly. Apart from the mast and church, nothing much remains of Portuguese history in Bandel. For More information read Bandel, Church and Imambara.
Unlike Bandel, Chinsurah and Serampore, Chandannagar still boosts a lot of French heritage. Chandannagar was a French colony till 1950 and French is still taught as a third language in many of Chandannagar’s schools. The Chandannagar Strand is considered as the most beautiful stretch of the Hooghly and still houses a few French mansions. Just off The Strand, is the Sacred Heart Church, one of the prime attractions of Chandannagar. The church interior has beautiful stained glasses. The Durgacharan Rakshit Ghat on the Strand is an interesting mix of Indo – French architecture. Also on the Strand is the Duplex’s Museum, housing a French Museum. For more information read Chandannagar, a slice of France.
Serampore remained under the Danish rule till 1845, after which the Danish Governor decided to sell it to the British East India Company.
Built in 1818, the Serampore College, with its grand facede, reminds one of the glorious days of Danish Serampore.
Danish missionary Carey, along with Ward and Marshman, started the Serampore Mission Press and published the first Bengali translation of the Bible. They also started the Friends of India newspaper.
Serampore also houses two Cemeteries dating back to the Danish days. The Baptist Mission Cemetery in Serampore contains the family graves of Carey, Ward and Marshman, while the Danish Cemetery houses several other Danish graves.
In 1825, the British exchanged the island of Sumatra, in Indonesia, for Chinsurah, with the Dutch. Thus ended the Dutch rule in Chinsurah or Chuchura. The Dutch fort of Gustava has long been demolished by the British and nothing much remains of the Dutch legacy in Chinsurah. The Dutch Church was demolished in 1980s, but the Dutch Cemetery still stands and is a reminder of the golden days of the Dutch. The cemetery contains an assortment of graves scattered under the shade of ancient trees. The oldest dates back to 1743 while the newest one is on 1840. For more information read Chinsurah (Chuchura), Remains of a Dutch Legacy.
RAMAKRISHNA VIVEKANANDA TRAIL :-
With intricate designing, this glorious temple, is reflecting a convergence of temple, church and mosque – a perfect integration of multi – religious and multi – cultural esteemed foundation.The temple enshrined with Sri Sri Ramakrishna is visited by scholars of many fields even from abroad for their profound admiration to this Hindu prophet.
With intricate designing, this glorious temple, is reflecting a convergence of temple, church and mosque – a perfect integration of multi – religious and multi – cultural esteemed foundation.
Built in 1938, this sacred centre becomes the hub of spiritual excellence specially with the teaching of Swami Vivekananda. This Math, adjacent to Hooghly river banks is blessed with the Holy stay of Swami Vivekananda in two storied house. The house is auspiciously maintained where visitors throng to have a look to the personal belongings and other interests of Swami Vivekananda.
House of Sarada Maa
The building is located near Baghbazar in North Kolkata. Sarada Devi had stepped into the century old building on May 23, 1909 and made it her abode till her demise on July 28, 1920. It attracts devotees from all over the country.
Established in 1922, this Mandir was the dwelling place of Sri Balaram Basu, disciple of Sri Ramakrishna. Sri Sri Ramakrishna with Mata Sarada Devi and few other disciples had paid frequent visits. A place of sanctity, Ramakrishna Mission Association was formed from here and Swami Vivekananda held august assembly on 1st, 1897 to resolve his plans for the foundation of this association in obeisance to his Spiritual Master.
House of Swami Vivekananda
Situated at 3, Gour Mohan Mukherjee Street, the ancestral house of Swami Vivekananda is another sacred destination of Hindu pilgrimage characterized by awe-inspiring look and grandeur.
With the patronage of both Center and State Government this house is a ‘seat of learning’ in its diverse form of research and cultural activities.
Rani Rashmoni, a charismatic personality filled her cherished dream as instructed by Goddess Kali to construct an astonishing temple. A unique style of Nava-Ratna admeasuring 46 feet in square and rises above 100 feet have 12-spired temple with captivating courtyard encapsulated by 12 other temples dedicated to lord Shiva.
Here, under a huge Banyan tree, namely “Pachabati”, Sri Sri Ramakrishna got his spiritual attainment through deep meditation. Sri Sri Ramakrishna, as a head priest to this enthralling temple, had served to worship Goddess Kali as his Bhabatarini with his unique style of simplicity and humility.
House of Girish Ghosh
Girish Chandra Ghosh (Feb 28, 1844 – Feb 8, 1912) was a Bengali musician, poet, playwright, novelist, theatre director and actor. He was a pioneer in Bengali Theatre in the age of Bengali Renaissance, and a personality of versatile genius. Sri Ghosh used to come to meet Sri Ramakrishna in pursuit of spiritual proximity and bliss. His writing skill in Bengali theatre proved his worth no mean to any contemporary playwright writer of western countries. Among his writings, Buddhadeb Charit, Kalapahar, Sankaracharya, Bilwamangal, Nimai Sanyas were his literary genious
-: CULTURE :-
Shantiniketan is a small town near Bolpur in the Birbhum district of West Bengal and about 212 kms north of Kolkata (formerly Calcutta).It was made famous by Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore, whose vision became what is now a university town – Visva-Bharati University. The place now attracts thousands of visitors each year. Shantiniketan was earlier called Bhubandanga (named after Bhuban Dakat, a local dacoit), and was owned by the Tagore family. In 1862, Maharshi Debendranath Tagore, the poet’s father, while on a boat journey to Raipur, came across a landscape with red soil and lush green paddy fields. He decided to plant more saplings and built a small house. He called his home Shantiniketan, the abode of peace. He founded an Ashram here in 1863 and became the initiator of the Brahmo Samaj. In 1901, Rabindranath started a school at Shatiniketan named Brahmachary Ashram that was modeled on the lines of the ancient gurukul system. After he received the Nobel Prize that enhanced not only the Pride of India but also the prestige of Shantiniketan, the school was expanded into a university. It was renamed Bishwa-Bharati, which Tagore defined as where the world makes a home in a nest.
The Shantiniketan campus is adorned by splendid sculptures, frescoes, murals, and paintings of Rabindranath, Nandalal Bose, Ramkinkar, Binodbehari Mukhopadhyay, and others. Birbhum District, where the Shantiniketan is located, is also famous for its fairs and festivals like Poush Mela (December), Joydev Mela (January), Basanta Utsav (Holi) in March and the famous mystic Baul Singers.
BASANTA UTSAV :- Held in the month of March on the day of Holi, spring is welcomed through music and dances. Teachers and students greet each other with Abirs in this festival day. Basant Utsav literally means the ‘celebration of spring’. The beautiful tradition of celebrating spring festival in Bengal was first started by Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore, at Vishwabharati Shantiniketan, the University founded by him. Actually, Basant Utsav is no different from Holi, except for the gracefulness with which it is celebrated. In Shantiniketan, Basant Utsav is celebrated with immense fervor and zeal.
POUSH MELA :- The mela sees local artisans and tourists from all over the country coming together in this spirit of celebration. Folk dances, music, food and culture are in rampant display during these days. Santiniketan leather bags, earthen wares, paintings, etc are sold in this fair.
SHANTINIKETAN :- Shantiniketan is a tourist attraction mainly because Rabindranath lived here and penned many of his literary classics (namely Rabindrasangeet, poems, novels etc.) here at his home where is a place of historical importance. The Shantiniketan campus is adorned by splendid sculptures, frescoes, murals, and paintings of Rabindranath, Nandalal Bose, Ramkinkar, Binodbehari Mukhopadhyay and others. Birbhum District, where Shantiniketan is located, is also famous for its fairs and festivals like Poush Mela (December), Joydev Mela (January), Basanta Utsav (Holi) in March and the famous mystic Baul Singers. Rabindra Janmotsav is celebrated in mid-April to mark the Bengali New Year and as well Tagore’s Anniversary. Briksharopan, the festival of planting saplings, and Halakarshan, the festival of plowing the fields, are celebrated on 22nd and 23rd day of Sravana (August). Varshamangal, the festival of rains, is celebrated during August/September. Poush Mela is an annual fair and festival that takes place in Shantiniketan. Commencing on the 7th day of the month of Poush (Dec-Jan), the fair officially lasts for three days, although vendors may stay up until the month-end. Poush Mela is characterised by its live performances of Bengali folk music, specially traditional bauls, wandering minstrels singing Bengali songs. Tribal dances (i.e. santali) are also the part of the fair.
VISHWA BHARATI :- It was made famous by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore, whose vision became what is now a University town – Visva-Bharati University. The place is now attracts thousands of visitors each year. In 1901, Rabindranath started a school at Santiniketan named Bramhachari Ashram that was modeled on the lines of the ancient Gurukul system which later came to be known as the Patha Bhavan, the school of his ideals, whose central premise was that learning in a natural environment would be more enjoyable and fruitful. Tagore envisioned a center of learning which would have the best of both the east and the west. He received the Nobel Prize (1913), which enhanced not only the pride of India but also the prestige of Santiniketan. The school was expanded into a University. It was named Visva-Bharati.
TAGORE’S ASHRAM :- One of the most valued places in all of Santiniketan, Tagore’s Aashram is located in the Uttrayan Complex. It is the place that Tagore’s father first built when he arrived many years ago. He called his home Santiniketan, Abode of Peace. Later the entire region adopted this name. One has to walk through the area. Guides are generally available outside Uttarayan Complex/Rabindra Bhaban. You can also explore the region on your own as the area is pretty easy to navigate through.
UTTARAYAN :- The Uttarayana complex where the poet lived consists of several buildings such as Udayana, Konark, Shyamali, Punascha, and Udichi, which reflect the architectural genius of the poet’s illustrious son the late Rathindranath Tagore.
KALA BHAWAN :- Kala Bhavana is a noted institution of education and research in visual arts, founded in 1919, it is the fine arts faculty of the Visva-Bharati University, Shantiniketan, established by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore.
CHATTIMTALA :- This place was the meditation spot of Tagore’s Father, Maharshi Debendranath Tagore. A scholar himself, he advocated meditation and introspection as the keys to success and world progress.
DEER PARK :- Located near Sriniketan, 3 kms from Shantiniketan, the Ballabhpur Wildlife Sanctuary which is popular as Deer Park established in 1977. Originally, the area was a fast eroding `Khowai’. It is now a large wooded area with herds of deer and makes a natural bird sanctuary.
SILIGURI – GATEWAY OF NORTH-EAST :-
Siliguri is one of the most important cities not only for West Bengal, but for many states of North East as well. Situated at a distance of 600 Km from Kolkata, Siliguri is at an altitude of 400 feet above sea level. This not too high and not too low altitude ensures a perfect climate for tourist activities. The second largest city of West Bengal after Kolkata is the gateway to Darjeeling, the most important tourist attraction of the state.
Located on the banks of the Mahananda River and at the Himalayan foothills, Siliguri is endowed with natural scenic beauty and attracts numerous tourists all year round. Views of the white snow-clad mountain peaks of the great Himalayan Ranges from Siliguri are not to be missed. The Kanchenjunga stadium and the Hong Kong market are famous tourist attractions. Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary, located nearby, is also a great place to visit for a safari.
THE SCIENCE CITY :- The North Bengal Science Centre is a highly reputed institution in north Bengal famed for its planetarium and Nature Interpretation Centre. The Center is an amazing place to visit and one of the important characteristic of the place is that even a little whisper into the parabolic reflector can be heard by the other person standing right in front of other reflector. It presents the fundamental rules of science for young people through inventive methods.
SALUGARA MONESTRY :- Established by Tibetan Buddhist Monks and followers of Dalai Lama, the monastery is famous for the 100 feet stupa founded by the Tibetan Lama, Kalu Rinpoche.
This monastery also known as The Great International Tashi Gomang Stupa and is situated just 6 km away from the main town. This monastery also contains five kinds of Buddhist relics. Salugara Monastery is among the most frequented revered places, located in the outskirts of Siliguri. Located 6 km from the city, the Buddhist shrine is visited by tourists for meditation. The ideal tranquil location for meditation was established by Tibetan monks and followers of religious leader, His Holiness Dalai Lama. One of the highlighting features of this monastery is the 100 ft stupa, which is believed to be founded by the Tibetan Lama, Kalu Rinpoche. This stupa is revered by the monks as it brings out five kinds of relics of Buddhism. The object of idolisation is believed to bring salvation to those who sight it.
How to Reach: The closest airport is Bagdogra, which is at a distance of 15 kms from Salugara Monastery. The closest Railway station is Siliguri.
CORONATION BRIDGE :- Built in 1930, Sevoke Coronation Bridge is still considered among the best architectural wonders in the country. The Coronation Bridge was built by Britishers to connect West Bengal to North East India. The Bridge is built over River Teesta and stretches from Salugara till Kalihora. Situated around 20 km from Siliguri, the Coronation Bridge gives us breathtaking views of River Teesta below and high green mountains on both sides.
Coronation Bridge, also known as Sevoke Bridge, is situated in Darjeeling. It is also known as Lohapul as it is made of steel. It is about 20 km away from Siliguri. The bridge spans across the Teesta River. In Siliguri it is the best place to observe natural beauty. It was built by Gammon India. The bridge shows an excellent and outstanding British style of architecture. The bridge marks the coronation of King George V.
About 8 years spent to built this bridge. The bridge shows an excellent example of the British style of architecture. The bridge marked the coronation of King George V. The place is a wonderful combination of blissful blues and enlivening greens.
ISKCON TEMPLE :- Also known as Sri Sri Radha Madhav Sundar Mandir, this temple was built by ISKCON, which stands for International Society for Krishna Consciousness. With a grand temple, beautiful campus and soothing ambiance, this temple is a must visit for everyone.
MAHANANDA WILDLIFE SANCTUARY :- Situated between Mahananda and Teesta River, this vast expanse of forest lands is home to rare mountain goat, cheetal, barking deer, fishing cat, sambar, tiger, elephant and Indian bison and migratory birds. It offers mild to medium trekking challenges at Deorali, Latpancher and Golaghat Mana.
Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary, a vast forest reserve is situated between river Mahananda and river Teesta. A natural habitat to innumerable species of fauna and flora, the sanctuary is spread over green mountainous Himalayas.
Spread across an area of 159.86 sq km, the wildlife reserve features green forests, tea gardens and sparkling rivers of Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar district. The Sukna check gate is main entrance to the sanctuary, which has a forest bungalow perched on a hillock.
The animal species found in the sanctuary are mountain goat (Serow), cheetah, barking deer, tiger, porcupines and more. Besides, the reserve is home for numerous migratory birds that fly from Central Asia during winter months.
Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary provides opportunity for the tourists to engage in forest safari and birdwatching at Latpancher and Golaghat. Along with this, visitors can also engage in activities like trekking and hiking at Deorali Mana. Positioned at a distance of 18 km from the township of Siliguri, the sanctuary is frequented by tourists for picnic, birdwatching, forest safari and trekking.
BENGAL SAFARI-NORTH BENGAL WILD ANIMAL PARK :- Tourism infrastructure in north Bengal took a big leap with the inauguration of an animal safari park at Shorea near Siliguri. The park is located about 8 km from Siliguri town on Sevoke Road.
Now the park spread over 700 acres area inside the Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary presently has 15 sambar deer, 15 barking deer, 120 spotted deer, one male rhino, a few wild boars, jungle fowl, jungle cats, and golden and silver pheasants. By the end of the year, the authorities have plans to add more animals to the park, taking the total number to 250. There are plans to facilitate elephant rides as well. The animals have kept in the open forest, and the tourists would be taken inside on guided trips in covered vehicles.
Inaugurating the park this afternoon, she said that it would give a major boost to tourism in north Bengal. The government is also developing the Teesta Tourism Hub at Gazoldoba in Jalpaiguri, and is in the process of creating new infrastructure at Sukna on the Kurseong foothills near Siliguri.
The park will be an additional attraction for thousands of tourists who visit the town and this part of the state every year and also for wildlife enthusiasts and Siliguri residents.
KALI MANDIR – SILIGURI :- Kali Mandir of Siliguri is an important temple for Hindus which is situated near Sevoke. The temple is said to be the abode of living Goddess Kali. The temple is visited not only by locales but by pilgrims from adjoining areas as well. However, it is most famous among newlyweds who come here to attain blessings of Goddess Kali for happy married life.
Kali Mandir, a Hindu temple is one of the most venerated places in the town, located nearby Sevoke. Associated with mythology, newlywed couples pay homage at the shrine for their joyful married life. The Goddess Durga in the form of Kali is established at the shrine. Sculpture of the Goddess is covered with jewels and arms like sword and armoury.
Dedicated to Goddess Kali, the temple is visited by innumerable devotees during the period of Durga Puja and Navratri, which is celebrated with pomp. During this period, the natives display various attractive shows and processions.
Located in proximity from Coronation Bridge, visitors can head towards Binnaguri to the shore of River Teesta to reach the temple. The temple also provides visitors an opportunity to sight Kanchenjunga peak.
HONG KONG MARKET :- Hong Kong Market is a famous location in the township of Siliguri for buying foreign goods and international brands like apparels and gadgets. Besides, the illegal shopping arcade also features old confectioners and restaurants.
Like Dhulabari in Nepal, the market offers a wide variety of imported goods at highly reasonable prices. In comparison to metro cities, the goods sold here are nearly 30% cheaper than Kolkata and 40% cheaper than Delhi and Mumbai. As the prices are not fixed, visitors can negotiate for the prices.
SAVIN KINGDOM :- This place is a beautiful park and is located between the tranquil tea farms which provide panoramic views to its visitors. Tourists can use this as a picnic spot as well. It has wide ranging activities to offer like Dashing Cars Monorail, Break Dance, Paratrooper, Swing chair, Fume Ride and Go Kart.
This amusement park is nestled among spacious and serene tea farms and it offers many rides and a playground for children.
Savin Kingdom is an amusement park set in the midst of spacious and serene tea farms. Owing to plenty of opportunities and facilities for recreation, the park is frequented by tourists and natives of all ages.
The themed castle park is established on the banks of Mahananda River over an area of 10 acres. Savin Kingdom is segregated into three sections, which include dry park section, cultural section and food court section.
Dry park section features thrilling rides such as Break Dance, Go Kart, Swing chair, Paratrooper, Dashing Cars Monorail and Fume Ride. The cultural section features activities such as pottery making, henna painting and magic shows.
KOLKATA – THE CITY OF JOY :-
Kolkata the ‘City of Joy’ of West Bengal is the most apt place for the eager visitants as places of interest in Kolkata are numerous. This eventful city with its many marvels has truly a lot to offer. It is one the most sought after destinations for the tourists from all over the globe. The British Raj-era architectural gems, sprawling gardens and historical colleges, universities, with museums, National Library, Auditoriums, Theater Halls, Art galleries, markets, The Festivals, sports stadium, Gangar ghats are of great attractions. It has many places of great pilgrimage. Known as the cultural capital of India, Kolkata continues to spawn generations of poets, writers, film producers and Nobel Prize winners. If your trip only allows for a visit of one or two of India’s metropolitan cities, than definitely consider placing Kolkata on your itinerary. You definitely won’t forget the city on the Hooghly and a boat/ launch trip on it is truly enjoyable.
VICTORIA MEMORIAL :-Today the Victoria Memorial Hall is a museum having an assortment of Victoria memorabilia, British Raj paintings and other displays. As night descends on Kolkata, the Victoria Memorial Hall is illuminated, giving it a fairy tale look. It is interesting to note that the Victoria Memorial was built without British government funds. The money required for the construction of the stately building, surrounded by beautiful gardens over 64 acres and costing more than 10 million was contributed by British Indian states and individuals who wanted favours with the British government. At the top of the Victoria Memorial is a sixteen foot tall bronze statue of victory, mounted on ball bearings. It rotates with wind.
At present, the Victoria Memorial has notable collection of weapons, sculptors, paintings, maps, coins, stamps, artifacts, textiles etc. The Royal gallery in Victoria Memorial has portraits of the Queen and Prince Albert. There are numerous paintings, illustrating events from Victoria’s life. Another remarkable peice of art in Victoria Memorial is a painting by the Russian artist Vasseli Verestchagin, portraying the state entry of the Prince of Wales in Jaipur in the year 1876. In the post independence period a new addition was made to the Victoria Memorial. It was the addition of the national leader’s gallery with the portraits and relics of the freedom fighters.
HOWRAH BRIDGE :- The Howrah Bridge is a bridge that spans the Hooghly River in West Bengal. It was originally named the New Howrah Bridge because it links the city of Howrah to its twin city, Kolkata (Calcutta). On 14 June 1965, it was renamed Rabindra Setu, after Rabindranath Tagore a great poet and the first Indian Nobel laureate. However it is still popularly known as the Howrah Bridge.
The bridge is one of the four on the Hooghly River and is a famous symbol of Kolkata and West Bengal. The other bridges are the Vidyasagar Setu (popularly called the Second Hooghly Bridge), the Vivekananda Setu and the newly built engineering marvel Nivedita Setu. Apart from bearing the stormy weather of the Bay of Bengal region, it successfully bears the weight of a daily traffic of approximately 80,000 vehicles and, possibly, more than 1,000,000 pedestrians. It is the sixth longest bridge of its type in the world.
Vidyasagar Setu, also known as the Second Hooghly Bridge, is a bridge over the Hooghly River in West Bengal, India. It links the city of Howrah to its twin city of Kolkata. The bridge is a toll bridge for all vehicles. At a total length of 822.96 mtrs, it is the longest cable-stayed bridge in India and one of the longest in Asia. It was built at a cost of Rs 388 crores and commissioned on October 10, 1992. Its construction was a joint effort of the Public Sector Undertakings and private firms, under the control of the Hooghly River Bridge Commissioners.
It was the second bridge to be built across the Hooghly River, after the Howrah 12 kms (7.5 mi) to its south was built in 1943. The bridge is named after the 19th century Bengali educationist reformer Pandit Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar.
ALIPORE ZOO :- Zoological Garden or Zoo in Kolkata is one of the prime tourist spots in the city. The Alipore Zoological Garden first opened its gate on the 1st of May, 1876 and since then has remained an absolute favorite of children. The history of Alipore Zoo Garden dates back to as early as 1842, when the curator of Bengal Asiatic Society, Dr John McCleland came up with a plan for the establishment of the zoological garden in Calcutta. However, this did not materialize and was followed by the plan of Dr. Joseph Bart Fayrer (the president of Asiatic Society of Bengal) in 1867. This plan drew great public attention but failed due to a lack of space. For the same reason the plan of Carl Louise Schwendler, the postmaster to the Govt. of India failed in 1873. At last, in 1875 the Lt. Govt. of Bengal Sir Richard Temple took the initiative. The land on Alipore Road was chosen and approved leading to opening gates to the public on 1st May, 1876.
It spreads on an area of 18.11 hectares and particularly is a favourite for Children and their family. There are many animals, reptiles, primates and birds at the Zoological Garden Kolkata. However, the most popular ones are the Bengal Tiger, White Tiger, African Lion, Giraffe, Zebra, Galapagos Giant Tortoise, Pelican, Pheasant, etc. It is also home to one of the few captive breeding projects involving the Manipur brow-antlered Deer. The zoo sports a large collection of attractive birds, including some threatened species – large parrots including a number of macaw species, conures, lories and lorikeets; other large birds like turacos and hornbills; colourful game birds like the golden pheasant, Lady Amherst’s pheasant and Swinhoe’s pheasant and some large flightless Birds like the emu, cassowary and ostrich. It also has a kids Corner at which children enjoy and learn.
A new glass-walled enclosure has been built for the tigers which was inaugurated by the Chief Minister of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee. The glass which was manufactured in Switzerland, is 10 ft high, and measures 200 ft from end to end. A new 750 ft aviary has also been built for the birds, where pelicans, spoonbills and storks have been relocated.
VIDYASAGAR SETU :- Vidyasagar Setu, which is famously called Second Hooghly Bridge is located over the River Hooghly in Kolkata. Vidyasagar Setu is reckoned as one of the longest bridges of its type across India. It is also acknowledged as one of the longest bridges of Asia. This cable-stayed bridge covers a little over 457 m and has a deck of 35 m width. The building of the bridge was initiated in 1978 and it was eventually opened to the public on the 10th of October, 1992. A whopping amount of Rs.3.88 billion was invested for constructing the Vidyasagar Setu. The bridge carries the NH 117, also known as the Kona Expressway. With six lanes of traffic, the bridge can carry more than 85,000 vehicles every day.
Vidyasagar Setu, popularly called Second Hooghly Bridge is located over the Hooghly River (Ganges) in Kolkata, West Bengal. It bridges the gap between the two pulsating cities of Howrah and Kolkata.
KALIGHAT TEMPLE :- Kalighat Kali Temple is a Hindu Temple dedicated to the Hindu goddess Kali. Kalighat was a Ghat (landing stage) sacred to Kali on the old course of the Hooghly River (Bhagirathi) in the city of Kolkata.
The Temple is visited by pilgrims from all over India irrespective of sectarian differences. The thousands of pilgrims who flock daily to the Kalighat Temple treat Kali very much like a human mother, bringing her their domestic problems and prayers for prosperity, and returning when their prayers are fulfilled to express their gratitude. Their attitude towards the Goddess is guided by their religious traditions and training, their spiritual and intellectual capacities and the guidance of their Temple priests.
Kalighat is regarded as one of the 51 Shakti Peethas of India, where the various parts of Sati’s body are said to have fallen, in the course of Shiva’s Rudra Tandava. Kalighat represents the site where the toes of the right foot of Dakshayani or Sati fell. Legend has it that a devotee discovered a luminant ray of light coming from the Bhagirathi river bed and upon investigating its source came upon a piece of stone carved in the form of a human toe. He also found a Sambhu Lingam of Nakuleshwar Bhairav nearby, and started worshiping Kaali in the midst of a thick jungle.
Kalighat is also associated with the worship offered to Kali by a Dasanami Monk by name Chowranga Giri and the Chowringee area of Calcutta is said to have been named after him.
INDIAN MUSEUM :- The Indian Museum is the largest and oldest museum in India and has rare collections of antiques, armour and ornaments, fossils, skeletons, mummies, and Mughal paintings. It was founded by the Asiatic Society of Bengal in Kolkata (Calcutta), India, in 1814. The founder curator was Dr Nathaniel Wallich, a Danish botanist. It has six sections comprising thirty five galleries of cultural and scientific artifacts namely Art, Archaeology, Anthropology, Geology, Zoology and Economic Botany. This multipurpose Institution with multidisciplinary activities is being included as an Institute of national importance in the seventh schedule of the Constitution of India. It is one of oldest museums in the world. This is an autonomous organization under Ministry of Culture, Government of India. The present Director of the Indian Museum is Dr. B. Venugopal. The museum was closed to the Visitors due to massive restoration and upgrades from 1 September 2013 to 3 February 2014.
JOSANKO THAKUR BARI :- The Jorasanko Thakur Bari in Jorasanko, north of Kolkata, West Bengal, India, is the ancestral home of the Tagore family, at 6/4 Dwarakanath Tagore Lane Jorasanko, Kolkata 700007. It is the house in which the poet and first non-European Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore was born. It is also the place where he spent most of his childhood and died on 7 August 1941. The house has been restored to reflect the way the household looked when the Tagore family lived in it and currently serves as the Tagore museum for Kolkata. The museum offers details about the history of the Tagore family including its involvement with the Bengal Renaissance and the Brahmo Samaj.
SCIENCE CITY :- Science City, Kolkata, a unit of the National Council of Science Museums (NCSM), an autonomous body under the Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India and the largest science centre in India, was developed with a onetime capital grant by the administrative ministry.
BIRLA PLANETARIUM :- Popularly known as Taramandal, the planetarium was inaugurated on 2 July 1963 by the then Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru. It has an electronics laboratory for design and fabrication of science equipment. It has an astronomy gallery that maintains a huge collection of fine paintings and celestial models of renowned astronomers. The Planetarium also has an astronomical observatory equipped with a Celestron C-14 Telescope with accessories such as ST6 CCD camera and solar filter. It offers to the public and students more than 100 astronomical projects dealing with various facts of astronomy, astro-physics, Space Science as well as myths concerning stars and planets.
EDEN GARDENS :- The Gardens came into being when the Governor General Lord Auckland desired to create a circus and a garden. A pleasure ground with an oblong tank in center was laid out on this site generally for recreation activities. The site was initially named Auckland Circus Gardens. The adjacent Eden Gardens Stadium is the largest cricket stadium in India and the second largest in the world according to its seating capacity. The historic and iconic cricket stadium has a seating capacity of more than one lakh spectators. It was one of the first cricket stadiums in India where floodlights were installed and Day-Night cricket was played. The gigantic electronic scoreboard is also one of its kind in the country. The stadium has had the privilege of hosting the most important cricket matches like World Cup Finals of 1987, World Cup Semi Finals of 1996, Hero Cup and many other tournaments both national and international.
It is the home of the Bengal Cricket Team and the Kolkata Knight Riders of the Indian Premier League, as well as being a venue for Test, One Day International and Twenty 20 International matches. Nevertheless, it remains the third biggest cricket stadium in the world, trailing Melbourne Cricket Ground and ANZ Stadium in Australia. As the saying goes in the world of cricket that a cricketer’s cricketing education is not complete till he has played in front of a packed Eden Gardens.
SHAEED MINAR :- The Shaheed Minar, formerly known as the Ochterlony Monument is a monument in Kolkata that was erected in 1828 in the memory of Major General Sir David Ochterlony, commander of the British East India Company, to commemorate both his successful defense of Delhi against the Marathas in 1804 and the victory of the East India Company’s armed forces over the Gurkhas in the Anglo-Nepalese War. The monument was constructed in his memory. It was designed by J.P. Parker and paid for from public funds.
In August 1969, it was rededicated to the memory of the martyrs of the Indian freedom movement and hence renamed the Shahid Minar, which means Martyrs Monument in both Bengali and Hindi, by the then United Front Government in the memory of the martyrs of the Indian independence movement. The present government has decided to illuminate the tower during evenings and allow Visitors to the top. The last persons who went up there were former governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi and his family.
Commonly referred to as the Monument, the Shahid Minar is located at Esplanade in central Kolkata in the north east of the Maidan. The tower is 48 m (157 ft) high. It has a foundation based on the Egyptian style. The column is a combination of styles with a classical fluted column, a Syrian upper portion and a Turkish dome. It has two balconies at the top. The top floor of the minar is accessible by a serpentine staircase, a total of 223 steps. It has a total of 218 steps until the top of the tower.
RACE COURSE :- The Royal Calcutta Turf Club (RCTC), popularly known as the Race Course is a premier horse racing club of Kolkata. In fact, it is one of the best horse racing grounds in India. Built by the British and placed strategically in the heart of the city, it’s a must visit destination for all. It also has a Polo Ground attached to it which is considered to be the best in the country. The race events are held twice in a year beginning from the season of monsoon. Towards the end of the year, the most prestigious events are held with eminent presence from all over the country. Other than being known for sporting events, Kolkata Race Course is also known for its wonderful surroundings and peaceful atmosphere. It is surrounded by the beautiful Elliot Park nearby and Maidan ground (biggest playground in Kolkata). Since its inception, this race course has been maintained by the Royal Turf Club of Calcutta. It’s a major source of entertainment and fun in the city. The illustrious Racecourse of Kolkata, reminds people of the British era and their landmarks in the city. The Racecourse is one of the major attractions of the Kolkata city because it has been a symbol of British rule over two centuries.
The Race Course was built in 1820 under the Imperial British Administration. Horse Polo being a favorite pastime sport of the British, had therefore naturally found its way into our land. Calcutta (Kolkata) at that time was one of the central seats of British Administration. As the British ruled our land then, they incorporated many of their westernized influences on the city. Apart from being known for their cruelty on the Indians; they were also known to have some developed sense of several amusement and sports which they brought into the city. They organized an elite club known as the Royal Calcutta Turf Club, which looked after the gaming events of the Race Course. Some prestigious races started by them were the Queen Elizabeth Cup & the Calcutta Derby Cup. Many other important and prestigious racing events were also held there from time to time. Apart from horse races, the ground was also used for playing polo.
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