Facts on West Bengal
|Population ('000s in 1991)||68,078|
|Area ('000 sq. km)||89|
|Females per 1000 males (1991)||917|
|Literacy rate (1991)||57.7|
|Ratio of urban population (1991)||27.5|
|Net Domestic Product||416,040|
|Per Capita Income||5,901|
|State Bird||White-throated Kingfisher|
|State Animal||Fishing cat|
|State Tree||Devil Tree|
|State Flower||Night-flowering Jasmine|
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About West Bengal
West Bengal is located in the northeastern part of the country. It is bounded on the north by Bhutan and the state of Sikkim, on the east by Bangladesh, on the northeast by the state of Assam, on the south by the Bay of Bengal, on the southwest by the state of Orissa, on the northwest by Nepal, and on the west by the state of Bihar. The alluvial plain in the south is watered by the legendary River Hooghly and its tributaries - Mayurakshi, Damodar, Kangsabati and the Rupnarayan. The Himalayan north, comprising the districts of Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri and Cooch Bihar are watered by the swift flowing rivers Tista, Torsa, Jaldhaka and Ranjit. Variations in altitude result in great variety in the nature and climate of West Bengal. From the northern highlands at the feet of the Himalayas to the tropical forests of Sunderbans, West Bengal is a land of myriad beauty, each region different from the other.
West Bengal Facts
Although in area West Bengal ranks as one of the smaller states of India, it is one of the largest in population. The capital is Calcutta, India's third largest metropolitan city by population; other important cities and towns are Howrah, Asansol, Durgapur and Siliguri, Darjeeling, Kharagpur and Haldia.
West Bengal has a single-chamber legislative assembly with 295 seats. The state sends 58 members to the Indian national parliament: 16 to the Rajya Sabha (Upper House) and 42 to the Lok Sabha (Lower House). Local government is based on 19 administrative districts.
Important tourist centers, among others are Calcutta, Digha ( Midnapore), Bakkhali Sea Resort, Sagar Island and Sundarbans (South 24 Parganas), Bandel, Tarakeswar, Kamarpukar (Hooghly) and Gadiara (Howrah), Shantiniketan and Bakreshwar (Birbhum), Durgapur (Burdwan), Mukutmanipur and Vishnupur(Bankura), Ayodhya hills (Purulia), Murshidabad, Gour and Pandua (Malda),Darjeeling, Mirik, Kalimpong, Sandakfu and Falut and Kurseong ( Darjeeling), Jaldapara and Dooars (Jalpaiguri).
West Bengal History
Bengal finds a coveted place even in pre-historic times. At the time of Alexander's invasion a powerful kingdom called Gangaridai ruled over Bengal. Ascendancy of the Guptas and the Mauryas had somewhat little effect on Bengal. Later Sasanka became the king of Bengal and is said to have played an important role in the early half of the seventh century. He was succeeded by Gopala who founded the Pala dynasty which ruled for centuries and had created a huge empire. The Palas were followed by the Sena dynasty which was ended by Muslim rulers from Delhi. Bengal was ruled by various Muslim rulers and governors till the Mughal period in sixteenth century.
After the Mughals, history of Modern Bengal began with advent of European and English traders. Battle of Plassey in 1757 changed the course of history when the English first gained a strong foothold in Bengal and India. In 1905 it was partitioned to achieve some political returns but people's growing movement under the auspices of the Congress led to the reunion in 1911. This triggered off hectic movement for freedom which culminated with Independence in 1947, and partition.
After 1947, the merger of native settlement began which ended with its final reorganization in 1956 (as per Recommendation of the States re-organization Act, 1956) when some Bengali speaking areas of a neighbouring state was transferred to West Bengal. More Details...
West Bengal Geography
The Geography of West Bengal is varied. The state of West Bengal is situated in the eastern part of India. On the east lies Bangladesh. Sikkim and Bhutan lie on the north of West Bengal. The state of Assam is situated on the north east of West Bengal. Bihar and Jharkhand is situated on the western side of the state. The geographical location of the state is 23 degree North latitude and 88 degree East longitude.
The total area of West Bengal is 88,752 sq km. According to the census of 2001, the state has a population of 8,02,21,171. The population density of West Bengal per square kilometer is 904. Out of the total population of the state, the ratio between males and females is 934. The population of West Bengal is predominated by the Bengali population. But immigration from different states of India has enriched the population diversity of West Bengal. More Details...
Society and Culture of West Bengal
About three quarters of the population lives in the villages. Of the different religions, Hinduism, with its substrata of castes and aboriginal tribes, claims the adherence of more than three-fourths the population, most of the remainder being Muslim. West Bengal contains about 40 recognized communities of tribes--the better known among them being the Santals, Oraons, Munas, Lepchas, and Bhutias--that make up less than one-tenth of the total population. Bengali is the language of most of the people, with Hindi, Urdu, Nepali, and English as minority languages. English, however, is the language of administration and a lingua franca for business purposes.
Bengalis have always fostered literature, art, music, and drama. Bengali literature dates to before the 12th century. The Caitanya movement, an intensely emotional form of Hinduism inspired by the medieval saint Caitanya (1485-1533), shaped the subsequent development of Bengali poetry until the early 19th century, when contact with the West sparked a vigorous creative synthesis. The modern period has produced, among others, the Nobel prize-winning poet Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941), whose contribution still dominates the Indian literary scene. Bengal also boasts of three other Nobel prize winners, Mother Teresa, Amartya Sen and Satyajit Ray. Jamini Roy, Uday Shankar, Bimal Mitra and Tarashankar Banerjee all belong to this culturally rich land. The theatre is popular, and both amateur and professional performances are quite sophisticated, traditional open-air performances, are popular in the countryside, along with kavigan an impromptu duel in musical verse between village poets. Traditional music takes the form of devotional and cultural songs. The kathakata a religious recital based on folklore, is another rural entertainment. Films offer yet another type of popular diversion, and Bengali productions have earned national and international awards.
Fish, rice and a plethora of sweets are Bengali specialities. Ace Bengali artisans work wonders with terracota horses, conch shells, clay models, leather, batik and wood work. Bengal handloom sarees with exquisitely woven borders also have a universal appeal.
Durga Puja, coinciding with Dussehra in other parts of the country, rouses the state to a feverish pitch, with its preparations that touch the life of every Bengali. Kali Puja, festival of lights (Diwali), Dol Jatra (Holi), Ganga Sagar Mela at Sagar (January /February), the Muslim festivals of Id and Ramzan, Baisakhi - Bengal's New Year's day, Rabindranath Tagore's birth anniversary, Christmas and New Year are marked by typical abandon and devotion. More Details...
West Bengal Media
In the modern world newspapers are among the most easy and common ways to propagate information. West Bengal has over five hundred newspapers published daily out of which over three hundred are in Bengali. The state owned television broadcaster is Doordarshan and the public radio station is All India Radio. Private FM stations are only available in Asansol, Kolkata and Siliguri.
Newspapers of West Bengal generally publish current news of the state, nation and the world. The news published in these newspapers is about political, social, criminal, cultural, business, sports events. They also publish editorials, cartoons focusing on contemporary issues in a comic way and articles by eminent scholarly people. More Details...
|West Bengal Industrial Map|
Economy and Infrastructure of West Bengal
Agriculture plays a pivotal role in the state's income, and nearly three out of four persons in the state are directly or indirectly involved in agriculture. The state accounted for 66.5 percent of the country's jute production including mesta in 1993-94, and 22.2 percent of tea production during the same period. Important crops of the state include potatoes, oilseeds, betelvine, tobacco, wheat, barley and maize. The state also occupies a leading position among principal rice growing states of India, by contributing 15.3 percent of the total production of rice in the country.
The state has a significant mineral output, including dolomite, limestone, and china clay. It has steel plants, an automobile-manufacturing plant, and numerous chemical, machinery-building, and light-engineering industries. Here's a profile of the state's infrastructure:
|Roads||Surfaces - 25984 Km, Un-surfaced - 32016 Km, National Highways - 1631 Km|
|Railways||3767 Km Eastern & South Eastern Railway Headquarters are in Calcutta.|
|Telecommunications||Basic Telephone - Working Lines - 797800 Waiting list - 150200 Express Demand - 1.4 per 100 population VSNL has its International Gateway and Earthstation in and around Calcutta. Mobile Cellular Services (GSM) is provided by Modi - Telstra and Usha Martin Telecom Malaysia within Greater Calcutta. Mobile Services proposed in the rest of the State by Reliance/Nynex. Public Radio Paging Services provided by four operators E-mail Services available from a host of operators.|
|Major Ports||Calcutta, Haldia|
West Bengal Government
The most stable state government of the country, the current West Bengal Government is in the power for the last thirty years at a stretch. The left front led state government of West Bengal has excelled in many aspects over the years. However it has also faced severe criticism in some areas of its activities. The political scenario of the state comprised of the national parties like the Communist Party of India Marxist, CPI, All India Forward Block, Bahujan Samaj Party, the Indian National Congress, the Bharatiya Janata Party, Samajwadi Party, National Congress Party and regional parties like the Trinamool Congress, SUCI, CPIML, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, PDS, JDS, JDU, RSP, etc.
West Bengal Judiciary
The state of West Bengal is blessed with a systematic and organized Judiciary that helps in the quick delivery of justices. Unlike United States of America, India does not follow a Federal system of Government. India adheres to the Unitary System of governance under which the Supreme Court is the highest Judicial authority that is supported by the High Courts of each state. More Details...
Hotels of West Bengal
The State has all kinds of hotels, from budget to top end hotels all of them cater to the needs of the tourists visiting the state. Besides these there are many resorts, restaurants and cafes which cater to the needs of all segments of travelers. As the state has a huge tourism potential there are many hotels and resorts in the state. Some of the popular hotels in West Bengal are : The Oberoi Grand - Kolkata, Taj Bengal Kolkata, ITC Sonar, Glenburn Tea Estate - Darjeeling, Mayfair Darjeeling, Barsana Hotel & Resort, Royal Sarovar Premiere, Holumba Haven, Elgin Silver Oaks Kalimpong, Aqua Marina Drive Inn, The Golden Retreat, Swissotel Kolkata and Hyatt Regency Kolkata amongst others.
Demographics of West Bengal
The state is the 4th most populous state of the country and the 7th most populous state in the world. Let us have a quick look at some of the demographic details of this east Indian state:
- Total population: 91, 347, 736 (According to Census 2011)
- Male population: 46, 927, 389
- Female population: 44, 420, 347
- Density of population: 1, 029.2 per sq. km. (2, 665.7 per sq. mi.)
- Decennial population growth: 11, 171, 539
- Decennial growth rate: 13.93 %
- Sex ratio: 946.57 females per 1, 000 males
- Total population (In the age group of 0 year to 6 years): 10, 112, 599 (11.07 %)
- Male population (In the age group of 0 year to 6 years): 5, 187, 264 (11.05 %)
- Female population (In the age group of 0 year to 6 years): 4, 925, 335 (11.09 %)
- Total literacy: 62, 614, 556 (77.1 %)
- Male literacy: 34, 508, 159 (82.67 %)
- Female literacy: 28, 106, 397 (71.16 %)
- Official languages: Bengali and English
- Main religion: Hindu (Around 72.5 %), Muslim (About 25.2 %) and others (2.3 % approximately)
Districts of West Bengal
West Bengal located in eastern India is the country's fourth most populous state. With Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) as its capital, West Bengal has two very distinct natural regions; the Gangetic plains in the north and the Himalayas in the north. West Bengal is famous for its cultural heritage and for being home to India's Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore and Raja Ram Mohan Roy, regarded by many as the Father of the Bengal Renaissance Movement. The population of West Bengal is 91,347,736 (2011 census) and is spread over an area of 88,752 km sq. More Details...
West Bengal Hill Stations
West Bengal hill stations are one of the major attractions of this State. From the breathtaking views of Darjeling to the quite retreats of Siliguri, from the stunning Tea Gardens to the woody forests, West Bengal hill stations have something for everyone.Some of these hill stations are also sites of historical and religious significance. But it is the tranquil and scenic beauty of the West Bengal hill stations that attract the visitors from all over the world. Each hill station is different from the other and provide great opportunities for the visitors to lose themselves in the serene lap of nature. There are forests and valleys, picturesque settings and tranquil mountain walks. Some of West Bengal's hill stations are very old and date back to the ancient times of Indian history. They provide the perfect mountain experience to the visitors.
The hill station of Darjeeling is one of the most visited tourist destination in India. Among the hill stations of West Bengal, Darjeeling is the most favorite locale for spending holiday among the tourists. The tourists from India as well as from abroad visit this hill station to enjoy the beauty of nature. It is an ideal recluse from the hot summer days in the cities. More Details...
One of the well known city of West Bengal, Siliguri has turned out to be an important center of trade and commerce. Blessed with the bounty of nature, Siliguri has maintained a perfect balance between its industrial estates and ecology of the region. More Details...
Tourist Spots in West Bengal
|West Bengal Travel Map|
This district is said to be decorated by nature's own hands. The brown hills and gleaming rivers makes the place a famous tourist destination. The age old temples are the specialty of the place. Names of some of the famous places of visit in this district are given below:
- Biharinath Hill
- Kalachand Temple
- Shyam Roy Mandir
- Madanmohan Mandir
- Chhinnamasta Mandir
- Malleshwar Temple
- Susunia Hill
Known for its tea gardens, this district of the state is a place of natural beauty. Crowned by the great Himalayas, this is among the world's magnificent hill stations and is called the "Queen of Hill Stations". Apart from trekking, one can even enjoy the toy train meandering through the lush green hills.
Being the capital city of the state, this place has got many tourist attractions. Following are some of the tourist attractions located in the "City of Lights":
- Dakshineshwar Kali Temple
- Hoogly Bridge
- Indian Museum
- Nakhoda Mosque
- Nehru Children's Museum
- Nicco Park
- Princep Ghat
- Science City
- Victoria Memorial Hall
- Zoological Garden
This narrow land lying in between Darjeeling and Sikkim Himalayas as well as the Gangetic plains of Bengal is a land of nature and forests. This place is known for being the location of a number of national parks and wildlife sanctuaries. Following are some of the famous tourist spots in the district of Jalpaiguri:
- Buxa National Park
- Chapramari Wild Life Sanctuary
- Gorumara National Park
- Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary
- Mahananda Sanctuary
This is a place of historical importance. This area used to govern all the proceedings of the eastern India during the 18th Century. To name a few of the places to see there are:
- Hazarduari Palace
- Nizamat Imambara
- Katra Mosque
Other tourist attractions
To name a few other places those are worth visiting in this state are:
- Ayodhya Hill
- Bandel Church
- Cooch Behar Palace
- Curzon Gate
- Digha Beach
- Gandhi Ghat
- Indian Botanical Garden
- I. S. K. C. O. N. (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) Temple at Mayapur
- Kantanagar Temple
- Raiganj Bird Sanctuary
- Sunderbans National Park
How to Reach West Bengal
This state, being one of the major states of India, can be reached from both national and international destinations by the following modes of transport:
By Rail: The city of Kolkata is the head quarter of the eastern as well as the south eastern divisions of the Indian Railways. Howrah Railway Station, Sealdah Railway Station and New Jalpaiguri Railway Station are some of the major railway stations in the state, which connects the place to the other parts of the country. Following are some of the trains serving this state of India:
- Coromandel Express
- Duronto Express
- Gitanjali Express
- Howrah Mail
- Kolkata Rajdhani Express
- Sealdah Duronto Express
- Sealdah Rajdhani Express
By Road: The state of West Bengal has got an extensive network of State Highways as well as National Highways that link the place to the neighboring and distant states of India. The highways passing through the state are:
State Highways: S. H. - 1 to S. H. - 12, S. H. - 10 A and S. H. - 12 A National Highways: N. H. - 2, N. H. - 6, N. H. - 31 A, N. H. - 31 C, N. H. - 31 D, N. H. - 32, N. H. - 35, N. H. - 41, N. H. - 55, N. H. - 60, N. H. - 80 and N. H. - 81
Regular luxury and normal bus services are available from some of the major areas of the state. Those buses are run by the following:
- C. S. T. C. (Calcutta State Transport Corporation)
- N. B. S. T. C. (North Bengal State Transport Corporation)
- S. B. S. T. C. (South Bengal State Transport Corporation)
West Bengal Information
West Bengal or Paschim Banga, located in eastern India is the cultural hot seat of India. There are abundant sources of West Bengal Information that provide a glimpse of the Bengali culture and rich architecture of the state.
Bangaldesh flanks West Bengal on the east while Bhutan, Assam and Sikkim form the northeastern boundary. Orissa and Nepal lie to the southwest and northwest, respectively and Jharkhand and Bihar lie to the west. The state has been a part of several empires and records a splendid history. West Bengal was a mute witness to the ravages of the Battle of Plassey. More Details...
West Bengal Emergency numbers
The West Bengal emergency numbers consists of the numbers of the police department, police stations, hospitals, blood banks, railway station, airport and other essential parts of the state. The emergency numbers of the state of West Bengal is of great assistance to the citizens.
The state has many centers, which provide round the clock ambulance service for the patients. The hospitals of the state also have their own ambulance. Hospitals are scattered all over the state of West Bengal. The government has set up hospitals even in remote areas with free bed facilities to ensure proper treatment of all the patients in the state. To aid the medical sector of the society, there are many 24-hours chemists' shops in the state of West Bengal that leaves its center open on all days of the week and throughout the day. More Details...
Last Updated on 24/05/2013