From north to south and east to west, the options of West Bengal Sightseeing literally have no end. On the north the state of West Bengal is majestically adorned by Himalayan ranges, whereas on the south it is surrounded by the splashing beauty of Bay of Bengal.
Calcutta, now rechristened as Kolkata, is the prime appeal of West Bengal Sightseeing. Boasting of a historically significant past, the city of Kolkata houses some of the famous Sightseeing spots like Victoria Memorial, Zoological Garden, Planetarium, Nehru Children's Museum, Kalighat and many others.
The splendid places that are situated on the outskirts of West Bengal also make up for a worthwhile Sightseeing journey. Out of several enticing destinations within the Sightseeing regions of West Bengal, the following are outstanding in their historical grandeur:
- Bakreshwar - located at a distance of around 229 km from Kolkata, this place claims reverence for being one of the divine Shakti Pithas of India
- Barrackpore - this place has mention in the world history for being the ground of the great Revolution of 1857 and possesses some of the famous sites like Mangal Pandey Uddyan, Sarada Math and Gandhi museum, among several others
- Burdwan - this one pulls thousands of tourists round the year who visit the prestigious University along with many historical spots
Nabadwip is the birthplace and abode of the founder of Vaishnav religion and great social reformer - Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Nabadwip in Nadia District, West Bengal is a historic town situated on the banks of Bhagirathi River. A twenty Kilometers journey from Krishna Nagar, the town of Nabadwip was the capital of Lakshman Sena. A great ruler belonging to the Sena Dynasty, King Lakshman Sena ruled during the twelfth century. Nabadwip was also under the Muslim rule as it was captured by Muhammed Bakhtiyar Khilji. The town was an important center of education, religion and culture in the yesteryear.
Nabadwip of the present time is a prime religious and pilgrimage center, which attracts millions of devotees and visitors every year. Tourists and religious followers from all over the country and world visit Nabadwip to feel the essence of the sacred place. The main attractions in and around the Nabadwip Town are: -
- Sonar Gouranga Temple
- ISKON Temple complex
Darjeeling is the most popular hill station in the state of West Bengal and one of the most sought-after hill resorts of the country. Apart from the off-season, the hill station of Darjeeling is flocked by tourists from inside and outside the country. Darjeeling is affectionately called the Queen of Hill-Stations.
It is said that if there is heaven in West Bengal, it must be in Darjeeling. The beauty of the long stretch of Himalayan Mountains that Darjeeling displays cannot be accurately described in words. Tiger Hills is the highest point in Darjeeling that provides a heavenly picture of the Kanchenjunga.
If one is fortunate, one may get a glimpse of the eternally beautiful Mt. Everest on a clear day. The pleasant weather, clear blue sky and the meandering hilly roads will make a lifetime chance for you to breathe deep in the purity that is there in the Nature...something almost unfeasible in our populous and packed city life.
One of the most popular attractions in Darjeeling that allures and appeals to people of all age is the unique Toy Train. It has remained its charm over the years. The Toy Train takes about seven hours and the slow speed provides a golden opportunity to savor, relish and appreciate the nature's bounty that Darjeeling has in abundance. Forests, waterfalls, valleys, tunnels and mountains; the trip on the Toy Train has it all.
The Mall is the meeting place in Darjeeling and houses a number of restaurants, hotels and shops.
Some places worth visiting are the Tenzing Norgay Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Batasia loop and the Senchal Lake. There are several places in and around Darjeeling that are famous destinations for short excursions. These are:
A prominent sightseeing destination within the administration of North 24 Parganas of West Bengal, Barrackpore spans over a total area of 308.1 sq km. Being enriched with the thrilling historical outbreak of 1857, Barrackpore boasts of an enticing range of touristy appeals.
The world-famous Sepoy Mutiny was originated in the very land of Barrackpore. The world famous revolutionary Mangal Pandey was the prime protagonist who started his protest against the colonial rule from Barrackpore. In fact this one single event has taken Barrackpore to the international pages of history.
Apart from being associated with the 1857 Revolution, Barrackpore is also proud of many other equally enthralling appeals. Some of the outstanding sightseeing corners of Barrackpore are:
- Gandhi Museum
- Gandhi Ghat
- Adyapith Mandir
- Mandir of Laxmi Narayan
- Lat Bagan
- Annapurna Temple
- Udyan Bati
- Mandir of Hanumana
- Prem Chand Sata Barshiki bhawan
- Nand Kishore Temple
Since Barrackpore charts high on the tourism contours of West Bengal, hence it is obvious that the transportation facility of the place is quite developed. With a well-organized road and rail network, Barrackpore of West Bengal can also be reached through airways. The nearest air terminal of Barrackpore is at Kolkata.
Upholding its historical prestige, Barrackpore pulls thousands of travelers from all zones of the globe round the year.
Bakreshwar West Bengal
Bakreshwar holds a distinct identity as one of the popular sightseeing spots of West Bengal. Situated on the suburbs of the state, Bakreshwar is only a 229 km driveway from Kolkata. With a rich historical past, Bakreshwar is the sacred land of one of the 51 Shakti Pithas of India.
Bakreshwar comes under the jurisdiction of Birbhum district. The place is enriched with sufficient tourism treasures. Housing one of the famous Shakti Pithas, Bakreshwar automatically comes in the itinerary of any tourist.
The myth behind the emergence of the Shakti Pitha in Bakreshwar of West Bengal states a very enticing historical tale related to the Gods. It is believed that once enraged by the behavior of her father towards Lord Shiva, Devi Parvati surrendered herself into the holy fire of a yagna. As a consequence she died instantly. On seeing his consort's dead body, Lord Shiva could not hold his temper and began the furious divine dance which is known by the name of tandava.
In order to pacify Lord Shiva, God Vishnu then cut the entire body of Parvati and spread the different parts in various places of the universe. It is said that Lord Vishnu made 51 pieces of Parvati's body. This way the 51 Shakti Pithas came into being.
The historical saga of Bakreshwar states that the eyebrows and foreheads were spread by Lord Vishnu in Bakreshwar. The unique appeal of Bakreshwar in West Bengal is the ancient Shiva Temple. Thousands of devotees are found offering prayers to this Temple of Shiva regularly.
As a part of sightseeing, Bakreshwar also flaunts around 250 other Shiva shrines each of which bears a separate and significant past. Also, Bakreshwar sightseeing spot is going to house one of the important thermal power plants of India in the near future.
With nine natural hot springs Bakreshwar truly captivates the imagination of every tourist.
Hooghly is associated with a number of places that have great tourism value. For Bengalis, this place has a greater significance, as it is the birthplace of the eternal Bengali novelist, Sarat Chadra Chatterjee. Hooghly is also the sacred place where great enlightened souls like Sri Ramakrisna Paramhamsa and his consort, Sarada Devi - the Mother of all; stayed for the most of their lives.
The district of Hooghly is also popular in far off places in the country because of its connection with the French, the Dutch and the Portuguese. All these three races have left their individualistic marks on the different places in Hooghly and with its headquarters at Chunchura, a seventeenth century Dutch settlement, the district of Hooghly is the only one of its kind.
The important tourist places in the district of Hooghly are:
While Tarakeshwar and Bhadreswar are sacred pilgrimage spots, Dhaniakhali is a place where a typical Bengali sari, Dhanekhali, is woven.
Devanandapur is the place where the eminent author, Sarat Chandra Chatterjee had born. The places like Joyrambati and Kamarpukur are blessed with the glorious presence of Sri Ramakrishna and Sarada Devi.
The other spots of tourist interest in Hooghly are the:
- Bandel church
- Muslim imam-barah
- Sandeswar Temple
- Hansweswari Temple
- Brindavan Jew temple
Sundarban is the largest mangrove forest of the country, which forms a major portion of the world's largest delta. The extensive delta area is formed by the rivers Ganga, Meghna and Brahmaputra. The word Sundarban means ' the beautiful jungle ', which has perhaps got its name from the large presence of Sundari trees. The Sundarbans of West Bengal is the original home of the incomparable Royal Bengal Tiger. Beside that - the vast forest and swamp area covering almost 4262 Square Kilometers, boasts of rich flora and fauna. The dense forests, plenty of river channels, marshy islands and large swamps make the Sundarbans a place filled with mystic adventures. The best time to visit the exciting forests is between September and March.
Worried with the rapid decrease in tiger count due to poaching and other reasons, the government is maintaining a tiger preservation project. The Sundarban Tiger Preservation Project is spread across 2585 Square Kilometers. The core area is treated as the National Park and has been declared as one of the worlds heritage sites. Other interesting and places of must visits are: -
- SajneKhali - known for the bird sanctuary and watch towers.
- Piyaly - entry point of the Sundarbans
- Kanak - famous for the presence of the rare Olive Ridley Tortoise
- Holiday Island - the home for rapidly decreasing Barking Deer
- Netidhopani - an archaeological site
- Bhagatpur Crocodile Project - breeding farm for Estaurine crocodile and Gharial
- Gosaba - early settlement colonized by Sir David Hamilton
Inheriting a heritage of more than 5000 BC, Burdwan stands with elan at a distance of 95 km from Calcutta. The district of Burdwan is literally an endless reserve of sightseeing options. From sacred shrines to hi-tech technology parks, Burdwan is synonymous to a multi-dimensional palate of touristy spots.
Over the years, Burdwan of West Bengal has transformed itself into a popular tourist destination. Apart from several historically important sites, the Burdwan University of the place has gained the recognition of a prestigious educational centre.
The sightseeing zones which have a prominent place in the tourism map of Burdwan in West Bengal are as follows:
- Purbasthali - this is a bird watching place where one can find plovers, pintails, darters and pochards, among many others
- Maithon - this famous Dam is situated in Asansol and is popular for its surrounding serenity
- Gopalbag - this one, a part of the Burdwan University, is adorned with colorful floral beds and shady trees
- Rajbati - once the residence of the Maharaja of Burdwan, the edifice now houses the Burdwan University
- Curzon Gate - symbolizing the grand hospitality of Raja Bijoychand of Burdwan towards Lord Curzon, this Monument is today a heritage property
- Shah Alam's Dargah - this one erected in the 18th century and still stands strong on the land of Burdwan
- Pirbaharam Sikka - the place is famous for housing the tomb of Sher Afgan
- Kamalakanti Kalibari - named after the famous poet Kamalakanti, the place is enshrined with an idol of Kali
- Babladihi - enshrined with an idol of Lord Shiva which is believed to have association with the times of Pal Dynasty
- Bishnu Temple - the sacred place is enshrined with Lord Narayana's idol and the Temple is made up of stone
Vishnupur in Bankura District, West Bengal is a town with immense historical and cultural value. Vishnupur is blessed with excellent tradition of art, crafts and classical music. Once the capital of the Malla Kings, Vishnupur is famous for its terracotta or burned earthenware craft. The place is equally well known for its Tussar silk, Baluchari Sarees and ancient terracotta temples. Most of these wonderful temples were built by the Malla ruler Veer Hambir and his successors. Vishnupur holds a respectable position in reference to the Indian classical music scenario. The area's very own school of Music - the Vishnupur Gharana is highly appreciated for ages and the Vishnupur school of painting is also quite talked about.
Vishnupur is almost one hundred and thirty Kilometers away from the state capital Kolkata and headquarter of the Vishnupur subdivision. There are many interesting places in and around Vishnupur. Some of them are:-
- Madanmohan Temple
- Jorebangla Temple of Keshta Rai
- Pancha Ratna Temple of Shyam Rai
- Vishnupur Festival
- Indra Puja
The gateway to the North Bengal and other north eastern states, Siliguri is a very important city in the Darjeeling District, West Bengal. Serving as the connector between the southern and northern part of the state of West Bengal, Siliguri is a crucial commercial city.
Located at the foot of the easter Himalayas, Siliguri is situated on the banks of the Mahananda River. The ever busy Siliguri City is also an important educational and transportation center.
The most indispensable thing about Siliguri is that you have touch down the city in order to visit your favorite destinations like Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Lava and Gangtok. The place is a very convenient base and well served with quality hotels and modern market complexes.
The Tenzing Norgay Bus Terminus and the New Jalpaiguri Railway Station connects the city with other parts of the state and country. The Bagdogra Airport also runs important domestic flights. In Siliguri one can roam around the Hongkong Market, Kanchenjunga Stadium and the newly constructed shopping malls. The most frequented tourist places around the city are:
- Gajaldoba Teesta Project
- Bhutan Ghat
- Buxa Fort
- RajaBhat Khawa
- Rasik Bil
Jaldapara is the long stretch of lush green forest in the northern part of West Bengal. Jaldapara is synonymous to the wildlife in the state of Bengal. There is a wildlife sanctuary in Jaldapara, which attracts a good number of tourists.
The Jaldapara Wild Life Sanctuary is a sanctuary that is the most famous in the whole of Bengal. It is located in one of the Jalpaiguri District's Sub-Division - Alipurduar. It is at a distance of about one hundred and twenty four kilometer from Siliguri.
The Wild Life Sanctuary in Jaldapara is especially well known for the rhinoceros with one-horn, which is endangered specie.
The forest in Jaldapara is mainly savannah and it is coated with a kind of tall grasses known as elephant grasses. Through the sanctuary runs the beautiful hilly river, Toorsa.
The animals for which the sanctuary is famous apart from the one-horned rhinoceros are:
- Wild Elephant
- Royal Bengal Tiger
- Wild Pig
- Spotted Deer
- Barking Deer
- Hog Deer
The best time to be in this forest region of Jaldapara is between the month of September to the month of March. The rainy season should preferably be avoided to rule out any kind of inconvenience. The winter is a wonderful time to catch a glimpse of the migratory birds.
Murshidabad is a town that is situated in the north of Bengal. It was used as a principle port in the past. Once upon a time, the city of Murshidabad was one of the largest cities in the whole world. Murshidabad is historically a very valuable place. It is the place where the Nawab of Bengal, Siraj-ud-daula, was killed in a war with British.
For sight seeing in and around the town of Murshidabad, hiring a bike-rickshaw would be a good idea as the various tourist spots in the town are quite far apart.
Murshidabad is the city, which was the last capital of the independent state of Bengal. It was named after the Dewan of three states of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa, Nawab Murshid Quli Khan. Posotioned on the banks of the river Bhagirathi, Murshidabad is a city famous for Murshidabadi Silk.
Plassey or Palashi is an important historical place, situated at about forty kilometer south of Murshidabad where the historic battle was fought between Nawab Siraj-Ud-Daula and Lord Clive in the year 1757. It is an important tourist destination and is a must-visit-spot for everyone who comes to Murshidabad.
The most famous of the tourist destinations in Murshidabad are:
- Hazarduari Palace
- Great Imambara
- Nimak Haram Deohri
- Parswanath Jain Temple
- Katra Mosque
- Moti Jhil
- Jafarganj Cememtary
- Jahankosha Canon
- Wasef Manzil
One of the oldest districts of West Bengal and the ancient Sanskrit-learning center, Nadia is an inseparable part of the religious and cultural history of the state. The traditional city of Krishna Nagar is the district headquarters of the Nadia District of West Bengal. The total population of Nadia is 46,03,756, which covers an area of 3,927 Square Kilometers. Apart from tourism, agriculture is the main source of revenue for the district. The chief crops that are grown in the area are Paddy, Wheat, Oilseeds, Pulses, Potato, Vegetables, Rice and Sugarcane. The Nadia District is a developing district in terms of industrialization.
With the presence of ancient temples, mosques, historic forts and a hub of magnificent handicrafts, Nadia District is a great tourist destination. The most frequented places in the district are:
- Nabadwip - birthplace of the great social reformer and founder of the Vaishnav religion, Shri Chaitanya Dev Mahaprabhu. The temple town is a major attraction for the devotees and tourists.
- Shantipur - once an important center of Sanskrit learning, the town is famous for its exquisite sarees.
- Mayapur - claimed by some as the actual birthplace of Chaitanya. The ISKON Temple complex is a major crowd puller.
- Ballal Dhipi - an archaeologically significant place.
- Palashi - the historical battle ground where Siraj-Ud-Dullah lost the war to the British.
- Shivaniwas - another place with ancient temples.
- Krishna Nagar - the historic city with several tourist interests and wonderful clay models. The headquarters of the district.
- Bahadurpur Forest
- Mangaldwip Char
- Hasandanga Beel
Howrah is known to be the twin city of Kolkata. It is an industrial hub in the state of West Bengal. The Hooghly River flows by the city of Howrah. It is the second largest city in the state of West Bengal. Although the city is not a major tourist appeal, the city boasts of three tourist attractions.
Howrah is situated next to the 'City of Joy', Kolkata. The two twin cities are linked together by the well-known Howrah Bridge, which is also famous by the name, Rabindra Setu.
The places in the city of Howrah that has acquired tourism value attached to it. These are as follows:
- Indian Botanical Gardens
- Howrah Bridge
- Belur Math
Near the Indian Botanical Gardens there is the Bengal Engineering College. It is the oldest technological institute that the state of West Bengal has.
The Belur Math of Ramakrishna Mission is another tourist spot in Howrah. It is a sacred place and visited by hundreds of people every day.
Then there is the famous Howrah Bridge that bridges the distance between the two twin cities of Howrah and Kolkata. It is probably the busiest bridge in India. It also connects Howrah Station, the country's one of the largest railway stations, to Kolkata.
Last updated on: 6/05/2013