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Indian States

West Bangal

  West Bangal - West Bangal, the gateway to eastern India is shrouded in history that dates back to antiquity. There are historic references to the state that are found in the Vedic annals as well as the chronicles of the Murayan, Gupta and Mughal eras and the musty archives of the Pala and Sena dynasties.

The first traces of West Bengal’s history are recorded to belong to the Vedic era when the state was inhabited by myriads of people of varying origin and ethnicity. The state was ruled by several chieftains during the epic Mahabharata period and was inhabited by the Aryans in the post-Vedic period that soon followed.

West Bengal witnessed the flourishing prosperity of the Mauryan Empire as well as the efflorescence of the Gupta Golden Age. Among the various dynasties that established control over West Bengal, the Palas, Pundras and the Senas deserve special mention. The voluminous evidence of history cites references to the glorious Pala rule that spanned nearly 400 years.

Main Cities / Towns

Kolkata, the capital city of West Bangal

 

Kolkata - Calcutta - the largest metropolis in India - is a vibrant 'city of joy', prolonged the length of the eastern bank of the Hoogly River. Kolkata is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal. The city has a population of almost 5 million, with an extensive metropolitan populace of over 14 million, making it the third-largest urban agglomeration and the fourth-largest city in India.

Calcutta was the capital of the British India till 1912. In 1690, Job Charnok, a mediator of the East India Company chose this position for a British trade resolution. Before the British came it was just a rural community; the capital city of Bengal was Murshidabad, around 60 miles north of Calcutta. In 1756, Siraj-ud-daullah, nawab of Bengal, assaulted the city and captured the fort. Calcutta was summoned up in 1757 by Robert Clive when the British defeated Siraj-ud-daullah on the battle field of Plassy. In 1772, Calcutta became the capital of British India, and the first Governor General Warren Hastings moved all important offices from Murshidabad to Calcutta. Till 1912, Calcutta was the capital of India. After that, Calcutta became the capital city of West Bengal.


KOLKATA

Kolkata is reminiscent of its past glory during the British rule and stands out as one of the most quintessential cities that has a perfect blend of the modernity and old heritage going hand in hand. The tourist attractions in Kolkata remind us the yesteryears when the British used to rule the nation and Victoria Memorial is the apt instance of it. This is one of the most magnificent tourist attractions in Kolkata that is still having its old charm and grandeur. Howrah Bridge is another instance that is a perfect instance of extreme engineering that awe-inspires the visitors from the different parts of the world to pay a visit to this lovely city.


 Tourist attraction in  Kolkata

 Victoria Memorial - is a huge white-marble structure and the most enduring remnant of the British Raj in India. The structure, which is now floodlit in the night, It has been now converted into a museum that houses the most impressive collection of memorabilia's from the days of the British Raj.

Indian Museum - built in 1874, has a beautiful structure. The oldest museum in India, it has one of the rare collections of archeological artifacts. The entrance to the museum houses an original Lion Capitol, the national symbol of India. The museum is opened all days of the week except Monday. The normal timing is 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

 

Fort William - was constructed in 1781 after the unfortunate happenings of 1756 in which many British soldiers with their families were killed by Siraj-Ud-Daula. A large area around the village of Govindpur was cleared of the forests and this fort was constructed, which for some time also lent its name to the city. The fort is still in use and visitors are allowed inside only after getting special permits. The area around the fort is a very large patch of green known as the Maidan (ground). The Maidan is also known as the lung of Kolkata and stretches 1 km in width and 3 km in length.

Eden Garden - located in the northwest corner of the city, is a small and pleasantly laid-out garden. The place also houses the renowned cricket ground by the same name.

Birla Planetarium - is one of the largest of its kind in the world, and an educational and entertaining experience. Shows in Hindi and English are held here.

Kali Mandir - is the temple dedicated to Kali, goddess of destruction. This is the temple from which the old village Kalikata took its name, which, in turn, also gave the city its name. Howrah Bridge is an excellent example of the engineering techniques of the early 20th century. The whole bridge is 450 m long without any pylons in the Hoogly River. The bridge also has the distinction of being the busiest bridge in the world catering to around 100,000 vehicles and innumerable pedestrians. When Kolkata was the capital of British India, BBD Bagh was the center of power. This is the place that houses the now famous Writer's Building (clerks were known as writers in the British India) and the old Fort William.

Belur Math - the headquarters of Ramakrishna Mission, is situated in the north of the city. The place was founded in 1899 and houses a structure that was designed to be a church, temple, and mosque all in one.

To know and understand Calcutta in its eternity, one is invited to the city during Durga Puja-a time when Calcutta becomes unforgettable. Every year, for four days, Calcutta forgets its worries and yields to a paroxysm of celebration and worship. This special time of the year comes just before the full moon in late September or October. This is a special occasion because of the transcendent place Goddess Durga holds in the Bengali imagination.

Saraswati Puja -  is the celebration of Saraswati, the goddess of learning. The festival is celebrated just before the coming of spring in the months of January or February.

 

                         

DARJEELING

 

Darjeeling can also be called as the Queen hill station of India, it is so beautiful and amazing that it gives a look Switzerland. It is an old Victorian town surrounded by the beautiful lush green tea gardens, it was founded by British. Darjeeling is 3000 meters above sea level and plays an important role in the economy of the area due its tea gardens and cash crops like orange, potato, cardamom, ginger, etc. Darjeeling is retreat for trekkers, every year thousands of people come here to enjoy the trekking challanges. Sandakphu / Phalut trek are the famous trekking routes.

 

Tourist attraction in Darjeeling

 

The Mall - The Mall is Darjeeling's popular commercial street. It is lined with Tibetans selling hand-knitted sweaters and souvenir shops chock-full of Himalayan artifacts and both real and imitation antiques. Photo shops carry turn-of-the-century photos as well as specialising in hand-painted black and white prints with glowing oil colours. The Mall leads to Chaurasta, a square, which doubles as a bandstand, a pony riding arena for children and a haven for lovers.

 

Chowrasta -The Chowrasta, meaning crossroad, is a hive of commercial activity. The Mall Road originates and culminates at the Chowrasta. This is the heart of Victorian Darjeeling. Here hotels, restaurants and shops brush against each other. The shops and stalls are a veritable paradise for souvenir collectors. The Bhutanese sellers display their wares. Woollen garments, tribal ornaments, Thankas, rosaries, brass statuettes and Gorkha daggers are kept on display for sale. Foreign goods are also available in some shops. Local handicrafts are much in demand.

Obeservatory Hill - The oldest site in Darjeeling is Observatory Hill, known locally as “Makal-Babu-Ko-Thaan”. According to legend, a Red Hat Buddhist Monastery called Dorje Ling, or 'place of the Thunderbolt', stood at this very spot. The Nepalis destroyed it in the 19th century. The Shivas and Buddhists share the temple that stands there today.

Darjeeling Rangeet Valley Passenger Ropeway - At North Point about 3-km from the town, this is the first passenger ropeway in India. For reservation of ropeway seats please contact - Officer in-charge, Darjeeling Rangeet Valley Ropeway Station, North Point, Darjeeling. Regular share taxi service is available from Market Motor and Taxi Stand is to the Ropeway Station.

 

Ghoom Monastery - One of the better-known monasteries of Darjeeling, Ghoom is about 6 km south of the city centre. The 4.57-m high statue of a
seated Maitreya Buddha is of great interest here.

 

Bhutia Busty Gompa - Situated 1 km out of town. With the Khangchendzonga (Kanchenjunga) providing a spectacular backdrop, this monastery was originally a branch of the Nygmapa sect’s Phodang Monastery in Sikkim. It was transferred to Darjeeling in 1879. The shrine here originally stood on Observatory Hill. The monastery has a well-stocked library with many old Buddhist texts.


Bhutia Busty Gompa - Situated 1 km out of town. With the Khangchendzonga (Kanchenjunga) providing a spectacular backdrop, this monastery was originally a branch of the Nygmapa sect’s Phodang Monastery in Sikkim. It was transferred to Darjeeling in 1879. The shrine here originally stood on Observatory Hill. The monastery has a well-stocked library with many old Buddhist texts.


Nearby Attractions from Darjeeling

Tiger Hill - Situated at an altitude of 2,590m (8,482 ft.) and 13-km from the town, this spot has earned international fame for the magnificent view of the sunrise over "Kanchenjunga" and the great Eastern Himalayan Mountains. Even Mount Everest, the world's highest peak, is visible from here.
 
Pashupati - Further afield, in Pashupati on the Nepal border, one can purchase foreign goods at reasonable prices, view wildlife such as the endangered one-horned Rhino, Deer, Gaur, and wild boar while seated atop an Elephant's back at Jaldapara Game Park; learn of the Lepcha legend at the confluence of the Teesta and Ranjeet Rivers; relive Kalimpong's past glory as a trading post by visiting the market filled with traditional Tibetan medicine, spices, musk, wool and silk; or for the truly adventurous-hire some ponies and a crew and take to the hills.

Siliguri / New Jalpaiguri - The twin Cities of Siliguri and New Jalpaiguri are the departure point to Darjeeling, Sikkim and the North Eastern States. Being the nodal point this place has become very busy and crowded. Siliguri also acts as a transit point for Nepal. Tourists come to Siliguri and New Jalpaiguri mainly to change bus or catch trains. Kalimpong:

Batasia Loop, Darjeeling  - This railway loop is an interesting example of engineering. At this loop the toy train takes a very unique turn. This loop is just five kilometer from the main town of Darjeeling. This place also has a very good market where you can buy the purses, bags and other decorative items made by the local women at very reasonable price.

Happy Valley Estate, Darjeeling - We all start our day with tea but we seldom know how the tea is processed. Here one can watch the tea from the gardens being processed. One can spent a few hours here. Entry is only allowed to persons who have permission from any officer of the estate.

Natural History Museum, Darjeeling - A great place to be at, for all those who have great interest in knowing about the history.The museum has a collection of over 4300 specimen . Established in 1903, this natural history museum packs in its folds a rich collection of fauna found in the Himalayas and in Bengal. Among the attractions are included the estuarine crocodiles. This unique museum also has a good collection of butterflies. The mineral forms of various stones are displayed in a very attractive manner in the museum.

Kanchenjunga View, Darjeeling - From Darjeeling one can have the best, uninterrupted view of the worlds third highest peak. Bhan Bhakta Sarani provides one of the enthralling views of these snow capped peaks. The Chowrasta also gives you a good sight to the Kanchenjunga peak.

Darjeeling Zoological Gardens - The zoo is situated two kms form the main town. This zoological garden of Darjeeling houses some of the rare species of animals and birds. This is the only zoo in India having the Siberian Tigers. Apart from these the rare Red Panda is also there. The Snow Leopards, Great Grey Birds, Snow Yaks are some the animals which are attracting tourist in great numbers.

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Observatory Hills, Darjeeling - This point provides one of the breathtaking views of Kanchenjunga peaks. This place is also very sacred for the Hindus and the Buddhists as there are temples and monasteries at this place. The Kali temple is decorated with the colorful flags. Be aware of the monkey groups as some them are very aggressive.

Botanical Gardens, Darjeeling - This place is worth a visit for its exotic and exclusive collection of a variety of Himalayan plants, flowers and orchids. This place is near the Darjeeling taxi stand. The gardens also has a green house.
 

Monasteries in Darjeeling - Monasteries in around Darjeeling generate tremendous interest among visitors, be it in the form of architectural extravagance or the spiritual message embodied in them.

 

DURGAPUR

 

Durgapur is located in the district of Burdwan, in the state West Bengal, India. Durgapur is a well-planned industrial city on the banks of the river Damodar, with a population of about 250,000. Durgapur is situated on the bank of river Damodar, just before it enters the alluvial plains of Bengal. The topography is undulating. The coal-bearing area of the Ranigunj coalfields lies just beyond Durgapur, although some parts intrude in to the area. Its surrounding area is very fertile and is a big producer of rice in the country.

 

Durgapur was founded by in the late fifties, by the then Chief Minister of West Bengal, Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy. Durgapur is an industrial metropolis and is home to the largest industrial unit in the state, Durgapur Steel Plant, a unit of Steel Authority of India Limited. In Durgapur one can find power plants, chemical, engineering industries, metallurgical units etc. The Durgapur Barrage over the river Damodar provides the water necessary for the many industries and also for drinking.

 

Tourist attraction in Durgapur

Kalimpong boasts of a lovely ambience and a large variety of the flora and fauna that is found in this lovely hill resort of the northern part of West Bengal. There are many tourist attractions in Kalimpong that are simply a delight to witness. Some of the tourist attractions include;

Durpin Dhara - This tourist attraction is the peak point in Kalimpong that offers a awe-inspiring view of the rolling plains and the mighty Teesta. The monastery of Zong Dog Palri Fo-Brang is also having its location here.

Dr. Graham's Homes - This is one of the other tourist attractions in Kalimpong and is a distinctive educational institute. This institute houses 700 boys and girls today and is spread over a 500 acre estate having its own dairy, poultry and bakery.

Thongsha Gumpha - One will also come across the oldest monastery in this region which is of Bhutanese origin and was built in the year 1630 as one of the tourist attractions in Kalimpong.

Gauripur House - This place owns the honour of being one of the favourite retreats of Poet Rabindranath Tagore. Now it has been transformed into a Co-operative Training Institute.

Flower Nurseries - Brindaban Garden Nursery, Ganesh Mani Pradhan Nursery, L.B. Pradhan Nursery, Pinewood Nursery, Standard Nursery, Shangrila Garden Nursery, Twin Brothers Nursery, Universal Nursery are renowned for interesting flowers such as Amaryllis, Lilies, Anthuriums, Roses, Gerbera, dahlias, gladiolas as well as Orchids and Cacti.

Lava and Lolay Gaon are the other tourist attractions which are located in the vicinity of Kalimpong and offer a good place for some of the most intimate escapes.

 

SILIGURI

 

It is known as the gateway to north-eastern India. The strategic location of the place makes sure that travelers to the north-east has to pass through Siliguri. It is also the commercial capital of the region. Siliguri has the best communication network in the region. The nearest Railway Station from Siliguri is New Jalpaiguri (NJP), which is the biggest railway station of the area. From here you can get the trains for the other parts of India. Bagdodra Airport at a distance of 12 kilometers is the only airport in this region. Siliguri is also connected by road with the entire Himalayan region. The National Highway 31 and National Highway 55 is connects Siliguri with other major places. The biggest Bus Terminus of North Bengal, Tenzing Norgey Bus Terminus is situated in Siliguri. The other roadway conveyances like taxi, jeeps are also available here.

Naturebeyond is proud to hold its central office in Siliguri.

 

History of Siliguri - Siliguri is not a very old city. At the time of Indian Independence in 1947, it was a small village. But the partition of the country and creation of Pakistan increased the importance of the place. A large number of migrants from Bangladesh settled in this hamlet at the time of partition. Over the next half a century the town has grown by leaps and bounds to become the second most important town in West Bengal after Calcutta.

 

Tourist attraction in Siliguri

 

Iskcon Temple - An august reflection of serenity and sublime beauty, ISCKON temple in Siliguri attracts thousands of people into its lap. International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), also known as Hare Krishna Movement, manages the temple with dedication and reverence.

The temple enshrines Radha Madhav idol, an image of Lord Krishna with his romantic wife Radha. The temple houses many beautiful idols of Advaita Acharya, Lord Narasimha, Lord Chaitanya and many more.
 

Coronation Bridge - Coronation Bridge, also known as Sevoke Coronation Bridge, is built in 1930 over the renowned Teesta River at the confluence of Rangeet River and Teesta River in West Bengal to mark the Coronation of the King George V. This bridge, located close to Sevokeswari Kali Mandir in Siliguri, is a very important bridge in the north east region of India and connects Darjeeling with Jaipalguri.

The Science City - Science City in Siliguri, also known as The North Bengal Science Centre, is a knowledge base of science and it is a highly accomplished institution in north Bengal. This is located at the Northern suburbs of Siliguri town known as Matigara.

This Science Museum exhibits many scientific experiments and scientific equipments. The Science city complex encloses a planetarium and a Nature Interpretation Centre. This centre displays the region’s natural diversity. The exhibits include many kinds of flora and fauna existing in the Siliguri ranges. There will be interesting shows on astronomy in the planetarium. This city is a common place for educational tours.

 

Salugara Monastery - Salugara Monastery, a sacred Buddhist destination near to Siliguri, was established by Tibetal Buddhist Monks, the followers of the Tibetan religious leader Dalai Lama. The attractive feature of this monastery is the 100 feet stupa founded by the Tibetan Lama, Kalu Rinpoche. The stupa brings out five kinds of relics and is really worth to be revered.

The Monastery is an ideal tranquil location for meditation. The shrine is nestled among the lush green forests and hilly terrains. The surroundings offer a great sense of spiritual peace and the monastery is a perfect spot for staying away from hustle and bustle of city life. This place offers rejuvenating effects on mind and body.


Savin Kingdom - Savin Kingdom near to Siliguri is a scenic location which attracts many tourists. The place is nestled among spacious and serene tea farms. The place is credited with an amusement park. The park offers many facilities for the enjoyment of the visitors. This is a perfect entertainment park for all people irrespective of ages.

The vast area of the amusement park offers special play grounds for kids. Many rides, especially designed for the children are the major attractions here. The Park is well maintained with imposing landscapes. The park contains an avenue for relaxation and rest. This is ideal for fun and entertainment.

 

Kali Minder - Sevokeshwari Kali Mandir is an ancient temple located very close to Coronation Bridge in Siliguri and located in Binnaguri nearby to the shore of River Teesta. The temple enshrines Goddess Durga in her Kali form. Adorning majestic jewels and arms equipped with sword and armory, the image of Goddess has a unique appearance in this temple.

The temple is set in the backdrop of picturesque surroundings. The abundance of foliage, lush green environments and cool pleasant breeze from the Teesta River make the temple a great tourist and religious spot. One can view the majesty of the Kanchenjunga peak from the premises of the temple.

SHANTINIKETAN
 Shantiniketan is situated in the district of Birbhum in the Indian state of West Bengal. This small university town , situated about 180 km from Kolkata, is a world famous tourist destination as it is associated with the Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore, the author of Gitanjali and the revered poet of India. Shantiniketan was originally called Bhubandanga after a local dacoit. It was Maharshi Devendranath Tagore who founded an ashram here called Shantiniketan or abode of peace where people from all religions were invited to join for meditation. In time his son Rabindranath Tagore started a school in Shantiniketan modeled on the lines of the ancient gurukul system of education which   was later developed into the Viswa Bharati University. Today the Viswa Bharati University is one of the most prestigious universities in India with degree courses in humanities, science, fine arts, music, performing arts etc; and attracts students from different parts of the country. Inside the campus stands Uttarayan, a complex where Rabindranath Tagore lived and worked and it now houses Vichitra, a museum dedicated to Tagore and filled with Tagore memorabilia and an art gallery. The university is open to visitors. Santiniketan becomes a beehive of activity in December when the Poush Mela is celebrated here annually. This three-day long festival marks the harvest season and is celebrated with gusto with the teachers and students playing an active part.  This important cultural event attracts a large number of visitors from India and abroad and serves as a meeting ground for rural and urban people and artisans and buyers. Live performances by folk singers and dancers attract huge crowds.

 

Tourist attraction in  Shantiniketan

 

Tagore’s Ashram - Tagore’s Ashram is founded by Maharshi Debendra tagore, father of Rabindranath Tagore, in 1863 located in Santhiniketan. The ashram was dedicated for the spreading of the concept Brahmo Dharma. The ashram presently engaged in activities for the upliftment of socio and economically poor sections of the society. The Ashram is a good picnic spot and placed in the picturesque surroundings.

 

Uttarayan Complex - Uttarayan Complex is the prestigious place in Santhiniketan blessed by the life of Rabindranath Tagore, It is here the great poet lived for his lifetime. This complex contains several buildings in distinct architectural styles. There is a Prayer Hall, built in 1863 by Maharshi Debendranath Tagore where Brahmo prayers used to be held. The art gallery and museum in this complex is credited with the Nobel Prize medal, a bangle and a watch of the poet. Murals are displayed exceptionally in the gallery of the complex. The Uttarayan Complex consists of five houses of the Tagore- Udayana, Shamali, Konarka, Udichi and Punassha.

 

Rabindra Bhavana - Tagore memorial museum or Rabindra Bhavana is established in 1942 at Santhiniketan and is a place reverberating with the memory of the famous poet and Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore. This Bhavana displays the personal collections of Rabindranath Tagore and also the gifts presented to him from India and abroad.

A library and a general section with spectacular collection of paintings, letters written by celebrities and manuscripts are enclosed in this centre. Tagore’s photographs depicting his lifestyles and voice records are also displayed here. Entry is free of cost.

Entry Timings 7am to 11 am during summer and 10.30 am to 4.30pm during winter (Tuesdays 10.30 am to 1pm), Wednesday closed holiday.

 

Chhatimtala - Chhatimtala was the place where Maharshi Debendranath Tagore, father of famous poet and Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore, meditated daily and devoted himself to world peace. This is famous tourist spot situated at Shantiniketan. Chhatimtala is closely related to Vishva Bharati University as the students who are graduated from here are honored with a branch of Saptaparni tree seen in Chhatimtala. There is a prayer hall of Maharshi Devendranath Tagore, which attracts many visitors is located in this place.

 

Amar Kutir - Amar Kutir, a cooperative movement established in 1978 for the benefit of common working rural folks, is located nearby to Shantiniketan in Birbhum District. The building of the society was an erstwhile Ashram for the political prisoners released from British prisons.

This society, founded by Rabindranath Tagore, is aimed at the rural development and promoting village arts and crafts. It produces many handicrafts, artifacts and other materials like Kantha stitched saris, leather goods, batik and bamboo crafts and sells them at affordable prices. It is good place to visit and purchase artifacts.

 

Sriniketan - Sriniketan, established in the recent past in 1992, is a centre devoted for rural reconstruction and has a department where India’s socio-economic issues are studied. Focus of this centre is on adult education, agriculture, cottage industries, welfare of villages and handicrafts. The center sells many items made in traditional way, such as pottery, batik on leather, cloth and silk, tribal handicrafts and weaving materials.
 

Hindi Bhavana - The importance of Hindi in the integration of Indian Society was known to Rabindranath Tagore and Santhiniketan houses a distinctive study centre for Hindi, known as Hindi Bhavana. This study centre offers specialized classes in Hindi and gives a broad look on Hindi literature, its evolutions and the growth. The library in Hindi Bhavana consists of many interesting Hindi as well as other languages literary works. Those who love literature, poems, stories and other related books are attracted more towards this centre

 

Cheena Bhavana - As the name suggests, Cheena Bhavan is the Study centre for China, mainly aimed at fostering India - China relation and is located at Santhiniketan. This promotes the liaison between India and China. The main aim of this study centre is the development of Indo-Sino relations and the cultural relations. This Bhavana offers many research facilities and studies on Chinese culture and societal relations. This place was regularly visited by Chinese scholars to offer their knowledge base to the students in Visva Bharathi.

 

Nippon Bhavana - Nippon Bhavana, a centre aimed at fostering India - Japan relations, is located in Santhiniketan. The donor of this centre is Bippon Bhavana of Visva Bharati in Japan. The centre, independent one and not under the control of Visva Baharthi University, carries out contact and exchange program with Japan. Nippon centre has collaborations with many bhavanas of University; presently Japanese studies department is placed in Nippon Bhavana

It has a worthy Library holding many valuable books, especially Japanese books. This is a right place to come across with Japanese literature, culture and artistic features. Many scholars visit this study centre and many facilities to carry out research in Indo-Japan relations are available here. Seminars and symposiums are arranged regularly here, the topics related to India-Japan relations and Japanese culture.

 

Fair & Festival in West Bangal

 

Gangasagar Mela - The largest fair of the State, Gangasagar Mela is a three-day event held in mid-January, on the occasion of Makar Sankranti, at Sagar Dwip. Lakhs of pilgrims come for a holy dip at the confluence of the Ganga and the Bay of Bengal.

Kenduli Mela - on the occasion of Makar Sankranti (mid-January) another fair is held at Kenduli in the district of Birbhum. The Mela draws the largest number of Bauls, the wandering minstrels of Bengal.

Jalpesh Mela - On the occasion of Sivaratri (February - March), a month-long fair is held at Jalpesh near Mainaguri in the district of Jalpaiguri. The fair centres round the age-old Siva temple dedicated to Lord Jalpeswara.

Vasanta Utsav - With the onset of spring, Holi is celebrated all throughout India. At Santiniketan in the district of Birbhum, it is Vasanta Utsav (March). Students of the Visva Bharati University welcome the season of colours through songs and dances, throwing abir and spraying liquid dyes at each other.

Naba Barsho - The Bengali year starts from the first Baisakh (mid-April). It is an occasion for celebration to the Bengalees in general and tradesmen in particular. New clothes, fresh flowers, offerings at temples, people visiting decorated shops mark the day.

 

Rathayatra - Rathayatra (June-July) at Mahesh near Serampore is a week-long festival. People throng to have a share in pulling the long ropes attached to the chariots of Lord Jagannath, Balaram and Subhadra on the journey from the temple and back.

Jhapan - All over the Western part of the state, a festival is held in the honour of the serpent-deity Manasa on the last day of the Bengali month Sravana (mid-August). But the most spectacular is the one held at Vishnupur in the district of Bankura, with its shows of live snakes on open platforms.

Bera Utsav -  Every year on the last Thursday of the Bengali month of Bhadra mid-September), Bera Utsav is held at Lalbagh on the river Bhagirathi near the palace of the Nawabs. Fireworks of various size and colour add to the gaiety of the festival.

Durga Puja & Deepavali - The largest Bengali festival is Durga Puja, held in the Bengali month of Aswin (October). Images of the ten-armed goddess are worshipped in ancient houses and at pandals, erected specially for the Puja. After the four-day ceremony, the images are immersed in the river. Durgapuja is the most important festival in the city of Calcutta.

The festival that follows is Deepavali, the festival of lights,. The worship of goddess Kali is marked by display of fireworks and crackers.

Rash Mela -  On the occasion of Rashyatra (November), a fair is held at Cooch Behar in North Bengal. The month-long fair is one of the most important fairs in the area.

Jagaddhatri Puja - Goddess Jagaddhatri is worshipped in the Bengali month of Kartick (November). At Chandannagar near Calcutta imagesof the goddess are tall, pandals spectacular and the illumination unique. in fact, the illumination part is the most attractive feature here.

Teesta Tea & Tourism Festival - Held in a series at Darjeeling, the Dooars and in Sikkim, the Teesta Tea & Tourism Festival is celebrated with a view to promote tourism in this region as a composite tourist destination, with its bounties in tea, timber and tourism. The festival is held every year in November - December.

Poush Mela -  Between the 7th and 9th of Poush (end-December). Poush Mela is held at Santiniketan in the district of Birbhum. Of the many seasonal festivals celebrated at Santiniketan, this is perhaps the most important, with cultural programmes consisting of folk music & dance, folk theatre and Baul songs.

Vishnupur Festival -  in the temple town of Vishnupur a festival is organised every year between 27 and 31 December. Characterised by exhibition and sale of local handicrafts and performance of the rich musical tradition that Vishnupur boasts, this is an immensely popular festival.


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