West Bengal, the eastern state of India and the birth place of Tagore, stretches from Himalayas in the north to the Bay of Bengal in the south. The quintessential Calcutta, now Kolkata, erstwhile capital of India under the British Raj is also the state capital.
The site of the effulgent sunset at the Sunderbans Delta, paints the sky in various hues of peach as in the artist’s rendering. The aroma of the Hilsa fish being cooked in mustard gravy wafting out from a traditional Bengali household makes a food lover weak in the knees! The mesmerizing tea gardens of Darjeeling are a nature lover’s paradise. The cool evening breeze at the river Ganges, this is paradise on earth! This is where you find an eclectic mix of tradition and modern culture. The noisy slurps of tea along with “aloor chop” (potato fritters) transports you into the delusional world of “pure bliss.”
The heavenly experience doesn’t end here. There is much more to this whole trip to paradise.
1. Boating in Sunderbans Delta!
The confluence of river Ganga and Brahmaputra breeds an amazingly unspoilt mangrove forest – The Sunderbans! A potpourri of wild vegetation, animals and birds, vibrant flowers, no wonder finds it place in the list of UNESCO world heritage site. For the nature lovers and bird watchers it is a lens man’s delight. What makes this bestowed place adventurous is the reserve of ferocious tigers in the forests and the crocodiles in the river.
Furnished boats with rooms provide an enthralling experience and spectacular view of the entire Sunderbans. The horizon presents a wonderful vista of sunrise and sunset. The intricate maze of creeks and narrow channels, open muddy beaches and densely canopied forest, is a lens man’s treat. Just sink deep into the lap of nature and enjoy every bit of it!
2. The Food!
Bengali cuisine includes fish, vegetables and lentils served with rice as a staple diet. The food is subtle on the palate accompanied by a vast array of desserts. Fish is the staple food of Bengalis as it is abundantly found in the Ganges Delta.
Dishes like Machher Jhol (Fish curry), Ilish (Hilsa) Machher Jhol, Machher Paturi (fish steamed in banana leaf) Shukto (bitter vegetables), Phool Kopir Dalna (cauliflower gravy) and many more.
Kolkata is a hub of street food like chops, rolls and puchka that are also extremely delicious and found throughout city. Puchkas are known in rest of India as gol gappas or pani puris. Bengali milk sweets like rasagulla, misthi doi, sandesh, ras-malai, etc. are a treat for those who nurture a sweet tooth.
The beautiful and serene hill stations like Darjeeling and Kalimpong are the major tourist attractions in the lap of Himalayas. Darjeeling tourist places and attractions including the parks & gardens, scenic places & view points, waterfalls, temples & monasteries, museums & historic places, and lot more.
The entire land is colorful and picture perfect with green tea leaves, red rhododendrons, white magnolias, birds of different species and snow-covered peak of Kanchenjunga.
What can be a better place for a family holiday away from the hustle bustle of the mundane city life!
This place is teeming with historical monuments and buildings reminiscent of the bygone British era. Fort William, Victoria Memorial, Eden Gardens (Stadium), Howrah Bridge, Writer’s Building, Nicco Park and the list is endless. This gives you a chance to travel backwards in time and experience the colonial era!
Murshidabad, the erstwhile capital of Bengal, paints a livid picture of the era of the Nawabs. For those in search of spiritual harmony, Tagore’s Shanti Niketan is a mesmerizing place.
Durga Pooja is celebrated by Bengalis for nine days with great pomp and enthusiasm. The Calcutta delicacies have everyone drooling their way into the pandals. For food connoisseurs it is a huge gastronomic experience.
Kali Pooja is celebrated at midnight to celebrate the destruction of evil. Losar or the Tibetan word for “new year” is another festival celebrated for 15 days where a beverage called Changkol (Tibetan “beer”) is made.