West Bengal

West Bengal : The land of Indian renaissance

General Information:

Area: 88,752 sq km

Language: Bengali, Hindi, Urdu, English, Bhutia and Nepali.

Best time to visit: September to March

Capital City: Kolkata (Calcutta)

Airports: Kolkata, Bagdogra

About West Bengal

Situated in the eastern part of India with snow clad Himalayas in the North and the Bay of Bengal in the south, West Bengal is the gateway to the North eastern states of India. The only state of India which shares international boundaries with three countries; Nepal, Bangladesh and Bhutan and shares the regional boundaries with Orissa, Bihar, Jharkhand, Sikkim and Assam.

The southern parts of West Bengal actually sweat it out with humidity for most time of the year, while the northern and north eastern parts of West Bengal are chilly and cool. Monsoon plays havoc in the northern regions and the southern parts also receive considerable amount of rainfall every year.

About West Bengal:
Earlier known as Vanga, West Bengal was spread over a vast area. Ruled by several dynasties from ancient times, it was the Gupta dynasty of Magadh (320-520 AD) in present day Bihar, from where the history of West Bengal came to be known. In 750 AD Gopal became the king of Gaur. This led to foundation of the Pala dynasty in Bengal. But it was only during the rule of Mahipala � I, from 977-1027A.D., that the dynasty�s powers and importance grew. The other important dynasty in Bengal was the Chandra dynasty. Interestingly, both the Pala and the Chandra dynasties believed and followed Buddhism. It was during this time the Bengali language developed and became popular. Many poets and authors like Joy Dev, who composed the Geet Govinda, are associated with this period. The Mughals ended the rules of Hindu dynasties and appointed Governors who went on to become the Nawabs of Bengal. It was in the late 17th century that the British, through the East India Company established its foothold in West Bengal on the pretext of business. The battles of Plassey and Buxar paved the way for almost two hundred years of British colonial rule of India. As India's main city with educated middle class, Calcutta became a major center for the nationalists when West Bengal produced nationalists like Rabindranath Tagore, Vivekanand and Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose who fought for the freedom of India. The British policy of divide and rule became a reality when the Muslim dominated region of east Bengal went on to became a part of Pakistan, during the post independence partition and later secured a separation from Pakistan to become an independent country of Bangladesh. Today West Bengal is ruled by the left government. There are many dialects including the Bangladesh�s Bengali that is spoken all over West Bengal. Many northern parts of this state speak the languages like Nepali and Bhutia, of the neighbouring countries.
It is the cultural hub of India with theatres, plays and films being the most popular forms of entertainment. Folk dances and folk music form an integral part of this state. West Bengal with its diverse geographical nature provides a wide arena of tourist spots. With the ancient temples of Vishnupur, to the churches of Kolkata, from Himalayas to sea beaches and world famous Gangetic deltas, from Sunderban to Darjeeling, from Tea to Tant sarees, from Rabindranath Tagore to Satyajit Ray, from Durga Puja to Christmas, from Fish curry to Sweets, Bengali culture is truly unique and exciting.

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