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  • Kolkata, three hundred years old, traces its history to the landing of Robert Clive on the banks of the Hooghly beside three villages. It was from here the monumental British Raj was launched in India. The capital of West Bengal, Kolkata is the major entry point.

    If Delhi is the elegant capital of the nation, and Bombay its major industrial city, then Kolkata ranks as the intellectual capital. Poets, thinkers and film directors of international reknown hail from this city where avant garde plays and art exhibitions go on show practically every day of the year. Kolkata was the first headquarters of the East India Company, and some of its best known monuments were built by this British trading house. However, the city has, within its 300 years’ history, hosted other communities both from other parts of India as well as abroad – Chinese, Armenians, Jews – all of whom have left their imprint in pockets of Kolkata. Sightseeing in this fascinating city includes Raj Bhawan, the residence of the Governor of Bengal; Victoria Memorial, the city’s landmark; Botanical Gardens, which are notable for the oldest banyan tree, and orchid house; Armenian Church; Marble Palace, one family’s collection of memorabilia; and the Birla Planetarium. Darjeeling, the state’s most popular hill resort, is a slice of England 2,134 metres above sea level. Surrounded by tea gardens growing the prized leaf known as Darjeeling tea, the little town faces some of the Himalaya’s highest peaks. Darjeeling is an abrupt variation from the lowlands of West Bengal. Buddhism, being a major faith here, Darjeeling and the nearby town of Kalimpong have, between them, several Buddhist monasteries, chiefly of the Yellow Hat sect.



    Grown from mangrove swamps, Kolkata is the largest metropolis in India. Kolkata's role in the national economy is of crucial importance as the Gateway to Eastern India. Ships were the begining of Kolkata's history & the river Hoogly was the key to the city's fortunes.


    Belur Math 16.5 km, Botanical Garden 19.2 km, Dakshineshwar Temple 20 km, Howarh Bridge 6.4 km, Jain Temple 9 km, Kali Temple 3.2 km, Marble Palace 6.8 km, Nakhoda Mosque 6 km, National Library 1.4 km, Rabindra Sarobar 4.2 km, Raj Bhavan 3 km, Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture 5 km, Sahid Minar (Ochterlony Monument), St.Paul's Cathedral, Victoria Memorial 0.5 km, Zoological Gardens 3 km.


    • Academy of Fine Arts, Tel: 248-4302;
    • Asutosh Museum, Tel: 34-7472;
    • Birla Academy of Art & Culture, Tel: 76-6802;
    • Birla Industrial & Technological Museum, Tel: 247-7341;
    • Birla Planetarium, Tel: 242-1554/-6619;
    • Gurusaday Museum; Indian Museum, Tel: 29-9902;
    • Nehru Children's Museum, Tel: 248-3517;
    • Rabindra Bharati Museum, Tel: 34-5241;
    • State Archaeological Gallery, Tel: 243-6636;
    • Victoria Memorial Hall Museum, Tel: 248-5142.


    Digha Beach 185 kms, Santiniketan 213 kms, Bakkhali Beach 132 kms, Chandannagar 39 kms, Diamond Harbour 51 kms, Sundarban 131 kms, Tribani 48 kms, Gangasagar 140 kms, Malda 340 kms, Kalna 82 kms, Navadweep 110 kms, Mayapur 134 kms, Murshidabad 221 kms etc.

    Vishnupur : 152 kms. Famous for the exquisite 17th & 18th century terracotta temples, Seat of classical music. The Stylised, "Bankura horse" symbolic of excellence in rural handicrafts is native to this district.

    Belur Math (16 km) is a modern temple within the grounds of the Ramakrishna Mission. Dakshineshwar Temple (20 km) dedicated to Kali is built in the architectural style of Bengal. Botanical Gardens (8 km) cover 110 hectares and have a number of rare plants, including a 200 year old banyan tree. Murshidabad (221 km) centre of Bengal’s silk industry and the residence of the erstwhile nawab of Bengal. Shantiniketan (167km) now a university, founded by the Nobel literature laureate, Rabindranath Tagore.


    Area : 187 sq. kms.
    Altitude : 5.8 metres
    Climate (deg c) : Summer- Max. 41.7, Min. 38.1; Winter- Max. 29.3, Min. 9.6.
    Rainfall : 158 cms June to Mid September
    Clothing : Tropical
    Languages Spoken : Bengali, English, Hindi etc.
    Season : Throughout the year.
    STD Code : 033.



    A thrilling cruise through the largest estuarine delta in the world and the biggest colony of the `Royal Bengal Tigers' - the Sundarbans. These evergreen mangrove forests pulsate with a myriad forms of life. Above the Kingfisher and White-bellied Sea eagle add a brilliant burst of colour. The sea creeps in at high tide. The forests float. The ebbing waters reveal nature so alive on the glistening mud flats. The land is split by numerous rivers and water channels all emptying into the Bay of Bengal. Venture further to discover a rich tribal folklore. It is believed that Bonbibi, the goddess of the forest, protects the wood-cutters, honey-collectors and fishermen on their hazardous missions. For, as the saying goes, `Here the Tiger is always watching you'.

    Delta-forest home of the Royal Bengal Tiger. The Ganges, which is rightly known as the Ganga, carries silt and fertility from its ice-melt sources in the high Himalayas, through the lush plains of India, past the riverine port of Kolkata. Here, however, it is no longer the Ganga because it has become one of the major distributaries. For, in the flat grey-clay lands of Bengal, the great river splits into numerous channels, dividing and sub-dividing like the roots of a tree, till it pours through many mouths into the Bay of Bengal.

    Between Kolkata and the final outpouring of the river are the lands knows as The Sunderbans: literally, the Beautiful Forests. Some people, believe that they could," however, have got their name from the profusion of Sundari trees. These forests are extremely dense, often impenetrable, fringed by mangrove jungles and are one of the most intriguing wilderness on earth. Most journeys through these humid forests are done by boat, and it is a fascinating trip. Fishermen’s boats, like black scimitars, drift past, spreading nets for the fish that teem in these rich waters. Near the delta villages the clay is relieved by green vegetation. When the tourist ferry stops, occasionally, visitors walk ashore on palm- and-bamboo jetties to enter forest areas fenced in by bamboo corrals.

    Fiddler crabs extend their cherry-red claws out of their mud burrows; curious, air- breathing, mud skipper fish climb the stilt roots of the mangroves on their flipper-like fins, viewing intruders with pop-eyed amazement. Tribes of honey gatherers live in these dark forests. They believe that the giant, saline water drinking Royal Bengal Tigers always attack from the rear and so they wear masks on the backs of their heads. This is why a posse of armed policemen accompanies all visitors who venture into these beautiful forests. Other wild creatures which lucky visitors might see are spotted deer, boar, monkey, crocodile, python, Salvator lizards, and a wide range of water birds.


    Area : 2608 sq. kms.
    Altitude : Sea Level.
    Temperature (deg C): Summer- Max. 42, Min. 37; Winter- Max. 29, Min. 9.2.
    Clothings : Summer- Tropical / Cotton, Winter- Woollens.
    Languages spoken : Bengali, Hindi, English.
    Best season : September to March. July to September for Sajnekhali Bird Sanctuary.
    STD Code : 03219.


    To visit Tiger Project area including Sajnekhali Bird Sanctuary permission is to obtained from:
    The Joint Secretary (Forest), Govt. of West Bengal, 4th Floor, G-Block,Writers' Building, Kolkata- 700 001, Tel: 225-5601 Extn 411/754.



    Jaldapara Wild Life Sanctuary situated in Alipurduar Sub-Division of Jalpaiguri district in West Bengal was constituted in the year of 1941 for the protection of wild life, particularly single horned Rhinos. River Torsha runs through this riverrain forest sanctuary which is mostly covered with tall grasses. The wild life, in addition to the famous single horned rhinos, consists of Royal Bengal Tigers, wild elephants, deers, swamp deers, hog deers, wild pigs, bisons and a number of birds, pea-fowl etc.


    Local excursions may be arranged to visit tea gardens to see the manufacturing of tea in the nearby tea gardens by prior arrangement with the authority.Anthropological excursion in nearby Tribal village, TOTOPARA, can be arranged.


    Area : 100 sq. kms.
    Altitude : 61 metres.
    Best season : October to May. (Particularly March & April, when new grass is growing).
    Clothings : Summer- Cottons, Winter- Woollens.
    Languages spoken: Bengali, Hindi, Nepali, English.



    The second popular sea resort of West Bengal is Bakkhali , situated only 132 km away from Kolkata , It is quiet and charming.



    An International University founded by Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore where the cultures of the East & the West could meet and mingle. Named Vishva-Bharati, the University represents Indian traditions while incorporating the best of other cultures. Shantiniketan, the abode of peace, was initially an Ashram or hermitage founded in 1863 by Maharishi Devendranath Tagore. In 1901 his son, Rabindranath converted it into an experimental open-air school with just five students. It proved a success. He widened the scope of studies which gradually formed the nucleus of a University.

    Another interesting feature about Santiniketan is that splendid sculptures, frescoes, murals and paintings of Rabindranath, Nandlal Bose, Ramkinkar, Bindobehari Mukhopadhyaya and others adorn the campus.


    Shantiniketan is a University town and a centre of learning. The Uttarayan complex where the poet lived consists of several buildings such as Udayana. Konark, Shyamali, Punascha and Udichi which reflect the architectural genius of the poet's illustrious son the late Rathindranath Tagore. In addition there are Kala Bhavan (College of Fine Arts and Crafts). Sangit Bhavan (College of Music and Dance), Vidya Bhavan (College of Humanities), Siksha-Bhavan (College of Science) and Vinaya Bhavan (Teacher's Training College), Cheena Bhavan and Hindi Bhavan. The Shantiniketan campus of Viswa Bharati has grown up to be a centre for learning with a bias towards art, music and humanities. At Shriniketan, mainly a Centre for Rural Service and Studies (Palli Samgathan Bibhaga), there is a college of Agriculture (Palli Siksha Sadan) as well.

    The places of interest are mainly on the campus and have a distinctive feature of some of the best in Indian art and culture.

    • China Bhavan : The Chinese Faculty.
    • Chhatimtala : Here Maharshi Devendranath, the father of Rabindranath Tagore, used to meditate. Prayers are held usually at Convocation time. Successful graduates of the Vishwa Bharati University are presented a branch of five leaves each from the Saptaparni trees which abound in the area.
    • Kala Bhavan : The College of Fine Arts & Crafts has an museum exhibiting sculptures, frescoes & murals and a library of art books.
    • Patha Bhavan : Now a secondary school, it is of particular interest as an example of the traditional `Brahmacharya Ashram'.
    • Prayer Hall : Founded by the poet's father in 1863, the hall is made of glass. Prayers are held on Wednesday.
    • Bichitra : Also called Rabindra Bhavan, a Research Centre and Museum where the poet's personal belongings, paintings & various editions of his works are exhibited.
    • Sangeet Bhavan : College of Dance and Music. The University is replete with works on Art, Music and the Humanities.
    • Uttarayan Complex : The poet lived and worked in the Northern Complex consisting of several buildings as : Udayana, Konarka, Shyamali, Punascha and Udichi. The Bichitra ( or, Rabindra Bhavan ) designed by the poet's son Rathindranath Tagore.



    Shantiniketan : Winter:- 1400 to 1630 hours, Summer:- 1430 to 1730 hours. During vacations:- 0730 to 1100 hours.

    Shriniketan : Winter:- 1030 to 1230 hours, Summer:- 0800 to 1000 hours.
    N O T E : Permission is required from the Public Relations Officer, Vishwa Bharati for taking photographs.


    Kala Bhavan, Bichitra (Rabindra Bhavan).


    • Deer Park : Near Sriniketan, 3 kms from Shantiniketan. Originally, the area was a fast eroding `Khowai'. It is now a large wooded area with herds of deer and makes a natural bird sanctuary.
    • Uttarayan Gardens: University Campus.


    Fullora (40 kms), Nalhati (104 kms), Kankalitala (7 kms), Bakreshwar (58 kms): Nearest railway station Dubrajpur 12 kms. WBTDC Tourist Lodges & PWD Inspection Bungalows available

    Massanjore (78 kms): Mayurakshi Bhavan, Youth Hostel available to stay there.

    Kendubilwa (42 kms): Buses ply from Bolpur railway station. Buses also ply or Kenduli from Kolkata for tourists.

    Nanoor (23 kms) : Birthplace of the Vaisnava poet,Chandidas (14th century). Buses ply from Bolpur railway station. Travelling time: one hour.

    Tarapith (80 kms) : One can reach Tarapith firstly from Bolpur to Rampurhat by train or bus and then 5 kms by bus or cycle rickshaw. Ramkanai Dharamshala a number of hotels are there.


    Temperature (deg C) : Summer- Max.39.4, Min.34.3; Winter- Max.15.7, Min.12.1.
    Rainfall : 125 cms ( June to September ). Heavy in July\August.
    Season : Throughout the year.

    The University remains closed in May-June and for one month during the Puja Holidays i.e. September-October.



    Terracotta, metalware & temples characterise Vishnupur. The temples are built mostly of brick & at times, of laterite. Clay & laterite are the only building materials available here besides wood and bamboo. The architecture is modelled on the pattern of Bengali huts built of bamboo & mud and roofed with thatch.

    Vishnupur will remain ever famous for its distinct style of music, i.e. the Vishnupur Gharana, if not anything else. The name of Jadu Bhatt, the music teacher to Rabindranath Tagore, is remembered with respect to this day.

    A discerning visitor may find traces of the past splendour and glory thatwas Vishnupur in its superb temples and unique handicrafts.


    Ras Mancha (3 kms), Dalmadal Cannon, Jor Bangla Temple (5 kms), Madan Mohan Temple (5 kms), Malleswar Temple (6 kms), Lalji Temple, Mrinmoyee Mandir (3 kms), Shyam Rai Temple (7 kms), Malla King's Fort (3.5 kms), Jogesh Chandra Pura Kirti Bhavan Museum (Timmings 1000 to 1200 & 1400 to 1800 hours).


    Jairambati & Kamarpukur: 43 kms and 48 kms respectively. These two places are associated with Shri Ramakrishna and his consort Shri Maa Sarada. Ruins of the historic Garh Mandaran fort are a few kilometres from Kamarpukur.

    Mukutmanipur: 82 kms. A dam has been constructed across the rivers Kangsabati and Kumari. A picturesque spot for a quiet holiday.

    Bahulara: 25 kms. The Siddheswar Shiva Temple of Bahulara is well known for its unique architectural style and exquisite ornamentation of the temple walls. The Shaileswar Temple of Dihar, 8 kms from Vishnupur, is also an old temple.

    Panchmura: 21 kms. Famous for the terracota Bankura Horse, a folk artefact and now the national symbol for Indian handicrafts.

    Susunia Hills: 50 kms. The famous rock inscription of Chandavarma can be seen on the walls of a cave and dates back to the 4th century AD. Susunia is connected to Bankura town by bus. Delightful holiday resort in winter. Also, a centre for rock climbing & trekking.


    Jhapan (Shravana Sankranti/Mid-August):
    Most important festival of Vishnupur is Jhapan, held in the glory of Manasa, the daughter of Shiva & goddess of snakes. Jhapan represents the snake worship cult in Bengal. It is basically a regional harvest festival and closely associated with the fertility cult too. Amidst chanting of hymns in glory of Goddess Manasa, groups of snake charmers demonstrate tricks and feats with poisonous snakes. Jhapan literally means a stage erected to exhibit tricks with snakes. At times performed on decorated bullock carts and carriages. Charmers, called Jhampanias, bring king cobras, spectacled and other cobras, vipers, kriats, pythons, rat snakes, vine and flying snakes, in baskets made of cane, bamboo or grass, to the old palace ground. Jhapan festival began as a grand reception first given to Bir Hambir Malla on his return after battle festival continues and the great snake show by traditional devotees of Goddess Manasha, with live & venomous snakes, attracts a large gathering every year.

    Indra Puja (Bhadra/August-September):
    Another colourful festival is held at Vishnupur with great pomp. This is known as the Indra Puja or the Indra Parab. On this occasion the Malla Raja of Vishnupur presents yellow turbans to local Santal chiefs.

    Gajan (March-April):
    Gajan festival begins at the end of a week culuminating in month long rural fairs on Shivaratri day and is a popular festival of rural Bengal. The festival at the Bahulara Siddheswar Shiva Temple (25 kms away) and the fair draws large crowds from distant places.


    Area : 20.6 sq.km.
    Altitude : 70 metres.
    Temperature (deg C): Summer- Max.44, Min.28; Winter- Max.29, Min.21.
    Rainfall : 14.3 cms (July-August).
    Clothings : Summer- Tropical, Winter- Light woollens.
    Languages spoken : Bengali, English.
    Best Season : September to March.
    STD Code : 03244.



    Darjeeling is nestied in a setting of Kanchenjunga and Mount Everest, Tibetan Monasteries, Himalayan Tribal Life, Pine Trees etc. Which make her qualify as the queen of the hill stations.

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