Himalayan adventures, wide green crop fields dotted with beautiful temples, finally merging with the sea at Sagar Sangam
West Bengal is the only State of India with mighty Himalayas on the North and Ocean on the South. The breathtaking panoramic view from its Northern-most point Phalut beyond Darjeeling encompasses Everest on the West to Kangchenjunga Siniolchu in the East.
Darjeeling has been one of the most prominent hill stations in India and around it a large number of scenic tourist spots have come up over the years forming what we call Darjeeling area tourism.
Coming down the mountains, Siliguri, the third largest city in West Bengal, serves as the gateway to Darjeeling and other associated tourist spots, Sikkim and North Eastern States as well as the extensive Dooars forests.
Further South Murshidabad was the seat of power of Bengal during Nawabi era and is replete with history and culture.
The arid dry regions of Bankura and Birbhum form the Rarh Bengal and hosts the famous Terracotta Temples of Bishnupur in Bankura district and Santinketan, Birchandrapur, Tarapith, Nalhateswari and Kenduli in Birbhum district.
Tarapith and Nalhateswari are two Mahashaktipith and Birchandrapur is the birthplace of Nitai of Gour Nitai Bhakti movement. Tarapith has gained preeminence primarily because of Mahasadhak Bamakhyapa, a great name in spiritual Bengal.
On 14th of January every year in Kenduli on the river bank of Ajoy starts the three day long largest Annual Fair of Bauls of Bengal. Baul songs form one of the richest veins of spiritual folk songs in the world.
Recognizing the central spiritual importance of this area perhaps Rabindranath Thakur chose the spot in Bolpur for his Santiniketan where the famous three day long Poush Mela is held every year marking the harvest season.
Still further down South, Nabadweep is sacred as the birthplace of Sri Gouranga of Bhakti movement in the East.
ISKCON has set up its headquarters at Mayapur in Nabadweep with beautiful temples and guest houses boldly declaring Mayapur as the Spiritual Capital of the World.
The capital of West Bengal, Kolkata was created by the British relatively recently amidst marshy unhealthy lands not far from the sea confluence of the Ganges at Sagar Sangam where half a million people from all over India gather on the occasion of Ganga Sagar Mela to take a holy dip in the confluence. Today the four day Kolkata Durga Puja festival is recognized as the largest open air art exihibition in the world.
With no less than 5 Nobel Laureates being associated with the great vibrant colorful city, it remained as the seat of learning and culture in this vast beautiful country for long.
Perhaps philosophy and preaching of Sri Sri Ramakrishna of Dakshineswar, the influences of his disciple Swami Vivekananda, the human-centric all pervasive love based religion of Sri Gouranga will show a pathway for sustainable human civilization well into the foreseeable future.
Starting from the majestic Himalayas in the North traveling through green crop fields and beautiful temples, the State of West Bengal finally merges with the sea in Sundarbans, the unique mangrove forests where you can’t easily go on foot.