West Bengal – one with the Mountains, one with the Seas

The state of West Bengal is probably the most diverse area of focus on our list, when it comes to landscape and topography. All the way from mountains in the north, the state spans till the coastal region in the south – the Bay of Bengal. Situated in the north east part of the country, it shares international borders with nations like Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal, and domestic borders with Indian states like Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha and Sikkim. The capital city of the state is Kolkata (old name Calcutta), which is one of the biggest and most developed cities in India. Also, being the former capital of India, during the British reign, it houses few of the most significant historical heritages.

West Bengal – one with the Mountains, one with the Seas

The feature that makes the state quite significant for us is the Darjeeling Himalayan Hill region, which mainly constitutes the district of Darjeeling, and surrounding areas. The region lies in the north-western part of the state, and houses most of its high altitude places. The peaks of Sandakfu (3630 m) and Falut (3595 m) of Singalila Range are the two tallest mountains of the region. Apart from the peaks, there are spots like the Tiger Hill. With a height of 2590 m, it offers magnificent views of Mt. Makalu (8481 m), Mt. Kanchenjunga (8586 m) and Mt. Everest (8848 m). You may also want to read our post on 9 Best Places To Visit in Darjeeling.

View of Kanchenjunga from Tiger Hill during Sunrise

View of Kanchenjunga from Tiger Hill during Sunrise

But we’re certainly not going to limit ourselves to just the Darjeeling Himalaya, as there are many other high altitude places in the state, beyond this region, which include hill stations like Kalimpong, Siliguri, Dooars, Kurseong and so on. These places are equally beautiful, and without a doubt, great holiday destinations for domestic and international travelers.

Catering the needs of nature and wildlife lovers, the total number of national parks and wildlife sanctuaries in west Bengal are five and fifteen respectively. Few of these include Singalila National Park, Sundarban National Park, Bibhutibhushan Wildlife Sanctuary and Ramanabagan Wildlife Sanctuary. In these areas reside the most diverse range of animals and birds like Eustarine Crocodile, Barking Deer, Kalij Pheasants, Gangetic Dolphin and so on.

Red Panda at Singalila National Park

Red Panda at Singalila National Park

There are so many things to see in West Bengal. But the following 7 things, also known as the 7 Wonders of West Bengal, are the most significant ones. The first one on the list is Sundarban, which is a huge forest area situated on the Bay of Bengal. Known for its rich flora and fauna, the area has been enlisted in the UNESCO World Heritage Site List. The second one in the list is the Victoria Memorial. Built 110 years ago, it is a huge marble building, which serves as a museum and a popular tourist destination. It was built to commemorate Queen Victoria.

The next wonder happens to fall in Darjeeling, the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway. Built in 1879, it is the highest altitude railway in India, and it runs from Ghum to Darjeeling. It is also enlisted in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Yet another place of interest is the town of Bishnupur that houses a staggering number of temples, 21 altogether. These were built using laterite stones by the Malla rulers, who ruled over this land in the 17th and 18th century. While visiting West Bengal, you should make sure to visit Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Indian Botanic Garden, the 5th wonder in our list. It spans across 109 hectares of land area, and displays around 12000 species of rare plants.

Darjeeling Toy Train - West Bengal

Darjeeling Toy Train

Another wonder is probably the most significant landmark in West Bengal, the Howrah Bridge. Though it is popularly known by this name, its actual name is Rabindra Setu, based on the famous Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore. The bridge was built in the year 1947, replacing the Pontoon Bridge, which itself was built in 1874. And finally, the last wonder is Benoy-Badal-Dinesh Bagh, which was known for a long time as Dalhousie Square, is a complex of buildings currently acting as the offices of state government officials. These are historical monuments built between 1695 and 1947, and they are significant from the perspective of their architectural style as well.

Howrah Bridge, Kolkata, West Bengal

Howrah Bridge

The attractions mentioned above is just a tiny taste of what the entire state of West Bengal has to offer. The people, the culture, the food, and the arts – everything here is quite distinct and interesting. This is one of the reasons why the state receives one of the highest numbers of tourists annually, in comparison to other parts of the country. And like we’ve always emphasized, you need to visit the place to realize what you’ve been missing for so long.

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