West Bengal India - Travel Guide to West Bengal Festivals India
Ripe with history, festivals, trekking and adventures, West Bengal is a fascinating and diverse area rich with culture. One would think that such a region would be swarming with tourists but fairly few visitors explore this Indian gem in relation to other parts of India. Positioned on the eastern side of the continent and extending out to Nepal and the Himalayas, West Bengal is often described as a ‘Gateway’ state as it provides a gateway to the North-eastern part of India and the entire Asia-Pacific belt. It is a region of variety with vast landscapes from rolling hills, to exquisite beaches and luscious forests.
An area of striking diversity, West Bengal offers everything from bustling cities to tranquil retreats. Within its borders lies the capital Kolcata, with its lively atmosphere, intriguing attractions and active nightlife compared to the serene environment of Darjeeling with its spectacular views of the Himalayan horizon and abundant tea plantations. Whatever your desire, West Bengal is sure to have it covered.
The world’s largest mangrove forest, Sundarban, is a world heritage site that spreads through part of West Bengal attracting copious flora and fauna. Known as an eco-region, species such as the Bengal tigers and spotted deer are thriving in the area, something very unique to experience.
Whether you are planning an adventurous trip filled with trekking and rafting or a spiritual journey through monasteries and gats, West Bengal surely won’t disappoint.
Head to the cultural and intellectual centre and capital Kolkata for an exciting stay amongst many famous attractions and experience the famous Victoria Memorial, the Botanical Garden and the Birla Planetarium among the many glorious temples. Take in the colourful markets and festivals, or wonder down Park Street at night to become immersed in the thriving nightlife.
To escape the hustle and bustle of the city, take the train to the gorgeous Darjeeling to breathe in the fabulous fresh air and to experience the sunrise over the Himalayan Mountains. The famous song “Bande Mataram” by Bankim Chandra Chatterjee was in a lot of ways epitomising this Bengal beauty eminent in these secluded areas.
Another major reason to visit West Bengal is for its festivals. Durga Puga is an important festival celebrated over six days, prepared for over several months. New clothes are worn, artistic monuments of Durga are displayed and pandals are often set up clamouring for attention from the people walking by. Neon lights are often used to glow the artistic displays at night on the streets, something not to miss. There are many festivals celebrated in this region, largely due to the diversity in its population. Other festivals to look out for include the Bengali New Year, Indian Independence Day and Kali Puja.
For something a bit different, take a picnic to Digha, one of the most popular beaches in West Bengal. You can take a bus from the Garia suburb of Kolkata but the train from Hawrah Railway Station is much cheaper and faster.
West Bengal is inundated with many prime tourist destinations from historical places and holy temples to beaches and wildlife sanctuaries. It will enjoy satisfying all your travelling cravings.