Thursday, May 30, 2024

Top 5 Places to Visit in West Bengal for a Memorable Vacation

Mohsin Khaiyam (Senior Sub-Editor)

West Bengal is a state in India filled with history and cultural richness. The state itself offers a myriad of enchanting destinations for travellers seeking a unique experience in all aspects. Whether it is about colonial-era infrastructure, lush green plans, or even hills, West Bengal has everything packed in for you. While planning a vacation, West Bengal needs to be on your bucket list, as it has it all. From bustling metropolises to serene hill stations, here are the top 5 places to visit in West Bengal:

1. Kolkata: The Capital of Culture

Kolkata, the capital city of West Bengal, known for its rich history and vibrant culture, has a lot to offer. The city’s heritage, with iconic landmarks like the Victoria Memorial, Howrah Bridge, and the Dakshineswar Kali Temple, gives a different “lever” of joy. With this, it truly lives up to its nickname, “The City of Joy”. It is not just architecture or landmarks; Kolkata is known for its food. While located in West Bengal, the usual notion is that it would only have Bengali cuisine, but a tour around the city speaks differently. Starting with the signature Bengali dishes and sweets, you will find yourself surrounded by the best Mughlai and Punjabi dishes.

2. Darjeeling: A Hill Station Gem

Nestled in the Himalayas, Darjeeling is a picturesque hill station that captivates travellers with its breathtaking scenery, tea plantations, and colonial architecture. Adventure enthusiasts can indulge in activities like hiking, mountain biking, and visiting the famed tea gardens. Don’t miss the chance to experience a ride on the historic Darjeeling Himalayan Railway. The small train would take you on the best train ride ever. The weather, too, has a really great taste to it. While the train and other things are great, do not forget to try some of the best momo and dumplings during the visit.

3. Sundarbans: Where Wilderness Meets the Sea

Explore the vast mangrove forest of the Sundarbans, a UNESCO World Heritage Site situated in the delta of the Ganges River. This unique ecosystem is home to diverse wildlife, including majestic Royal Bengal tigers, elusive crocodiles, and playful dolphins. The Sundarbans offer a thrilling eco-tourism experience for nature enthusiasts. The best time to visit the Sundarbans is from November to February. You can go on a safari and even hire a boat to move through the mangroves. However, maintaining safety is also of utmost importance as the site is full of predators.

4. Shantiniketan: The Abode of Peace

Rabindranath Tagore, a Nobel laureate, founded Shantiniketan, a serene town in the Birbhum district. It houses Visva-Bharati University, an international institution dedicated to knowledge and the arts. Immerse yourself in Bengali culture and the legacy of Tagore as you explore this serene and artistic haven. You can visit Shantiniketan anytime, but the best time is during Basant Utsav (Holi celebrations). You can meet and greet people from all over the world during that period. Apart from this, you can see the art and culture that Rabindranath Tagore left behind. Another thing you can do there is buy handicrafts from the locals. They can be showpieces, jewellery, or even utility items. Shantiniketan has it all!

5. Kalimpong: Amidst the Himalayan Serenity

Kalimpong, another captivating hill station in the Himalayas, boasts stunning landscapes, ancient Buddhist monasteries, and a fascinating blend of ethnic diversity. Engage in activities like hiking, mountain biking, and exploring the vibrant local markets to experience the essence of Kalimpong. Do visit Deolo Hill, the highest point in the town of Kalimpong. Located at a height of 1700 m, this hill has one of the best views of the city.

If you ever visit these places, there is just one thing that you need to keep in mind, and that is to have a lot of fun. So explore these five amazing places whenever you plan your next holiday. You are sure to have an enchanting and memorable retreat.

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