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West Bengal

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General Information

At the time of Partition, Bengal was split into East and West Bengal. East Bengal became the eastern wing of Pakistan and later, with the disintegration of that country, Bangladesh. West Bengal became a state of India with Kolkata as its capital. The state is ling and narrow, running from the delta of the Ganges River system at the Bay of Bengal in the south to the heights of the Himalaya at Darjeeling in the north.
There is not a great deal of interest in the state apart from these two extremes Kolkata, with its bewildering maelstrom of noise, culture, confusion and squalor at one end and Darjeeling, serene and peaceful, at the other.
Outside these two centers the intrepid traveler will find a number of places to consider visiting, either south of Kolkata on the Bay of Bengal or north along the route to Darjeeling. Few foreign tourists visit the ruined mosques of Malda, the palaces of Murshidabad, the temples of Vishnupur of the Sunderbans Wildlife Sanctuary. If you do, the friendly Bengalis will make you feel all the more welcome for being an exception to the rule.

History of West Bengal
Bengal finds a coveted place even in pre-historic times. At the time of Alexander's invasion a powerful king called Gangaridai ruled over Bengal Ascendancy of the Guptas and the Mauryas had little effect on Bengal. Later Sasanka became King of Bengal and is said to have played an important role in north-eastern India in the early half of the seventh century. He was succeed by Gopala, who founded the Plaa dynasty which ruled for centuries and had created a huge empire. The Pllas were followed by the Sena dynasty which was ended by Muslim rulers from Delhi. Various Muslim rulers and governors till the Mugahal period in 16th century ruled Bengal.
After the Mugahls, history of modern Bengal begins with the advent of European and English trading companies. the Battle of Plassey in 1775 changed the course of history when the English first gained a strong foothold in Bengal and India. In 1905 it was partitioned to achieve some political returns but people's growing movement under the auspices of the congress Party led to the reunion in 1911. This triggered of the hectic movement for freedom which culminated with Independence in 1947 and partition.
After 1947, the merger of native settlement began which ended with its final reorganization in 1956 when some Bengali speaking areas of a neighbouring state were transferred to west Bengal.

Capital : Kolkata
Population : 74.5 million
Language : Bengali
Area : 87,853 sq km
Literacy Rate : 50%
Best time to visit : October to March
Airport : Dumdum, Kolkata

East : Bangladesh and Assam.
West : Orissa, Bihar and Nepal
North : Sikkim and Bhutan
South : Bay of Bengal

Important Museums
Kolkata : Indian Museum, Rabindra Bharati Museum, Birla Academy of Art and Culture, Birla Industrial and Technological Museum, Asutosh Museum of Indian Art, Nehru Children's Museum, Victoria Memorial Hall Museum.

Darjeeling : Himalayan Mountaineering Institute Museums and Natural History Museum.

Pilgrim Centres
Bakreswar : Bakarnath Shiva Temple and Mahisasurmardini Temple.
Bansberia : Temples of Haneswari and Vasudev.
Belur Math : Headquarters of Ramakrishna Mission founded by Swami Vivekanand.
Kolkata : Temple of Kali.
Dakshineshwar : Kali temple associated with Ramakrishna Parmahansa.
Ganga Sagar : Famed for Ganga Sagar Mela in January and for Kapil Muni Temple.
Kamarpukar : Birthplace of Saint Ramakrishna.
Mayapur : Temple of Gourange. Headquater of ISCON.
Nabadwip : Birthplace of Sri Chaitanya.
Tarapith : Temple of Tara Devi. Acentre of Tantrik culture.

Hill Resorts
Darjeeling (2127m) Railhead - Darjeeling.

(1450m) Railhead - Siliguri 68 km, New Jaipaiguri 77 km.

Kurseong (1450m) Railhead - Darjeeling 32 km.

Mirik (170m) Railhead - Darjeeling 49km - Siliguri 52 km.