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Soul of West Bengal

West Bengal boasts of different ethnicities, cultures, religions, people and languages which add to its beautiful landscapes, forests, coastal beauty as well as its heritage.

The beautiful state of West Bengal attracts a significant number of tourists every year as the state is jewelled with mesmerising landscapes, snow-clad mountains, gushing sea, blossoming tea gardens, enormous deltas, lush green forests, plentiful wildlife, ancient temples and magnificent British monuments. The Tiger Hill, the Howrah Bridge, the Tea Gardens are some of the famous tourist spots which offer an insight into the vast culture and history of the West Bengal. The culture of the state is adorned by colourful fairs and festivals every month. A vast number of famous pilgrimages also attract a large number of tourists of all faiths and beliefs.

Kolkata

The former British capital of India boasts of an illustrious past which reflects through the fascinating art, marvelous architecture, and declamatory literature of the city. Being the cultural and intellectual hub of India, this vibrant city invites you to witness its artistic grandeur, dazzling culture, and literary legacy through an exhilarating Kolkata sightseeing tour. Apart from its rich history, and ancient culture, here are some of the best places to visit in Kolkata which form an essential part of the city’s tourism.

Tourist Attraction

  • Victoria Memorial
  • Fort William
  • Marble Places
  • Howarah Bridge
  • Tagore’s House
  • Mother House
  • Sundarban
  • Rabindra Sarovar
  • Botanical Garden
  • Aquatica
  • Nicco Park
  • Alipore Zoo
  • Dakshineshwar Kali Temple
  • Kalighat kali Temple
  • St. Paul Cathedral
  • Birla Mandir
  • Nakhoda Mosque

Best Time to Visit

The autumn and winter months between October and February are the best time to visit Kolkata, as the weather is perfect and festivities are aplenty. This is the season which witnesses the peak arrival of travellers, especially during Durga Puja.

How to Reach ?

By Air : Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport or Kolkata Airport at Dumdum is among the busiest airports in the country in terms of overall passenger traffic. Spread across an area of 2,460 acres, the airport has all the latest facilities. There are three terminals here, namely domestic, international and cargo and flights are available for all the major Indian and international destinations. Airlines such as Air India, IndiGo, Jet Airways and SpiceJet have regular flights for Mumbai, Delhi, Lucknow, Agartala, Bangalore, Patna, Ranchi, Aizwal and Chennai. Those travelling to Bangkok, Singapore, Doha, Dubai, Dhaka and Colombo can board flights operated by Emirates, Jet Airways, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways and Etihad Airways. Upon reaching the airport, travellers can opt for prepaid taxis, autos or buses to reach anywhere in the city.

By Train: Howrah and Sealdah railway stations are the two main railheads, serving the city of Kolkata. Both the railways stations are well linked to all the important cities in the country making it easy for travellers. From Delhi, several superfast trains like Rajdhani Express and Shatabdi Express operate.

By Bus : One can also reach Kolkata via well-maintained national highways and other motorable roads. The buses managed by the West Bengal state allow tourists to visit this lovely city without any hassle. Besides, there are a number of private buses too that one can take from Puri (495 km) and Darjeeling (620 km) to reach Kolkata. From Darjeeling, one can take NH 34 and NH 31 route to reach here. Besides, NH 2 and NH 6 link the city with other prime Indian cities and towns.

Darjeeling

Darjeeling conjures visions of snow peaks, serenity of vibrant green hills steeped in splendour, a land of breathtaking beauty crowned by the majestic Himalayas. Darjeeling is one of the most magnificent hill resorts in the world. This heavenly retreat is bathed in hues of every shade. Flaming red rhododendrons, sparkling white magnolias, miles of undulating hillsides covered with emerald green tea bushes, the exotic forests of silver fir – all under the blanket of a brilliant azure sky dappled with specks of clouds, compellingly confounds Darjeeling as the QUEEN OF HILL STATIONS.

Tourist Attraction

  • Darjeeling Himalayan Railway
  • Tiger Hill
  • Batasia Loop
  • Darjeeling Ropeway
  • Nightangle Park
  • Himalayan Mountaineering Institute
  • Darjeeling Rock Garden
  • Singalila National Park

Best Time to Visit

April to June are the best months to visit Darjeeling. However, a lot of people also prefer visiting the place during the winter months from October to December.

The months from October to March see a sudden change in the weather, as by the end of October a slight cold reigns in the area. Winter is at its peak from mid- November to January and the temperature ranges between 7 degrees to 5-degree Celcius. 

April to June marks the offset of summers in the city. Darjeeling during these months is pleasant and not very hot. The temperature reaches 25 degrees at the max. The gushing bright sunlight makes it ideal for exploring the tourists’ spots. 

The months of July to August welcome the showers. With heavy rainfall, a lot of roadblocks are observed in the hill station and hence visiting Darjeeling during these months is not very advisable. September again is an excellent time to visit as there is less rainfall and the greenery is at its best at this time of the year.

  How to Reach ?

By Air: The nearest airport to Darjeeling is Bagdogra which is approximately 95 km away from the city. There are some direct flights from the cities like Kolkata, Delhi and Guwahati to Darjeeling. From the airport, one can reach the city by hiring taxis. It will take almost 3 hours to reach Darjeeling from the airport. Flights are available from all major cities.

By Train : The nearest railway station to Darjeeling is New Jalpaiguri which connects the city with all the major parts of the country. There are a number of trains from cities like Kolkata, Delhi, Guwahati, Chennai, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Bhubaneshwar and Kochi. People can hire private cabs from the station to reach Darjeeling

Siliguri

Situated in the Jalpaiguri and Siliguri districts of West Bengal, Siliguri is a city known as the Gateway to North-East India. Siliguri has its own international airport which serves mainly as a base for tourists to camp in before moving out to explore nearby tourist attractions such as Kalimpong, Darjeeling, Gangtok and Bhutan. However, Siliguri itself is a perfectly good holiday destination, with sufficient things to see and do.

The Jaldapara National Park, situated on the banks of the Torsa river, is a prime attraction of Siliguri. Earlier known as the Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary, the park is spread over an area of around 215 kilometres, and is comprised of riverine forests as well as grasslands. The park is famous for its impressive population of Royal Bengal Tigers, elephants, one-horned rhinoceros, and various other species of deer. To get the best out of the park, you can go for an elephant ride, which will give you a chance to catch a glimpse of the animals up close.

Another wildlife park that nature lovers should consider visiting is the North Bengal Wild Animals Park. This park is an integral part of the Mahanadi Wildlife Sanctuary and spread out over an area of 300 hectares; this park contains a wide variety of flora and fauna. However, unlike other wildlife parks and sanctuaries, the Mahanadi Wildlife Sanctuary strictly forbids visitors from feeding the animals at the park.

When visiting Siliguri, a close-by tourist attraction that most people visit in Mirik. Around 50 kilometres from Siliguri, Mirik is famed for its picturesque beauty, its pristine Sumedu Lake, and its monastery. Sumedu Lake offers fishing activities, and boat rides for tourists, which is a beautiful way to relish the breathtaking view of the hills bordering the lake on all sides.

Tourist Attrcation

  • Salugara Monastery
  • ISKON Temple, Siliguri
  • The Science City
  • Dudhia
  • Sevok Kali Mandir
  • Coronation Bridge
  • Madhuban Park

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Siliguri is from October to December and again from February to March. Located on the foothills of Himalayas and on the banks of Mahananda River, Siliguri experiences three seasons – summer, monsoon and winter. Summers in Siliguri last from March to May and mercury levels soar up to 38° C .

How to Reach

By Air: The nearest Domestic Airport from Siliguri is Bagdogra Airport, Siliguri, roughly 15 min. drive from Siliguri. Scheduled flights are available from cities such as New Delhi, Guwahati, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata. There is an availability of the flights from International destinations such as Paro and Bangkok.

By Train: The nearest Railway Station is New Jalpaiguri Railway Station which is located at a distance of 8 Kms from Siliguri. It is well connected to Mumbai and Delhi and many cities of the state like Dhupguri, Kishanganj, Katihar, Malda, Bhagalpur and Kolkata etc.

Mirik

Located on the banks of a huge lake, the hill town of Mirik adds to North Bengal’s bounty. Amidst the Himalayan Valley, Mirik has more to offer than just beautiful mountains and lakes.

From boating experiences for your romantic getaway to temples for the faithful to orchids and gardens for the nature’s child, West Bengal tourism is incomplete without Mirik. The well populated, yet not over crowded town also offers viewpoints for those quiet moments of introspection and traditional Indian Bazaars to splurge. 

Tourist Attraction

  • Sumendu Lake
  • Bokar Ngedon Chokhor Ling Monastery
  • Don Bosco Church
  • Tingling View Point
  • Golpahar Viewpoint
  • Chamong Tea Estate Garden

How to reach ?

The best way of travelling to Mirik is by bus, which runs regularly from all the major towns in West Bengal. The nearest airport is the Bagdogra Airport and the nearest railway station is the New Jalpaiguri Railway Station. From both the places, taxis can be hired to reach Mirik

Kalimpong

Kalimpong is a virgin hill station in West Bengal renowned for its panoramic valley views, Buddhists monasteries and churches and Tibetan handicrafts etc.

50 minutes east of Darjeeling, Kalimpong is a hill station on the foothills of Shivalik ranges at an altitude of 1250 m overlooking the Teesta Valley. People say that the area was ruled by Bhutanese kings and was a forward post of the Bhutanese Army till the 19th century. Dotted with ancient Buddhist monasteries, centuries old churches and exquisite revered temples Kalimpong marks the Bhutanese history till it was wrested by British rulers. The Jang Dong Palriffo Brang (Monastery), Thongsa Gompa (Bhutanese Monastery) are some famous places to visit. Also make sure to visit the flower markets famous for its orchids and lovely bright flowers.

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