A famous Bengali Folk song, in Coke Studio
(I suggest let this play along as you read this narrative)
“Trees are the earth’s endless effort,
To speak to the listening heaven!”
As I woke up feeling light, I knew I was in a heavenly space. I walked in unsteady steps to reveal. The sun rays blinded me for a moment but later I could clearly behold. The blinding rays were fighting the cloud to get to me. A fight which was angelic to witness! The pine, cedar and fir lined landscape, blocked a part of my view of the majestic snow-capped mountains. But whatever met my eye sight, was beyond description.
Kanchenjunga as seen from Lolegaon
I am talking about a morning that I had spent in Lolegaon. Never heard of it? Well! That’s fine. Very few people outside West Bengal know about it and many other exotic travel destinations in the state. So here is my small attempt to bring to the world “Sublime Bengal”. My attempt is not only for the travelers who, I am sure will be enthralled to witness bounteous nature, but also for the poverty stricken people of those destinations. An increase in tourism can bring prosperity to their lives. I may not be famous; I may not have a huge viewership. But still I want to do my bit.
Women working in a tea garden
From snow-capped mountains to sun kissed beaches, from forest safari to heritage tour, Bengal offers all to quench the thirst of a wandering soul, now it’s your choice to choose what’s best for you.
Talking of north Bengal, most Indians think of Darjeeling. A beautiful hill station of Bengal, it is. But besides Darjeeling, there is much more to the north eastern treasure. Lava, Lolegaon, Rishop, Kalimpong, Kurseong and Ravangla are to name a few of the prominent ones. While Lava is the land of mystic clouds and monastery bells, Rishop remains the untouched paradise and Kurseong houses some of the best convents of the state. From serene tea estates, to the breath taking view of the third highest peak of the world “Kanchenjunga”, from mystic clouds playing hide and seek to spice gardens, North Bengal awaits your visit in full glory. With prominent influence of Nepali culture, wide range of flora and fauna, picturesque fir and cedar lined mountain lanes; it has a flavor of uniqueness. Truly its beauty is beyond description. All these destinations have comfortable hotels and resorts and are well connected from railway stations like Siliguri and New Jalpaiguri. Cars from these places, which are easily available on arrival, will take you to your destination of choice and you also will have river Teesta for a companion for most part of your ascendance. Besides they can be reached by air, via Bagdogra Airport.
A monastery in Lava
A glimpse of North Bengal
Who doesn’t know of the “Royal Bengal Tiger”, but have you been to the Mangrove Forests that gives shelter to these big wild cats? Yes the Sundarbans is definitely worth a visit, to witness nature’s diversity. It’s unique and nerve wrecking at the same time to spend a night in a country boat, and to feel nature from real close proximity. But the Mangroves are not the only jungle destinations of Bengal. Gorumara National Park of North Bengal can be excellent if you are in the mood of witnessing some wandering Rhinoceros. You can also take an elephant safari to the untouched corners of the Jaldapara National park by the bank of river Torsa and discover wild life. You also have Dooars at the Himalayan Foothills, where you can experience varied vegetation and animal life
The Royal Bengal Tiger
Gorumara National Park
Coming to sun kissed beaches, Bengal does not have as commercial ones as Goa, but it has a few to offer. The Bay of Bengal coastline sees a rougher sea as compared to Arabian coastline. Hence you can witness higher tides here. Digha, Mandarmani, Shankarpur and Tajpur are few of the well known ones. All of these places have budget to expensive hotels, especially Digha, which is crowdest of the ones mentioned above. These places are 5 to 6 hours drive from the main city of Kolkata, and are popular get away destinations for the weekend. You can enjoy a wide variety of sea food here.
History and heritage are synonymous to Bengal and whenever we say so, the name that comes to our mind first is Rabindranath Tagore. Tagore has enriched our state, our country and infact the world at large in ways more than one.
World's greatest thinkers
And if you wish to experience his presence, come to the small town of Shantiniketan near Bolpur, in the Birbhum district of Bengal where the Nobel Laureate has established what is known as the Visva Bharati University. Thousands of tourists come to visit from all around the globe, especially during Basanta Utsav (Holi) and Poush Mela which are celebrated here in signature style. Poush Mela is an unique conglomerate of different forms of art, if you are interested in folk music, this can be just the right fair for you.
A Baul Singer
There are many historic attractions in Bengal as well, like Cooch Behar Palace in Cooch Behar, Hazarduari Palace in Murshidabad district and Vishupur Terracotta Temples in Bankura. Krishna Devotees can reach for the famous ISCON temple in Mayapur.
But that’s not it. We have our very own CITY OF JOY KOLKATA. The capital of West Bengal, which has the best street food in the world! So if you are foodie, it’s just the place for you. The city has a rhythm, colour and flavor of its own. From having tea by the road side stalls in clay cups to Durga Puja, it has its identity. There are many places of interest as well like Victoria Memorial, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Dakshineshwar Kali Temple, Belur Math, Kalighat Temple, Howrah Bridge, Eden Gardens and much more.
Dakshineshwar Kali Temple
A Bengali spread
But if you want to experience Kolkata’s soul, come to the city when it dresses like a new bride, come to Kolkata during the biggest festival of the state Durga Puja. The city of joy indeed has an aura of its own, inspite of many odds and adversities. As the festivities cast its spell on my city, its transformation is indeed note worthy. All decked up like a new bride, the city compels you to notice and appreciate her beauty. When the darkest corners of the city get illuminated, and radiate vibes of happiness, togetherness and gratification! It becomes an art gallery with colossal pandals, astounding idols or different ways of exhibiting the art. But the crowd is tough to handle, so take to pandal hopping during midnight.
A Durga Puja Pandal
The glory of MA
A state is not only about the natural treasures, it’s about the culture, the literature and it’s about the people. So come to Sublime Bengal and meet, experience and fall in love with all its treasures.
PLEASE SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCE IF YOU HAVE BEEN TO BENGAL TOURIST ATTRACTIONS