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West Bengal

 

Where to go:-

Alipurduar

Darjeeling

Kolkata (State Capital)

North Dinajpur

Bankura

East Midnapore

Malda

Purulia

Bardhaman

Hooghly

Murshidabad

South 24 Parganas

Birbhum

Howrah

Nadia

South Dinajpur

Cooch Behar

Jalpaiguri

North 24 Parganas

West Midnapore



West Bengal:
Bengal has been divided and subdivided a number of times and yet Bengalis do not lack humor. The joy of living is part of Bengal's environment. Humor is in Bengali's blood and Bengal is leading ahead on its strength. Bengal is an ancient place. A reference to Bangladesh can be found in the scriptures, Puranas and religious texts like Aitareya Aranyak of Rigveda, Boudhayan Sutra, Patanjal Mahabhasya, Ramayana, Mahabharala, Bhagabata, Haribamsa, Manusamhita, Vishnu-Purana, Matsya-Purana, Bayu Parana, and the commentaries made on these Puranas, Sakti Sangamtantra, Raghubamsam of Kalidas, Brihad Samhita of Baraha Mihir, etc. With the blessings of great Rishi Goutam the queen of Baliraj, Sudeshna gave birth to five valiant sons namely Anga, Banga, Kalinga, Suhma & Pundra. In course of time five regions of India were named after these five brothers. These names are not to be found in the Indian map now. However, Anga was located near Bhagalpur of current Bihar, Banga was in Dhaka, Kalinga in South Orissa, Suhma in Rarh or Burdwan & Pundra was in North Bengal or in Rajshahi division. It was a popular belief that Beng tribes, an off-shoot of the Dravidians, were driven away by Indo-Aryans in 1000 BC. They settled here. In course of time the name of Bengal was derived from Beng.


According to the Mahabharata, three kings from Bengal had come in the wedding hall (Swayambar Sabha) with a desire to marry Droupadi when she was selecting her husband among the invited kings. Not only that, Greek hero Alexandar had to retreat before the might and valour of Bengal (Gangaridi). Bengal's rulers extended their kingdom throughout Aryavarta, northern India and southern India. Even king of Bengal had participated in Kurukshetra war on behalf of Kouravas. Basudeva, the king of Gour, had fought with Krishna in Dwaraka. Bijoy Singha of Bengal established control over far-away Sri Lanka. Even King Harshavardhana of Uttarakhand (Thaneswar) was challenged successfully by the sovereign king of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa—Sasanka. The pomp and glory of Bengal between 8th and 12th century AD under the rule of Pal dynasty is well recorded in history. Bengal went under the control of Sultanate of Delhi— Qutab-uddin Aibek after Pal and Sen dynasties. During the Mughal period although Akbar won the battle of Bengal, still Bengal retained its independence. After the death of Aurangzeb in 1707, Bengal became an independent Muslim kingdom. In 1756 Nawab of Bengal Siraj defeated the British and took over their fort in Kolkata. But the conspiracy hatched by Lord Clive enabled him to defeat Siraj in the battle of Palassey in 1757. Thus the sun of independent Bengal sank below the horizon in the mango garden of Palassey. However, as a reward for co-operating with the British in the war against Siraj, his uncle and commander-in-chief Mirzafar and Mirkashim ruled as puppet heads for seven years. In 1764 Mirkashim lost the battle of Baxur. As a result, Bengal permanently went under the control of the British East India Company. In 1854 British Crown took control over Bengal as well as whole of India from the East India Company.

 


 

It was not that Bengal was known merely for her valour and bravery—ancient Bengal was also an agricultural country. Bengal is a land of fish and rice. The principal crop is paddy, i.e, rice. The textile industry of Bengal was well renowned throughout the world. Even packaged tea of Bengal used to be exported to America—American war of independence started with the throwing of Bengal's packaged tea into the sea at Boston Port—in course of time America became independent under the leadership of George Washington. That, too, was an amazing historical event. Bengali merchant Chand S aodagar used to trade through the world with his fleet of seven ships. Similarly, the traders from Greece, China, Persia also would came to Bengal to trade with their commodities. Tamralipta was a prosperous port-city at that time. Message of Buddhism was carried to Sri Lanka from Tamralipta by the brother of Emperor Ashoka (according to Sinhalese, son) Mahinda accompanied by his sister Sanghamitra. Remnants of civilizations contemporary to Harappa have been discovered in Chandraketugarh near Kolkata.


Even nature has played a major role in Bengal's beautification. Among the nine coastal states of India only West Bengal is credited with the combination of three most beautiful ingredients of nature—sea, forest and hill. It has risen from Bay of Bengal and on top of it is mighty, towering white Himalayas. Rajmahal hills of igneous rock is along the middle of the state. The king of mountains, Himalayas are stretching right across the north, with Darjeeling as its beauty spot, and the world of tea, timber and tourism at the foot-hills Duars. The world famous Royal Bengal Tiger of mangrove forest Sundarban is to the south. Further south is Bay of Bengal, Bangladesh and Assam are to the east and Bihar, Orissa & Nepal to the west of Bengal.


Bengal Renaissance is another pride of Bengal. Raja Rammohan Roy, Vidyasagar, Bankimchandra Chattopadhaya and above all Rabindranath Tagore brought out revolutionary changes in the thought and values of the Bengalis. Bande Mataram—the Bharat Stotra was composed by Sahitya Samrat (Emperor of literature) Bankimchandra in Bengali. National Anthem Jana-Gana-Mana was also composed in Bengali by Rabindranath.


Time and again Bengal has been divided. Bengal Province under British rule consisted of Bengal, Bihar, Orissa, right up to Agra. In 1863, Agra was excluded and Assam was included. Further, in 1874, the new province Assam was formed. In 1905, Lord Curzon again partitioned Bengal and made a separate province with Assam and East Bengal, having its capital at Dhaka. Bengal had to be satisfied with part of Bihar and Orissa. The poet of Bengal Rabindranath stepped in to inspire the people against partition of Bengal— as a result the whole of India protested vehemently. Banga-bhanga, i.e, partition of Bengal was prevented.


However, the British became afraid of growing political consciousness of people of Bengal and decided to shift the capital of India from Kolkata to Delhi in 1911. On 1st of April, 1912, the capital was formally shifted to Delhi. Political consciousness reigns over Bengal all the time. However, instead of Congress, Communists (CPIM) have had a strong hold over the masses. For a brief span of time CPIML (who broke away from CPIM) shook up the traditional thoughts of the social system in late sixties. Finally, under the pragmatic leadership of Jyoti Basu, the CPIM-led Left Front assumed power. Basu retired in 2000, having set a record or retaining the position as Chief Minister of the state for long 24 years.


No sooner had the wounds of famine in 1943, of communal riot in 1946 healed, in 1947 again Bengal as a victim of Independence was further partitioned. Bengal became West Bengal and Kolkata its capital. Independent state Cooch Behar joined West Bengal in 1950 and French-occupied Chandannagar was added on October 2,1954. At a later stage, on Nov 1, 1956—as a result of an agitation based on language— Bengali-speaking parts of Purnia & Manbhum districts from Bihar were added to Bengal as district of Purulia. At last the intelligentsia of Bengal have rendered an opinion to name West Bengal as Bangla. Kolkata remains the capital of Bangla. The language of Bangla is Banga Bhasa or Bangla or Bengali. It has originated from Magadhi, an Indo-Aryan Sanskrit derivative. Later on Bengali language was enriched with the words from other regional and foreign languages. West Bengal ranks 5th in terms of population in India.

 

Transport: The only national highway NH 54 that connects Mizoram with the planes of India passes through Silchar of Assam. Mizoram State Transport (MST) buses daily leave from Sonai Rd at 6-30 (deluxe), 7-30 and 10-30 (ordinary). Private deluxe bus services to Aizawl start from Silchar near Kadamba Cinema. Night services from Silchar to Aizawl are also available. However tourists should travel during day time. Way side beauty along the route is splendid. The distance is 180 km and travel time is 8 to 10 hrs. Bus tickets are very much in demand. Passengers are required to enlist their names in Silchar at least one day in advance. Tickets are offered one hr before the journey starts. However at Aizawl advance tickets for the bus journey are issued. Tourists should register their names in advance for ILP and bus tickets. Moti Travels, Barak Travels, Green Valley Travels, Capital Travels offer various categories of buses for services from Aizawl to Silchar, Shillong, Guwahati etc. Taxis are also going to Aizawl from Silchar.


Mizoram starts from Bhagabazar, 43 km away from Silchar. The mountain region starts immediate after the border. 3 km away at Vairengte is the check post. Advancing further by 95 km is Kolasib—a spot where buses stop for lunch break. Nepali or Gorkha hotels and Mizo hotels are available here. One should however be cautious about drinking water. There is also a 3 rooms' Rest House at Kolasib. One may take rest and get drinking water here. No need to stay at Kolasib.

 

Capital: Kolkata. Area: 88752 sqkm. Population: 80221171. The percentage of total population in India: 7.81%. Male: 41487694. Female : 38733477. The rate of increase of population during 1991-2001: 17.84%. Density of population: 904 per sq km. No of female per 1000 male: 934. Rate of literacy: 69.22%.

 

Tourism Season: Throughout the year. Oct to March is however pleasant. Heat in May-June and rain in July-September create problems for tourism. Depending on the region rainfall varies between 120-400 cm. However, the average rainfall is 175 cm.

 

North Bengal in 17 days: Mirik 1, Darjeeling 3, Kalimpong-Lava-Lolegaon-Rishop 3, Gangtok 2, Felling 2, Jaldapara 1, Phuntsholing 1 and to move about 4 days.

 

Weekend Travel: Murshidabad, Maldah-Gour-Pandua-Kulik, Bishnupur-Mukutmanipur, Nabadwip-Mayapur-Krishnanagar, Digha-Talasari-Chanda-neswar-Junput-Sankarpur, Ayodhya Hills, Shantiniketan, Sundarban, Bakkhali-Sagardweep, and Kolkata every day.