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Explore West Bengal: India’s Eastern Treasure

Explore West Bengal

Key Facts

  • A state in the eastern region of India along the Bay of Bengal.
  • fourth-most populous state and the fourteenth-largest state by area
  • borders Bangladesh in the east, and Nepal and Bhutan in the north.
  • It also borders the Indian states of OdishaJharkhandBiharSikkimand Assam.
  • The state capital is Kolkata
  • includes the Darjeeling Himalayan hill region, the Ganges delta, the Rarh regionand the coastal Sundarbans
  • Ancient Bengal was the site of several major Janapadas, while the earliest cities date back to the Vedic period.
  • The region was part of several ancient pan−Indian empires, including the Vangas, Mauryans, and the Guptas.
  • The citadel of Gauḍaserved as the capital of the Gauḍa Kingdom, the Pala Empire, and the Sena Empire. 
  • The Nanda Dynasty was the first historical state to unify all of Bengal under Indo-Aryan rule.
  • Stone age tools dating back 20000 years have been excavated in the state.
  • The foot hill of the Himalayan region is known as the Terrain region in West Bengal. This region is famous the world over for tea plantation.
  • The sub-Himalayan tract, known as the West Bengal Duars, or Western Duars, is a part of the Tarai lowland belt between the Himalayas and the plain.
  • North of the Duars, the Himalayan mountain ranges rise abruptly along the northern boundary of the state.
  • Mount Kanchenjunga, actually located in adjacent Sikkim, dominates the landscape of the area, particularly in Darjiling (Darjeeling).
  • Coal constitutes 99% of the minerals extracted in West Bengal; fireclay, china clay, limestone, copper, iron, wolfram, manganese and dolomite are mined in small quantities.
  • The most notable fact about Shantiniketan located in Birbhum district is that one enjoys Baul music here. Baul is a folk form of music that is practiced here widely by Baul fakirs or saints.
  • 3rd largest state for coal production, accounting for about half of India’s total.
  • West Bengal is the only Indian state which has The Himalayas, The Duars Forests, the vast beaches of The Bay of Bengal, and innumerable rivers. This is called “Accident of Geography”.
  • The Sundarbans form the largest mangrove forest in the world and are most notably known for housing the majestic and highly endangered species of Royal Bengal tigers.
  • Kolkata was the capital of British India from 1756 to 1911, because of which you find British monuments in every part of the city.
  • Damodar, another tributary of the Ganges and once known as the “Sorrow of Bengal” 
  • West Bengal has been home to many great literary maestros such as Rabindranath Tagore, Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay, Kazi Nazrul Islam, Michael Madhusudan Dutta, and Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay.
State Animal /Bird /Tree /Flower /Fruit/ FishFishing Cat /White-throated Kingfisher/Alstonia scholaris – Chatim tree/Night-flowering Jasmine /Jackfruit /Ilish
ClimateVaries from tropical savanna in the southern portions to humid subtropical in the north
RiversThe main river in West Bengal is the Ganges, which divides into two branches. One branch enters Bangladesh as the Padma, or Pôdda, while the other flows through West Bengal as the Bhagirathi River and Hooghly River.  
The Farakka barrage over the Ganges feeds the Hooghly branch of the river by a feeder canal. Its water flow management has been a source of lingering dispute between India and Bangladesh.
The Teesta, Torsa, Jaldhaka and Mahananda rivers are in the northern hilly region. The western plateau region has rivers like the Damodar, Ajay and Kangsabati
TribesKora, Ho, Meu, Tamang, Lohara, Chero, Mahli, Malpahariya
Protected AreasBuxa National Park, Gorumara National Park, Neora Valley National Park, Singalila National Park, Sunderban National Park, Jaldapara National Park, Ballavpur WLSBethuadahari WLS, Bibhuti Bhusan WLS, Buxa WLS, Chapramari WLS, Chintamani Kar Bird Sanctuary, Haliday Island WLS, Jorepokhri Salamander WLS, Lothian Island WLSMahananda WLS, Raiganj WLS, Ramnabagan WLS, Sajnakhali WLS, Senchal WLS, West Sunderban WLS
Ramsar SitesEast Kolkata Wetlands, Sunderban Wetland
IslandsNew Moore, Ghoramara Island, Henry Island, Jambudwip, Lohachaua Island, Nayachar Island, Sagar Island
FestivalsDurga Puja, Kalpataru Utsab, Bhai Phonta, Kali Puja etc
DanceChau dance of Purulia is a rare form of mask dance, Gambhira Dance, Brita Dance, Santhal Dance, Tusu Dance, Lathi Dance
World Heritage SitesDarjeeling Himalayan Railway 
Biosphere ReservesSundarbans
LiteratureCharyapada, a collection of Buddhist mystic songs
Mangalkavya, a collection of Hindu narrative poetry
Thakurmar Jhuli, a collection of Bengali folk and fairy tales
Shreekrishna Kirtana, a pastoral Vaishnava drama
Folk Music FormsGombhira and Bhawaiya
Folk music in West Bengal is often accompanied by the ektara, a one-stringed instrument.
GI TagsDarjeeling Tea (word and logo-1st GI Tag of India), Santipore Saree, Baluchari Saree, Dhaniakhali Saree, Tulaipanji rice, Govindbhog rice, Vardhman Sitabhog, Vardhman Mihidana, Bangalirasgulla, Nakshi Kantha, Santiniketan Leather Goods, Malda Laxman Bhog Mango, Malda Khirsapati (Himsagar) Mango, Malda Fazli Mango, Joynagar Moa, Bankura Panchmura Terracotta Craft, Bengal Patachitra, Purulia Chau Mask, Wooden Mask of Kushmandi, Madur kathi.

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