West Bengal was created as a constituent state of the Indian union on 15 August 1947 as the result of partition of the undivided British Indian province of Bengal into West Bengal. West Bengal is a state in the northeast of India. Neighbouring regions are Nepal and Sikkim to the northwest, Bhutan to the north, Assam to the northeast, Bangladesh to the east, the Bay of Bengal to the south, Orissa to the southwest and Jharkhand and Bihar. It has therefore, three international frontiers. The state lies between 27o13'15" and 21o25'24" north latitudes and 85o48'20" and 89o53'04" east longitudes. The state is long and narrow, running from the Delta of the Ganges River system in the Bay of Bengal to the south, up through the Ganges plain to the heights of the Himalayas and Darjeeling in the north. South of Kolkata on the Bay of Bengal is the area known as Sunderbans, one of the largest deltas in the world and home to the elusive Royal Bengal Tiger. To the north lie the flourishing mango plantations and jute fields of the fertile river plains. West Bengal is a land of passion, culture, literature, sports and natural beauty. The alluvial plain in the south is watered by the legendary River Hooghly and its tributaries, while the Himalayan north is watered by the swift flowing Tista, Torsa, Jaldhaka and Ranjit rivers. The terrain varies from the northern highlands at the feet of the Himalayas to the tropical forests of Sunderbans. West Bengal has two natural divisions. The Himalayan north comprising the districts of Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri and Cooch Bihar and the alluvial plain that lies south of it. There are 18 districts in this state. Famous for its Roshogulla and the equally sweet Robindra Shongeet, West Bengal is one of the most culturally and ethnically diverse states of India. A state which has produced the most number of Nobel Prize winners from India till date. Its capital city is Kolkata. The primary language of West Bengal is Bengali. The climate of West Bengal is tropical.
Forests of three distinct areas exist in the state. These are the forests of the north which include the mountain temperate forests and the tropical forests of the Duars, the deciduous forests of the plateau fringe and the mangrove forests of Sunderbans. Of these the northern forests are the most important. The Hooghly river estuary that covers the entire southern portion, nearly a fourth of the total area of twenty four Parganas district consist of the remarkable tropical forest called the Sunderbans. The major portion of this forest is located in the adjoining Bangladesh district of Khulna and Barisal. The Sunderbans are abound in royal Bengal tiger, leopard, rhinoceros, wild hog, deer, monkeys, python, different species of Cobra and other snakes and many varieties of birds. The rivers are abound in Crocodile, shark and many kinds of fish. This area is called the Moribund Delta.
West Bengal is known for its position among the leading industrialized states of India. There are over 10000 registered factories in the state and the state government has opened 'Shilpa bandhu', a single window agency for providing investors with all kinds of assistance in setting up and running industrial units. Calcutta city is noted as a major centre for industries including the jute industry. There are a number of Steel plants in the state apart from the alloy steel plant at Durgapur. The centre has set up a number of industries in the areas of tea, sugar, chemicals and fertilizers. Good natural resources like tea and jute in and near Bengal made West Bengal a major centre for the jute and tea industries.The manufacturing industries play a vital role in the economic life of the state.
Agriculture is the chief occupation of the people of the state. The Majority of the population are cultivators and agricultural labours. Rice is the Principal food crop of West Bengal. Other food crops include maize, pulses, oil seeds, wheat, barley, potatoes and vegetables. The state supplies about 66% of the jute requirements of the country and its soil and heavy rainfall are suitable for jute cultivation. Tea is another important cash crop. Darjeeling tea is famous for its high quality. Tobacco and sugarcane are also grown in the state.
West Bengal and specially Calcutta have famous Football & Hockey Clubs, Cricket Clubs and centres of Table Tennis, Lawn Tennis, Polo and Golf. Eden Gardens is often used for holding world-class cricket matches. Calcutta is a city of sports lovers. There is Yuba Bharati Krirangan, the biggest sports stadium in Asia. Apart from the Netaji Indoor Stadium in Calcutta, there are good stadiums at Durgapur, Kharagpur and Siliguri as well. Water Sports have acquired a remarkable position besides cricket and football. Efforts are being made to develop Golf Villages of international standard in the Dooars and in the outskirts of Calcutta to make Calcutta city the gateway to South-East Asia, a centre of big business and the headquarters of big industries and a paradise for golfers and to give a boost to the hotel industry in the city.
Ace Bengali artisans work wonders with terracotta horses, conch shells, clay models, leather, batik and wood work.
A land of aesthetes and political activists, West Bengal is famous for its many eminent writers, poets, artists, spiritualists, social reformers, freedom fighters and revolutionaries. It's the birthplace of India's only Noble laureate in literature, Rabindranath Tagore. The world famous film director Satyajit Ray was also born here. Apart from this, Bengal gave birth to innumerable well known poets and writers who enriched the world literature ceaselessly. To name a few, Kazi Nazrul Islam, Michael Madhusudan Dutt, Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay and Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay. Also India's most beloved male singer in films,Kishore Kumar, and the world-famous sitarist Ravi Shankar were Bengali. Famous freedom fighter, Subhash Chandra Bose, who was belovedly called "Netaji"; Satyendra Nath Bose, from whom the boson particle and Bose-Einstein theory get their names were also Bengalis. Amartya Sen, who won Nobel Prize in Economics in 1998 is a Bengali. Mother Teresa, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979, had worked in Kolkata for most of her life. In the religious realm, Bengal gave birth to great Hindu sages and saints like Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (15th century major Vaishnava figure), Ramprasad Sen (a famous Kali Bhakta and poet) and Ramakrishna Paramhansa; others include Swami Vivekananda (the most renowned of Shri Ramakrishna's disciples), Sri Aurobindo Ghosh, and Prabhupada A.C. Bhaktivedanta the founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON). Bengal is well known for its arts and sculptures. Nandalal Bose, Jamini Roy, Abanindranath Tagore, Gaganendranath Tagore, Jyotirindranath Tagore, Rabindranath Tagore, Ramkinkar Baize are just few of the famous modern artists. In fact Abanindranath Tagore is regarded as the father of the modern art in India. West Bengal has always produced people who have largely contributed in putting India on the world map. Bengal has produced 4 Nobel Laureates: Tagore, Mother Teresa, Satyajit Ray and Amartya Sen.
The southern parts of West Bengal actually sweat it out with humidity for most time of the year, while the northern and north eastern parts of West Bengal are chilly and cool. Monsoon plays havoc in the northern regions and the southern parts also receive considerable amount of rainfall every year. The annual rainfall varies in the sub-Himalayan region between 150- 210 inches and in the plains between 45-75 inches. There are three seasons: hot and dry (March to early June), hot and wet (mid-June to September), and cool (October to February). During the hot and wet season, rain-bearing monsoon winds blow from the southwest. Best time to visit is during September-October and December-January.
The main entry point of West Bengal is Kolkata and this city is well connected by air to all the major cities of India as well as abroad. It is also well connected by rail and there are good motorable roads that connect it to all the major cities in India.
Tourism Centre, 3/2 BBD Bagh (East), Calcutta - 1 Ph: 033-2485917/5168
Tourism Centre (Head Office), Netaji Stadium Eden Gardens, Calcutta - 21 Ph: 033-2488242/8286 Fax: 033-2488290
Dy Director of Tourism 1, Nehru Rd Darjeeling - 734101 Ph: 0354-54050/54102
WB Tourism State Emporia Bldg (First Floor), A/2 Baba Karak Singh Marg New Delhi - 1. Ph: 011-3732840
|Principal Languages||Bengali, Hindi, Urdu, English, Bhutia and Nepali|
|No. of District||19|
|Best Time to Visit||September to March.|
|Density||Ranked 4th in India|
|Country Code for India||91|
|Districts||Area in Sq Km||Population||Headquarters|
|North 24 Parganas||14,052||72,81,881||Alipore|
|South 24 Parganas||-||57,15,030||Barasat|