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Country : India         West Bengal         
     
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Wikipedia Guide
West Bengal (Bengali: পশ্চিমবঙ্গ Poshchim Bônggo, IPA: [poʃtʃim bɔŋɡo]) is a state in eastern India. With Bangladesh, which lies on its eastern border, the state forms the ethno-linguistic region of Bengal. To its northeast lie the states of Assam and Sikkim and the country Bhutan, and to its southwest, the state of Orissa. To the west it borders the states of Jharkhand and Bihar, and to the northwest, Nepal. The region that is now West Bengal was part of a number of empires and kingdoms during the past two millennia. The British East India Company cemented their hold on the region following the Battle of Plassey in 1757, and the city of Calcutta, now Kolkata, served for many years as the capital of British India. A hotbed of the Indian independence movement through the early 20th century, Bengal was divided in 1947 along religious lines into two separate entities, West Bengal—a state of India, and East Bengal, a part of the new nation of Pakistan. Following India's independence in...      Read more at wikipedia...
 
Facts At A Glance
Main Languages Bengali
Population 8.02 crores
Description
In Calcutta,Victoria Memorial and Fort Williams are the must visit places. 51 kms from the city, the Hoogli turns towards the Bay of Bengal -- beyond is the beautiful Bakkhali beach. Darjeeling also called the Queen of the Hills has the highest Race Course in the World. In Darjeeling trek to Tiger Hill and Ghoom monastery. Visit its neighbours Mirik and Kalimpong, reached by a fascinating journey through tea estates, winding roads and several view points from where the Himalayan range can be viewed.
 
Location
West Bengal, is bounded on the north by Bhutan and the state of Sikkim, on the east by Bangladesh and the state of Assam, on the south by the Bay of Bengal, on the southwest by the state of Orissa, and on the west by Nepal and the state of Bihar. Kolkata is the capital of Wet Bengal which is one of the largest cities in India.
 
Best time to visit
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: summer(March to early June), hot and wet (mid-June to September), and winter (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.
 
How To Get There
By Air : The city is serviced by 10 international airlines from both the East and the West, apart from Air India and the country's domestic airlines.

Domestic: Indian Airlines operate air services between Kolkata and Agartala, Ahmedabad, Bagdogra, Bangalore, Chennai (Madras), Delhi, Dibrugarh, Guwahati, Imphal, Mumbai (Bombay), as well as Bangkok, Dhaka, Kathmandu, Singapore, Yangon. Air India operates service between Kolkata and Mumbai. Services are operated by Alliance Airlines (between Kolkata and Agartala, Ahmedabad, Aizawl, Bhubaneswar, Chennai, Delhi, Dimapur, Hyderabad, Imphal, Jorhat, Lucknow, Jaipur, Patna, Port Blair, Silchar, Tezpur, Visakhapatnam), Jet Airways (between Kolkata and Nagpur, Bangalore, Chennai, Bagdogra, Delhi, Imphal, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Jorhat, Mumbai), Sahara Airlines (between Kolkata and Lucknow, Mumbai, Patna, Vishakhapatnam).

Airline Codes: Domestic

Al Air India
CD Alliance Airlines
IC Indian Airlines
9W Jet Airways
S2 Sahara Airlines
International Air Services are operated by Air India, Biman Bangladesh, British Airways, Druk Air, Royal Brunei Airlines, Royal Dutch Airlines, Royal Jordanian Airlines, Royal Nepal Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways International.

Airline Codes: International

AI Air India
BA British Airways
BG Biman Bangladesh
BI Royal Brunei Airlines
KB Druk Air
KL Royal Dutch Airlines
RA Royal Nepal Airlines
RJ Royal Jordanian Airlines
SQ Singapore Airlines
SU Aeroflot
TG Thai Airways International
By Rail : Kolkata is a major railhead and is linked to all parts of the country by an extensive network of trains. The two important stations are Howrah and Sealdah. Local trains are best for connecting to nearby places.

Enquiries: For information of running of E.R. & S.E.R. trains, please dial 2204025 (manual; Fairlie Place), 6603535 (computerised; Howrah), Howrah Station: 660-2581/3542/7412 (manual); Bidhan Nagar: 1311 (manual); Dum Dum Junction, 1312 (manual). In addition, dial 1310 (manual) & 1331 (recorded Information) for train running. Train service enquiry at Sealdah : 3503535/37. Public Information Centre (Sealdah): 3503536/6825/8828/8836/8876/9736. Public Information Centre (Howrah New Complex; SE Railway): 6602217. Central Enquiry (Kolkata; manual): 1310; Central Enquiry Kolkata; recorded announcement):1331. For information about reservations on Eastern Railway and South-Eastern Railway trains, dial 138, the computerised interactive voice response system (48 lines). Timings: 8 am to 8 pm on weekdays and 8 am to 2 pm on Sundays and gazetted holidays.

Foreigners can buy Indrail passes for half day to 90 days and a validity of 1 year. They are also entitled to reserve berth from the special quota meant for them. For details contact 220 2789.

Road: Kolkata is connected by road with all the major cities of India.
 
History
In the 3rd century BC, Bengal was part of the Mauryan Empire. It then came under the control of the Gupta Empire. For a few centuries starting around 800 AD, the Pala dynasty controlled most of Bengal and Bangladesh, along with parts of Bihar and Orissa.

Qutb-ud-din, at the end of the 12th century, brought Bengal under control of the Delhi Sultans. Bengal stayed under the control of the Muslim rulers in Delhi until the death of Aurangzeb in 1707. At that time it became an independent Muslim state.

In 1690, the British established a trading post in Calcutta. In 1756, the Nawab of Bengal, Siraj-ud-daula, captured Calcutta. Clive and his British army defeated him a year later at the Battle of Plassey. Mir Jafar, Siraj-ud-daula's uncle, aided Clive. When Clive attacked, the men commanded by Mir Jafar did not fight and the British easily defeated the rest of Siraj-ud-daula's army. Mir Jafar then became the next Nawab, and in return for Clive's help, gave him great riches. In 1764, the British took complete control of Bengal, after the Battle of Buxar.
 
Festivals
The festive spirit sets in with Durga Puja, a five day ritual and celebration for the ten armed goddess Durga. A major festival when excitement and activity touches a feverish pitch. Diwali, the festival of lights is the worship of goddess Kali. Clay lamps and firecrackers are a part of the festival. Rathajatra, is Lord Jagannath's Car festival.

Holi, the festival of colours, is a celebration of the spring season.

Muslim festivals, the two Ids, are also celebrated with great rejoicing. Unique, perhaps, is the Christmas festivity that continues till the New Year.

From November, part of the Maidan is converted into fairgrounds. The Textile Fair, Art and Handicrafts Fair, Leather Exhibition and the famous Kolkata Book Fair are the favourites. The city is resonant with Film and Theatre Festivals, music conferences, rock shows, art exhibitions and various other cultural activities. This is also the time when the fairs of rural Bengal are held.
 
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