West Bengal is a great state to travel. Tourists can choose from a rich repertoire of hill stations, beaches, forest regions, and historical sites. In spite of being so varied in its topography, tourism in West Bengal is mostly associated with only one place – Darjeeling. Famous for its tea plantations all over the world, there are many tea estate resorts in Darjeeling that have come up in the last few years as a direct response to tourist demand.
But Darjeeling is only one small part of the huge canvas that is West Bengal. There are so many more tourism destinations in the state. Below, we have compiled a list of some great places to visit in West Bengal.
The most popular weekend destination in West Bengal, Digha is a seaside resort town famous for its spectacular beaches. It lies in the East Medinipur district and at the northern end of the Bay of Bengal. A visit to Digha is incomplete without taking a bath at the Digha beach. Other attractions include Marine Aquarium and Research Centre, Lord Shiva Temple at Chandaneswar, Old Digha, Shankarpur beach and the Udaipur Beach. Digha is an extremely popular tourist spot in West Bengal.
The crowning jewel of West Bengal tourism, Darjeeling is a hill station located at an elevation of 2,042 meters above sea level. This picturesque town, set against the backdrop of the lesser Himalayan ranges, is well known in the whole world. Each year, the amount of tourists that visit here keeps increasing and as a result, there are many resorts in Darjeeling that have come up to deal with the rising demand. The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is a UNESCO world heritage site. With tea plantations set up all over the hilly slopes, and Buddhist monasteries dotting up along the way, there are many beautiful sights to see here. Darjeeling is known for its spectacular views of the Kanchenjunga Mountains. There are many tea gardens in this hill station which double up as resorts for the visitors. These tea estate resorts in Darjeeling are seeing a growing popularity among the tourist’s population.
Bengal is famous in the world for two people – Satyajit Ray and Rabindranath Tagore. Regarded as the home of Tagore, Santiniketan is a small town near Bolpur in the Birbhum district of West Bengal. Tagore founded the Visva-Bharati University here in Shantiniketan, whose central premise was that learning in a natural environment would be more enjoyable and fruitful. The Shantiniketan campus is adorned with splendid sculptures, frescoes, murals, and paintings of Rabindranath, Nandalal Bose, Ramkinkar, and Binodbehari Mukhopadhyay. The town is also famous for its Baul Singers and various cultural festivals that keep happening all year round including the Poush Mela in December, Joydev Mela in January, and the very famous Basanta Utsav (Holi) in March.
Located in the Bankura district of Bengal, Bishnupur is famous for its terracotta temples that date back to 15th century. For almost a thousand years, this historical town was the capital of the Malla kings of Mallabhum. Under their patronage, Bishnupur became one of the principal centers of culture in Bengal. Most of the exquisite terracotta temples, for which the town is famous today, were built during that period. Apart from the craft of terracotta, Bishnupur is also well-known for its local production of Baluchari sarees.
Regarded as the longest drivable beach in India by some, Mandarmani is a seaside resort village in the East Medinipur district of West Bengal. A pristine long stretch of sparkling clean beach, it is soon developing into a popular tourist destination. Spotting red crabs crawling around the beach side is one of the special attractions of Mandarmani. It is the perfect spot to enjoy a peaceful and quiet time.
A favorite choice for honeymooning couples, Kalimpong is located at an average elevation of 1,250 meters above the main sea level. Nestled in the foothills of Shivalik ranges, this hill station overlooks the Teesta River valley. The town is home to many ancient Buddhist monasteries, some old churches, and the popular flower market here that boats of a wide array of orchids. A popular destination, there are many resorts here offering beautiful panoramic views to its visitors.
Perched in between the Siliguri and Darjeeling highway, Kurseong is a small hill station located at an elevation of 1,458 meters above sea level. Set against the picturesque background of the snow-capped Himalayan peaks, the town is dotted with little tea plantations all over the hilly slopes. The literal meaning of the word Kurseong means the ‘Land of White Orchids’ in the Lepcha language. During spring in every year, the hill station comes alive with large groups of white orchids seen growing abundantly in the region.