10 Best Places to Visit in West Bengal

Known for its sweet sounding language, Victorian buildings, a simple way of life, delicious food and vibrant culture, West Bengal is a gem of a place. West Bengal captures the sweet spot for every travel enthusiast. Blessed with the Himalayas in the north and Bay of Bengal in the south along with the mangroves, West Bengal has a plethora of options for every type of traveller.

A trip to Bengal will be a mosaic made up of spiritual experiences, adventure activities and rejuvenation.

Best Places to Visit in West Bengal

From the hills to the beaches, here are the best places to visit in West Bengal:

1. Sundarbans

The mystical mangrove of Sundarbans is a UNESCO world heritage which started off as a tiger conservation project. Over 10 times the size of the city of Venice, the Sundarbans ecosystem pans out in an area of over 4,000 sq. km or 10 lakh acres. The Sundarbans biosphere reserve comprises an unreachable and completely isolated collection of 102 islands.

This largest mangrove in the world is formed by the confluence of the Padma, Brahmaputra and Meghna Rivers in the Bay of Bengal. The Royal Bengal Tigers have made Sundarbans their home coexisting with a variety of aquatic, avian and floral life.

2. Kolkata

Formerly known as Calcutta, this city is the ornament of the modern Indian history, as it remained the capital city of the British, during their rule over India. Calcutta has the oldest hanging bridge of the nation, has the oldest and the biggest museum and Library and zoo and tram depot and metro rail of India.

Calcutta might not have been the city of princes, but the Calcutta Polo Club is the oldest one in the world! The Royal Calcutta Golf Club is the first ever golf club to be set up outside the United Kingdom! When talking about cricket, there’s one fact which even many cricket buffs do not know.

Founded in 1792, the Calcutta Cricket and Football Club is the second oldest cricket club in the world after MCC: the Mecca of Cricket. Well, when it comes to sports, Calcuttans are crazy about their football! The Kidderpore Port is the oldest port in India besides being the only riverine port in the country. Besides, the replica of the Hooghly River Port is the only representative of India at the Asian Cities Sector in the Metropolitan Museum (MET), New York.

Victoria Memorial Hall of Kolkata is undoubtedly one of the most iconic heritage pieces of history in India. Located in the heart of the city of joy, this popular tourist destination is actually a museum. The Victoria Memorial Hall is the epitome of elegance and beautiful architecture and was the brainchild of George Curzon who was the first viceroy of India.

The architectural style is a combination of Egyptian, Mughal, Deccani styles Dedicated to the memory of queen victoria, and this stunning white memorial hall adds a Victorian essence to the traditional Bengal.

3. Darjeeling

Located in the eastern Himalayan region on an elevation of 2,045 metres above sea level, Darjeeling is one of the best hill stations in West Bengal. Initially this hilly hamlet had served as a summer retreat for the British. Often lovingly referred to as the queen of hills and blessed with tea plantations, Darjeeling offers some of the most stunning views of the majestic Khangchendzonga mountain ranges.

Darjeeling tour packages will make you feel closer to nature and promote a sense of mindfulness. From watching the first sun rays hit the snowcapped Kanchenjunga mountain ranges from tiger hill to riding around in the world heritage Darjeeling Himalayan railway, it is a little piece of paradise on earth.

4. Mirik

West Bengal is home to some of the most stunning hill stations in India, waiting to be explored more. Mirik is a laid back hill station that lies halfway between Siliguri, New Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling. For every tourist looking to catch a breath of fresh air amidst the city chaos then Mirik will make for the perfect relaxing getaway.

Dotted with colourful monasteries, tranquil lakes and scenic views, this incredible hill station is a great way of taking a break from the routine and feeling a lot closer to nature in just a couple of hours.

5. Dooars

Often spelled as Duars, this unique hill station occupies the eastern Himalayan region around the beautiful country of Bhutan. The term can be translated to ‘doors or gateways’ which is a symbolic way of welcoming outsiders. The dense forests are home to a rich biodiversity of flora and fauna and a unique wildlife collection.

Tourists can explore the great wilderness via a jungle, elephant or a jeep safari at the Gorumara National Park, Buxa Tiger Reserve, Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary etc. This gateway to Bhutan is also home to a large variety of endangered species of animals such as tigers, rhinos, elephants etc.

6. Kalimpong

The stunning hilly hamlet of Kalimpong is located on an elevation of 1,300 metres above sea level and occupies the eastern part of Darjeeling. This small scenic Himalayan town represents pristine beauty at its peak through its lush and dense deodar forests, enchanting valleys, charming trails and untouched natural beauty.

Known for its diverse range of orchids, cactus and other ornamental plants, Kalimpong makes for the perfect quick getaway on the way to Darjeeling. Go monastery hopping to Tharpa Choling Monastery and Thongsa Gompa, gaze out at the sherpa viewpoint or hike around the Deolo Hills, Kalimpong is an experience like no other.

7. Shantiniketan

The heritage tourist attraction of Shantiniketan is an ideal destination for all history and literature buffs. The culturally rich tourist attraction in Birbhum, Shantiniketan is where the Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore had resided and set up the esteemed Visva-Bharati University. Shantiniketan heavily emphasises on preserving the Indian culture which is modelled on the forest schools of the ancient times.

Located about 200 kms away from the main city of Kolkata and its bustle, even today, Shantiniketan follows the teachings and the principles of equality imbibed by the Tagores.

8. Bishnupur

Bishnupur within the former Malla Kingdom is located about 130 km from Calcutta, which today includes reproductions in terracotta or other materials, of the horses of Bankura, which are part of folklore. You can see its manufacture in Bishnupur, but it is fair to admit that its fame comes from the nearby town of Panchmura.

Bishnupur is famous for its terracotta temples. Possibly the most sought-for heritage in Bishnupur, Rashmancha was commissioned by the Mallabhum king - Veer Hambir in 1600 AD. Built by Malla king Durjan Singha in 1690s, Madan Mohan Temple has beutiful terracotta walls depicting the story of Krishna. The best option without a doubt is the train, especially if you travel from outside Bengal.

From Calcutta, in addition to the train, there are buses that leave from Esplanade.

9. Chandernagore

This one is near and you can reach by local train from Howrah station. The station name is Bandel Junction. It is in Hoogly district. If you plan to travel, try to cover places in Hoogly like Imambara, Bandel Church etc.

10. Henry Island

A very secluded beach but if you have an awesome group, you ll definitely enjoy this. Henry Island is a sea shore where you could find trees inside the sea, near the shore, probably the mangroves. Also to reach Bakhhali from Kolkata is a 3 hour drive. There are multiple boats in the river and the view is beautiful. On your way back to Kolkata spend sometime at Diamond Harbour.

Kalyan Panja