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West Bengal photos


Darjiling

   West Bengal is home to the reformer Raja Rammohan Roy, spiritual leaders Ramakrishna and Vivekananda, Nobel laureate poet Tagore, renowned film-maker Satyajit Ray, painter Jamini Roy who revived the folk style of painting. Bengal has been in the vanguard of Indian Renaissance.

   The most used language of the state is Bengali – it is native for 85% population of West Bengal. The Bengali language is native to more than 200 million inhabitants of the planet and is ranked 6th in terms of the number of speakers. In spite of being same language family, Bengali and Hindi descend from two different 'apabhransha' ('spoiled' form of Sanskrit). And Hindi is more close to Sanskrit than Bengali is. Hence the usage of 'anusvara' and 'visarga', two partially pronounced sounds in Sanskrit, is more prevalent in Hindi than Bengali. This is the reason of conversion of A to O and vice versa in these languages. Similar is the case of V-B conversion, that makes a lot of misunderstandings in English translations of numerous Gaudiya and Vaishnava preachers from Bengal (Brindavan-Vrindavan etc.).

   Kolkata (the name since 2001, the former Calcutta), the capital of the state of West Bengal, is located on one of the parts of the Ganges delta.

   Ganges is not only one of the largest rivers in South Asia and the third largest river in the world, but also a sacred river for Hindus. They consider the Ganges as the divine heavenly river that descended from heaven. This is partly explained by the importance of the Ganges in the life of the peoples of India. The Ganges basin is one of the most densely populated areas of the Earth, and the waters of the river provide shelter for hundreds of millions of people. Ganges flows through the territory of India, and in the delta region – also through the territory of Bangladesh (the former part of India). In the delta formed at the confluence of the Ganges Brahmaputra, mangrove forests of Sundarban are preserved. The main tributaries of the Ganges are Jamna, Ghagra, Gomiti and Brahmaputra, exceeding the Ganges in length. Ganges delta is the largest on the planet.

   Kolkata, the first capital of British India built by Job Charnock, has many splendors of the colonial era — Victoria Memorial, Marble Palace Eden Gardens, Asiatic Society, Indian Museum, Kalighat Temple, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Birla Planetarium, Haora Bridge and the headquarters of ‘Sisters of Charity’, Mother Theresa’s mission.

   Chandannagar once was a French colony, Chunchura held by the Dutch, Shrirampur was in the Danish possession, and the Portuguese settlement was Bandel. Murshidabad, seat of the Nawabs of Bengal, Bethuadahari, Krishnanagar, and Koch Bihar, towns of princely states, Bishnupur, capital of the Malla kings, and the more ancient capitals of Gaur, and Pandua are interesting sites.

   Among religious sites you can visit Kali Temple at Dakshineshwar, Ramakrishna Mission at Belur Math, temples at Bansberia, Jairambati, Kamarpukur, Navadwlp, Tarkeshwar, Tarapith, and Shrirampur that is also a Christian Mission Centre, and the monastery town of Ghoom, near Darjiling. The most beautiful temples of Bishnupur, whose laterite structures are overlaid with terracotta tiles.

   Darjiling, the queen of hill stations, with view point at Tiger Hill and Senchal from which you can see Mt. Everest (8848 meters), Kanchenjunga (8 586 meters), and other peaks. Hill resorts are Shiliguri, Kalimpang, Karsiyang, Mirik. Diamond Harbour, Digha, Janput, Kakdwip, Bok-Khali, and Frazerganj are picnic spots. Hot springs of Bakreshwar and the dam site of Kangsabati are other attractions.

   Jaldapara, Sunderbans (forest of ‘sundari’ trees), the mangrove forest of the Hooghly estuary, home to the remnants of the Royal Bengal Tiger, Buxa, Gorumara, and Chapramari are wildlife sanctuaries and national parks.

   Asansol and Durgapur, Chittaranjan, and Burnpur are other industrial centers of the state. Shanti Niketan — Tagore’s Vishwa Bharathi University.