It’s difficult to identify just 10 amazing places to visit in West Bengal. What’s about this state in the east of the sub-continent that makes it climb to the top of every traveler’s bucket list? Never been to West Bengal? Pity, you deprived the passionate traveler in you of such a worldly experience. Our list here is of the most unbelievably awesome places to visit in West Bengal.
10 Amazing Places to visit in West Bengal: Blackboard Travel Guide Ranking for 2017
1. Darjeeling in North Bengal: It’s truly the Queen of Hills
Blackboard would rank Darjeeling as the top destination among the list of amazing places to visit in West Bengal. This little town on the foothills of Himalayas is one of the most popular tourist destinations in West Bengal. The lush green valleys, mountain slopes covered with pine and rhododendrons, the flavor of the famous Darjeeling tea, and the chugging of the UNESCO World Heritage Darjeeling Toy Train (which is the first Mountain Railways in India built by the British) can give one some serious wanderlust.
If all that seems too overrated, then plan a trip to this small hamlet covered in fog, Takdah, from where you can go for a local sight-seeing tour or can enjoy a nature walk through the coniferous forest. A shorter trek route through the forest to Lamhatta can be enjoyable too.
How to reach: Take a train from anywhere in India to reach Siliguri or New Jalpaiguri (NJP Junction) in North Bengal. It’s usually an overnight train journey from Kolkata to NJP. There are a host of trains from Howrah Railway station or Sealdah Railway station for NJP. From there, you can take a cab on hire or public buses straight to Darjeeling. It will take about 3-4 hours to reach Darjeeling by road from Siliguri. You can also take the UNESCO Darjeeling Mountain Railway from Siliguri to Darjeeling.
2. Sandakphu Mountain Range: A Trekker’s Paradise in North Bengal
Thrill seekers have a reason to rejoice, as Sandakphu is known for one of India’s popular trekking routes. Start early from New Jalpaiguri to reach the base-camp at Manebhanjan, from where one can trek to Tonglu or Tumling. A further trek through the bamboo glades to Gairibas and through the rhododendron forests to Kalipokhri, and finally a steep climb of 4 kms from Bikhaybhanjhyang is all one needs to reach Sandakphu.
The perks of the trek would definitely be the mesmerizing view of the whole range of Kanchenjungha Mountain Range from there. The fortunate ones could catch a rare sight of red-panda during the forest trek at Sandakphu. Blackboard Travel Guide would rank Sandakphu as a definite among the top places to visit in West Bengal.
3. Dooars in North Bengal: The wildlife and nature lover’s paradise
Among the must visit places to visit in West Bengal, Dooars is definitely one. There’s got to be a reason why nature lovers, wildlife enthusiasts, bird-watchers, and tourists alike flock together every fall, to this vast alluvial floodplains in the foothills of the eastern Himalayas. Along with the Gorumara national park, Jaldapara Wildlife sanctuary to get a glimpse of the wildlife, Bindu, Jhalong, Laligura, Samsing are worth a visit too for the nature lovers.
4. Purulia: Rich in history and tribal folklore
One of the most popular visuals of the West Bengal Tourism’s advertisements would be the masked men performing the ‘Chhau’ Tribal dance, which reminds us instantly of this ancient part of the state. One can get a closer look to West Bengal’s heritage and culture, art and dance forms and so on. The Ayodhya hill again is a trekker’s paradise while the Saheb Bandh lake can be good for sighting migratory birds; again the Cheliamma is famous for terracotta figurines, Radha-Krishna idols and carvings around Temples, to name a few. If you are looking for a quiet retreat from Kolkata, Purulia is definitely a must visit. Blackboard would rank it as a certain one of the best places to visit in West Bengal.
The home of the famous Royal Bengal Tiger, never fails to fan the curiosities of tourists and travellers. The trip through the mangrove forest, a boat-ride through the delta region, a glimpse of a wild animal or two, and an occasional roar of the Royal creature piercing through the silence of the jungle is a thrill one would never like to miss. This wildlife paradise should be on your bucket list and one of the top reasons and places to visit in West Bengal.
6. Beaches of West Bengal: Popular Weekend getaways
For the ones who are intimidated by crowd, West Bengal has a host of serene beaches that are still pristine and have not been tagged as ‘popular tourist destination’. The beaches at Tajpur, Mandarmani and Shankarpur are usually known for their virgin beauty and so are popular for biodiversity study and eco-tourism. Digha is an extremely popular tourist hotspot though. You can give it a miss if you are looking for some quite time of tranquility and peaceful stroll on a beach. Experience the quite beaches of Mandarmani, Shankarpur and Tajpur with not many human footprints but numerous crab holes to count, with the resident red crabs coming out of the holes with the receding tide, and turning back quickly with the approach of another, is a lovely site that most other beaches would fail to offer. These beaches are certainly one of the best places to visit in West Bengal.
How to reach: These three beaches are roughly at a distance of about 200-250 kms by road from the capital of West Bengal – Kolkata. You can easily hire a cab or take the state run or private tourist bus services to reach these popular weekend getaways. There are ample number of homestays, budget and premium hotel options to stay in Digha and Mandarmani. There are no staying options at Tajpur or Shankarpur though since these two beaches are at near proximity to Mandarmani. All the hotels are concentrated in either Mandarmani or Digha.
The city of joy – Kolkata – lives up to its name. The heritage buildings, the yellow taxis, the famous Howrah Bridge, the tram-ways and mouth-watering street food beckons travellers from all over the world. From cemeteries to church and mosques to the ‘ghats’; from the shopping malls to the street-markets, you name it, Kolkata has it. One of the four metro cities of India, Kolkata never disappoints with its unmatched energy and it is truly one of the most vibrant cities of India.
When in Kolkata, don’t forget to try the famous desert called ‘Roshogolla’ here. You can also definitely try a hand on its famous street food like Egg Rolls, Phuchka, Jhaal Muri, or roadside Chowmein (Noodles).
There is also an unique and hidden food trail of Kolkata that not many people or tourists are aware of. To try this food trail watch Blackboard’s Kolkata Food Trail video here:
You should definitely try the Chinese breakfast early in the morning between 7 to9 am at Tirreti Bazar in Central Kolkata.
Kolkata in the past few years has added numerous feathers to its cap. Apart from its heritage legacy and famous monuments like Victoria Memorial, Dalhouise Square, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Indian Museum, Indian Coffee House, Writer’s Building et al, there has been an extension of the city in a much more planned and eco-friendly way at Rajarhat New Town. There are a host of attractions and things to do and see at New Town.
Also Read: Kolkata Aerial Video
Top 3 Attractions to see at New Town, Kolkata:
Kolkata’s New Town is within a short radius of 10 – 15 kms from Kolkata international airport. So it would make perfect sense to stay near this part of the city during your visit to Kolkata, if you want to witness all the attractions of this sprawling New Town within your timeline. Here are the top 3 attractions to see at New Town:
8. Rabindra Tirtha in New Town
This unique heritage museum showcases the life and journey of Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore in a digital archive. This cultural and research museum showcases the poet’s lives through photo gallery, selected poems, his literary works etc. It also houses an exhibition hall, an auditorium, a music hall, cafeteria, library, separate accommodation for researchers etc.
Timings: Weekdays – 2 – 8 pm. Sundays and holidays – 12 – 8 pm. Entry fees – Rs. 20.
Kolkata’s Mothers Wax Museum is India’s first Wax Museum and it beckons you when you arrive in the ‘City of Joy’ – Kolkata in the eastern part of India. There are two photo galleries in the ground floor while one walks working into the WAX Museum. The entry lobby at 6th floor has been paved with beautiful designed blue tiles. There are 18-19 WAX models of eminent personalities. The total WAX Museum has been divided into nine separate sections and each specially designed along with the light profile of the eminent personalities.
Timings: 12.00 noon to 7.30 pm. Monday Closed. Entry Fees: Rs.200 Per Person
10. Eco Park, New Town
There are a host of water sports and activities at Eco Park such as ice skating, toy train, water zorbing, boat riding, kayaking, duo cycling, speed boating, bird watching or just lazing around sitting in the vast green landscape inside the park. There is a huge lake at the centre of the park which is a great pastime to laze around and watch the stunning sunset. There is also a dine in option at Café Ekante, Lake Island inside Eco Park, New Town.
Kolkata is definitely an amazing place to visit in West Bengal and should be on your radar. Catch a flight from your home town to reach Kolkata either directly or via Delhi or Mumbai within India. If you reach Mumbai or Delhi first, you can also take a flight from there to reach Kolkata (around 2 hrs 30 mins flight from Delhi or Mumbai) or one of the express trains like Rajdhani or Duranto Express from New Delhi or Mumbai Railway stations. A train journey would usually take around 18 to 24 hours depending on the speed and route.
However, these train journeys are absolutely safe and gives you a completely different experience by taking you through India’s numerous states. Once you reach Kolkata, there are numerous transport options like public and private bus, private taxis, private car rental companies like Ola, Uber etc. Trams are an unique feature of Kolkata – found only in this part of India. If you want to experience a Tram ride you have to be visit the Central part of Kolkata like Esplanade, Sealdah, Dalhouise, Poddar Court, College Street and Maidan. There is no dearth of staying options in Kolkata – right from homestays, bed and breakfast options, budget or premium hotels or luxury national and international hotel chains like JW Marriott, ITC Sonar Bangla, Hyatt Regency, Holiday Inn Kolkata, Swissotel, Taj Bengal, Great Eastern Hotel, Novotel Kolkata or Peerless Hotels.
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