Blog Archives

Bengal – The land of diversities

 

Happy World Tourism Day to all my readers. Although I am not a travel blogger in true sense of the term, I have occasionally shared my experiences of exploring some places, which have wow-ed me. Travelling always brings with it a welcome relief from the tedious monotony of life. Occasional breaks always energise you with a fresh spirit to take on the world.

Having grown up in north Bengal, my childhood had been one of great joy – with multitudes of places to explore: from the hills to the forests. And with the tourism infrastructure improving by the day in the State, destinations in the bucket list keep increasing forever.

Whenever it comes to travelling, I always choose Bengal over any other place, not for any parochial reasons, but for the simple reason that it is meaningless to explore the world when you have not even discovered the hidden gems of your own motherland. As Rabindranath had so beautifully said it:

দেখা হয় নাই চক্ষু মেলিয়া. ঘর হতে শুধু দুই পা ফেলিয়া. একটি ধানের শিষের উপরে. একটি শিশিরবিন্দু।

(I have not seen yet, just two steps outside my home, a drop of dew on the shaft of paddy)

India, we know, is a land of great diversities, ranging from the Himalayas in the north to the seas to her south. Bengal, too, is guarded by the Himalayas in the north and is bordered by the seas on the south. She is blessed with natural resources – forests, tea gardens, beaches, hillocks, canyons, mangroves, land of red soil, tribal hamlets, heritage sites, places of worship… you name it and you’d find it in Bengal. And with the recent thrust on eco-tourism, and home stay tourism, these destinations have become more tourist-friendly.

For simplicity, Bengal can be divided into 4 zones:

Zone I – North Bengal (Cooch Behar, Jalpaiguri, Alipurduar, Darjeeling, Kalimpong, North & South Dinajpur)

Home to the Himalayas and Dooars forests.

Zone II – Gour Banga (Malda, Murshidabad, Nadia)

The seat of power during medieval period. Home to historical and religious sites.

Zone III – South Bengal (Hooghly, Howrah, Kolkata, North & South 24 Parganas, Purba Medinipur)

The remnants of colonial rule can be best experienced here. Also, home to beaches and mangroves.

Zone IV – Paschimanchal (Bardhaman, Birbhum, Purulia, Bankura, Jhargram, Paschim Medinipur)

The land of red soil, tribal belt of Bengal, folk culture and art.

I initially wanted to make a listicle of places to visit in Bengal, then, changed my mind, as the list would be forever-expanding. Instead, I am sharing pictures of some of my favourite destinations. Hope you like it.

 

Batasia Loop Darjeeling

 

Cooch Behar Rajbari

 

Dooars Alipurduar

 

Gorumara Jungle

 

Kalimpong

 

North Dinajpur Bird Sanctuary

 

Tea Garden in Darjeeling

 

Kushmandi Masks

 

Dakhil Darwaja, Malda

 

Katra Mosque, Mursidabad

 

Mayapur ISCKON Mandir

 

Bakkhali

 

Bandel Church

 

Belur Math

 

Curzon Gate, Bardhaman

 

Mandarmani

 

 

Gangasagar

 

Digha

 

Ajodhya Hills Purulia

 

 

Chhau Dance

 

 

Rasmancha Bankura

 

 

Jhargram

 

All images are from the official website of West Bengal Tourism Department. You can visit the website for more information, booking and photos.

Happy travelling!

P.S. I am taking my Alexa rank to the next level with Blogchatter. This is my last post.

On 1st September, my Alexa rank was 6,143,301 (global) and I did not have a country rank. As of today, my global Alexa rank is 1,223,202 and my India rank is 42,525.

 

DISCLAIMER: All Images Used In This Post Have Their Respective Copyrights

Advertisements

The 5 Must-Have Apps for Durga Pujo Pandal Hoppers

Durga Pujo in Kolkata – Image: The Indian Express

 

It is that time of the year again. Maa Durga has returned to her ‘Baaper Bari’ from Kailash with the entourage of her children in tow. The annual revelry and festivities are about to peak. People of Kolkata descended on the streets on Dwitiya itself and the madness is all set to reach a crescendo as the days pass.

Durga Pujo in Kolkata is not just a religious festival. It is nothing short of a 10 day street carnival. The sheer scale of creativity, art and culture on display at the pandals is unbelievable. One can only wish these beautiful creations can be preserved for the posterity to relish.

If you are new to Kolkata, or just eager to discover new Pujos around the corner, you can have them at your fingertips. In the age of gadgets and smartphones, Durga Pujo has become high-tech too. From the State Government’s Tourism Department to the Kolkata Police, as well as private companies, there are several apps to make the life of a pandal hopper easy.

Here are the Top 5 Must-Have Durga Puja Parikrama Apps for pandal hoppers:

1. Sharadotsav App

This app has been created by the Department of Tourism, West Bengal Government. Durga Pujo is also called Sharodiya or Sharod Utsav. Hence the name. The app contains information regarding Durga Pujo packages, pandals and other tidbits about the festival. You can download it here.

2. Utsav App

This app, created by the Kolkata Police, comes with multiple services that are necessities during Durga Pujo. You can check out details of the various Pujo pandals, read user stories, write reviews on Facebook. The app also provides route guide maps. You can download it here.

3. Durga Puja Parikrama

I had written about this app three years ago on my blog. This app by Ajay Pandey of AncileTech Solutions Pvt Ltd will allow you to find out Durga Pujo pandals around your location (and share details about it also), upload pictures, check pictures uploaded by other users, rate pandals and check the rating of a pandal by other users, create a ‘Visit List’ and update it as you go about pandal hopping. You can download it here.

4. Durga Pujo Porikroma

This app has zone-wise lists of pandals. It uses GPS to show you pandals around your location, and also gives you directions. The app features over 500 pandals and has the search feature also. You can download it here.

5. Kolkata Puja Guide and Map

As the name suggests, this app gives you a guidemap of all the pandals in Kolkata. It is easy to use and you do not have to keep going back to Google Maps for locating a pandal. You can download it here.

Happy Durga Pujo! Happy pandal-hopping!

 

P.S. I am taking My Alexa Rank to the next level with #MyFriendAlexa with BlogChatter. This is Post #4

DISCLAIMER: All Images Used In This Post Have Their Respective Copyrights

%d bloggers like this: