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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

A trip to Tajpur: An ideal weekend destination

“My soul is full of longing
for the secret of the sea,
and the heart of the great ocean
sends a thrilling pulse through me.”

― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

 

 

There are two kinds of Bengalis – those that prefer the mountains for vacationing and those who are enticed by the sea. I fall in the latter category. Having grown up in north Bengal, with mountains and forests abound, my heart always yearns for the majestic view of the sea – serene, endless and unrestrained. The sea epitomises a boundless bundle of energy which follows its own rhythms and refuses to bound by any rules. Who can say no to such charm, right?

 

Tajpur Beach

Shells on the beach

 

Gifts from the sea

 

My latest trip (on Bhaiphonta) was to a little-known beach near Digha in coastal Bengal. Tajpur, located 180 km away from Kolkata in Purba Medinipur district, is a quaint, secluded and serene destination, ideal for those who want to break free from the maddening city-life and relax in the lap of nature for a weekend.

 

The casuarina trees

 

With an abundance of Casuarina trees, the Tajpur beach is a joyous territory for those who want to explore nature. The greenery is striking, and the air so fresh and pure that you feel alive again. The place is also known for its red crab island. With small shacks serving fresh fish right next to the beach, the experience attains fruition.

 

A panoramic view of the beach

 

Embankments under construction – Ideal for watching the waves

 

Waiting to explore the waves

 

The Government of West Bengal is currently constructing a road connection Shankarpur with Mandarmani. The road passes over Tajpur and is a tourist’s delight. The mighty sea on one side and the lush green, idyllic, rural Bengali landscape on the other side – this certainly is a sight to behold.

You can just sit on the sandy beaches (or the rocky embankments made by the administration to prevent erosion) and stare at the waves; there can be no better purpose in life.

 

The road connecting Tajpur with Shankarpur

 

Biswa Bangla Sarani at sea-beach

 

How to go

We had hired a car from Kolkata to Tajpur (180 km). The route we took was: Kolkata – Kolaghat – Nandakumar – Contai – Chaulkhola – Balisahi – (turn left) – Alampur (turn right) – Tajpur.

One can also take the train from Howrah to Digha (and a local vehicle from there). There are several buses that leave from Esplanade for Digha.

 

A rain soaked ride

 

Where to stay

While there are a few hotels to stay in Tajpur, I would advise staying in Shankarpur or Digha. The facilities are better there.

 

Experience Bengal

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