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West Bengal - Quick Facts

Area : 88,752 km2
Capital : Kolkata
Population : 91,347,736
Population Density : 1,000/km2 (2,700/sq mi)
Altitude : 7,016 ft(2,138 m)
Clothing : Cotton clothes for summer & In Winter Heavy Woolens
Best Time to Visit : October to February
Climate : spring, summer, rainy season, a short autumn, and winter.
Rainfall : 175 cm
Highest Location : Sandakpur
Highest Point : 11,941 ft
Language : Hindi,English,Bengoli
Religious : Hinduism,Islam,Christians, Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists

West Bengal is a state in eastern regions of India and is the nation's fourth most populous. The state has been classified as the seventh most populous subdivisions entity in the world. With Bangladesh, which lies on its eastern border, the state forms the ethno-linguistic region of Bengal. To its northeast lie the states of Assam and Sikkim and the country Bhutan, and to its southwest, the state of Orissa. To the west it borders the states of Jharkhand and Bihar, and to the northwest, Nepal.

The region that is now West Bengal was part of a number of empires and kingdoms during the past two millennia. The British East India Company cemented their hold on the region following the Battle of Plessey in 1757, and the city of Calcutta, now Kolkata, served for many years as the capital of British India. A hotbed of the Indian independence movement through the early 20th century, Bengal was divided in 1947 along religious lines into two separate entities, West Bengal—a state of India, and East Bengal, a part of the new nation of Pakistan. Following India's independence in 1947, West Bengal's economic and political systems were dominated for many decades by Marxism, Naxalite movements and trade unionism.

An agriculture-dependent state, West Bengal occupies only 2.7% of the India's land area, though it supports over 7.8% of the Indian population, and is the most densely populated state in India. West Bengal has been ruled by the Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led Left Front for three decades, making it the world's longest-running democratically elected communist government.

By Air
West Bengal is very well connected with the national and international air network. The international (Netaji Subhash International Airport) and domestic airports of Calcutta are at Dumdum, located 15 km from the city center. The Bagdogra airport at Siliguri connects the state with places in and around the state. Three more airports, namely, Balurghat, Coochbehar and Malda also operate scheduled domestic flights.

By Rail
West Bengal runs a major railway network that connects the rest of the country. Kharagpur railway station has the longest railway platform in India. Moreover, the Howrah railway station is one of the most accessed railway heads in India. New Jalpaiguri railhead connects the rest of the country to Darjeeling by toy trains.

By Road
West Bengal is also well connected by means of national as well as state highways with major places of interest in and around the state. The state transport corporation runs regular buses connecting these places. There are also private tour operators that provide luxury coaches to access the nearby places of importance.

About three quarters of the population lives in the villages. Of the different religions, Hinduism, with its substrata of castes and aboriginal tribes, claims the adherence of more than three-fourths the population, most of the remainder being Muslim. West Bengal contains about 40 recognized communities of tribes--the better known among them being the Santals, Oraons, Munas, Lepchas, and Bhutias--that make up less than one-tenth of the total population. Bengali is the language of most of the people, with Hindi, Urdu, Nepali, and English as minority languages. English, however, is the language of administration and a lingua franca for business purposes.

Bengalis have always fostered literature, art, music, and drama. Bengali literature dates to before the 12th century. The Caitanya movement, an intensely emotional form of Hinduism inspired by the medieval saint Caitanya (1485-1533), shaped the subsequent development of Bengali poetry until the early 19th century, when contact with the West sparked a vigorous creative synthesis. The modern period has produced, among others, the Nobel prize-winning poet Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941), whose contribution still dominates the Indian literary scene. Bengal also boasts of three other Nobel Prize winners, Mother Teresa, Amartya Sen and Satyajit Ray. Jamini Roy, Uday Shankar, Bimal Mitra and Tarashankar Banerjee all belong to this culturally rich land. The theatre is popular, and both amateur and professional performances are quite sophisticated, traditional open-air performances, are popular in the countryside, along with kavigan an impromptu duel in musical verse between village poets. Traditional music takes the form of devotional and cultural songs. The kathakata a religious recital based on folklore, is another rural entertainment. Films offer yet another type of popular diversion, and Bengali productions have earned national and international awards.

Fish and rice are the main ingredients that typically describe the cuisine of West Bengal. Yet that doesn’t mean there is nothing more to the state. The people here also eat a variety of vegetables that are grown there in suitable weather conditions.

Other famous cuisines of the state include Rassagolla (cottage cheese in sweet syrup), Sondesh, Began Bhaja, Luchi, Machcher Jhol, Doi Machch (sea food), Mishti Doi (sweetened curd) and Kosha Mangsho.

West Bengal has always played a prominent role in the field of art and culture, giving birth to a large number of modern movements in literature, painting, sculpture, theatre and cinema as well as in politics, science and industry. Kolkata is appropriately regarded as the cultural capital of India for the immense contribution and leadership of the state in the fields of literature, art, theatre and films in particular. The multifaceted art and culture of West Bengal find manifestation in various forms. Most worth mention are : -Songs of Bengal including Bhatiali, Bhauaiah, Baul, devotional Ramprasadi songs, Padabali Kirtan, Bhajan, Toppa, Baithaki, Adhunik, Rabindra Sangeet, songs ofAtulprasad and Dwijendralal, Najrul Geeti and the dhrupadi style of music Group Theatre, Art Film, Dance-drama of Rabindranath Tagore. Dance of different styles and art including the masked Chhau, Rava, Mech and Santali dances most of which are performed by tribals and ethnic groups, Jatra (traditional theatrical performance), Gombhira (satirical theatrical performance), Tarja and Kabigan (poetic contest presented in the form of song).Poetry, novels, short stories and essays published in innumerable periodicals and little magazines all over the state. Book Fairs are among the most passionate cultural events not only in Kolkata but at numerous places in the state. Painting and sculpture, exhibitions on which are regularly held in several Halls and Art galleries.Kabiguru Rabindranath Tagore's Santiniketan is famous all over the world as a seat of learning, art and culture based on Indian tradition and Tagore's philosophy. West Bengal boasts of a rich heritage of art & craft including Handicrafts made from brass, bell metal, conchshell, shola (pith), bamboo, jute, cane, cotton and grass. Terracotta figurines and horses of Bankura made of burnt clay or wood Dhokra figurines of Bankura-Birbhum-Puruliya Painted clay plaques of Kalighat Clay models ofKrishnanagar Leather bags of Sriniketan Wood carvings and semi- precious stone jewellery - Masks of Puruliya and Darjiling Handloom Sarees, Specially Jammdani Sarees of dhatrigram, Kalna, Samudragarh, Santipur - Phulia and Baluchari sarees of Vishnupur Kantha Stitch handiwork Bewitching range of gold, silver and diamond jewellery.

Makar Sankranti (Ganga Sagar Mela)-
January.Every year on this day people from all over India come for a both in the Ganga.

New Year Day

Saraswati Puja (Basant Panchami)
February in Honour of the Goddess Of Learning and Music every body celebrates this day with the fervour.

Dol Yatra or Holi
March celebrated through out the country and also in Bengal Men, Women and children with colour on this day.

Bengali New Year Day or Poila Baisakh
In April –On this day Ganesha is also worshiped.

Sacred day for Tarpan for the deceased one .Also signal arrival of Goddess Durga.

Durga Puja
In month of October Bengalis greatest festivals celebrated for 4 Day –Saptami.Ashtami, Nabami and Dashami. On last day the deity with Lakshmi, Saraswati, Ganesh and Kartikeya are immersed in the Ganga.

Lakshmi Puja
Celebrated in respect of Goddess of wealth, Lakshmi.

Kali Puja/Diwali
The city is lit up with candles and the sky showered with fireworks. Goddess Kali worshipped on this Day.

Sutanuti Festivals
Organised by Sutanuti Parishad on 24th August. Kolkata Birthday celebration on this day by state and central Government.

Major Fair’s are
Calcutta book Fair, Poush Mela & Joydev mela.

Kolkata (Calcutta) like the other metros offers an enthusiastic shopper a range of commodities that suit every budget. There are a lot of markets or malls selling all kinds of wares from Bengal's very own Tant and Baluchari sarees in cotton and silk, Bengal handlooms with their beautiful workmanship in popular styles such as Daccai or Thangail Jamdani work, handicrafts including brass figurines and the famous Bankura horse, leather items at reasonable rates, intricate gold and silver jewelry, electronic goods, Chinese imported goods in China town and others at good bargains.

Kolkata | Darjeeling Malda | Kurseong | Mirik | Murshidabad | Pandua | Santiniketan | Siliguri | Malda.

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