West Bengal is an Indian State located in Eastern India. Kolkata is the state capital. West Bengal is the 4th most populous state in the country. It shares its border with Bangladesh in the east and Jharkhand and Bihar in the West. West Bengal also shares a border with Bhutan in the North East and Nepal in North West. It also shares a border with Odisha in the southwest and with the states of Assam and Sikkim in the north. It is a land of remarkable natural splendors.
The state of Bengal stretches from the snow-capped Himalaya in the north to the sultry and mysterious mangrove forest of Gangetic delta and the sun-kissed sea beaches in the south. This magnificent natural diversity along with rich cultural heritage, historical monuments, and architecture, arts, and crafts, colorful festivals, delicious cuisine, make this state one of the most attractive destinations in our country.
The famous Greek traveler and chronicler Megasthenes mentioned about Bengal in his chronicle. In the Epic Mahabharata, the name of Bengali kings like Chitrasena was mentioned. During the time of Maurya dynasty, Bengal flourished and the same tradition continued during the time of Gupta empire also. Then at the time of the Gauda empire, Bengal experienced glory and development once again. One of the most important periods in the history of Bengal was the rule of Pala dynasty. It was called the Golden age of Bengal. Under their patronage, the cultural standards of the state raised to a considerable extent. Bengal gradually came under the Islamic rulers during the medieval period. The most prominent among them was Sher Shah who build great infrastructures and did some genuine development work in the region. Grand Trunk road is a classic example of that. Then the Mughals gained control of the territory. They were ruling through Subahdars. Murshid Quli Khan who was a devoted Mughal commander became the Nawab of Bengal. Murshidabad became the capital of the state.
The European Settlement - Portuguese were the first to arrive, settle and started doing trades in Bandel, Bengal. Then Dutch and Danish traders reached Chinsurah and Serampore and French settlement started growing in Chandannagar. But ultimately it was the British East India company who took control of Bengal after the battle of Plassay where they defeated the then Nawab of Bengal Siraj ud daula. After the battle of Buxar, Bengal Presidency was created and incorporated with the British controlled Indian Territory. In 1773 when the British gained almost total control of the country they declared Calcutta as their capital in India.
Partition Of Bengal - Lord Curzon the then viceroy of India announced the partition of Bengal in the year 1905. Bengal was divided along communal lines. Bengal was torn into Muslim dominated East Bengal and Hindu dominated West Bengal. It lead to agitation and protest movement. Eventually, on 12th December 1911, Bengal was reunited. Ultimately during independence when the Partition of India took place then Bengal was again divided. East Bengal became part of the newly born state of Pakistan. West Bengal remained as part of India. Later East Pakistan became free in the 1971 war and became the state of Bangladesh.
Bengal is the melting pot of different communities and Culture. The diversity in socio-cultural aspects is one of the striking features of the state. Hindus are the majority community here. But the minorities like muslims, Sikhs, budhists, Christians or Jains have also maintained the unique and age old tradition of their community. Thus a confluence between cultures happen and out of this synthesis emerge an environment of peace and harmony. Bengalis are fun loving people with interests in different aspects of art and literature. The practice of intellect is admired and encouraged here. Thus Kolkata is truly called the cultural capital of India. Every major religious festival here irrespective of religion are celebrated with tremendous passion. Durga Puja which is one of the greatest festivals in this planet is undoubtedly the main festival here. It is a festival which is truly matchless. A visit in Bengal, specially Kolkata during the time of Durga Puja would surely be an unforgettable and everlasting experience. Id is celebrated throughout the Bengal and this is also a festival which is not confined across the religious boundaries. Same thing is applicable for Christmas also. Other major festivals here are Diwali, Kali Puja, Bhaiduj, Saraswati Puja, Muharram, the celebration of English and Bengali New Year, Holi, Buddha jayanti etc. The diverse hill region of Bengal has local festivals like losar, Dasai etc.
Bengali Cuisine is one of the delicious cuisine in the country. Fish loving Bengalis are fond of Rice and different fish preparations. But Bengal has adopted different culinary styles and essence and blended her unique individuality into it. It is a food lovers paradise. The typical Bengali Non veg and Veg preparations, the Kolkata Biriyani with kebabs, Tandoori, tikkas and chapns, Chinese cuisine, Punjabi cuisine and south Indian dishes all have formed the core of the culinary culture of Bengal. The sweets which are here known as misthi is another important aspect of Bengal cuisine. Rasgoolah, Sweet curd (Misthi doi), and Sandesh are the most widely appreciated.
Apart from the northern hill region and some part of Jalpaiguri district the entire state experience a warm wet climate. Summer and rainy season are the two major season here. Winter expands from last week of November to 2nd week of February. Autum and spring last for a short span. April to 2nd week of June is extremely hot and humid in Bengal. Best time to visit Southern part of Bengal is Octobet to March. Rainy season expands from mid June to September.