West Bengal
West-Bengal

West Bengal is a state in eastern India, between the Himalayas and the Bay of Bengal. Its capital, Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), retains architectural and cultural remnants of its past as an East India Company trading post and the capital of the British Raj. The city’s colonial landmarks include the government buildings around B.B.D. Bagh square, and the iconic Victoria Memorial, dedicated to Britain’s Queen Victoria.

Temple_view

Stone Age tools dating back 20,000 years have been excavated in the state. The region was a part of the Vanga Kingdom according to the Indian epic Mahabharata. Several Vedic realms were present in Bengal region, including Vanga, Rarh, Pundravardhana and the Suhma Kingdom. One of the earliest foreign references to Bengal is a mention by the Ancient Greeks around 100 BC of a land named Gangaridai, which was located at the mouths of the Ganges. Bengal had overseas trade relations with Suvarnabhumi (Burma, Lower Thailand, Lower Malay Peninsula, and the Sumatra). According to the Sri Lankan chronicle Mahavamsa, Prince Vijaya, a Vanga Kingdom prince, conquered Lanka and gave the name Sinhala Kingdom to the country.

A Bengal tiger

The Bengal tiger, also called the royal Bengal tiger, is the most numerous tiger subspecies. It is the national animal of both India and Bangladesh.The total population was estimated at fewer than 2,500 individuals with a decreasing trend. None of the Tiger Conservation Landscapes within the Bengal tiger’s range is considered large enough to support an effective population size of 250 adult individuals. Bengal tigers number around 440 in Bangladesh. There were previously 67–81 individuals in Bhutan. However, the latest census estimated that 103 wild Bengal tigers are living in the country.

Tiger
Fishing_Cat

Fishing cat

The fishing cat is a medium-sized wild cat of South and Southeast Asia. In 2008, the IUCN classified the fishing cat as Endangered. Fishing cat populations are threatened by destruction of wetlands and declined severely over the last decade. Fishing cats live foremost in the vicinity of wetlands, along rivers, streams,oxbow lakes, in swamps and mangroves. Fishing cats are the largest of the Prionailurus cats. They are about twice the size of a domestic cat and have a stocky, muscular build with medium to short legs. The coarse fur is olive-grey with dark spots arranged in horizontal streaks running along the length of the body. The face is elongated with a distinctly flat nose and ears set far back on the head. The underside is white, and the back of the ears are black with central white spots. There are a pair of dark stripes around the throat, and a number of black rings on the tail.

White-throated Kingfisher

This is a large kingfisher, 28 cm in length. The adult has a bright blue back, wings and tail. Its head, shoulders, flanks and lower belly are chestnut, and the throat and breast are white. The large bill and legs are bright red. The flight of the white-throated kingfisher is rapid and direct, the short rounded wings whirring. In flight, large white patches are visible on the blue and black wings. Sexes are similar, but juveniles are a duller version of the adult.

white-throated kingfisher

As of 2011, the total length of surface road in West Bengal is over 92,023 km national highways comprise 2,578 km and state highways 2,393 km As of 2006, the road density of the state is 103.69 km per 100 km, higher than the national average of 74.7 km per 100 km  Average speed on state highways varies between 40–50 km/h (25–31 mi/h); in villages and towns, speeds are as low as 20–25 km/h (12–16 mi/h) due to the substandard quality of road constructions and low maintenance.

As of 2011, the total railway route length is around 4,481 km (2,784 mi) Kolkata is the headquarters of three zones of the Indian Railways — Eastern Railway and South Eastern Railway and the Kolkata Metro which is the newly formed 17th Zone of the Indian Railways. The Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) plies in the northern parts of the state. The Kolkata metro is the country’s first underground railway. The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, part of NFR, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport at Dum Dum, Kolkata, is the state’s biggest airport. Bagdogra Airport near Siliguri is acustoms airport that has international services to Bhutan and Thailand besides regular domestic services. Kazi Nazrul Islam Airport, India’s first private sector airport, serves the twin cities of Asansol-Durgapur at Andal, Bardhaman. Kolkata is a major river-port in eastern India. The Kolkata Port Trust manages the Kolkata and the Haldia docks. There is passenger service to Port Blair on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and cargo ship service to ports in India and abroad, operated by the Shipping Corporation of India. Ferry is a principal mode of transport in the southern part of the state, especially in the Sundarbans area. Kolkata is the only city in India to have trams as a mode of transport and these are operated by the Calcutta Tramways Company.
Several government-owned organizations operate bus services in the state, including the Calcutta State Transport Corporation, the North Bengal State Transport Corporation, the South Bengal State Transport Corporation, the West Bengal Surface Transport Corporation, and the Calcutta Tramways Company. There are also private bus companies. The railway system is a nationalised service without any private investment. Hired forms of transport include metered taxis and auto rickshaws which often ply specific routes in cities. In most of the state, cycle rickshaws, and in Kolkata, hand-pulled rickshaws are used for short-distance travel. Large-scale transport accidents in West Bengal are common, particularly the sinking of transport boats and train crashes.

Cuisine

Rice and fish are traditional favourite foods, leading to a saying in Bengali, machhe bhate bangali, that translates as “fish and rice make a Bengali”.Bengal’s vast repertoire of fish-based dishes includes hilsa preparations, a favourite among Bengalis. There are numerous ways of cooking fish depending on the texture, size, fat content and the bones. Sweets occupy an important place in the diet of Bengalis and at their social ceremonies. It is an ancient custom among both Hindu and Muslim Bengalis to distribute sweets during festivities. The confectionery industry has flourished because of its close association with social and religious ceremonies. Competition and changing tastes have helped to create many new sweets. Bengalis make distinctive sweetmeats from milk products, including Rôshogolla, Chômchôm, Kalojam and several kinds of sondesh. Pitha, a kind of sweet cake, bread or dimsum are specialties of winter season. Sweets like coconut-naru, til-naru, moa, payesh, etc. are prepared during the festival of Lakshmi puja. Popular street food includes Aloor Chop, Beguni, Kati roll, and phuchka.

Cuisine Of West Bengal
West Bengal food
Personalities_of_West_Bengal

Literature

The Bengali language boasts a rich literary heritage, shared with neighbouring Bangladesh. West Bengal has a long tradition in folk literature, evidenced by the Charyapada, Mangalkavya, Shreekrishna Kirtana, Thakurmar Jhuli, and stories related to Gopal Bhar. In the nineteenth and twentieth century, Bengali literature was modernised in the works of authors such as Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay, Michael Madhusudan Dutt, Rabindranath Tagore, Kazi Nazrul Islam, Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay, Jibananda Das and Manik Bandyopadhyay. In modern times Jibanananda Das, Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay, Tarashankar Bandopadhyay, Manik Bandopadhyay, Ashapurna Devi, Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay, Buddhadeb Guha, Mahashweta Devi, Samaresh Majumdar, Sanjeev Chattopadhyay and Sunil Gangopadhyay among others are well known.

Music and dance

The Baul tradition is a unique heritage of Bengali folk music, which has also been influenced by regional music traditions.[116] Other folk music forms include Gombhira and Bhawaiya. Folk music in West Bengal is often accompanied by the ektara, a one-stringed instrument. West Bengal also has a heritage in North Indian classical music. “Rabindrasangeet”, songs composed and set into tune by Rabindranath Tagore and “Nazrul geeti” (by Kazi Nazrul Islam) are popular. Also prominent are other musical forms like Dwijendralal, Atulprasad and Rajanikanta’s songs, and “adhunik”or modern music from films and other composers. Bengali dance forms draw from folk traditions, especially those of the tribal groups, as well as the broader Indian dance traditions. Chau dance of Purulia is a rare form of mask dance.

Dances_of_West_Bengal
Durga Puja

Festivals

Durga Puja in October is the most popular festival in West Bengal. The whole city of Kolkata undergoes a transformation during Durga Puja, decked in light and colour, as various pandals to the goddess are made on an eclectic array of themes. The idols of the goddess as brought in from Kumortuli, where idol-makers work throughout the year fashioning the clay-models of the goddess. Durga Puja is often labelled as India’s largest open air art exhibition, spilling over from the domain of the religious into becoming a cultural event, where people across diverse religious and cultural spectrum partake in the festival.

Sports

Cricket and soccer are popular sports in the state. West Bengal, unlike most other states of India, is noted for its passion and patronage of football. Kolkata is one of the major centres for football in India and houses top national clubs such as East Bengal, Mohun Bagan and Mohammedan Sporting Club. West Bengal has several large stadiums—The Eden Gardens is one of only two 100,000-seat cricket amphitheaters in the world, although renovations will reduce this figure.

Sports Clubs and Stadiums in WestBengal