WEST BENGAL

West Bengal is the state where theatre and cinema reign and commercial success takes a back seat to academics and cultural pursuits. The people of West Bengal are volatile and articulate; the adda is the meeting point where topics from Marxism to the price of fish are discussed threadbare over steaming cups of tea.

West Bengal’s terrain is varied: some of the highest mountains are found in the upper reaches of Darjeeling and the swampiest mangroves in the Sundarbans. The Bengal Tiger roams the jungles while crocodiles infest the river. The "city of joy" – Kolkata is poverty ridden but the people are warm and welcoming. Appreciate the strains of Rabindra Sangeet in Shantiniketan, explore the terracotta temples in Bishnupur or savour "mishti doi" in the muddy lanes of Murshidabad. Welcome to the cultural capital of the country.

Capital: Kolkata

Best Time of Visit:

  1. The best time to visit West Bengal is between October and March when the weather is pleasant.
  2. You will also be in time for the celebrations of Durga Puja, besides this is also the time when Sunderbans, the world’s largest delta and home to the Royal Bengal tiger is open to visitors.

Min Days Required: 5 days

Places of Interest: 

  1. Kolkatta – Howrah Bridge, Sunderbans, Victoria Memorial, Eden Gardens, Indian Museum
  2. Darjeeling – Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, Tiger Hill, Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park, Suntalekhola

Climate:

  1. During Summer Kolkata remains hot and humid with the average high of 35°C. On the other hand the low, especially in nighttime, stands at mid twenties. May is considered as the hottest month of the year when the average high climbs to 40°C while April remains sunniest with 235 hours of sunshine. Throughout this season the city receives very poor level of rainfall. 
  2. June till September Kolkata goes to a monsoon season. July is the wettest month of the year when it receives around 425mm of precipitation. Moreover, the month witnesses only 92 hours of sunshine. Throughout the monsoon months the average high stands at 32°C while the low falls to 24°C.
  3. Winter, from December till February, enjoys much pleasant weather. The average high falls dramatically and stands at 25°C while the low fluctuate between 12-15°C. January is the coldest month with the average low of 12°C. The period receives around seven hours of sunshine per day. Moreover, during this season the city receives a little rainfall, which makes the daytime more enjoyable. It is the best time to visit Kolkata.

Things to carry:

  1. Even in winter visitors to West Bengal need only pack shorts, light clothing and footwear.
  2. Long trousers and shirts might come in useful for evening wear.
  3. The wet weather in West Bengal during the monsoon season necessitates carrying an umbrella as protection from sudden downpours. 

How to get there:

Air:

  1. Kolkata as the capital of West Bengal has an international airport that is connected by regular flights from Europe and the Orient. Domestic airlines connect the major cities in India to Kolkata.

Rail:

  1. Howrah on the west of Hooghly River and Sealdah to the east of the river are the two rail stations in Kolkata, both very crowded and frenetic with activity.
  2. All trains to India’s north-eastern region originate and end at Sealdah and trains to west, central and south India operate from Howrah. One needs to be careful against pickpockets at the stations.
  3. Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Guwahati, Dibrugarh, Nagpur, Bhubaneswar, Hyderabad and other major Indian cities are connected with the towns and cities of West Bengal.
  4. Howrah on the west of Hooghly River and Sealdah to the east of the river are the two rail stations in Kolkata, both very crowded and frenetic with activity.
  5. All trains to India’s northeastern region originate and end at Sealdah and trains to west, central and south India operate from Howrah.
  6. Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Guwahati, Dibrugarh, Nagpur, Bhubaneswar, Hyderabad and other major Indian cities are connected with the towns and cities of West Bengal.