Tuesday, May 1, 2007

West Bengal

Capital : Calcutta
Principal Languages : Bengali

Geography :

Having a rather curious shape, West Bengal actually has three national boundaries. The northern countries of Nepal and Bhutan compose part of this oddity, and on the east Bangladesh finishes it out. West Bengal also borders Assam on the east, the Bay of Bengal on the south, and Orissa, Jharkhand, and Bihar on the west. From north to south, this single state stretches from the Himalayan Mountains to the Gangetic plains to the Bay of Bengal. All of this happens over the course of about 300 miles (about 483 km).

Important Cities - Towns and Religious - Tourist Place :

Alipur, Asansol, Balurghat, Bakkhali Sea Resort, Bakreshwar, Bankura, Barasat, Burdwan, Berhampur, Kolkata (India's largest city and third largest in the world, Howrah Bridge renamed Rabindra Setu, Maidan, Chowringhee, Victoria Memorial, Indian Museum, Zoological Garden, Dakshineshwar Temple, Shaheed Minar, fort William, Jorasanko Thankurbati-Birthplace of Rabindranath Tagore, Rabindra Sarovar, Nehru Children Museum, Pareshnath Temple, Kalighat Temple, Birla Planetairum, Pareshnath Temple, Kalighat Temple, Birla Planetarium, India's first underground railway ), Coochbehar, Darjeeling(hill stations, Mirik, Kalimpong, Sandakfu and Falut and Kurseong), Digha (Midnapore) Durgapur (Burdwan), Hugli, Jalpaiguri (Jaldapara and Dooars), Kharagpur, Krishnagar, Malda (Gour and Pandua), Midnapur, Murshidabad, Purulia, Sagar Island and Sunderbans (South 24-Parganas), Shantiniketan, Suri, Tarakeswar.

Climate :

West Bengal experiences three distinct seasons over the course of the year. Winter (more accurately described as the cool season, considering the lack of significantly cold temperatures) lasts from October to February. When March comes along, the state begins to see its hot and dry period, which continues on through early June. Finally, from late June to early September, West Bengal falls under its monsoon season. In terms of lifestyle choices, the monsoon season makes the largest impact on West Bengal life, because the strength of the monsoon rains has a sizeable impact on the quantity and varieties of harvested crops.

Location :

Location in northeast India, West Bengal is bounded north by Sikkim and Bhutan east by Assam and Bangladesh, South by the Bay of Bengal and Orissa, west by Bihar and Jharkhand, and northwest by Nepal.

Culture :

A great majority of the people in West Bengal is Bengali. In fact, about 85% speak Bengali, but small tribal populations, like the Santhals and Oraon of the plains and the Lepchas and Bhotias of the Himalayas, also call the state home. This strong Bengali presence is what prevails in nearly every facet of West Bengal's culture. Above all, the signature of Bengali art is its delicate touch and requirement of keen observation. India has become familiar with the leather goods of West Bengal and their subtle stitch patterns. Terracotta pottery, another Bengali creation, is also a perfect example of delicate art now in demand around world. In much the same way, Bengali music underwent a significant popularity boom. Relatively young compared to most Indian music, Bengali music only began developing significantly 200 years ago. Rabindra Sangeet and Nazrul Geeti fostered this growth. Prayer festivals tend to be the most important observances of the Bengali year. Saraswati Puja, Lakshmi Puja, Kali Puja and Janmashtami all include special celebratory festivities. However, the most important festival in West Bengal is the Durga Puja. Celebrations last for seven days, and preparations begin months in advance. An essential part of this preparation includes every person acquiring new clothes for the puja.

History :

Bengal has a glorious past. It played a prominent part in the history, both in the ancient and the medieval ages. The British established their foothold in India from here in the battle of Plassey in 1757. The partition of the country in 1947 divided Bengal into two parts, East Bengal and West Bengal. The Muslim majority districts of East Bengal, consisting of the Chittagong and Dacca Divisions and some other Muslim-majority districts became what was then East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) and rest came to be known as West Bengal and became a constituent of the Indian union. The territory of Cooch Behar was merged with West Bengal on January 1, 1950 and the former French possession of Chandernagore became part of the State on October 2, 1954. Under the States Reorganisation Act, 11956, certain portions of Bihar State were also transferred to West Bengal.

Economy :

Thanks to the help of special irrigation systems, agriculture helps maintain the entire economy of West Bengal. Farming production is highest in jute, tea, legumes, oilseeds, barley, corn, tobacco, and sugarcane. Industry has also made a cozy home for itself in the state. Durgapur and Burnpur each house major steel production plants, and the textile, automobile, bicycle, paper, pharmaceutical, chemical, timber processing, ceramic, and leather production industries are thriving.

States and Union Territories of India

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