Tourist attractions in West Bengal refers to the tourist attractions in the Indian state of West Bengal. West Bengal is a state in the eastern region of India and is the nation's fourth-most populous. It is also the seventh-most populous sub-national entity in the world, with over 91 million inhabitants. It is bordered by the countries of Nepal, Bhutan, and Bangladesh, and the Indian states of Orissa, Jharkhand, Bihar, Sikkim, and Assam. The state capital is Kolkata (formerly Calcutta). West Bengal encompasses two broad natural regions: the Gangetic Plain in the south and the sub-Himalayan and Himalayan area in the north. With these there are two major natural regions i.e., the Western plateau and the great Sundarban delta.
During the British colonial era from 1700-1912, Kolkata (then known as Calcutta) enjoyed the privilege of being the capital of British India and witnessed a spate of frenzied construction of buildings, largely influenced by the conscious intermingling of Neo-Gothic, Baroque, Neo-Classical, Oriental and Islamic schools of design. Unlike many north Indian cities, whose construction stresses minimalism, the layout of much of the architectural variety in Kolkata owes its origins to European styles and tastes imported by the British and, to a much lesser extent, by the Portuguese and French.
|Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (Toy Train)||New Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling|
|Cooch Behar Palace||Cooch Behar|
|Jaldapara National Park||Alipurduar district|
|Gorumara National Park||Jalpaiguri district|
|Hazarduari Palace||Murshidabad district (Murshidabad)|
|Nizamat Imambara||Murshidabad district|
|Katra Mosque||Murshidabad district|
|Adina Deer Park||Maldah district|
|Adina Mosque||Maldah district|
|Bishnupur Terracotta Temples||Bankura|
|Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Indian Botanic Garden||Howrah (Shibpur)|
|The Great Banyan Tree||Howrah (Shibpur)|
|Howrah Bridge||Howrah to Kolkata|
|B. B. D. Bagh||Kolkata|
|Dakshineswar Kali Temple||North 24 Parganas district (Dakshineswar)|
|Second Hooghly Bridge||Kolkata to Howrah|
|Belur Math||Howrah (Belur Math)|
|Sunderbans delta of India||Southern 24 Parganas District|
|St. Paul's Cathedral||Kolkata|
|Sundarbans National Park||Sunderbans delta of India|
|Salt Lake Stadium||Bidhannagar|
West Bengal stretches to the Bay of Bengal in the south. The coastal strip of West Bengal, extending from the Gangetic Delta to the border of Orissa has some beautiful coastal settlements namely Digha, Shankarpur, Mandarmani, Bakkhali, Gangasagara, Tajpur and more others.
Tourist attractions also include some more geographical indications like Nakshi Kantha (Handicraft), Darjeeling tea (Agricultural), Santipore Saree (Handicraft), Shantiniketan Leather Goods (Handicraft), Fazli Mango (Agricultural), Khirsapati or Himsagar Mango (Agricultural), Laxman Bhog Mango (Agricultural), Baluchari Saree (Handicraft), and Dhaniakhali Saree (Handicraft).
Other attractions include the culture of West Bengal. It attracts tourists for pilgrimages to the holy places of different religions. People from different sections of the world come to West Bengal for holy pilgrimage as Kolkata is one of the four adi Shaktipeethas. Among the other 52 shaktipeethas some are located in West Bengal. The notable Hindu temples include Kalighat Kali Temple, Tarapith, Belur Math, Mayapur ISKCON Temple, Hangseshwari Temple, Tarakeshwar Temple, Thakurnagar Thakur Bari Temple and Dakshineswar Kali Temple.
Other pilgrim destinations include Gurdwaras for Sikhs and churches like the Basilica of the Holy Rosary in Bandel, St. John's Church, St. Jame's Church (Jora Girja), St. Paul's Cathedral and Church of the Lord Jesus.
Buddhist Monasteries in West Bengal are especially located in the hilly regions like the Ghoom Monastery, Bhutia Busty Monastery, Mag-Dhog Yolmowa Monastery, Tharpa Choling Monastery, Zang Dhok Palri Phodang and more others.
Notable festivals include the Durga Puja in October, the most popular festival in the West Bengal, the Poila Baishakh (the Bengali New Year), the Rathayatra, the Dolyatra or Basanta-Utsab, the Nobanno, the Poush Parbon (festival of Poush), the Kali Puja, the Saraswati Puja, the Laxmi Puja, Christmas, the Eid ul-Fitr, the Eid ul-Adha and the Muharram. Buddha Purnima, which marks the birth of Gautama Buddha, is one of the most important Hindu/Buddhist festivals while Christmas, called Bô?odin (Great day) in Bengali is celebrated by the minority Christian population. Poush Mela is a popular festival of Shantiniketan, taking place in winter.
Being home to notable people like Rabindranath Tagore, Asia's first Nobel laureate and composer of India's national anthem and Swami Vivekananda, a key figure in introducing Vedanta and Yoga in Europe and USA there houses and residencies like Shantiniketan and Jorasanko Thakur Bari are world famous and attract many tourists.
Kolkata, the state capital city, was also the workplace of several social reformers, like Raja Ram Mohan Ray, Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar, and Swami Vivekananda. These social reforms have eventually led to a cultural atmosphere where practices like sati, dowry, and caste-based discrimination or untouchability, the evils that crept into the Hindu society, were abolished.
West Bengal is also known to 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.
The variety of fruits and vegetables that Bengal has to offer is incredible. West Bengal is also famous for its costumes.
NDTV along with the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India conducted a nationwide campaign for searching the "Seven Wonders of India in 2008-09. The campaign started with shortlisting 200 places from all of the Indian states and then inviting public to cast their vote for their favorite places. It also included seven wonders of particular states. In West Bengal a total 13 were selected of which the "Seven Wonders of West Bengal" were shortlisted. The list of the 30 selected places are as follows:
The shortlisted list, compiling of the "Seven Wonders of West Bengal" as per the votings is as follows: