If you are interested in wildlife and have a passion for discovering rare varieties of flora and fauna, add a jungle safari in Jaldapara and Gorumara National Park to your itinerary in Bengal. These national parks are the habitat of more than 194 species of birds, 22 reptile species, seven kinds of turtles and 27 species of fish, alongside the countless species of flora. When here, you can also spot the rare one-horned rhinoceros, leopard, sambar, barking deer etcetera in their natural habitats.
What better memory to take back home from a city than its art? If you?re shopping for souvenirs to take home, you must consider Kali Ghat Patachitra as well as something with the Kantha embroidery. Kali Ghat Patachitra is an ethnic painting depicting mythological scenes done on paper. These are usually bright in colour and can be found easily around the Kali temple. Bengal also boasts of rich craftsmanship through its Durga pot or Durga Sara, clay art, wooden art, Dokra, Kantha which is one of the famous handicrafts of Santiniketan and Bamboo craft. Don’t forget to shop for a beautiful saree, bedsheet or kurta with the very intricate Kantha embroidery and celebrate its uniqueness.
Since West Bengal produces jute, you can bank on finding top quality jute décor items here. From wall hangings, jute bags, jewellery to footwear, you can find all this and more in numerous designs. Terracotta sculptures is another big takeaway from the local market. You are most likely to find terracotta sculptures such as the Bankura Horse and the Bankura Elephant in most households in Kolkata. It is a traditional art of clay modelling, and one can get a variety of products like statues of gods to home décor items and even jewellery made in diverse designs, colours and sizes.
Bengali women are known for the love they hold for sarees. Two common types of sarees worn by women in Bengal are the Baluchari and Tant. Baluchari sarees are typically five yards in length and have handwoven floral designs across its body; the pallu is known to have scenes from mythological epics lined with Buttis. These sarees are mainly in silk prepared by artists from the village of Baluchari near Murshidabad. The Tant sarees, on the other hand, are the typical Bengali sarees which come in a combination of white saree with a red border. These traditional sarees are most common and worn by many women on auspicious occasions including the massively celebrated Durga Puja. The combination of white and red is believed to be the colour of the goddess and is known to be fortunate. One can also buy Korials, Garads, Tassar and Murshidabad silk sarees from West Bengal.
West Bengal was a significant territory under the colonial rule. When India gained independence in 1947, the then Bengal was divided based on religious domination. The western part of Hindu-dominated Bengal joined India to become the present-day West Bengal, and the Muslim-dominated districts within the eastern part of state separated to join Pakistan. Later, in the year 1971, after the fallout between Pakistan and East Bengal, this part went on to become Bangladesh.
In 1950, the province of Cooch Behar was merged in the state boundaries of West Bengal after the then King Jagaddipendra Narayana signed the instrument of accession with India. However, it was only in 1954, after the former French enclave of Chandernogor was made a part of West Bengal that it got its present-day political boundary.
When it comes to culture, literature, sports, diversity regarding physical features, nothing beats West Bengal. Located on the bank of the Bay of Bengal in the eastern part of India, West Bengal is the fourth most populous state in the country. The state has successfully managed to strike an excellent balance between preserving its incredible heritage even while it is moving fiercely towards the future. Regarding geography, West Bengal shares international borders with Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh in the north, Assam in the east and Bihar on the western side. Towards the south-west is Orissa while the Bay of Bengal marks its boundaries in the south.