Kolkata, three hundred years old, traces
its history to the landing of Robert Clive on the banks of the Hooghly
beside three villages. It was from here the monumental British Raj was
launched in India. The capital of West Bengal, Kolkata is the major Entry
If Delhi is the elegant capital of the nation, and Bombay its major
industrial city, then Kolkata ranks as the intellectual capital. Poets,
thinkers and film directors of international reknown hail from this city
where avant garde plays and art exhibitions go on show practically every day
of the year. Kolkata was the first headquarters of the East India Company,
and some of its best known monuments were built by this British trading
house. However, the city has, within its 300 years' history, hosted other
communities both from other parts of India as well as abroad - Chinese,
Armenians, Jews - all of whom have left their imprint in pockets of Kolkata.
Sightseeing in this fascinating city includes Raj Bhawan, the residence of
the Governor of Bengal; Victoria Memorial, the city's landmark; Botanical
Gardens, which are notable for the oldest banyan tree, and orchid house;
Armenian Church; Marble Palace, one family's collection of memorabilia; and
the Birla Planetarium. Darjeeling, the state's most popular hill resort, is
a slice of England 2,134 metres above sea level. Surrounded by tea gardens
growing the prized leaf known as Darjeeling tea, the little town faces some
of the Himalaya's highest peaks. Darjeeling is an abrupt variation from the
lowlands of West Bengal. Buddhism, being a major faith here, Darjeeling and
the nearby town of Kalimpong have, between them, several Buddhist
monasteries, chiefly of the Yellow Hat sect.
Grown from mangrove swamps, Kolkata is the largest metropolis in India.
Kolkata's role in the national economy is of crucial importance as the
Gateway to Eastern India. Ships were the begining of Kolkata's history &
the river Hoogly was the key to the city's fortunes.
Places of Interest
Belur Math 16.5 km, Botanical Garden 19.2 km, Dakshineshwar Temple 20 km,
Howarh Bridge 6.4 km, Jain Temple 9 km, Kali Temple 3.2 km, Marble Palace
6.8 km, Nakhoda Mosque 6 km, National Library 1.4 km, Rabindra Sarobar 4.2
km, Raj Bhavan 3 km, Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture 5 km, Sahid
Minar (Ochterlony Monument), St.Paul's Cathedral, Victoria Memorial 0.5 km,
Zoological Gardens 3 km.
thrilling cruise through the largest estuarine delta in the world and the
biggest colony of the `Royal Bengal Tigers' - the Sundarbans. These
evergreen mangrove forests pulsate with a myriad forms of life. Above the
Kingfisher and White-bellied Sea eagle add a brilliant burst of colour. The
sea creeps in at high tide. The forests float. The ebbing waters reveal
nature so alive on the glistening mud flats. The land is split by numerous
rivers and water channels all emptying into the Bay of Bengal. Venture
further to discover a rich tribal folklore. It is believed that Bonbibi, the
goddess of the forest, protects the wood-cutters, honey-collectors and
fishermen on their hazardous missions. For, as the saying goes, `Here the
Tiger is always watching you'.
Delta-forest home of the Royal Bengal Tiger. The Ganges, which is rightly
known as the Ganga, carries silt and fertility from its ice-melt sources in
the high Himalayas, through the lush plains of India, past the riverine port
of Kolkata. Here, however, it is no longer the Ganga because it has become
one of the major distributaries. For, in the flat grey-clay lands of Bengal,
the great river splits into numerous channels, dividing and sub-dividing
like the roots of a tree, till it pours through many mouths into the Bay of
Between Kolkata and the final outpouring
of the river are the lands knows as The Sunderbans: literally, the Beautiful
Forests. Some people, believe that they could," however, have got their
name from the profusion of Sundari trees. These forests are extremely dense,
often impenetrable, fringed by mangrove jungles and are one of the most
intriguing wilderness on earth. Most journeys through these humid forests
are done by boat, and it is a fascinating trip. Fishermen's boats, like
black scimitars, drift past, spreading nets for the fish that teem in these
rich waters. Near the delta villages the clay is relieved by green
vegetation. When the tourist ferry stops, occasionally, visitors walk ashore
on palm- and-bamboo jetties to enter forest areas fenced in by bamboo
Fiddler crabs extend their cherry-red claws out of their mud burrows;
curious, air- breathing, mud skipper fish climb the stilt roots of the
mangroves on their flipper-like fins, viewing intruders with pop-eyed
amazement. Tribes of honey gatherers live in these dark forests. They
believe that the giant, saline water drinking Royal Bengal Tigers always
attack from the rear and so they wear masks on the backs of their heads.
This is why a posse of armed policemen accompanies all visitors who venture
into these beautiful forests. Other wild creatures which lucky visitors
might see are spotted deer, boar, monkey, crocodile, python, Salvator
lizards, and a wide range of water birds.
» Area :
2608 sq. kms.
» Altitude :
» Temperature (deg C) :
Summer- Max. 42, Min. 37;
Winter- Max. 29, Min. 9.2.
» Clothings :
Summer- Tropical / Cotton, Winter-
» Languages spoken :
Bengali, Hindi, English.
» Best season :
September to March. July to
September for Sajnekhali Bird Sanctuary.
» STD Code :
To visit Tiger Project area including Sajnekhali Bird Sanctuary permission
is to obtained from:
The Joint Secretary (Forest), Govt. of West Bengal, 4th Floor,
G-Block,Writers' Building, Kolkata- 700 001, Tel: 225-5601 Extn 411/754.
International University founded by Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore where
the cultures of the East & the West could meet and mingle. Named
Vishva-Bharati, the University represents Indian traditions while
incorporating the best of other cultures. Shantiniketan, the abode of peace,
was initially an Ashram or hermitage founded in 1863 by Maharishi
Devendranath Tagore. In 1901 his son, Rabindranath converted it into an
experimental open-air school with just five students. It proved a success.
He widened the scope of studies which gradually formed the nucleus of a
Another interesting feature about Santiniketan is that splendid sculptures,
frescoes, murals and paintings of Rabindranath, Nandlal Bose, Ramkinkar,
Bindobehari Mukhopadhyaya and others adorn the campus.
Museum & Art Galleries
Kala Bhavan, Bichitra (Rabindra Bhavan).
Parks & Gardens
» Deer Park :
Near Sriniketan, 3 kms from
Shantiniketan. Originally, the area was a fast eroding `Khowai'. It is now a
large wooded area with herds of deer and makes a natural bird sanctuary.
Uttarayan Gardens :
Places of Interest
Ras Mancha (3 kms), Dalmadal Cannon, Jor Bangla Temple (5 kms), Madan Mohan
Temple (5 kms), Malleswar Temple (6 kms), Lalji Temple, Mrinmoyee Mandir (3
kms), Shyam Rai Temple (7 kms), Malla King's Fort (3.5 kms), Jogesh Chandra
Pura Kirti Bhavan Museum (Timmings 1000 to 1200 & 1400 to 1800 hours).
Andaman & Nicobar Islands
short flight from Calcutta by air (it is also connected by flights from
Delhi and Madras) is PORT BLAIR, capital of the Andaman Islands.Though
travel is restricted here, those islands open to tourism, with their lovely
beaches and coral beds, are a traveller's delight. On Port Blair, the
Cellular Jail and Anthropological Museum merit a visit. Excursions can be
taken by motor launch to the islands of Wandoor and Jolly Buoy and to the
bird sanctuary at Chiriyatapoo
The Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands consisting of about 293
islands (39 of which are inhabited) is situated in the Bay of Bengal.
Andaman group of islands consists of North Andaman, Middle Andaman. South
Andaman and Little Andaman besides many smaller islands.Nicobar group of
islands comprises Great Nicobar, Car Nicobar, Nancowry, Katchal and Chowra.
The headquarters of this Union Territory is at Port Blair, situated in South
Andaman Island.The topography of the islands is hilly & they abound in
evergreen forests.Timber is plentiful and of a vast variety. The white sandy
beaches have a back drop of luxuriant greenery & in the clear blue
waters of the lagoons enclosed by coral reefs is an underwater world full of
fish of every possible variety
» Area :
8248 sq.kms. (Andaman- 6408, Nicober- 1841
» Altitude :
Varies from sea-level to 732
metres.(Highest Point- Saddle Peak).
» Temperature :
Mean minimum 23 deg C, Mean maximum
30 deg C.
» Rainfall :
3000 mms (May to Mid-September &
November to January).
» Relative Humidity :
70% to 90%.
» Forest cover :
» Best Season :
October to April.
» Clothings :
Cottons throughout the year.
» Languages Spoken :
Nicobari, Bengali, Tamil,
Telegu, Malayalam, Hindi, English.
» ISD Code :
+91-3192 (STD 03192).
» Foreigners :
Foreign tourists need a special
permit to visit the Andaman Islands. This can be obtained from Indian
Missions abroad or the immigration authorities in Bombay, Calcutta, Delhi,
Madras or on arrival at Port Blair Airport. It can also be obtained from The
Director, Ministry of Home Affairs (ANL Division), Government of India, 2nd
Floor, North Block, New Delhi- 110 001, through Indian Missions at least 3
months in advance. Foreign Nationals are not allowed to visit Nicobar
This permit is valid for Port Blair Municipal Area; Havelock Islands; Long;
Neil Islands; Mayabunder; Diglipur; Rangat for a period of one month where
night halt is permitted. However only a day's visit is allowed to places
like Jolly Buoy; South Cinque; Red Skin; Moun Hariet and Madhuban.
Indians: Indian nationals need no special permits to visit Andamans.
However, permits are required to visit Nicobar islands, issued by The Deputy
Commissioner, Andamans at Port Blair.
Places of Interest
» CELLULAR JAIL
The Bastille of India Where India's freedom fighters were incarcerated;
Anthropological Museum; MARINE MUSEUM; Cottage Industries Museum; Mini Zoo;
CHATHAM SAW MILL; Corbyn's Cove Beach; Marine Park, Viper Island, Sippighat
water Sports Complex.