West Bengal

BENGAL enjoys a place of pride in Indian history and culture. At the time of Alexander’s invasion, Bengal was the Kingdom of Gangaridai. The Mauryas and the Guptas, the powerful dynastic rulers of much of northern India, did not affect the identity of Bengal. Much later, having passed into the hands of the Mughals, it became the sultanate of the Muslim rulers in Delhi. Indian Independence brought about the partition of Bengal, with West Bengal becoming an Indian state.

 

            The state occupies a leading position amongst the rice growing regions of the country. It is also rich in coal deposits and is industrially well developed. Most of all, West Bengal is justly proud of its freedom fighters, scientists, Nobel laureates, social reformers, stage artists and even magicians who have earned international acclaim and honours. Numerous historic monuments, the tiger reserve of Sunderbans and the hill station of Darjeeling, surrounded by world famous tea plantations, attract many tourists from all over the country and from abroad.

 

            Kolkata, the state capital, is a busy metropolis and has a large Chinese population. Considered as the cultural capital of the country, the city, as indeed the whole of West Bengal, celebrates Durga Puja and Kali Puja (Diwali) with much gaiety and fanfare over many days.