West Bengal • northeastern state of India

The vastness and diversity of some countries, like India which is a subcontinent in its own right, call for a regional exploration through a curated selection of travel videos. Below is a collection of videos focusing on West Bengal, a mesmerizing region in the northeast of India. Created from photos taken during two remarkable journeys – "Incredible Eastern India: Assam, Odisha, West Bengal" and "Buddhist India: Sikkim, Bihar, West Bengal" –, these videos provide a captivating glimpse into this area. To view the complete list of our videos on India, simply click on the globe below.

West Bengal, India • the Darjeeling steam train ( India, West Bengal )

West Bengal, India • the Darjeeling steam train

West Bengal, India • Thongsa Gompa Monastery in Kalimpong ( India, West Bengal )

West Bengal, India • Thongsa Gompa Monastery in Kalimpong

West Bengal, India • Calcutta flower market ( India, West Bengal )

West Bengal, India • Calcutta flower market

West Bengal, nestled in the northeastern part of India, stands as a testament to the rich tapestry of history, culture, and natural beauty that defines this vibrant region. With its strategic location along the Bay of Bengal and its border with Bangladesh, West Bengal has played a pivotal role in the historical and cultural development of India.

 

History

Important Dynasties

 

The history of West Bengal is marked by the reign of several significant dynasties. The Mauryas and Guptas laid the early foundations of civilization in the region. The Pala Dynasty, known for its patronage of Buddhism, left a lasting cultural legacy. The region also came under the rule of the Sena Dynasty before falling into the hands of various Muslim rulers, including the Delhi Sultanate and the Mughals, under whose reign the culture and infrastructure of Bengal flourished.

 

Pre-Independence Era

 

Before India's independence, West Bengal was a crucial center of British colonial administration. Calcutta (now Kolkata), the capital, was the epicenter of British trade and political power in India. The British era saw significant infrastructure development but also socio-political upheaval, including the Bengal Renaissance and the Partition of Bengal in 1905.

 

Post-Independence Implications

 

The independence of India in 1947 brought about the partition of Bengal into East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) and West Bengal, leading to massive demographic shifts and communal strife. However, West Bengal emerged as a hub of political and cultural activity, playing a crucial role in India's post-independence narrative.

 

Geography

Covering an area of approximately 88,752 km², West Bengal is India's 14th largest state. It features a diverse landscape, from the Himalayan foothills in the north to the coastal regions in the south, with the mighty Ganges flowing through the state, enriching its agricultural lands.

 

Economy

West Bengal's economy is multifaceted, with agriculture, manufacturing, and

Video gallery • India, West Bengal

services playing significant roles. It is a major producer of rice, tea, and potatoes, and Kolkata serves as an important commercial and financial hub. Despite challenges, West Bengal contributes substantially to India's GDP, showcasing its economic resilience.

 

Population

With a population of over 90 million, West Bengal is one of India's most populous states. It is a melting pot of various ethnic groups, including Bengalis, Nepalis, and Biharis, which contributes to the state's rich cultural diversity.

 

Religion

The predominant religion in West Bengal is Hinduism, followed by Islam, making the state a confluence of diverse religious traditions. The Durga Puja festival, in particular, is a significant and vibrant celebration that attracts millions from across the globe.

 

Cultural and Tourist Attractions

Kolkata: The city is renowned for its colonial architecture, cultural festivals, and landmarks such as the Victoria Memorial and Howrah Bridge.

Darjeeling: Famous for its tea gardens and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway.

Sundarbans: The largest mangrove forest in the world, home to the Royal Bengal Tiger, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

West Bengal, with its historical significance, cultural richness, diverse population, and natural beauty, continues to be a vital part of India's identity and heritage.