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The Land

There is no end to the wonders of Bengal,....the breathtaking view of Kanchenjunga, the exciting cruise through the mangrove forests in Sunderbans, royal Bengal tigers, terracotta temples, ancient palaces of Bengal and a wonder-filled journey through the rich cultural treasures of Bengal.

So much has been written about Calcutta,the capital of Bengal, in recent years and so many people fly in and out of Dum Dum airport without seeing any more than

the road to and from the city that one forgets that, West Bengal, though industrialized by Indian standards, is still a predominantly rural state.

At little country stations amid the rice fields, or farther north, the tea plantations, the hammer and sickle is still prevalent. The Naxalites were named not after some desperate Calcutta suburb but a pleasant village, Naxalbari, at the foot of the Himalayas where the first organized cell of agrarian revolutionaries were unearthed.

Incidents of political violence reported by the newspapers invariably came from 24 Parganas, the half inundated area on the Bay of Bengal or from one of the small towns higher up the Hooghly river. Calcutta is India’s best city for walkers, with streets that tell stories. Old mansions dripping with moss and spotted with mildew, remind us of the city’s affluent history of cultures and people-Armenians, Bengalis, British, and Marwari merchants from Rajasthan. Vast bazaars reveal clues to today’s Bengali culture, and pavement dwellers show the daily rhythm an rigors of their own difficult lives.