About West Bengal
West Bengal is situated in east India, with Bangladesh abutting most of its eastern border. The states of Orissa, Jharkhand, Bihar lie on its west and its northern parts touch Assam and Sikkim, as well as the international borders of Bhutan and Nepal. Till 1947 this state was part of the larger Bengal region, which was split up into west Bengal and east Pakistan (which later became Bangladesh). This partition means that a chicken's neck strip of narrow land (just 21-40km in width) in West Bengal joins the landmass of India to its northeastern states.
South of the chicken's neck, West Bengal is a fertile agriculture-based plain that produces a lot of rice. The plain ends in the Ganges's delta, where the mighty river (called Hooghly in this state) flows into the Bay of Bengal. The estuary is known as the Sunderbans, the world's largest Mangrove forests that is a UNESCO heritage site. This network of creeks, canals, and rivulets, is home to tigers that are adapted to living in such a watery environment.
North of the neck, is the Himalayan region, with British colonial-era hill stations like Darjeeling, Kuseong and Kalimpong. Darjeeling district at heights of 750-2000m produces high-quality Darjeeling tea, which is a world famous brand name in itself. In India, West Bengal is most associated with being governed by a Communist Party the CPI-(M) for nearly 30 years, making it the world's longest ruling democratically elected communist regime.
The capital Kolkata (popularly known by its former name Calcutta), a metro city with an international airport and good infrastructure, is a suitable base for travelling in eastern India. Till 1911 Calcutta was the capital of British India, and Victorian buildings and churches from that time survive in today's crowded city. Nearby are the Belur math and the Dakshineshwar temple, associated with 19th-century saint Ramakrishna Paramhansa. West Bengal also has ancient monuments such as the ruins of the Gaur empire in Malda district and the unique terracotta temples of Bishnupur. A popular sea-side resort is Digha.