By- jaideep chowdhury

• West Bengal is a state in eastern India. With Bangladesh which lies on its eastern border. To its north east lie the states of Assam and Sikkim and the country Bhutan, and to its southwest, the state of Orisa. To the west it borders the state of Jharkhand and Bihar, and to the northwest, Nepal. • Capital city of West Bengal is KOLKATA

West Bengal experiences three distinct seasons over the course of the year. Winter lasts from October to February. When March comes along, the state begins to see its hot and dry period, which continues on through early June. Finally, from late June to early September, West Bengal falls under its monsoon season. In terms of lifestyle choices, the monsoon season makes the largest impact on West Bengal life, because the strength of the monsoon rains has a sizeable impact on the quantity and varieties of harvested crops.

• Bengali is the main language spoken in West Bengal .

• There’s a popular Bengali saying: ‘Baro Mase Tero Parban’: it literally means thirteen festivals in twelve months. • In autumn, the air is rent with the sound of drums, the season of festivals. The Durga Puja, followed by Id and then, Dewali, the Festival of Lights. • The Ganga Sagar Mela drawing lakhs of devotees from all parts of India. Winter is also the season of cultural events like the Poush Mela in Santiniketan. • In January-February Saraswati Puja (Goddess of Learning) is celebrated in almost all Bengalee home. • With the advent of spring, comes Holi, the festival of colours. So does Shivaratri; Poila Baishakh the Bengali New Year is celebrated in April. • In June-July, there is Rathajatra, which is most famous.

• Agriculture is the chief occupation of the people of the state. The Majority of the population are cultivators and agricultural labours. Rice is the Principal food crop of West Bengal. Other food crops include maize, pulses, oil seeds, wheat, barley, potatoes and vegetables. The state supplies about 66% of the jute requirements of the country and its soil and heavy rainfall are suitable for jute cultivation. Tea is another important cash crop. Darjeeling tea is famous for its high quality. Tobacco and sugarcane are also grown in the state.

West Bengal is known for its position among the leading industrialized states of India. There are over 10000 registered factories in the state and the state government has opened 'Shilpa bandhu', a single window agency for providing investors with all kinds of assistance in setting up and running industrial units. Calcutta city is noted as a major centre for industries including the jute industry. There are a number of Steel plants in the state apart from the alloy steel plant at Durgapur. The centre has set up a number of industries in the areas of tea, sugar, chemicals and fertilizers. Good natural resources like tea and jute in and near Bengal made West Bengal a major centre for the jute and tea industries.The manufacturing industries play a vital role in the economic life of the state.

• Saree is the traditional dress of women in West Bengal. The only difference is in the way of wearing it. The Bengali style of wearing a saree has no pleats and is elegantly draped around the body and the pallu has a bunch of keys (for married ladies) that falls over the shoulder. The tradition saree is of cotton but for formal occasions, they prefer to wear silk sarees. Baluchari, Jamdani are famous traditional sarees of West Bengal. •

• Fish and rice are two ingredients that virtually describe the cuisine of Bengal. People in the state also eat a variety of vegetables that grow in plenty in the favorable climate of the state. A main stay in the meals of Bengalis, fish (especially fresh water fish) is cooked in diverse styles. It is steamed, fried, stewed with vegetables and sausages and boiled in spices with different flavours. Mustard oil which goes well with fish dishes is the medium of cooking in Bengali cuisine. Seasoning is done with the concoction of five spices (aniseed, mustard, fenugreek seed, cumin seed and black cumin seed) called Panchphoran.

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Fort William Victoria Memorial Eden Gardens (stadium) Birla Planetarium Howrah Bridge Writer’s Building Marble Palace Nicco Park Saheed Minar National Library Belur Math Botanical Gardens

• Hooghly is the only river in Kolkata which is a tributary of the Ganges River. It splits from the Ganges near the city of Baharampur, and runs south through the Indian state of West Bengal, past the twin cities of Kolkata and Howrah and falls into the Bay of Bengal. Damodar and Rupnarayan are two tributaries of the river Hooghly.Hooghly is a lifeline for the people of Kolkata.The river is a source for drinking water for the people of the city.. Fishing in the river provides a source of income for the local people. Due to the passing of industrial sewage into the river, it has now become a major concern for the government to control the water pollution. The river also provides the facility of transportation for the dwellers.

• Silks of Bengal were much acclaimed the world over, since ancient times. The most well-known Bengal Silk saree, which carry its legendary name, is the Baluchari saree – a product of exquisite design, and fabulous weaving technique. A revival in recent times of both the Baluchari and yet another outstanding, traditional Bengal Saree, the Daccai, has led to nationwide and worldwide popularity and renewal of interest in Bengal silks. Like silk, cotton sarees are also woven in a fascinating and exquisite range. The Daccai ‘Jamdani’ is a fabric on which the designs are raised in inimitable style. The ‘Batik’ prints originating from Javanese wax-designing, revived in Santiniketan. Floral forms circular ‘kalka’ shapes, pyramidal and variations of geometric designs are typical. Handloom still remains the great employer in rural Bengal. Today hand-painted scrolls also silk-screened and printed are quite popular as wall hangings etc. Shantipur in Nadia; Begumpur, Rajbalhat and Dhanekhali in Hooghly; Kenjekura in Bankura; Fulia, Guptipara and Samudragarh in Nadia and Burdwan – are the homes of these legendary weavers.