Facts about West Bengal – Explained in detail

Interesting facts about west Bengal
Written by Sainath Nuvvula

Facts about West Bengal  – West Bengal is a state in eastern India. It is the nation’s fourth-most populous state, with over 91 million inhabitants. Spread over 34,267 sq mi (88,750 km2). The origin of the name Bengal (known as Bangla and Bongo in the Bengali language) is unknown. One theory suggests that the word derives from “Bang”, a Dravidian tribe that settled the region around 1000 BC. The word might have been derived from the ancient kingdom of Vanga (or Banga). Although some early Sanskrit literature mentions the name, the region’s early history is obscure.

Geographical Facts

  • West Bengal is surrounded by landforms on all three sides.
  • In its south lies the Bay of Bengal.
  • It shares boundaries with Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan, Assam, Bangladesh, Jharkhand and Bihar. The northern part of West Bengal touches the Himalayan range.
  • The hill stations lying in this geographical region are the favourite tourist destinations in India. The climate of this part remains more or less cold through-out the year.
  • The foot hill of the Himalayan region is known as the Terrain region in West Bengal. This region is famous the world over for tea plantation.
  • The sub-Himalayan tract, known as the West Bengal Duars, or Western Duars, is a part of the Tarai lowland belt between the Himalayas and the plain.
  • Once infested with malaria, the area is now well drained and cultivated. Some of the finest tea plantations of India are situated there.
  • North of the Duars, the Himalayan mountain ranges rise abruptly along the northern boundary of the state.
  • Mount Kanchenjunga, actually located in adjacent Sikkim, dominates the landscape of the area, particularly in Darjiling (Darjeeling).
  • On a clear day, Mount Everest also can be seen in the distance.

 Historical Facts

  • West Bengal was formerly known as Vanga and was spread over a vast area. Ruled by several dynasties from ancient times, the actual history of this region is, however, available from the Gupta period.
  • The prosperity and the importance of the state increased largely when the British East India Company took over the place.
  • It was a widespread Bengal province until under the terms of the Indian Independence Act, 1947, the province of Bengal ceased to exist.
  • The Muslim-dominated districts, namely, Chittagong, Dacca and part of Presidency and Rajshahi division went to present-day Bangladesh and the state of West Bengal came into existence in 1947.
  • The district of Cooch Behar was merged with the state on January 1, 1950.
  • The former Chandernogor came within the state on October 2, 1954, and the state got its present political boundary when, according to the States Reorganization Act, part of the state of Bihar was transferred to West Bengal.
  • The Indian National Congress (Congress Party) dominated the West Bengal government during nearly all of the state’s first three decades.
  • In 1977, however, the Communist Party of India (Marxist; CPI-M) won a majority of seats in the state legislative elections and became the ruling party.
  • The CPI-M remained in power as the world’s longest-serving democratically elected communist government until it was voted out of office in 2011.
  • The winner of the legislative elections that year, the All India Trinamool (or Trinamul) Congress (AITC), had been an ally in what was then the Congress Party’s national ruling coalition government.
  • The AITC’s founder and leader, Mamata Banerjee, became the state’s first female chief minister (head of government).

Major Districts

Burdwan divisionJalpaiguri divisionPresidency division
  • Bankura
  • Bardhaman
  • Birbhum
  • East Midnapore (Purba Medinipur)
  • Hooghly
  • Purulia
  • West Midnapore (Paschim Medinipur)
  • Cooch Behar
  • Darjeeling
  • Alipurduar
  • Jalpaiguri
  •  Malda
  • North Dinajpur (Uttar Dinajpur)
  • South Dinajpur (Dakshin Dinajpur)
  • Howrah
  •  Kolkata
  • Murshidabad
  • Nadia
  • North 24 Parganas (Uttar 24 Parganas)
  • South 24 Parganas (Dakshin 24 Parganas)

Government of West Bengal

GovernorKeshari Nath Tripathi
Chief MinisterMamata Banerjee
High CourtCalcutta High Court
CapitalKolkata

State Symbols

State AnimalFishing Cat
State RiverHooghly and Damodar
State BirdWhite-Throated Kingfisher
State SportFootball
State FlowerNight Flowering Jasmine
State TreeDevil Tree
State DanceGaudiya Nritya

Seats

Assembly Seats295 Members(unicameral)
Lok Sabha Seats42
Rajya Sabha Seats16

Wildlife Sanctuaries

  • Ballavpur WLS
  • Bethuadahari WLS
  • Bibhuti Bhusan WLS
  • Buxa WLS
  • Chapramari WLS
  • Chintamani Kar Bird Sanctuary
  • Haliday Island WLS
  • Jorepokhri SalamanderWLS
  • Lothian Island WLS
  • Mahananda WLS
  • Raiganj WLS
  • Ramnabagan WLS
  • Sajnakhali WLS
  • Senchal WLS
  • West Sunderban WLS

National Park

  • Buxa National Park
  • Gorumara National Park
  • Neora Valley National Park
  • Singalila National Park
  • Sunderban National Park
  • Jaldapara National Park

Famous Temples in West Bengal

  • Dakshineswar Temple
  • Kalighat Kali Temple
  • Mayapur
  • Tarakeshwar

 Natural Resources

  • West Bengal stands third in the country in terms of mineral production.
  • The state contributes about one-fifth to the total production of minerals in the country.
  • Coal constitutes 99% of the minerals extracted in West Bengal; fireclay, china clay, limestone, copper, iron, wolfram, manganese and dolomite are mined in small quantities.
  • There are good possibilities of obtaining mineral oil and natural gas in the areas near the Bay of Bengal, in Purba Medinipur, Sundarbans, South 24 Parganas and North Bengal plains.
  • Research is undergoing finding natural gas in various places.
  • West Bengal is the third largest state for coal production, accounting for about half of India’s total.

Main Festivals

  • Kalpataru Utsab – January 1 of every year is celebrated as Kalpataru Day at Dakshineshwar and kossipore uddyanbati.
  • 21 February – Bengali language Day.
  • Bengali New Year.
  • Bhai Phonta.
  • Kali Puja/Lakshmi Puja.
  • Durga Puja: The Durga Puja is the main festival which is celebrated in West Bengal. Durga Puja is the most important hindu festival of Bengalis. This festival is celebrated with musuc, dance and drama for 10 days. During these days, the devotees worship the ten-armed goddesses Durga in various beautifully illuminated and decorated pandals. On the last day, the clay figures of the goddess Durga are carried out in procession to be immersed in the river Ganges.
  • Ganga Sagar Mela, Mahesh YATRA, Id, Muharram, Holi, Diwali are the other festivals which are celebrated in West Bengal.

Dance

  •  Chau dance of Purulia is a rare form of mask dance.
  • Gambhira Dance
  • Brita Dance
  • Santhal Dance
  • Tusu Dance
  • Lathi Dance

Major Airports in West Bengal

  • Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport

Some Famous Personalities

  • Rabindranath Tagore Nobel Prize in Literature, 1913
  • Bankim Chandra Chatterjee
  • Swami Vivekananda
  • Amitav Ghosh
  • Jhumpa Lahiri
  • Amartya Sen, Nobel Prize Awardee in Economics
  • Sushmita Sen
  • Pranab Mukherjee
  • Sourav Ganguly, Former Indian Captain, Athletico de Kolkatta Co-Owner
  • Leander Paes noted Lawn tennis player of India
  • Saurav Ghosal, currently highest ranked Indian player.
  • Anirban Lahiri, Indian Golfer

Some Facts about West Bengal

  • Bengalis’ believe fish symbolizes fortune and good luck.
  • Kolkata is the only city in India where the trams service exists and is a highly popular public transport system.
  • West Bengal is the only Indian state which has The Himalayas, The Duars Forests, the vast beaches of The Bay of Bengal, and innumerable rivers. This is called “Accident of Geography”.
  • Kolkata was the capital of British India from 1756 to 1911, because of which you find British monuments in every part of the city.
  • Bengali women were the first Indian women to go to school, pursue higher studies and start working.
  • Undivided Bengal was the first place in India where Sati, polygamy and child-marriage were abolished and widow-remarriage was established by the British laws.
  • The National Song of India, “Vande Mataram”, was written by Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay, another Bengali.
  • Bengali is the only language which takes pride in gifting two countries their national anthems; India and Bangladesh. Both were written by Rabindranath Tagore.

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Sainath Nuvvula is a Digital Marketing Expert and Consultant from Bangalore, India. He is a big thinker and a Tech Enthusiast. Can ring him @ +91 – 9535745456

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