Kolkata/Calcutta (West Bengal)
Kolkata (also known as Calcutta) is the capital of the Istate of West Bengal. Located on the east bank of the River Hooghly, it is the principal commercial, cultural, and educational centre of East India, while the Port of Kolkata is India's oldest operating port as well as its sole major riverine port.
The main interesting tourist sites of Kolkata are the ictoria Memorial Built in the Italian Renaissance cum Saracenic style, the Victoria Memorial was planned by Lord Curzon and opened by the Prince of Wales in 1921. The monument is dedicated to Queen Victoria and houses a fantastic collection of rare memorabilia from Colonial days.
Marble Palace :
Sorrounded by a beautiful garden, the palace houses a rare collection of antiques of immense artistic and historical value. The Howrah Bridge The Howrah Bridge spans the River Hooghly River and serves as the gateway to Kolkata, connecting it to the Howrah Station, which is one of the four intercity train stations serving Howrah and Kolkata. As such, it ca
Writer's Building It was designed by Thomas Lyon in 1780 and received an impressive Corinthian facade in 1889. It originally served as the office of the British East India Company. Now, it serves as the Secretariat of the Government of West Bengal.
Botanical Gardens At 9kms from Kolkata, on the west bank of the River Ganges, the botanical cover an area of approximatel 273 acres. Laid out in the year 1787, the Indian Botanical Garden is one of the oldest and largest botanical gardens of India. It contains about 12,000 living perennial plants and millions of dried out plants gathered from all over the world. The 250-year-old Banyan tree with more than 2,800 prop roots is the main attraction.
Park Street Mother Teresa Sarani, formerly Park Street and still often called by that name, was originally named Burial Ground Road on account of the South Park Street Cemetery which has cenotaphs and tombs of prominent figures from the British Raj era and Kolkata's Armenian population. It has been the recreation zone for Kolkata people since the British era, with many restaurants and pubs. It is often known as "Food Street" and "The Street that Never Sleeps".
Darjeeling (West Bengal)
Darjeeling is a hill town in the state of West Bengal and situated very near the state of Sikkim. It is a popular tourist destination and is located at an elevation of approximately 2000m. The region of Darjeeling is noted for its tea industry and plantations and also for the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway which has been classified as a World Heritage Site.The town was developed in the 19th century by the British as a military depot. Subsequently, extensive tea plantations were established in the region. Darjeeling Tea is internationally recognised as one of the most popular black teas. The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway runs on a narrow gauge and connects Darjeeling with New Jalpaiguri. It was built between 1879 and 1881, and is about 80 kilometres long. Affectionately named as the 'Toy Train', it still has one of the few narrow gauge steam locomotives in India.
Tiger Hill, Darjeeling (West Bengal)
Tiger Hill, at approximately 11km from Darjeeling and at an elevation of 2600m, provides a fabulous panoramic view of the highest peaks of the world at sunrise:Mount Kanchenjunga (8598 m), almost as impressive as Mount Everest. The best period to view the peaks Iis between October and December and again between March and May. The Senchal lake, a scenic place, is a popular picnic spot; and the Buddhist monastery of Ghoom where one venerates a statue of Buddha of futuristic times "the Maitreya".
The capital of Sikkim is Gangtok. It is the 22nd state of the Indian union since 1975. Its high and beautiful valleys where the monsoons ensure florid vegetation characterize Sikkim. The city is encompassed by a mountainous area consisting of high Himalayan peaks (20 peaks at a height of more than 6000 m) of which the majestic Kanchenjunga which culminates at 8598 meters at the border with Nepal. Harboring 4000 species of plants and varied fauna Sikkim is like a paradise for nature lovers. The oldest inhabitants known to Sikkim arrived in the 12th century and are called the Lapcha, characterized by Mongolian features of Thai origin. The same era witnessed the arrival of the Tamang and the Rai who were fleeing from the states of Bengal, Bihar and Assam because of the Muslims persecuting the Buddhists there. Although it may involve administrative difficulties, a visit to the state of Sikkim is a must if one is in Darjeeling. Access through the valley of Tista comprising of dense forests of palm trees, tree ferns, giant bamboo trees, magnolias and wild banana trees is splendid.
The modest capital of Sikkim, Gangtok is situated at an altitude of 1547 meters. It is a charming city that dominates the valley of Tista and where the ethnic plurality is rather surprising. It boasts of numerous attractions that could be of interest to the visitors: the Tsuklakhang monastery, the Palace of the Chogyals, the Royal Chapel housing mural paintings and sculpted woodwork. The research institute of Tibetology maintains a library that is a repository of close to 30000 volumes of ancient scriptures. For orchid lovers, 200 varieties of orchids have been acclimatized in a garden below.
An enormous rural market town lost in the teak forests amidst hills and deep valleys at the foot of the mighty Himalayas of the Tista valley, Kalimpong was once an important Tibetan market and one of the strategic points of the kingdom of Sikkim on the route of the invasions coming from the plains of Bengal and Assam.The Bhutanese monastery "the Thongsa Gompa" built in 1692 and especially the Tibetan monastery "Tharpa Choling", founded in 1037 and representative of the Yellow hat sect (Gelug-Pa) are even visited today. The Dubindera Hill provides a breathtaking view that stretches across the Himalayan range and even more so across the Kanchenjunga.
Pemayangste Monastery (Sikkim)
It is one of the oldest monasteries of Sikkim. It was originally established as a high class monastery for "Pure Monks (Ta-Sang)". Inside the monastery there is a wooden structure depicting the Maha Guru's heavenly palace (Sang-tok-palri), which is considered a masterpiece created by Dungzin Rimpoche. The Monastery, located on a hill top at an altitude of approximately 2000m commands a magnificent panoramic view of the Himalayan ranges, the surrounding hills and the countryside.
Rumtek Monastery (Sikkim)
24kms from Gangtok, the Rumtek monastery, which is a replica of the Tsurphu monastery in Tibet was founded in 1740. It is the largest monastery of Sikkim. The monastery has a special prayer hall, very impressive murals and thanka paintings and 1001 miniature golden images of Lord Buddha. It also has a religious centre by the name of Dharma Chakra Centre and a big residential-cum prayer hall. The monastery has an impressive library and special rooms for the high ranking incarnate Lamas.
The most holy of all monasteries in Sikkim was built in 1716 on the spot consecrated by Guru Rimpoche. According to legend Guru Rimpoche shot an arrow and vowed to meditate where it fell. The arrow dropped on the spot where the monastery now stands. Located on a hill top between the rivers Ratong and Rangeet it is surrounded by deep valleys. Tashiding also has the famous chorten Thongwa Rangdol, considered the most holy in Sikkim. It is believed that a glimpse of this chorten is enough to cleanse one of a lifetime of sin.
Bhubaneswar, the capital of Odisha (originally Orissa), is also popularly known as the "Temple City of India". Being the seat of Tribhubaneswar or 'Lord Lingaraj', Bhubaneswar is an important Hindu pilgrimage centre. Hundreds of temples dot the landscape of the Old Town, which once boasted of more than 2000 temples. Bhubaneswar is the place where temple building activities of Odishan style flowered from its very inception to its fullest culmination extending over a period of over one thousand years.Some of the famous temples include the Lingaraj Temple,Muktesvara Temple, Rajarani Temple and the Ananta Vasudeva Temple. The twin hills of Khandagiri & Udayagiri, served as the site of an ancient Jain monastery which was carved into cave-like chambers in the face of the hill. These caves, with artistic carvings, date back to the 2nd century BC.The "Temple Car Festival" in July is the most important festival in Odisha (Orissa) and Bhubaneshwar. Hundreds of devotees participate in pulling the temple car that carries the deities. The festival commemorates Jagannath, who is said to have been the incarnation of India's revered deities, Vishnu and Krishna.
Konark Sun Temple (Odisha)
The magnificent Sun Temple at Konark is the culmination of Odishan temple architecture, and one of the most stunning monuments of religious architecture in the world. The poet Rabindranath Tagore said of Konark that 'here the language of stone surpasses the language of man', and it is true that the experience of Konark is impossible to translate into words.The massive structure, now in ruins, sits in solitary splendour surrounded by drifting sand. Today it is located two kilometers from the sea, but originally the ocean came almost up to its base. Until fairly recent times, in fact, the temple was close enough to the shore to be used as a navigational point by European sailors, who referred to it as the 'Black Pagoda'.The temple which is a chronicle in stone of the religious, military, social, and domestic aspects of the thirteenth century royal world. Every inch of the remaining portions of the temple is covered with sculptures of an unsurpassed beauty and grace, in tableaux and freestanding pieces ranging from the monumental to the miniature. Thousands of images include deities, celestial and human musicians, dancers, lovers, and myriad scenes of courtly life, ranging from hunts and military battles to the pleasures of courtly relaxation. These are interspersed with birds, animals (close to two thousand charming and lively elephants march around the base of the main temple alone), mythological creatures, and a wealth of intricate botanical and geometrical decorative designs.
The abode of Lord Jagannath,Puri is one of the four celebrated religious centers of India.The Temple of Lord Jagannath built during the 12th century A.D. by Chodaganga Deva dominates the landscape for kilometers around. Being the tallest temple (65 metres) in Odisha, it is one of the most magnificent pieces of monuments of India. At the main entrance stands a 16 sided monolithic pillar (11 metres high), called Aruna Stambha which formally stood in front of the Sun Temple and was brought to Puri during the 18th century A.D. Some of the other important temples are Gundicha, Lokanath, Sunaragauranga, Daria Mahabir and Tota Gopinatt. There are also a number of holy tanks like Narendra, Markandeya, Sweta Ganga and Indradyumna. There are also many Monasteries locally known as Mathas.