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Kalimpong - Heritage destinations in West Bengal

9 Incredible Heritage Destinations in West Bengal that You Cannot Miss (2021)

The history and heritage associated with different places in West Bengal are insurmountable. From the Darjeeling district in the North to the Sundarbans in the South, the historical value of the entirety of West Bengal is quite high. A major reason behind the rich cultural heritage of West Bengal is the prolonged history of the state. Bengal’s name shone brightly in many ancient manuscripts that hold tremendous religious and historical significance in the world. Due to the presence of the sacred Ganges, civilizations have always formed in the entirety of Bengal for more than four thousand years.

Even in the Vedic age, West Bengal held immense importance. Later different reigns ruled over the region that had a tremendously rich history. From the Mauryas to the Goudas, from the Palas to the Mallas, West Bengal witnessed the shift in power through different kingdoms throughout the years. Areas like Malda, Bankura, and Murshidabad are glowing examples of the past monarchy that ruled the region. Even the traces of the Mughal reign can be seen in the said regions of West Bengal.

Places like Darjeeling or Kalimpong have an exceeding cultural heritage due to the rule of the British Empire over India. Different Governors of India preferred hill stations of Bengal to spend their entire summers. That is why these sites still feel entrapped in the colonial era due to the planning and architecture of the towns. The deep Tibetan influence over the Northern part of Bengal also makes it culturally diverse and rich in heritage.

In this blog, we are going to discuss the best heritage destinations of West Bengal. If you are looking for a trip that would not only offer you cozy but also an informative vacation, then you are at the right place. By exploring the said places, you will gain a lot of important information regarding West Bengal.

Reaching the destinations mentioned in this list is not that difficult. As they are quite famous as tourist sites, you would not have any problem reaching there through trains. If you plan on visiting there via flights, you will have to avail of the Kolkata airport or the Bagdogra airport. Accommodation offered in these places is quite varying. You will find hotels according to your budget pretty easily.

9 Incredible Heritage Destinations in West Bengal that You Cannot Miss

The destinations mentioned in this blog are all quite famous for tourism and that is why there are several sightseeing spots located over there.

1. Kalimpong

Located at an altitude of 5,591 feet, Kalimpong is one of the most important heritage destinations in West Bengal. Surrounded by the lush greenery of thick forests, beautiful mountains, and gorgeous orchids, Kalimpong is a popular hill station in the region. Even though it is famous for its natural beauty, not many people know that it has a rich heritage. Most of the houses and bungalows in Kalimpong take you to the pre-independence era of India. The influence of Colonial architecture is quite evident throughout the city. Incredible Heritage Destination in West Bengal-Morgan House, KalimpongImage Source

Places like Dr. Graham’s House, Crookety House, Tagore Vila, and other sites make this site historically enriched. As the Scottish missionaries helped in the construction of schools and churches in the area, the entirety of Kalimpong has traces of the colonial era of India. Moreover, the influence of the Tibetan community in Kalimpong makes it one of the most ethnically diverse communities in India. There are several monasteries located throughout the city that add to its rich heritage.

Nearest railway station: New Jalpaiguri.

Time to reach (from nearest railway station): It would take you around two and a half hours to reach Kalimpong from NJP.

Places to see: Morgan House, Dr. Graham’s House, Pratima Tagore House, Crockety, and others.

Best time to visit: October to December and March to May.

2. Kolkata

Often referred to as the City of Joy, Kolkata is one of the best heritage destinations in West Bengal. The heritage of this city not only lies in its administrative importance but also, in its rich history. As Kolkata was the capital of India for a long time during the pre-independence era, throughout the city you will see buildings and monuments that contribute to the rich heritage of the city. Sites like the Howrah Bridge, Victoria Memorial, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Shahid Minar, and other sites will remind you of the city’s glorious past. Certain parts of this beautiful and diverse city are so full of heritage sites, that your intuitive mind will get satisfied to a large extent by exploring them.

Even the transportation of Kolkata reeks of immensely diverse culture. Hand-pulled rickshaws or trams make the region entirely different from the rest of India. Despite being thoroughly cosmopolitan and urban, Kolkata has managed to keep its cultural heritage intact.

Nearest railway station: Kolkata Railway Station.

Time to reach (from nearest railway station): It would take you only half an hour to reach Kolkata from Kolkata station.
Heritage Destination in West Bengal-Jorasanko Thakur Bari, KolkataImage Source

Places to see: Jorasanko Thakur Bari, Kumortuli, Fort William, Park Street Cemetary, Princep Ghat, Mother House, Indian Coffee House, and others.

Best time to visit: November to February.

3. Darjeeling

Apart from being the most popular hill station of West Bengal, Darjeeling is also one of the top heritage destinations in the state. Surrounded by colonial-era architecture, and a diverse population, Darjeeling is so much more than a regular hill station. The main difference between the other hill stations in India and Darjeeling is its rich history. It has been a major part of the British regency in India since the 1800s. Many British Governors converted Darjeeling their summer vacation-stay due to its immense natural beauty and ambiance. That is why you will notice that majority of the houses in the region are deeply influenced by European architecture.

Apart from the monuments, the Darjeeling railway contributes heavily to the heritage of Darjeeling. As Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, it allows tourists to participate in one of the most important parts of the city. By traveling in the “Toy Train,” you will not only get to witness the beautiful sites of the region but also, you will have the time of your life.

Nearest railway station: New Jalpaiguri.

Time to reach (from nearest railway station): It would not take you more than two and a half hours to reach Darjeeling from NJP.
 Best Heritage Destination in West Bengal-Clock Tower, DarjeelingImage Source

Places to see: Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Darjeeling Himalayan Railways, Planter’s Club, Town Hall, Clock Tower, Keventer’s, etc.

Best time to visit: October to May.

4. Shantiniketan

Home to the Nobel Laurette poet, Rabindranath Tagore, Shantiniketan is not only one of the most important heritage destinations in Bengal, but also in India. Created in 1883 by Debendranath Tagore, this town has been the center of attention for a long time. Originally created to be the home for the Tagore’s, Shantiniketan soon became one of the most critical educational institutions in West Bengal and India. The creation of Visva Bharati University made this tiny town the most unique universities in the world. Surrounded by golden forests, babbling brooks, and the natural beauty of rural Bengal, Shantiniketan quite obviously became a popular tourist spot.

Throughout this town, you will see many sites that contribute to the rich history of Bengal. From Kaviguru Rabindranath Tagore’s home to the beautiful Chhatimtala in Visvabharati, from Kala Bhawan to Upasanagriha, Shantiniketan has a lot to offer. If you love to understand the heritage and culture of a region, Shantiniketan will be perfect for you.

Nearest railway station: Bolpur Railway Station.

Time to reach (from nearest railway station): It would take you less than ten minutes to reach Shantiniketan from Bolpur railway station.
Top Heritage Destination in West Bengal-Chhatimtala, ShantiniketanImage Source

Places to see: Chhatimtala, Amrakunja, Visva Bharati, Upasanagriha, Sangeet Bhawan, and others.

Best time to visit: November to February.

5. Malda

If you genuinely want to know about the heritage, history, and culture of Bengal, Malda is the perfect destination for you. The entire region of Malda has witnessed changes in so many dynasties that its history became exceedingly enriched. From the Mauryan era to the Gupta Empire, from the Pala Dynasty to the Sena dynasty, Malda has been the center of attention for several centuries in India. Even during the British governance over India, Malda acted as the main trade center for different officials. Places like Gour and Pandua in the Malda district allow you to get lost in the past glory and rich history of the region.

Sites like Adina Mosque, Qutwali Gate, Firuz Minar, and other religious sites let you know that Malda is quite important for the Islamic community in India. Most of the monuments in Malda contribute to the rich heritage of not only Bengal but also India. The ancients buildings in the district will help you understand the heritage of Bengal pretty well.

Nearest railway station: Malda Railway Station.

Time to reach (from nearest railway station): It would take you half an hour at most to reach different places in Malda from Malda railway station.
Amazing Heritage Destination in West Bengal-Chika Mosque, MaldaImage Source

Places to see: Chika Mosque, Dakhil Darwaja, Firoz Minar, Luko Churi Gate, Gour, and others.

Best time to visit: November to February.

6. Cooch Behar

Cooch Behar is a district in West Bengal that quite famous for its heritage and history. It is quite natural that we have included this region in the list of the best heritage destinations in West Bengal. Famous for being the headquarters of the Koch dynasty from the 4th to the 12th centuries, Cooch Behar is quite interesting and full of magnificent monuments. Apart from the Koch dynasty, Cooch Behar also witnessed the rule of the mighty Mughals, the historical Sultans, and the relevant Palas. The immense historical significance of Cooch Behar is a major reason why it was part of the princely states during the time of India’s independence.

A monument like the Cooch Behar palace helps you witness the immense influence of the European Renaissance over it. Apart from the said palace, the different temples in the region also help accentuate the heritage status of the district in Bengal.

Nearest railway station: New Cooch Behar Railway Station.

Time to reach (from nearest railway station): It would take you less than ten minutes to enter Cooch Behar city from the New Cooch Behar Railway Station.
Popular Heritage Destination in West Bengal-Madhupur Dham Temple, Cooch BeharImage Source

Places to see: Madhupur Dham Temple, Baneswar Siva Temple, Siddheswari Kali Bari, Cooch Behar Palace, and others.

Best time to visit: October to March.

7. Bardhaman

Bardhaman or now known as Purba Bardhaman is one of the most important districts of West Bengal. Its significance lies in its industries, agricultural farms, and its educational institutions. That is why it is home to so many people of West Bengal. Apart from the said facts, Bardhaman is a unique tourist site in the state. For the people who love history, culture, and heritage, Bardhaman is a paradise. As this destination had encountered a myriad of reigns that have major significances in the history of India, there are several sightseeing spots located over there that make it one of the best heritage destinations in West Bengal.

Monuments like Bardhaman Rajbari, Deul, Kalna fort, and others hold both historical and religious significance to the region. One of the main reasons why there are so many historical sites located in the region is that Bardhaman was ruled by several dynasties like Bardhaman Raj, the Mughal dynasty, and the British empire. When you will explore the nooks and corners of this district, you will find yourself in a different period.

Nearest railway station: Bardhaman Railway Station.

Time to reach (from nearest railway station): It would take you approximately ten minutes to enter Bardhaman city from Bardhaman railway station.
Famous Heritage Destination in West Bengal-Bardhaman, Devi SarbamanglaImage Source

Places to see: Devi Sarbamangla, Tomb of Sher Afghan, 108 Shiva Temple, Deul, and others.

Best time to visit: November to February.

8. Chandannagar

Located in the Hoogly district of West Bengal, Chandannagar is a fairly populated town that holds immensely historical significance over India. Mainly known for being the headquarters to the French East India company in the 17th century, this Bengali town has a lot to offer. Due to the prolonged colonization of the French, several monuments, factories, churches, and houses have been constructed there that are highly influenced by European architecture. Even now, when you will explore the town, you will witness the bygone era quite vividly.

Even after India’s independence, Chandannagar was ruled by the French Government along with Puducherry. Sites like French Cemetery, Chandannagar Strand, Sacred Heart Church, and others help you understand the colonial culture of the town. If you want to gain knowledge of India’s history during the pre-independence era, Chandannagar will help you a lot.

Nearest railway station: Chandannagar Railway Station.

Time to reach (from nearest railway station): The railway station in Chandannagar is located right at the heart of the city.
Top-rated Heritage Destination in West Bengal-The Underground House, ChandannagarImage Source

Places to see: The Underground House, Sacred Heart Church, Chandannagar Strand, French Cemetery, etc.

Best time to visit: December to February.

9. Kurseong

Located at an altitude of 4500 feet, Kurseong is an alluring hill station in West Bengal. Even though it is quite known for its natural splendor, many tourists do not know about its heritage and history. After this town got was included in the list of stations for the Darjeeling Himalayan Railways in 1888, Kurseong became pretty famous among every category of tourists. Along with the breathtakingly beautiful views of Mount Kanchenjungha, the heritage railways made this site historically famous. Due to its tremendous beauty, Nobel Laurette Rabindranath Tagore started residing there for some time. You will be surprised to know that many works of the globally renowned poet are dedicated to Kurseong and its beauty.

Other personalities like Sister Nivedita, Swami Vivekananda, and Mark Twain spend significant time in this enchanting hill station. There are so many sites in this town that provide Kurseong its heritage status that it is difficult to note them all at once. By spending a few days there, you will genuinely fall in love with the beautiful town.

Nearest railway station: New Jalpaiguri Station.

Time to reach (from nearest railway station): It would take you around one and a half hours to get to Kurseong from New Jalpaiguri Station.

Must Visit Heritage Destination in West Bengal-Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Museum, Kurseong

Image Source

Places to see: Dow Hills, Dow Hill Boys and Girls Schools, Hill Cart Road, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Museum, Castleton Tea Estate, Darjeeling Himalayan Museum, and others.

Best time to visit: October to May.

The destinations included in this blog are all part of the rich heritage of West Bengal. The history of these sites may differ from one another, they all hold tremendous historical significance in Bengal. By exploring these places, you will not only gain a lot of knowledge regarding Bengal’s history but also get to witness the distinct of these sites. As these places are well-connected with railways, it is always better for you to travel there via trains. By spending a weekend in the destinations mentioned in this blog, you will get to explore them without any problem.