From the mystical Himalayas to the Gangetic planes, from stunning beaches to mangrove estuaries – West Bengal is a land of natural splendors. Adding to its charm and appeal are the magnificent heritage architecture, colourful folk festivals, beautiful arts and crafts, traditional and contemporary music, theatre and films and delicious ethnic specialties that make West Bengal truly a brilliant experience offering unique diversities.
It’s popular destinations such as Kolkata, Darjeeling, Sunderbans, Siliguri, and Kalimpong attract scores of tourists from all over the world. But there are several, lesser-known hidden gems that you can cover as well. We have listed some of them below.
It literally means the place of Lepcha people or the Lepcha community, who hail from Sikkim. This is a small village in the wilderness with an altitude of around 7000 ft above the sea level. The village is covered by wild forests of rhododendron, pine, and oak with a bounty of natural beauty. Mount Kanchenjunga with its surrounding peaks stands with its full might on the north-eastern side of Lepchajagat.
This is an ideal place for nature lovers to stay in an offbeat place with a blend of nature and peace. The only sound here is chirping of numerous birds during daytime and the sound of cricket after the evening. The nearest airport of Lepchajagat is Bagdogra ( 85 kms – 3 hrs ) and railway station is New Jalpaiguri Railway Station ( 95 kms – 3.5 hrs). Both the airport and railway station are well connected to all the major cities in India. The easiest way to reach here via Mirik – Sukhiapohri route.
This is a small hill village and tourist spot in the Malbazar, Kalimpong subdivision of Darjeeling, situated at an elevation of 3000 ft in the foothills in between Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling districts border. Surrounded by tea gardens, it has emerged into a popular spot for travelers looking to spend time amidst nature. It is known for its beautiful landscape with green tea garden sceneries, hills, and forests, which attract a lot of tourists.
On a clear day, the snow-clad mountains of Bhutan are also visible from this place. It lies 18 km from the Neora Valley National Park. Its climate is noted for fog and cool breezes and heavy rainfall. It has lots of beautiful picnic spots and tourist places. Some of them are Lali Guras, Rocky Island and Suntaley Khola. Neora Valley National Park is in a distance of an hour from here. Here you can find the fusion of hills, plains, rivers, forest, tea-garden and villages. In fact, it is a cute tea garden inhabited by lovely and helpful Nepali people.
Chandraketugarh is a city that never existed. The name, like so much else about this site and its 2,500-year-old history, is borrowed from local myths in the absence of actual research. It first came to ASI’s notice in 1907 when local resident Tarak Nath Ghosh urged the government to investigate the area.
Digging of canals would routinely lead to the discovery of tanks and more canals. The remains of a temple constructed during the times of legendary mathematicians Mihir and Khana, a fort built by the mythical king Chandraketu that was hidden under a mound for centuries and a mosque that could actually have been a Buddhist stupa? if myth and mystery fascinate you and history gets you going, pack your bags and head for Chandraketugarh. You will hardly find a better place to spend a spring day.
Dooars is considered the gateway to the hill stations of the Darjeeling and the word itself is derived from “doors” meaning in the literal sense gateway. The Dooars or Duars are the alluvial floodplains in northeastern India that lie south of the outer foothills of the Himalayas and north of the Brahmaputra River basin.
It is famous for its rich biodiversity and forests, prominent ones in the area include Gorumara National Park, Jaldapara Wild Life Sanctuary, Buxa Tiger Reserve, Manas National Park in Assam, Chapramari Wildlife Reserve and the Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary.
Garh Panchkot is a ruined fort located in the eastern part of India at the foothills of Panchet Hill in the district of Purulia, West Bengal. The Panchkot Palace is a silent testimony to the Bargi attack during the 18th century and it lies in ruins ever since the attack. The Fort consists of Singh-Dwar, Rani Mahal, temples and a guard’s quarter. In front of the entrance, there is a semi-circular moat that needs to be crossed before entering the palace.
The ruins are scattered over 20,000 sq. ft, which is evidence of the huge structure of the palace. A Rajput king is believed to have constructed it. The ancientness of the structure and the amazing landscape surrounding it, make this unknown place a must-visit for travelers.
Located 40kms away from Digha, lies the beach destination of Junput. This place is known for its marine biology and aquatic culture, which is being aggressively promoted by the Government of West Bengal. The awe-inspiring calmness of the sea, along with silvery sand of the beach on a full moon night is something that every soul desires and craves for.
Though this place witnesses footfall all-round the year, the best time to visit this place is from October to April, as the weather remains comfortable and conducive for tourism.
The perfect Duarsini weather is ideal for forest lovers, trekkers, hikers, and bird watchers. It is also a great place for all those who wish to study tribal culture. You can visit the forests and hills or enjoy the river flowing by. You can also visit tribal houses and interact with them only under the supervision of a local person. Duarsini is the home for many tribes such as Santhals, Shabaradhs, Khariyas, and Mundas.
The forest is home to wild animals such as Elephants, Hyenas, Wolves, and Bears. A stay in the forest bungalow booking lets you enjoy the natural beauty at night time. Tourists can stay here at Forest Bungalow that looks like a tribal cottage. Villagers employed by WBFDC take care of food and other needs.
Another offbeat beach destination, Tajpur lies in the Purba Medinipur district of South Bengal, one of the southern districts of West Bengal. It lies on the Kolkata – Digha route and is just 16 Km before Digha. Tajpur is one of Bengal’s recently discovered tourist destination that lies close to Mandarmoni and Shankarpur.
In Tajpur, the prime attraction is its beach with a dense cover of tamarisk trees. Red crabs, found during the daytime, look like a red carpet welcoming you. It is surrounded with patches of forests and this seashore destination truly offers great visual pleasure. Tajpur sea beach is also known as one of the few virgin sea beaches around Kolkata.
Taki is a town in the southeastern part of West Bengal. With the quiet Ichamati River and some nearby nature spots, it’s often a day trip or weekend getaway from Kolkata. You can enjoy the mid-river experience of meeting the people of Bangladesh, on the Ichamati River, where tourists from both countries ride on boats to get a close view of the other country.
You can also visit the ruins of zamindar houses, Kuleshwari Kali Temple, 300 years old Jora Shib Mandir, Golpatar jungle and General Shankar Roychowdhury’s adi bari. Taki can be visited any time of the year. However, the most suitable time to visit Taki is during the winter season. Another time to visit, which is equally memorable, is to watch the Goddess Durga immersion following the Durga puja. This is a spectacular event in Taki as idols from both the countries are immersed in the waters of Ichamati together.
For more information on West Bengal destinations, visit the tourism website here.