Beautiful Bengal

Latpanchar – The Home of Hornbills

Latpanchar is nearly perfect- a place tucked in the hills and the home to some exotic and rare Himalayan birds. Latpanchar can be a perfect weekend destination from Kolkata for both the mountain lovers and bird enthusiasts alike, but the place is mainly known for the hornbills and other Himalayan birds. Latpanchar is quite a big village. As we reached the place traversing the winding, uphill and broken hilly roads (the hill roads in this locality are all the same), we already became aware of the presence of birds. We could hear them chirp, but the sight eluded us....

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Darjeeling – A Comprehensive Travel Guide

Darjeeling – the Queen of Hills has been one of our favourite destinations of all times. The eternal beauty and the quaint Victorian charm of the place can lure all. With the magnificent view of the Kanchenjunga ranges overlooking the beautiful tea gardens, Darjeeling is simply breathtaking. And the cherry on the top is the adorable Darjeeling toy train that whistles its way through the mountains. Which other hill station have so many beauties rolled in one! We have travelled and explored Darjeeling ever since we started travelling. We have also blogged about this place for long. So we...

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Hooghly Imambara – The Heritage in Crisis

Hooghly Imambara is an experience in itself. With its open and spacious courtyard, long-running corridors and the majestic watch tower, the entire monument is an architectural splendour quietly speaking about its erstwhile prominence and fading grandeur. Built in the 19th century, the Imambara is a holy shrine for not only the Muslim followers but also the people of other faiths. What is an Imambara? An Imambara is a congregation hall for commemoration ceremonies of Muslims of Shia denomination those attached with the Remembrance of Muharram. An Imambara is definitely not a mosque which is a worship place for all...

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Mukha, the Kushmandi masks and the art of mask making

Kushmandi block of South Dinajpur is the home of the wooden mask makers better known as Kushmandi masks or in colloquial terms “Mukha”. The makers are mainly concentrated in the village of Mahisbathan where a handicraft hub has been developed as a part of rural craft hub initiative under the MSME department of Government of West Bengal and in collaboration with UNESCO. The Kushmandi Masks: The Kushmandi masks are generally objects of devotion very devoutly crafted by the villagers. Thus these masks also called the Gomira masks catered to the needs of the Gomira dancers and to the villagers...

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Gomira Dance – an ancient dance form of rural Bengal

Gomira dance is a rural dance form mainly practiced in the Dinajpur district of West Bengal. The dance is usually performed by the villagers to please the gods to usher in the ‘good forces’ and ward off the ‘evil forces’. Very obviously, this dance form is a part of varying traditions and the rich cultural history of Bengal. So when the opportunity came to watch a Gomira dance performance, we were more than happy to seize it. Origin of the Gomira Dance Gomira dance is actually a masked dance form. The word Gomira has been derived from the colloquial...

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Takdah – the land of mist

A dreamy place where the sun and clouds play hide and seek with glee and mist descends at its own will, the foggy trails, the blooming orchids and the majestic mountain views – if all these are making you want to leave your desk just now, then Takdah is just the right place for you. Takdah is merely 28 km away from Darjeeling and stands at a height of 4000 ft. Takdah is also called ‘Tukdah’ that is a Lepcha word meaning mist. So you can easily imagine why the place remains foggy for most of the time. Takdah...

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Lamahatta – how eco-tourism can change a place

Lamahatta is an ultimate example of how eco-tourism can change a place for the better. The place has been developed as an eco-tourism site in the year 2012. The place with its vast stretches of huge conifers and pine along with the majestic mountain views offers a pacific and idyllic destination. It is said that some Buddhist monks used to stay here before independence. The word “Lamahatta” is derived from the words “Lama” meaning a Buddhist monk and “hatta” meaning a hut. So Lamahatta actually turns out to be a hermitage. Indeed the beauty of the landscape of this...

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BAGORA – A LESSER KNOWN HIMALAYAN HAMLET

Bagora – the picturesque hamlet was the first destination of our unplanned trip to North Bengal. Yes, it is that time of the year where we get some continuous days of holidays and unlike most homebound Bengalis, we do not travel back home, but just pack our backpacks for quenching our ever growing wanderlust. This has become inevitable during every Durga Puja season much to the chagrin of our parents. But with “Dugga-Dugga” (a Bengali prayer to Goddess Durga for the safe journey before travel) on our lips, we are on our way to see a new place! This...

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A visit to Dariyapur – the Dokra village

In our previous post, we shared about the finesse and uniqueness of the Dokra craft. We had the opportunity to visit one such craft village of West Bengal – Dariyapur near Guskara in the Barddhaman district. Dariyapur is a small village having around 30 families of artisans practicing the dokra craft. Dariyapur was hosting the Dokra fair with the help of Banglanatak dot com and West Bengal tourism. Dariyapur village is really beautiful. Walking slowly beside the vast stretches of paddy fields, we were thrilled to see so much greenery. Not only that, all our tiredness vanished breathing the...

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Dokra – a fascinating and primeval art form

Dokra handicrafts have always fascinated me. I had always wondered how these exquisite pieces of handicrafts are made. The exquisite carvings and the intricate designs in the metals not only make them look like a collector’s item but also shows the artistry and handwork of the artisans who make this unique pieces of art. Dokra is known to many, but for all those who are wondering what I am speaking about, Dokra is an ancient form of craft involving non-ferrous casting using the lost-wax casting also known as ‘Cire Perdue’. In fact, it is the earliest method of non-ferrous...

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Jahura Temple, Malda

The first thing that comes to our mind while talking about Malda is mangoes and the ancient kingdom of Gour.  The Jahura Temple on the outskirts of the town is one of the most sacred temples of Malda. Situated a few kilometers away from the main town of Malda, the temple is almost a century old. But the most captivating thing about this temple is its surroundings. Standing amidst the mango orchards, the place speaks of serenity and calm. You are bound to feel peaceful once you are at the temple. Just as we left the precincts of the...

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Darjeeling Monsoons – a reverie in the rains

Happiness is Darjeeling Monsoons! Darjeeling – the one place that brings a smile to our lips as well as makes us go on a nostalgia trip. And we are not the only one; there are many Bengalis who feel the same way like us. Darjeeling – the name itself evokes a kaleidoscope of emotions. Be it the roads, or the Mall, eating out at the Glenary’s or Keventer’s or seeing the sunrise at the Tiger Hills, we find Darjeeling always in a new look whenever we go there. And the best part are the Darjeeling monsoons. The weather in...

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