Kolkata, or Calcutta (also Cal), is a kaleidoscopic melting pot of cultures and ethnicities. There's quite possibly no Indian festival that the city doesn't celebrate with glorious hoopla. Each month sees small festive marquees popping up at every corner of the street and come October, throngs of women enwrapped in silk sarees and red bindis convene around the city, undeterred by the ever-present rains. This celebration alone is reason enough to travel to Kolkata. From the glut of vibrant attractions, the city also holds a rich vehicular heritage ranging from the big yellow taxi that floods both parts of the city (Calcutta and Howrah) divided by the reticent river Hoogly, to the hand-pulled rickshaws and rickety trams meandering the roads. Tourists will hardly ever run out of things to do in Kolkata. Starting from Kumartuli, a traditional potters’ quarter, famed for its sculpted idols of gods and demons, to the architectural spectacle, that is the Howrah Bridge, Kolkata city will engulf you with its sights, sounds and scents. Calcutta’s biggest, most prismatic wholesale flower market on Mullick Ghat, Victoria Memorial, the old Chinatown Tiretta Bazaar, the magnificent Nakhoda Masjid and Jorasankho (Rabindranath Tagore’s ancestral home) are few of the most picturesque places to visit in Kolkata.
The largest and the busiest city in Bangladesh, Dhaka may seem like a regular, commercial city to you in the first glance but it's much more. It's a place that grows on you with time, and when it does, it's difficult to forget its many experiences. If this is your first visit here, you can choose among the many Dhaka day tours. The tours will help you see the city in its entirety and one can also choose customised tours according to individual preferences. Lal Bagh Fort, Liberation War Museum and Ahsan Manzil are some of the must-visit spots in Dhaka. Do include Baitul Mukarram Mosque in your itinerary. It is the 10th largest mosque in the world and is a sight to behold. Sonargaon is another wonderful place to include in your itinerary. An erstwhile administrative centre of Bengal, the site makes for an interesting visit outside Dhaka. Sitara Mosque is named so because it is decorated with a million stars and is a delight to explore. There are a number of options to stay in Dhaka and you can choose one according to your budget or preference.
The capital of Tripura doesn't serve much more than an en-route destination for those travelling to Bangladesh. But even in those few hours, one can explore small wonders that go with every traveller's 'Indiana instinct'. On that note, Unakoti's rock-cut relief sculptures remain a popular site to visit along with the Heritage Park and the majestic marble-made Ujjayanta Palace, now the the Government Museum. Both provide interesting insights into the royal and historical heritage and cultural background of the state of Tripura. Nature lovers can wander into the rich biodiversity of the Sepahijala Wildlife Sanctuary, kingdom of the Clouded Leopard and home to a variety of birds, primates and other animals. It also houses various jungle resorts for those who want to rest, stay or eat. Some more interesting sights such as Dumboor Lake and the floating Neer Mahal (palace) atop lake Rudrasagar are pleasant to visit too. The sleepy city usually comes alive during Durga Puja (October) and the Saraswati Puja, both celebrated with grandeur and religious ecstasy, reflecting the significant and vibrant influence of Bengalis on Tripura. Restaurants such as Shankar Restaurant, Restaurant Kurry Klub and The Manikya Court are well known for vegetarian, non-vegetarian and local Tripuri dishes.
One of the most important cities of North Bengal, Murshidabad comes with a rich history. Once a stunning example of grandeur, power, culture and beauty, the erstwhile centre of the nawabs was from where the revenue of the whole state of West Bengal went to the king in Delhi. Till date, Murshidabad and its historical monuments are a tourists' delight and the local communities welcome everyone with warmth. This place is also one of the most important Jain pilgrimages with the four most important jain temples of Bengal situated here. These are the Sri Chintamoni Parshwanath Bhagwan Temple in Azimganj, Shri Shambavnath Bhagwan Temple in Jiyaganj, Sree Adinath Bhagwan Temple in Katgola and other one is in Murshidabad itself. You can also visit Hazar Duari Palace, a palace with over 100 doors. Now a museum, the palace is definitely worth visiting. The intricate art work in the museum is a delight for art enthusiasts. Another lovely spot is Katra Masjid. Go during visiting hours for a memorable experience.
Bankura has gradually gained attraction as a popular tourist destination. Located in West Bengal, Bankura is home to various art and architecture spots, terracotta temples, dense virgin forests, hills and scenic beauty spots. Susunia, the second highest hill of Bankura, is famous for rock climbing, trekking and attracts adventure enthusiasts and tourists because of its natural springs. The Biharinath Hill has the highest altitude in the district. It stands guard on the northwestern border and is believed to be an age-old centre of Jainism. The one-of-a-kind Rasmancha Temple is located at Bishnupur in Bankura and is regarded as the oldest brick temple in India! Garh Darwaja is a terracotta gateway situated in Bankura near Bishnupur. The best time to visit is during the annual four day Bishnupur Mela held around the last week of December. The Mukutmanipur Dam, Krishna-Balaram Temple, Amarkanan and Koro Hill, Gangdoha, Ganesh and Nandi Statue are also famous tourist spots and worth visiting.
Jamshedpur is the largest city in Jharkhand and is situated on the Chota Nagpur Plateau in the East Singhbhum District. Also known as the 'steel city' for its number of established steel factories, the city was founded by the late Jamshedji Nusserwanji Tata and is also called Tata Nagar. The planned industrial city is enclosed by Dalma Hills with the rivers Subarnarekha and Kharkai winding through the cityscape. Major attractions of the city include the Tata Steel Zoological Park, Dalma Hills, Hudco Lake and Pardih Kali Mandir. The Jubilee Park offers a wildlife safari, giving travellers a closer experience of wildlife. The annual flower show held in December at the Sir Dorabji Tata Park attracts countless numbers of tourists and locals. The Dalma Hills, famous for spotting wild elephants, offers great opportunities for adventure trekking and mountain climbing. The confluence of the rivers Kharkai and Subarnarekha is another attraction Jamshedpur is popular for. A holiday experience here will remind you of any other metro, though there are spots that will surprise the traveller in you!