West Bengal is one of the most populous states in India. The place is known for its political history, rich culture, and traditions. It is also known for being home to extraordinary personalities like Swami Vivekananda and Matangini Hazra. People visit this east Indian state to experience its classic villages, forested lands, abundant wildlife (Bengal Tiger, leopards, elephants, and rhinoceros), colorful culture, and historical buildings. If you are in any way intrigued by West Bengal’s history, visiting its ruins and other historical sites are the best ways to learn and quench your curiosity. Marvel at the brilliance of architecture and carefully snap a memorable photo as a neat remembrance of your travel. To help you with your itinerary, check out this list of the most important historical places in West Bengal, India.
Santiniketan is a small university town where Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore once lived. Many people visit this town for its natural charms (red soil, luscious greenery, and wild animals), prestigious schools, and Rabindranath’s classic literary works in the forms of poems, songs, and novels. Make sure you visit Santiniketan’s most popular sites, such as Ballavpur Wildlife Sanctuary, Uttarayana, Chhatim Tala, Sonajhuri Forest, and Maa Kankalitala Mandir as you explore this educational town.
Address: 731204, West Bengal, India
2. Cooch Behar
Are you interested in learning about the royal heritage of West Bengal? Cooch Behar (Koch Bihar) was a princely state during the British colonial rule in India. It was ruled by the Koch dynasty. This place is the only planned city in the northern regions of West Bengal where visitors can view royal remnants. These sites are Cooch Behar Palace, Madan Mohan Temple, Baneswar Shiva Temple, and Sagar Dighi. Besides visiting its heritage sites, guests can also partake in all the major Indian and Bengali festivals like Durga Puja, Diwali, and Kali Puja.
Address: Cooch Behar, West Bengal, India
Website: Cooch Behar
3. Temple of Ichai Ghosh
Temple of Ichai Ghosh is a monument built in the 17th century AD by king Ichai Ghosh. Before being proclaimed as king, Ichai Ghosh had to defeat the then king of the state of Gour. Once he was declared triumphant, the people of his state built him the temple monument made of bricks to commemorate his win against the past king. Today, the temple stands tall and is well preserved. Tourists can visit the site to observe and take photos of the 18 meters (59 feet) high structure.
Temple of Ichai Ghosh
Address: Gourangapur, West Bengal 713152, India
4. Jor Bangla Temple
If you seek to admire and understand temples and their architecture in eastern India, this well-preserved Jor Bangla Temple in Bishnupur is a great place to visit. You can observe the beautifully preserved piece of historical architecture. Jor Bangla Temple (Yorubangala) is a structure designed to resemble the traditional village huts of Bengal. The temple uses standard Hindu architecture developed in Bengal. It is composed of two structures; the first building in the front is used as a porch while the other serves as a shrine.
Jor Bangla Temple
Address: Rajdarbar, Dalmadal Para, Bishnupur, West Bengal 722122, India
Website: Jor Bangla Temple
5. Radhabinode Temple
Are you more interested in visiting the ruins than the well-maintained historical structures? Radhabinode Temple is a ruined structure at Panchrol under Purba Medinipur district. Most of the structure is still intact and seems to be structurally sound. Observe the beautifully aged temple ruin and learn about its history through observation. The temple is made from bricks and with a rekha deul structure (an ornamental structure on top of a Hindu temple) with a rich stucco finish.
Address: SH 2, Baburdanga, Bishnupur, West Bengal 722122, India
Opening hours: 8am - 5pm (daily)
6. Shaheed Minar
Shaheed Minar is a monument to commemorate Sir David Ochterlony’s (Loony Akhtar) victory in the Nepal War. David Ochterlony was a Major general from the Bengal artillery unit, who played a significant role in ending the Anglo-Nepalese war. Shaheed Minar incorporates a variety of architectural styles from Egypt, Syria, and Turkey. Today, people use the tower as a meeting place for political parties and various rallies and seminars.
Address: Dharmtalla, Dufferin Rd, Kolkata, West Bengal 700069, India
Website: Shaheed Minar
Opening hours: 10am - 5am (daily)
7. Hazarduari Palace
Hazarduari Palace is a popular heritage site located within the campus of Kila Nizamat. Duncan Macleod was assigned to design the palace with 1,000 doors, wherein 100 of the doors were to be fake. The structure began its construction on August 19, 1829, and was completed in December 1837. In 1985, the palace was given to the Archaeological Survey of India, who ultimately turned it into a museum. Today, visitors can visit the museum and admire its collection of antiques, artworks, manuscripts, and rare books.
Address: Siraj Ud Daulah Rd, Hazarduari, Murshidabad, West Bengal 742149, India
Website: Hazarduari Palace
Opening hours: Sat - Thu: 9am - 4:30pm (closed on Fri)
8. Baro Shona Masjid
Bora Shona Masjid is a mosque built in 1526 AD during the reign of Alauddin Husain Shah and his son Nusrat Shah. The temple is also known as Barduari or 12-gate mosque(although it only has 11 gates). The structure measures 50.4 meters (165.4 feet) in length, 22.8 meters (74.8 feet) in width, and 12 meters (39.4 feet) in height. Its roof was composed of 44 hemispherical domes with only 11 remaining today. To this day, visitors will still be able to view the mosque’s eleven entrances, four corner towers, two buttresses, and courtyard.
Baro Shona Masjid
Address: Z6801, Shahabazpur, Bangladesh
Website: Baro Shona Masjid
Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)
9. Lukochuri Gateway
Lukochuri Gateway is a structure built on the orders of Emperor Shahjahan. In earlier days, its purpose was to represent the Mughalization in India and its rule. Today, the government uses Lukochuri Gateway as a landmark for the Indo-Bangladesh border. Border Security Force (BSF) currently monitors the area and restricts passage to the building’s top. If you are curious about the view on top of the gateway, you may have to request the BSF chief to do so.
Address: Gour, Chandangar, West Bengal 732216, India
Website: Lukochuri Gateway
10. Clive's House
Clive House is a popular heritage site in South Dumdum known for its rich history and mysterious origins. Although Lord Clive indeed owned the house through 1757 - 1767, the place is known to have been standing long before Lord Clive decided to obtain it. Experts speculate that the two-story structure was once a bungalow and that it followed traditional Indian architecture without the current Europen designs that it displays today. Although a ruin, today’s observers can still visit the place and appreciate its main structures and many of its ornamental designs.
Address: Ramgarh, South Dumdum, West Bengal 700028, India
Website: Clive’s House
West Bengal's rich and exciting history
West Bengal is a beautiful and prosperous place that many people love visiting. However, it might intrigue you that it hasn’t always been that way. Before today’s thriving and more stable community, West Bengal was once a place of conflicting beliefs, cultural wars, and heated political arguments. Many notable personalities have risen, and many important historical events have unfolded through these dark times. To learn more about West Bengal’s rich and exciting history, the heritage sites listed above should help you cover much.
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