West Bengal facts – Overview, geography, districts, tourism, etc.

West Bengal is a state in eastern India with a coastline with the Bay of Bengal. It is a part of the Bengal region which also includes the country of Bangladesh and some parts of North-eastern states. Discussed below is all the general information about West Bengal along with some interesting facts.

West Bengal facts

Overview

West Bengal is the fourth most populous state in India. In terms of area, it ranks 14th. West Bengal shares state borders with Bihar, Sikkim, Assam, and Orissa. The state also shares two international borders, a long international border with Bangladesh and a short one with Nepal.

Geography of West Bengal

On the North are the green hills of the Himalayas. Darjeeling and Kalimpong are the two most famous hill stations in the state. On the South is the Bay of Bengal. The Ganga and Damodar are the two most important rivers in the state. The Ganga divides into Padma and Hooghly near the Bangladesh border. The Padma flows into Bangladesh while the Hoogly flows southwards in the state through Berhampore and Kolkata and drains into the Bay of Bengal. A large portion of the Ganges delta, the largest river delta in the world is in West Bengal.

Tourism is West Bengal

West Bengal is the fifth most visited state/UT in India by foreign tourists. Approximately, 16.5 lakh foreign tourists visited the state in 2019. Moreover, West Bengal is also the sixth most visited state by domestic tourists. There are two UNESCO World Heritage Sites in West Bengal.

  1. Darjeeling Himalayan Railway
  2. Sunderbans National Park
Darjeeling

Other famous tourist destinations in West Bengal include the capital Kolkata, Siliguri, Kalimpong, etc.

Forest and National Parks

The total forest cover in West Bengal is 16,902 square kilometers which is 19.04 % of the total geographical area of the state. There are six National Parks in the state.

  1. Buxa NP- 117.1 sq km
  2. Gorumara NP- 79.45 sq km
  3. Jaldapara NP- 216.51 sq km
  4. Neora Valley NP- 159.89 sq km
  5. Singalila NP- 78.6 sq km
  6. Sunderban NP- 1330.1 sq km
Sunderban National Park in West Bengal
Sunderbans National Park

Districts

There are 23 districts in West Bengal. North twenty four Parganas is the most populous district while South twenty four Parganas is the largest district in terms of area.

Also read: West Bengal districts | full list | interesting facts

Economy

West Bengal is the sixth-largest contributor to India’s economy. The state’s economy is largely driven by the service sector. The agricultural and industrial sectors also play an important role together contributing to almost half of the state’s GDP.

Some useful information

  • The capital city of West Bengal, Kolkata was the capital of the British Raj in the Indian subcontinent. It was then known as Calcutta.
  • 42 Lok Sabha seats and 16 Rajya Sabha seats in the Parliament are from West Bengal.
  • The Kolkata tram is the only tram system still working in India.
Kolkata Tram
  • The Great Banyan tree located in Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Indian Botanical Garden in Howrah is one of the largest trees in the world by the area of canopy. The total area occupied by the tree is approximately 19,000 square metres.
  • The famous Howrah bridge, also known as Rabindra Setu was opened way back in 1943.
Howrah bridge

West Bengal facts table

CapitalKolkata
State animalFishing cat
State birdWhite-throated Kingfisher
Area rank14
Population rank4
Number of districts23
State treeChatim tree/ Blackboard tree (Alstonia scholaris)
Literacy76.26 % as per the 2011 census

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