West Bengal – The 5 Senses Trip

West Bengal has been high on my mind for quite some time now. For reasons that are more than many; a journey is the most important of all. So as I sit down to write a story about West Bengal there is no better way than to follow the same path as our previous 5 Detects thrips. And when it comes to this state, I can’t resist starting with the ears (no pun intended).

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Foto met dank aan – Diganta Talukdar

So I start writing…

Van Baul Uktaras en Rabindra Sangeet.

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Photos Courtesy - Kannanshanmugam
Photos Courtesy – Kannanshanmugam

West Bengal is no place for Skullcand(ies) or Senheissers(ness). It is a place so full of musical heritage that music is literally in the air. trunk singers come in hordes to be a part of it Candle Mela in Paush Mela in West Bengal. With hair often braided, Tulsi (basil) beaded necklaces, saffron robes and iktras, Baul singers are a fascinating lot. And then there is Shanti Niketan’s Sangeet Bhavan, a must visit if Rabindra Sangeet is what you are looking for.

Of the wind that smells Sheuli Phool, Malda-mango’s in Randhuni.

Photo Courtesy - Ram Kulkarni
Photo Courtesy – Ram Kulkarni

As you walk through the Bylanes of Malda in West Bengal, a certain sweet tinge in the wind attacks you. Follow it and you will end up in the world famous mango groves Malda-mango’s. To make it more enchanting, you have the very captivating scent of randhuni in Sheuli Phool (night Jasmine flowers). Much like celery seeds, randhuni seeds are the secret to that special twist in West Bengal cuisine. From sheuli phool, it blooms throughout the state in sudden, more than welcome white bursts around Durga Puja, with a scent you will never forget.

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From the sights that promise Eastern Himalayas, Victoria Memorial, Sunderbans and more.

Photo Courtesy - solarshakti
Photo Courtesy – solarshakti

Open your eyes to the largely uncommercialised and strangely fascinating eastern stretch of the Himalayas. Though Victoria Memorial and Shanti Niketan are the great much-known gems of West Bengal, at the Sundakfu-pad to see a side you couldn’t have imagined. If traveling the telecom network route doesn’t interest you, a rendezvous with the Bengal tiger at Sunderbans certainly will. And there’s one thing from West Bengal that you can’t pass up – the classics of Satyajit Ray.

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From a kitchen that resembles several dishes.

Photo Courtesy - Ramakrishna Reddy
Photo Courtesy – Ramakrishna Reddy

If there is one state in India that is clearly in love with its cuisine, it is West Bengal. make your choice kosha mangsho en luchi, mix veg chorchuri, chingri maacher malai curry, macher matha dal, puchkas and more. You may even find the solution to the never-ending struggle between Hyderabad in Kolkata over- biryani. Play the judge and tell India who wins? Let your taste buds decide. Here’s the list Kolkata’s best local food joints for some help.

From the really moving fabrics!

Foto met dank aan - Giridhar Appaji Nag Y
Foto met dank aan – Giridhar Appaji Nag Y

Those wealthy essentially West Bengali sarees famously known as tant in baluchari saris, must put in your luggage when you leave West Bengal. More a matter of pride for the state’s weavers, both tant in baluchari are the great loves of every fashionista. So much so that a large number of saris are exported every year. And no, these are not the ones that are hard to put on. Tant is mainly woven from cotton threads and is surprisingly lightweight. To add more to the touch of West Bengal, it is also one of the most welcoming places in India. Are you already hit?

Now, as I put my West Bengal itinerary in place, you might as well pack your bags. For suggestions, tips or anything else, write a comment here. Until then, happy travelling.

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