Kolkata: A website showcasing several weekend getaways in West Bengal is all set to facilitate tourists from different parts of the country in getting a feel of the Himalayas to virgin beaches, forests or just the lush green rural Bengal.
The website – www.bengalweekend.com – has started with 44 such places across 20 districts of the state and plans to add more destinations soon. Inaugurating the website launched by Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) on Friday, state Tourism Minister Gautam Deb said, “Tourists inclined to visit our state for a short period may find this website interesting and helpful.”
“It will add value to tourism-related facilities and increase interest of tourists to visit these places,” he said. Deb said the tourism department of West Bengal is working on homestay and community development in different parts of the state, after such efforts reaped rich dividends for both the tourists and local people in the forests of Dooars in the foothills of Himalayas and in different unknown destinations of the Darjeeling Hills.
“We tried to keep our focus mainly on the places which fall within driving distance between one and two-and-half hours from a prominent city of the state and places which are lesser known to people,” said BCCI president Sutanu Ghosh.
“The North Bengal districts of Darjeeling, Alipurduar, Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar are fantastically promoting the home stay model with large number of local people getting directly involved with the tourism industry,” he said.
Destinations like Neora Valley, Lamahatta, Takdah, Ichche Gaon, Bara Mangwa and Chota Mangwa in the picturesque mountainous villages are getting prominence on the tourism map of the state along with Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Lava or Loleygaon. The western districts like Purulia, West Midnapore, Bankura and Birbhum with their red soil, folk habitation and forests are ideal for eco-tourism and many destinations are coming up in these areas.
Apart from these, the shores of Bay of Bengal are dotted with fine beach resorts like Tajpur, Udaipur, Shankarpur and Digha. While the Sundarbans in the Ganges delta are famous for the Royal Bengal tiger and the world’s largest mangrove forests, one can also find virgin beach destinations on some islands at the confluence of several rivers and on the Bay of Bengal.