History and Geography
The State of Bengal finds a coveted place, even in pre-historic times. At the time of Alexander's invasion, a powerful kingdom called Gangaridai ruled over Bengal. Ascendancy of the Guptas and the Mauryas had somewhat little effect on Bengal. Later, Sasanka became King of Bengal, and is said to have played an important role in north-eastern India in the early half of the seventh century. He was succeeded by Gopala, who founded the Pala dynasty, which ruled for centuries and had created a huge empire. The Palas were followed by the Sena dynasty, which was ended by Muslim rulers from Delhi. Bengal was ruled by various Muslim rulers and governors till the Mughal period in sixteenth century. After the Mughals, history of modern Bengal began with the advent of European and English trading companies. Battle of Plassey in 1757 changed the course of history, when the English first gained a strong foothold in Bengal and India. In 1905, it was partitioned to achieve some political returns but people's growing movement under the of Congress led to the reunion in 1911. This triggered off hectic movement for freedom, which culminated with Independence in 1947, and the partition thereafter. After 1947, the merger of native settlement began, which ended with its final reorganisation in 1956 (as per Recommendations of the States Reorganisation Act, 1956), when some Bengali speaking areas of a neighbouring state were transferred to West Bengal. The land frontier of the State touches Bangladesh in the east, and is separated from Nepal in the west. Bhutan lies in the north-east, while Sikkim is on the north. On the west are the states of Bihar, Jharkhand, while in the south lies Orissa, and the Bay of Bengal, washing its southern frontiers.
Durga Puja is the most important festival along with Kali Puja or Diwali besides Vasant Panchami, Lakshmi Puja, Holi, Sivaratri, Janmasthami, Id-ul-Fitr, etc.
Important tourist centres are, among others Kolkata, Digha (Midnapore), Bakkhali Sea Resort, Sagar Island and Sundarbans (South 24-Parganas), Bandel, Tarakeswar, Kamarpukur (Hooghly), Gadiara (Howrah), Shantiniketan and Bakreshwar (Birbhum), Durgapur (Burdwan), Mukutmanipur and Vishnupur (Bankura), Ayodhya Hills (Purulia), Murshidabad, Gour and Pandua (Malda), Darjeeling, Mirik, Kalimpong, Sandakfu and Falut and Kurseong (Darjeeling), Jaldapara and Dooars (Jalpaiguri).
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