The East of India is a mostly rural region stretching from Sikkim in the southern Himalayas to the coast of the Bay of Bengal. Kolkata (formerly known as Calcutta) is the largest city in the region, which also features the temple cities of Puri of Lord Jagannath fame and Bhubaneswar, both in Odisha.
| Chhattisgarh |
Forests abound in wildlife, breathtaking waterfalls and fascinating tribal culture
| Odisha |
You can discover the religious sites or enjoy some time at the beach in this state, which was formerly known as Orissa
| West Bengal |
See the huge city of Kolkata or spot a Bengal tiger in the Sunderbans
| Sikkim |
Experience the natural beauty of the Himalayas with its valleys, forests and waterfalls
| Jharkhand |
A contrast with some of the oldest cave paintings in India and some of the fastest industrialising cities
Here are nine of the most notable cities.
- Bhilai — major city and often called Steel City because of its steel plants
- Bhubaneswar — a temple city and capital of Odisha
- Cuttack — "Silver City" and commercial capital of Odisha
- Darjeeling — hill station in former British India, famous for its tea
- Jamshedpur — famous for park and cricket stadium, a industrial city
- Kolkata (Calcutta) — known as City of Joy
- Puri — one of the four sacred dham as per Hinduisim, Lord Jagannath, famous sea beach
- Ranchi — capital of Jharkhand
- Hazaribagh National Park, Jharkhand — similar to Betla National Park, the park has tigers, panthers and spotted deer. There are several towers from which tourists can view the beautiful and scenic surroundings as well as spot wildlife in their natural habitat
- Kanger Ghati National Park, Chhattisgarh — a dense area with several waterfalls and limestone caves. Several species of animals and a wide tribal population are present in this beautiful park. The diversity of landscapes makes ideal habitats for many species. Wildlife includes tigers, langurs, sloth bears, lizards, snakes, peacocks and parrots to name a few.
- Khangchendzonga National Park (Kangchendzonga National Park), Sikkim — there are many glaciers located in the park. Animals such as musk deer and snow leopard make their homes here
- Nandankanan Zoological Park, Odisha — a zoo and botanical garden in the capital city (Bhubaneswar). It is home for white tigers and several endangered animals. In addition, one can visit several aquaria, a reptile house and the orchid house
- Sundarbans National Park, West Bengal — the largest mangrove forest in the world, where you might even spot a Bengal tiger
In some regions Hindi is used. In the cities you will also find people knowing English. Most of the states have their own regional language though. Bengali is spoken in West Bengal, Odia (also spelled Oriya) in Odisha and Nepali is used in Sikkim.
The best way to address anyone in Eastern India especially in the Bengal region is 'Namoshkar' - loosely translated to 'Hello' and don't forgot to thank - 'Dhannobaad'
There is an international airport in Kolkata.
Trains connect the cities and there should be no problem reaching Kolkata as well as other cities from Delhi or any other part of India.
From Bangladesh, there are a number of land entry points to India. The most common way is the regular air-conditioned, comfortable bus services from Dhaka to Kolkata via the Haridispur (India)/Benapole (Bangladesh) border post. Bus companies 'Shohag', 'Green Line', 'Shyamoli' and others operate daily bus services under the label of the state-owned West Bengal Surface Transport Service Corporation (WBSTSC) and the Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation (BRTC). WBSTSC and BRTC themselves also operate buses from Kolkata every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and from Dhaka on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. The normal journey time is around 12 hours with a one-way fare of ₹400-₹450 or BDT (Taka) 600-800.
Another daily bus service by 'Shyamoli' and others under the BRTC label from Dhaka connects Siliguri, but the buses on this route do not cross the Changrabanda/Burimari or Burungamari border post. Rather, passengers reaching the border have to clear customs, walk a few hundred yards to cross the border and board the awaiting connecting buses on the other end to reach their destination. Tickets for Dhaka-Siliguri-Dhaka route cost BDT 1600. Tickets are purchased either in Dhaka or in Siliguri.
Other entry points from Bangladesh are Hili, Chilahati/Haldibari and Banglaband border posts for entry to West Bengal.
Local trains are a good way to get from one point to another. Although sometimes overcrowded it sure is an experience to see the locals getting around and buy some snacks from the passing sellers.
It is also possible to take a bus to get to other cities.
Kolkata has several places to see, do not miss the mighty Hooghli (another name for Ganges in Bengal) and the well maintained remains of the colonial British Raj such as Victoria Memorial. Mother Theresa's work is a lot more visible in Kolkata than in any other Indian city and access to the Missionaries of Charity is generally open to public. Some intense Hindu places of worship include Kalighat and Dakshineshwar.
Kolkata is famous for its sweets and street food. The signature sweets of Kolkata are Rasogolla, Sandesh, Sweet yogurt or locally known as Mishti Doi. Few famous sweet shops in Kolkata are Nakur Chandra Dey, Puntiram, K.C. Das, Banchharam, Ganguram, Hindusthan Sweets etc. Also local sweet shops can also be checked.
In street food one should not miss Fuchka(the local version of Panipuri) and various types of rolls like kati-roll, egg-roll, chicken-roll, mutton-roll. All street food in Kolkata are high on spices and mostly hot in nature. Local people like chilies and especially green chilies and use them generously. So people should be careful before eating any street food.