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Travel and International Links   Festival and Fairs   Spiritual   Art of India

East India - West Bengal

 

Andaman and Nicobar         Arunachal Pradesh        Assam        Bihar        Manipur        Meghalaya

Mizoram      Nagaland      Orissan      Sikkim     Tripura       West Bengal

Calcutta     Sunderbans    Jaldapara Sancturary     Bakkhali    Shantiniketan    Vishnupur    Darjeeling    Plassey    Digha
Sagardwip (SAGAR ISLAND)        Raiganj Bird-Sanctuary         Kurseong
        Kalimpong         Durgapur        Buxa Tiger Reserve

 

Calcutta, three hundred years old, traces its history to the landing of Robert Clive on the banks of the Hooghly beside three villages. It was from here the monumental British Raj was launched in India. The capital of West Bengal, Calcutta is the major entry point.
 

If Delhi is the elegant capital of the nation, and Bombay its major industrial city, then Calcutta ranks as the intellectual capital. Poets, thinkers and film directors of international renown hail from this city where avant garde plays and art exhibitions go on show practically every day of the year. Calcutta was the first headquarters of the East India Company, and some of its best known monuments were built by this British trading house. However, the city has, within its 300 years’ history, hosted other communities both from other parts of India as well as abroad - Chinese, Armenians, Jews - all of whom have left their imprint in pockets of Calcutta. Sightseeing in this fascinating city includes Raj Bhawan, the residence of the Governor of Bengal; Victoria Memorial, the city’s landmark; Botanical Gardens, which are notable for the oldest banyan tree, and orchid house; Armenian Church; Marble Palace, one family’s collection of memorabilia; and the Birla Planetarium. Darjeeling, the state’s most popular hill resort, is a slice of England 2,134 metres above sea level. Surrounded by tea gardens growing the prized leaf known as Darjeeling, the little town faces some of the Himalaya’s highest peaks. Darjeeling is an abrupt variation from the lowlands of West Bengal. Buddhism, being a major faith here, Darjeeling and the nearby town of Kalimpong have, between them, several Buddhist monasteries, chiefly of the Yellow Hat sect.

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Vishnupur

Terracotta, metalware & temples characterise Vishnupur. The temples are built mostly of brick & at times, of laterite. Clay & laterite are the only building materials available here besides wood and bamboo. The architecture is modelled on the pattern of Bengali huts built of bamboo & mud and roofed with thatch.

Vishnupur will remain ever famous for its distinct style of music, i.e. the Vishnupur Gharana, if not anything else. The name of Jadu Bhatt, the music teacher to Rabindranath Tagore, is remembered with respect to this day.

A discerning visitor may find traces of the past splendour and glory thatwas Vishnupur in its superb temples and unique handicrafts.
 

GENERAL INFORMATION :

Area : 20.6 sq.km.
Altitude : 70 metres.
Temperature (deg C) : Summer- Max.44, Min.28; Winter- Max.29, Min.21.
Rainfall : 14.3 cms (July-August).
Clothings : Summer- Tropical, Winter- Light woollens.
Languages spoken : Bengali, English.
Best Season : September to March.
STD Code : 03244.
 

HOW TO GET THERE

  • Air : Nearest airport Calcutta is 201 kms away from Vishnupur.

  • Rail : Vishnupur, the railway station is connected with Calcutta (Howrah).

  • The trains from Howrah are: Asansol Passenger, Gomoh Passenger,

  • Howrah-Purulia Passenger, Hatia-Kharagpur.

  • Road : Vishnupur is well-connected by regular bus services to Calcutta 151 kms,

  • Durgapur 81 kms, Purulia 145 kms, Bankura 34 kms, Mukutmanipur 000 kms,

  • Jhilimili 000 kms, Digha 000 kms, Khargapur 91 kms etc.

  • Local Transport: Cars on hire and jeeps can be arranged through the Tourist

  • Lodge. Cars on hire from Kiron Homoeo Hall, Matukgunge.

WHAT TO SEE

Ras Mancha (3 kms), Dalmadal Cannon, Jor Bangla Temple (5 kms), Madan Mohan Temple (5 kms), Malleswar Temple (6 kms), Lalji Temple, Mrinmoyee Mandir (3 kms), Shyam Rai Temple (7 kms), Malla King's Fort (3.5 kms), Jogesh Chandra Pura Kirti Bhavan Museum (Timmings 1000 to 1200 & 1400 to 1800 hours).
 

EXCURSIONS

Jairambati & Kamarpukur: 43 kms and 48 kms respectively. These two places are associated with Shri Ramakrishna and his consort Shri Maa Sarada. Ruins of the historic Garh Mandaran fort are a few kilometres from Kamarpukur.

Mukutmanipur: 82 kms. A dam has ben constructed across the rivers Kangsabati and Kumari. A picturesque spot for a quiet holiday.

Bahulara: 25 kms. The Siddheswar Shiva Temple of Bahulara is well known for its unique architectural style and exquisite ornamentation of the temple walls. The Shaileswar Temple of Dihar, 8 kms from Vishnupur, is also an old temple.

Panchmura: 21 kms. Famous for the terracota Bankura Horse, a folk artefact and now the national symbol for Indian handicrafts.

Susunia Hills: 50 kms. The famous rock inscription of Chandavarma can be seen on the walls of a cave and dates back to the 4th century AD. Susunia is connected to Bankura town by bus. Delightful holiday resort in winter. Also, a centre for rock climbing & trekking.
 

FESTIVALS

Jhapan (Shravana Sankranti/Mid-August):
Most important festival of Vishnupur is Jhapan, held in the glory of Manasa, the daughter of Shiva & goddess of snakes. Jhapan represents the snake worship cult in Bengal. It is basically a regional harvest festival and closely associated with the fertility cult too. Amidst chanting of hymns in glory of Goddess Manasa, groups of snake charmers demonstrate tricks and feats with poisonous snakes. Jhapan literally means a stage erected to exhibit tricks with snakes. At times performed on decorated bullock carts and carriages. Charmers, called Jhampanias, bring king cobras, spectacled and other cobras, vipers, kriats, pythons, rat snakes, vine and flying snakes, in baskets made of cane, bamboo or grass, to the old palace ground. Jhapan festival began as a grand reception first given to Bir Hambir Malla on his return after battle festival continues and the great snake show by traditional devotees of Goddess Manasha, with live & venomous snakes, attracts a large gathering every year.


Indra Puja (Bhadra/August-September):
Another colourful festival is held at Vishnupur with great pomp. This is known as the Indra Puja or the Indra Parab. On this occasion the Malla Raja of Vishnupur presents yellow turbans to local Santal chiefs.


Gajan (March-April):
Gajan festival begins at the end of a week culuminating in month long rural fairs on Shivaratri day and is a popular festival of rural Bengal. The festival at the Bahulara Siddheswar Shiva Temple (25 kms away) and the fair draws large crowds from distant places.
 

WHERE TO BUY

The local handicrafts of Vishnupur include silk, tussar silk, conch shell wares & bell metal wares. No less important from the point of view of popular taste are the fine sweetmeats and flavoured tobacco of Vishnupur. Vishnupur is also famous for terracotta folk toys like the Bankura (rather Panchmura) horse and clay dolls. Vishnupur Silks are among the finest in the world.

  • Terracota Crafts, Dalmadal Road (1/2 kms from the Tourist Lodge).

  • Shri Hari Sankha Bhandar, Shankharipara.

  • Maa Durga Sankha Bhandar, Shankharipara.

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Darjeeling

Darjeeling is nestied in a setting of Kanchenjunga and Mount Everest, Tibetan Monasteries, Himalayan Tribal Life, Pine Trees etc. Which make her qualify as the queen of the hill stations.
 

GENERAL INFORMATION :

Altitude : 2134 Metres.
Climate (deg C) : Summer- Max. 14.9, Min. 8.6; Winter- Max. 6.11, Min. 1.50.
Best Season : April to middle June and September to November.
Clothing : Summer- Light Woollens & Tropicals; Winter- Heavy Woollens.
 

TRANSPORT AND COMMUNICATION

  • Air : Bagdogra Airport (96 kms from Darjeeling) has direct air connections to Calcutta, Delhi, Patna, Guwahati and other places of North-East India.
    Fare : Calcutta - Bagdogra Rs.2019/- (J), Rs.1462/- (Y).

  • Rail : New Jalpaiguri (NJP) station at the base of Darjeeling Hill area has the direct railway connections to Calcutta, Delhi, Guwahati, Madras, Bombay, Bangalore, Bhubaneshwar, Tirupati, Trivandrum, Cochin etc. And from New Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling by toy train it takes 7 hours on a narrow gauge line.
    Fare : Calcutta - Darjeeling Rs.700 (AC-2A), Rs.504 (I), Rs.170 (II).

  • Road : Darjeeling is connected by road with Calcutta 651 kms, Gangtok 100 kms, Kalimpong 51 kms. Calcutta-Shiliguri have direct NSBTC Buses, daily.

  • Local Transport : Cars and Jeeps (Landrovers) are available on hire. Jeeps and Mini Buses can be hired from the Deputy Director of Tourism, West Bengal, Nehru Road, Darjeeling.

WHAT TO SEE

Tiger Hill- 11 kms. 8482 ft./2590 mtrs; Ghoom Monastery- 8 kms; Batasia Loop- 5 kms; Himalayan Mountaineering Institute- 2 kms. 0830-1300 & 1400-1630 hours; Himalayan Zoological Park; Darjeeling Rangeet Valley Passenger Ropeway- 8 kmslong ropeway. Fare: Rs.25 return journey; Tibetan Refugees Centre; Lebong Race Course; Natural History Museum- 1000-1600 hrs; Happy Valley Tea Estate- 3 kms; Lloyds Botanical Garden- 0600-1700 hours; Observatory Hill; Dhirdham Temple; Senchal Lake- 10 kms.
 

EXCURSIONS

  • Sandakphu : 58 kms. Jeepable Road. Tourist can reach by jeep or by landover.

  • Tonglu : 10074 feet or 2070 metres.

  • Phalut : 3600 metres.

Warden,Youth Hostel,Darjeeling organises regular Trekking Tours during season.
 

TOURIST INFORMATION

  • Tourist Bureau, Government of West Bengal, Nehru Road Darjeeling.

  • Tourist Information Counters at Shiliguri Town, Bagdogra Airport, Shiliguri Jn. & New Jalpaiguri Jn.Tel: 393, Tel: (0353) 431974,431979 (O) & 432893 (R).

  • Tourist Bureau, Govt. of West Bengal, 3/2 B.B.D. Bag, (East), Calcutta- 700 001. Tel : 248-8271.

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Sagardwip (Sagar Island)

Gangasagar Mela, the largest fair in west Bengal held near the confluence of the Ganga and the Bay of Bengal ,draws millions of piligrams from all over India. They come for a holy dip on Makar Sankranti(last day of the Bengali Month) Negha -Mid January )and after their obligations at the Kapilmuni Temple nearby.
 

Transport

From Calcutta to Namkhana by bus (105)kms.Namkhana to Chemaguri by launch across the river Muriganga from Chamaguri to Gangasagar by bus (10kms.) One may cross the Muriganga from Herwood Point (lot no. 8) near Kakdip to Kaachubrie also.Kakdwip is 85 kms. from lot No. ',to Kachuberia and bus service from Kechuberia to Gangasagar(30kms)

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Raiganj Bird Sanctuary

GENERAL INFORMATION

Area :
Altitude : 30 metres above sea level.
Temperature (deg C) : Summer- Max. 25, Min. 21; Winter- Max. 23, Min. 09.
Rainfall : 155 cms (July to September).
Clothings : Summer- Cottons, Tropical; Winter- Woolens.
Languages spoken : Bengali, Hindi, English.
Best season : Throughout the year but preferably October to March.
 

HOW TO GET THERE

  • Air : Nearest airport Calcutta (425 kms). Though one seasonal airport is Malda (76 kms) which is connected by Vayudoot service.

  • Rail : Malda Town (76 kms) is the nearest convenient railhead connected with all the major cities in India.
    Fare (approx) : Calcutta-Malda Rs.450 (AC-2A), Rs.325 (I), Rs.135 (II).

  • Road : Good motorable roads connect Raijang (NH-34) with Calcutta (425 kms), Malda (76 kms), Shiliguri (181 kms). Direct day & night bus services (NBSTC, CSTC, SBSTC, and pvt.) are available from Calcutta (EspLanade Bus Terminus), Malda and Shiliguri.

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Plassey

A place of great historical importance. Here in the year 1757 a battle was fought between the British and the last Nawab of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa. Clive the British Chief defeated Nawab - Siraj-ud-daula by unfairmeans. Siraj-ud-dula was killed and Mirzaffar became the Nawab. The historic battle field is till preserved. A memorial was erected by Lord Curzon at the mango groves where the actual battle took place.
 

How To Get There :

Plassey : Situated at a distance of 172 kms. from Calcutta and 43 kms from Bahrampore on National Highway No. 34.

It is a railway station on Eastern Railway. The battle field is 5 kms. from Rly. Station. (Sealdah-Lalgoleh line). Bus from Calcutta, Krishnagar, Bahrampore etc. Taxis and Cycle Rickshaws are available from Bahrampore.

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Kurseong

Situated at an altitude of 2458 metres (4860 feet), Kurseong is 51 kms from Shiliguri and 30 kms from Darjeeling. The word Kurseong means the place of White Orchid. Beacause of its lower elevation, Kurseong enjoys a milder and very healthy climate throughout the year.
 

Kurseong means the places of White Orchid. Because of its lower elevation, Kurseong enjoys a milder and very healthy climate throughout the year.
 

GENERAL INFORMATION

Altitude : 4860 feet (2458 metres).
Temperature (deg C) : Summer- Max 32, Min 19; Winter- Max 15, Min 6.
Rainfall : 160 inches annualy (mid june to August).
Best season : March to mid June & September to mid December.
STD Code : 03554.
 

TRANSPORT AND COMMUNICATION

  • Air : Nearest airport Bagdogra (60 kms from Kurseong), is connected to Calcutta, Delhi, Guwahati & other places of north-eastern India by Indian Airlines, Damania & Vayudoot services.
    Fare : Calcutta-Bagdora Rs.1784 (US$ 65)

  • Rail : Kurseong itself is a railway station on the NJP-Darjeeling narrow guage line (Toy Train Line). And NJP (New Jalpaiguri), 57 kms from Kurseong, is directly connected by rail to Calcutta and other main places in India.
    Fare : Calcutta-New Jalpaiguri Rs.700 (AC-2A), Rs.504 (I), Rs.170 (II).

  • Road : Kurseong is connected by road with Shiliguri (51 kms) and from there to practically all the major cities of India. Some road distances are :-
    Guwahati 560 kms, Calcutta 636 kms, Delhi 1359 kms, Kathmandu 621 kms.

  • Bus : Kurseong is connected by regular bus-services with Shiliguri (from 0700 to 1645 hours, fare Rs.25) and Darjeeling (from 0640 to 1600 hours, Rs.20).

PLACES OF INTEREST

Eagle's Crag- 1 km; Deer Park- 4 kms; Forest Museum; Giddhapahar Mandir- 2 km; Ambotika Shiv Mandir- 5 kms; Makaibari Tea Estate-4 kms; St.Mary's Hill- 4 km; Dowhill; Baggaura; Chimney; Kettle Valley Picnic Spot; Namsu; Netaji Kothi.

Walks & Treks in Kurseong

  • Kurseong Town-Forest School-Dow Hill School-Kurseong (8 kms).

  • Kurseong Town-St.Mary's-(Rangers College) Deorali-Chimney-Kurseong (8 kms).

  • Kurseong-Singell Tea Estate-Cafebari-Rinchngton Power Station-Namshu Picnic Spot-Kurseong (16 kms).

TOURIST INFORMATION

  • Tourist Information Centre, Government of West Bengal Hill Cart Road, Shiliguri.

  • Tourist Information Centre, Government of West Bengal 3/2 B.B.D. Bagh, Calcutta - 700 001. Phone: 248-8271.

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Kalimpong

Just 51 kms east of Darjeeling is situated the picturesque town of Kalimpong, the former headquarters of the Bhutanese Governor. Situited at an altitude of 1250 metres between the Deolo and Durbindra Hills, Kalimpong is an ideal place for a quiet holiday amidst gently rolling hills and deep valleys at the foot of the mighty Himalayas.
 

GENERAL INFORMATION

Altitude : 1250 metres.
Temperature (deg C) : Summer Max- , Min- ; Winter Max- , Min-
Languages spoken : Gorkha, Nepali, Bengali, Hindi, English.
STD Code : 03552.
 

TRANSPORT AND COMMUNICATION

  • Air : Nearest airport Bagdogra (80 kms from Kalimpong) is connected to Calcutta, Delhi, Guwahati & other places of north-eastern Indian by Indian Airlines, Damania & Vayudoot services.
    Fare : Calcutta-Bagdogra Rs.1784 (US$ 65).

  • Rail : Two nearest railway stations are New Jalpaiguri (NJP) and Shiliguri where NJP is directly connected by rail with all the important places in India.
    Fare : Calcutta-NJP Rs.750 (AC-2A), Rs.525 (I), Rs.175 (II).

  • Road : Kalimpong is connected by road with Calcutta 651 kms, Guwahati 513 kms, Delhi 1312 kms and other major cities in India.

WHAT TO SEE

Durpin Dara; Flower Nursaries (Shri Ganeshmoni Pradhan Nursary, Standari Nursary, Shri L.B.Pradhan Nursary etc.); Gouripur House- 2 kms; Swiss Welfare Dairy- 4 kms; Tibetan Monastery.

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Durgapur

Durgapur projects an image of an industrialised India. It is the third integrated steel plant of Hindustan Steel Limited and occupies an area of 6.47 sq. kms. Founded under the Colombo Plan Mission which visited India in April, 1955, the plant has been instrumental in changing the rural face of Durgapur into a vast industrial complex comprising public and private sectors.
 

GENERAL INFORMATION

Area : 41 sq.kms.
Altitude : 68.9 metres.
Temperature (deg C) : Summer- Max.46.1, Min. 37.8; Winter- Max. 32.2, Min. 29.4
Rainfall : 150 cms June to September.
Clothings : Summer- Tropical, Winter- Light woollens.
Languages spoken : Bengali, English.
Best Season : Through out the year.
 

HOW TO GET THERE

  • Air : Nearest national and international airport Calcutta is 176 kms away.

  • Rail : Durgapur is the railway station on the Eastern Railway.

  • Road : Durgapur is connected by good motorable roads with Calcutta 176 kms, Patna 414 kms, Asansol 50 kms, Shantiniketan 62 kms, Vishnupur 72 kms.

  • Local Transport : Taxis, City Bus services, Cycle Rickshaws are available.

CONDUCTED TOUR

Guide Service for visits to the Steel Plant available from the public Relation Officer, Durgapur Steel Plant, Tel: 3611 (Extn. 315). Free of charge.
Tourists are advised to obtain prior permission to visit Durgapur Steel Plant from the Publc Relations Officer, Durgapur Steel Plant, Tel: 3611 (extn. 315).
 

WHAT TO SEE

(Distances are from the railway station)

Alloy Steel Project (10 kms), Mining and Allied Machinery Corporation (6 kms), Durgapur Coke Ovens Project Limited (6 kms), A.V.B. (6 kms), Durgapur Barrage (3 kms), Durgapur Steel Plant (10 kms), Philips Carbon Black & Sankey Wheels.
Note : Permits (nontransferable) are issued only on a visit in person to the Public Relations Office.Visiting Hours: 1030 to 1230 hours and 1430 to 1630 hours on weekdays and 0930 to 1215 hours on Saturday. Tel: PABX 483, 732.
 

PARKS AND GARDENS

Park in `A' Zone and Bel Park in `B' Zone, Steel Township.
 

EXCURSIONS

Asansol : 42 kms. Connected with Durgapur by train and bus.

Chittranjan : 77 kms. Connected with Durgapur by train and bus.

Jaidev: 22 kms. The birthplace of the famous Bengali Vaishnava poet Jaidev. Regular bus service available upto Ajoy river from where the river can be corssed on foot. Ferry service across the river is available during the monsoons. A fair is held during the first half of January which lasts from 10 to 15 days.

Shantiniketan : 61 kms. International University Founded by Rabindranath Tagore

Vishnupur : 72 kms. Ancient-city reputed for temples and terracotta sculpture.
 

TOURIST INFORMATION

  • Public Relations Officer, Durgapur Steel Plant, Tel: 3611, 3631, Ext. 315.

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Digha

Beach-on-the-bay of West Bengal, Digha, has the whispery, languid, soft-focus, charm which is so graciously bengali : sighing casuarinas, ponies nodding on the beach, prolonged meals in the flavoursome sweet-&-salt idiom of the state and timeless days and nights of nothing to do but unwind and find yourself.
 

Transport and Communication

  • Air : Calcutta is the nearest airport which is about 210 kms away from Digha.

  • Rail : Though Contai Road (37 kms) is the nearest railway station for Digha but Kharagpur ( km from Digha & km from Howrah) and Mechheda ( km from Digha and km from Howrah) on the South-Eastern Railway are the most convenient railheads for Digha from where buses are available which takes 4 hours.

  • Road :
    Route 1. Calcutta-Howrah-Mechheda-Norghat-Contai-Ramnagar-Digha: 185 km.
    Route 2. Calcutta-Deulti-Kolaghat-Kharagpur-Digha: 243 km.
    Route 3. Tarakeswar-Harinkhola-Arambag-Vishnupur-Kharagpur-Digha: 355 km

  • Bus : Regular direct buses are available from Calcutta to Digha.  C.S.T.C. express buses ply from Esplanade (Calcutta) from 0630 hours to 1000 hours (Fare Rs.30/-). Luxury buses from West Bengal Tourist Bureau, 3/2 B.B.D.Bagh departs daily at 0700 hours (Fare Rs.40/-).

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Buxa Tiger Reserve

Buxa Tiger Reserve was set up in the year of 1982-83 at the north eastern corner of West Bengal bordering Bhutan and Assam. This picturesque reserve with its proigous Terai, Bhabar as well as Hilly landscape, is desected by numorous revulets. Its delared a National Park in January 1992.
 

The varitable flora and fauna of these wet forests having an annual downpour exceeding 5000 mm, attracts tourists and nature lovers every year. This part of the country is characterised by its high degree of plant & animal bio-diversity where 60% species are endemic to the area. The Generic diversity of mammals is second highest among all the tiger reserves of India. Astonishing bio-diversity of animals comprise of a reach avifauna of more than 230 identified species, 67 mammals (out of which 21 are endangered), 36 species of reptiles (10 numbers are endangered). Apart from Bengal Tiger the flagship species, there are plenty of Leopard, Fishing Cat, Leopard Cat, Jungle Cat, Indian Civet, Palm Civet, Wild Dogs, Malayan Gaint Squirrels, Mangooses, Asian Elephant, Gaur, Small Clawes Otter, Chital, Sambar, Barking Deer, Hog Deer, Wild Buffalo, 3 varieties of Pythons, Monitor Lizard and a host of land tortoises. A number of animals like Chinese Pangolin. Regal Python (reticulate) Clouded Leopard are endemic to the region.
 

The Avifauna is rich in both endemic as well as migratory species. The swift rivers of Rydak and Jainti are visited by Trans Himalayan Migratory Goosanders, the beautiful Ibis Bill, resident Fork-tails, varieties of Red-stars, Wag-tails, the Narathali Lake is visited by migratory Common Teal, Gargani Teal, Large Whistling Teal, White Eyed Poachared etc. The Hornbills including greater Pied Hornbill abound the area. One of the rarest bird of India the Black-necked Crane has been sighted in the Reserve during the early winter. The migratory beautiful Black Stork is a visitor of the area. The monsoon ends and beautiful Minivets, Sultan tits arrive, during summer rare Ashyminivet is also sighted.

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  Information provided by Department of Tourism. Ministry of Tourism and Culture. Government of India.
 

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