Take a survey of any tourist spot, during peak season (or not!), and you’d undoubtedly find the Bengali tourists ruling that area. This has reached to such an extreme that the salespersons of souvenir shops and the local guides across India even speak Bengali! Nowadays Bengalis travel across the world to satiate their thirst for exploration; however, this wasn’t so 35 years ago. Since times immemorial, the staple retreat of the Bengalis would be the quaint and serene lands of Bihar and the spiritual town of Puri. Let’s look at some reasons why the Bengalis preferred these two places ahead of the others—
6. The Pocket-Factor
Bengalis love to travel—true that; but travelers come from different social back grounds and most of their reasons behind traveling (yes, they had one!) would be a “hawa bodol” (a “change”). Yes, there are innumerable places in India, which would provide a great “change” option, but keeping in mind a tight budget, the only affordable places would be the quaint but peaceful hill stations in Bihar or the good ol’ beach-paradise, Puri.
5. Sorry, Please Repeat That in Bengali
Another very silly, but undeniably true reason behind the monotonous choice of tourist spot is language. Yes, we know, the most spoken language in Bihar and Odisha is Bhojpuri and Odiya respectively, but then again, if you even visit Kashmir during the peak season, you would find guides and salespersons talking in Bengali. In other words, Bengalis have been adamant in using Bengali even in places outside Bengal, and this liberty would be granted only by Bihar and Odisha whose main income would come from the Bengali tourists. In fact, even if you visit Puri now, you’d be able to see that not only a majority of the hoardings but also most people speaking in Bengali.
4. No Catering Please, We’re Health Conscious People
The Bengalis would never be able to live without good food. In fact, more than the beauty of the place, the food appeals more to a Bengali, even now. So, especially in the older times, you would find Bengalis looking up for “holiday homes” in tourist places where they would go with all the ingredients (from turmeric powder to chilli powder and even asafetida) and cook “taaza” food. In fact, even today, seldom does a middle class Bengali can part with his “ghorer khabar” (homemade food). You should see Bazaars in Puri which would be filled with Bengali people hunting out for fresh fishes! But sadly, these options would majorly be available in Bihar and Odisha, so undoubtedly they would be attracted to these “tourist-friendly” places as against the other “modern” places.
If you want to get anything from a Bengali, just talk nostalgia. Yes, the Bengalis are very nostalgic, and anything served with a good spicing of nostalgia is bound to be sold. There can be numerous stories told in this line, however, let us concentrate on tourism. Earlier, it is said, that the Bengal Bihar and Odisha were one single state, so, in a sense, these states are equally for the Bengalis as they are for the Biharis and Odiyas. So what if politically those lands can’t be ours, we can always make it our 2nd homes by traveling time and again to these places!
2. Health Concerns
Bihar and Jharkhand, though it is unknown to many, have some exquisite hill stations which really have great weather all through the year. The places’ serenity and pollution free climate would be a great way of replenishing the mind and body of people. And, since, these places would be only a few hours away from Kolkata, they would choose to visit them over the other costlier places.
1. Puri – The Beach “Dham”
Considered one of the most pious places in India, Puri has always been the favorite retreat to every Bengalis. Ask any Bengali, if they have visited Puri and only 2 in a hundred would say ‘no’. And, among the rest, be rest assured that most people have visited Puri more than 6-7 times. It’s a place loved by people of all ages—if the outrageous sea would be the attraction to the young, the old people’s delight would be the famous Jagannath Temple. If you plan to visit Puri, don’t miss out on bathing at the sea, which is the best thing—ever! And, did you know the Puri beach is considered as one of the best in the world?