24 Parganas (Bengali: চব্বিশ পরগনা Chabbiś Parganā) is the southernmost region of West Bengal. It consists of North 24 Parganas and South 24 Parganas, both of them are full of historical, cultural and natural wonders.
- 6 Diamond Harbour — with beautiful sunsets and a fort, Diamond Harbour is considered an ideal destination for weekend tourists with a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of cities
- 10 Kanchrapara and Naihati — two towns along the Hooghly River, home to a famous railway workshop and the birthplace of Bankim Chandra Chatterjee
- 11 Taki — a border town on the Ichhamati River, Taki is a scenic spot with beautiful views of the river
- 1 Bibhutibhushan Wildlife Sanctuary (Parmadan Forest) — a safe haven for a healthy population of nearly 250 deer
- 2 Sagar Island — a deltaic island on the mouth of river Hooghly, a Hindu pilgrimage site with unspoiled beaches
- 3 Sundarbans National Park — a UNESCO World Heritage Site with Royal Bengal Tigers and deer found in forests and mangrove swamps
24 Parganas is on the Indian half of the Ganges Delta, with a maze of distributaries in the Sundarbans. Although the Hooghly River is the main river, other rivers in the region include the Ichhamati, Jamuna and Bidyadhari.
The name 24 Parganas is derived from the number of parganas (divisions) contained in the zamindari of Calcutta which was ceded to the East India Company by Mir Jafar in 1757.
Bengali is the most widely used language but a sizable part of the population can converse in Hindi or Urdu. Most people understand basic English, even if they cannot speak it.
Benapole is a border crossing for people arriving from Bangladesh.
Numerous local trains are available from Sealdah railway station in Kolkata.
Buses are available to various destinations in 24 Parganas from both Kolkata and Howrah.
24 Parganas is served by the extensive Kolkata Suburban Railway.
Like the rest of West Bengal, the bus network in 24 Parganas is extensive, with some of the major destinations being connected by various bus routes.
See and do
On Henry Island (near Bakkhali), you can climb a watch tower to get a splendid view of the entire Sunderban area.
St. Bartholomew's Cathedral in Barrackpore (1831) is an excellent example of British church architecture from that period.
Diamond Harbour Fort is a ruined fort, alleged to date back to Portuguese pirates.
The Besher Mela is an annual event in Jaynagar Majilpur that attracts thousands of devotees.
The Lothian Island Wildlife Sanctuary and Bhagabatpur Crocodile Project, near Kakdwip, is the only crocodile project in West Bengal. The wildlife in this sanctuary includes estuarine crocodiles, olive ridley sea turtles, spotted deer, jungle cats and rhesus macaques.
The Jubilee Bridge over the Hooghly River at Naihati was opened in 1885.
Taki is a popular day trip and weekend getaway. There are great views of the river and boat trips on the river are enjoyable.
Sagar Island is a lovely destination combining pilgrimage for Hindus and fun, on an island by the Bay of Bengal. It has a completely unspoiled beach on the estuary of the mighty Ganges.
Sundarbans National Park is home to an estimated 400 Royal Bengal tigers and about 30,000 spotted deer.
Eat and drink
The ground water may not be safe for drinking, as it might be contaminated with arsenic. So you are better off drinking from the municipal or panchayat (village administration) supply of surface water or bottled drinking water of reputed companies, not of ordinary companies, here and there in 24 Parganas, even if those are cheaper by ₹2 per litre.
24 Parganas has faced several cyclonic storms in the 21st century, most notably Aila (2009) and Amphan (2020). Monsoon rains may reach terrible levels and breed diseases like malaria or dengue. Keep yourself updated with the latest weather news and take precautions against such natural disasters.