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Geography of West Bengal

West Bengal is a state lying in the eastern region of India. The geography of West Bengal is spread from the Himalayas in the north to the Bay of Bengal in the south. It is sprawled across 88,752 square kilometres, and it is the thirteenth largest state in the country.

With Himalayas to the north and the Bay of Bengal to the south, the geography of West Bengal has a wonderful mix of diverse terrains. The highest peak of the state is Sandkfu, which is almost 12,000 feet in height. The Terai region demarcates the mountainous region from the plains. The plains in turn transition into the Ganges delta, in the south.

The Ganges is the main river of the state, which splits near the centre of the state, with one fork flowing towards Bangladesh as the river Padma, and the other flowing through West Bengal with names of Bhagirathi and Hooghly. Other rivers in the state are the Mahananda, Teesta, Jaldhaka and Torsa rivers, which rinse through the northern hilly region of the state. In the west, the plateau region includes the rivers Kangsabati, Damodar and Ajay. There are also numerous rivers and creeks in the Ganges delta as well as in the Sundarbans.

The climate of the state varies considerably, being savannah like in the southern portions, to being humid-subtropical in the north. The state experiences four main seasons of summer, monsoon, autumn and winter. Summer in this region is excessively humid, although the western highlands experience a dry summer like that of northern India. In summer, the temperature ranges from 38 degrees to 45 degrees Celsius. Night is cooler because of the southerly breeze carrying the moisture from the Bay of Bengal. The early summers in West Bengal sees brief thunderstorms known as Kalbaishaki.

Monsoon season lasts from June to September, and drenches the entire state. The state experiences mild winter over the plains and harsh cold in the Darjeeling Himalayan hill region. Over the plains, the average minimum temperatures reach 15 degrees Celsius, whereas the hill ranges see occasional snowfall at places. In winter, a cold and dry northern wind blows, which lowers the humidity level.

Because of the variations in climate over the state, West Bengal sees diverse flora and fauna, where forests make up 14 percent of the geographical area of the state.

Last Updated On: 2011/07/12

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