West Bengal is a state situated in the eastern part of India, which shares its international border with Bangladesh, apart from Nepal and Bhutan. The state also shares ethno-linguistic similarity with Bangladesh. It stretches from Himalayas in the north to the Bay of Bengal in the south. West Bengal stands surrounded by Assam and Sikkim in the northeast, Orissa in the southwest and the states of Jharkhand and Bihar in the west. The exact co-ordinate location of the state is 27°13’15” and 21°25’24” north latitudes and 85°48’20” and 89°53’04” east longitudes.  West Bengal has the Rajmahal hills on its northwestern side and the Shillong Plateau on its northeastern border. The state stands bounded by the Indian peninsular shield of Archean basement rocks on the west. Geographically, the state is quite diverse, consisting of high peaks of Himalaya in the northern extremes and coastal regions in the southern parts, with plateaus and Ganges delta coming in between. West Bengal is also the only state in India where Himalayas are in the north and Sea is at the south, having plains and plateaus covering the remaining region.  West Bengal spreads over an area of about 34,267 square miles i.e. 88,752 square kilometers. Although, in accordance with its area, it is one of the smaller states of India, it is amongst the largest states in the country, in terms of population. The diversity in the state is such that depending on soil and climate variations, it can be divided into six broad divisions – hill region (north); terai and Teesta alluvial region (north); laterectic, red and gravely undulating region (west); coastal alluvial region (south); gangetic alluvial region (west); Vindhya alluvial region (centre).

There are 20 districts and 3 divisions in West Bengal. The Burdwan Division consists of Bankura, Bardhaman, Birbhum, East Midnapore, West Midnapore, Hooghly and Purulia District, the Jalpaiguri Division consists of Alipurduar, North Dinajpur, Dakshin Dinajpur, Cooch Behar, Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri and Malda, and the Presidency Division consists of Kolkata, Murshidabad, Nadia, North 24 Parganas, South 24 Parganas and Howrah. Each district is governed by a district collector or district magistrate, appointed either by the Indian Administrative Service or the West Bengal Civil Service. Each district is subdivided into Sub-Divisions, governed by a sub-divisional magistrate, and again into Blocks. Blocks consists of panchayats (village councils) and town municipalities Often the districts north of the Ganges i.e., Cooch Behar, Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri, Alipurduar, North Dinajpur, South Dinajpur and Malda are together termed as North Bengal. The capital and largest city of the state is Kolkata – the third-largest urban agglomeration and the seventh-largest city in India.Asansol is the second largest city & urban agglomeration in West Bengal after Kolkata. Siliguri is an economically important city, strategically located in the northeastern Siliguri Corridor (Chicken’s Neck) of India. Other major cities and towns in West Bengal are Howrah, Durgapur, Raniganj, Haldia, Jalpaiguri, Kharagpur, Burdwan, Darjeeling, Midnapore, and Malda.

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