It’s that time of the year again when most parts of North Bengal is shrouded in a riot of colour and festivities celebrating the cultural heritage and glorious talent of the state. Known as Uttarbanga Utsav, the festival starts this year on February 3 and takes place across eight districts of North Bengal – covering Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Alipurduar, Coochbehar, Jalpaiguri, Uttar Dinajpur, Dakshin Dinajpur and Malda.

The highlight of the festival which was started by the government in 2012, is to confer the prestigious “Banga Ratna” awards to 9 individuals from North Bengal for their outstanding contribution to sports, scholastic, literary, cultural and social activities including journalism. And in the inaugural ceremony, which recently happened at Kanchenjunga Stadium in Siliguri, meritorious students from the region were felicitated by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee with the Bango Ratna Awards.

The week long festival will showcase the talent and innovation of local artistes and folk artistes of all the eight districts of north Bengal. It is a great opportunity to learn about the culture and history of the people here, if you’re a traveller who’s deeply interested in the life of the locals.

The unique festival also throws light on the beauty of North Bengal; its amazing bounty of nature, rich cultural heritage, immense tourism potential and remarkable achievements of the people of the region. This year, the theme of focus is on tribal culture and tradition of North Bengal.