Rising from the flooded paddy fields of Gaur (355km from Kolkata) are mosques and other crumbling ruins of the 13th- to 16th-century capital of the Muslim nawabs of Bengal. Little remains from the 7th- to 12th-century pre-Islamic period, when Gaur was the capital of the successive Buddhist Pala and Hindu Sena dynasties.
Malda, 340km north of Kolkata, is a convenient base for exploring both Gaur and Pandua. Malda is also famed for its mangoes ripening in summer. Even if it’s not mango season when you visit, you can buy delicious mango pickle and candied mango from the local market.