Kolkata is the second largest city (next to Mumbai) in India. It is the capital of West Bengal and had been the capital of the country during the British colonial rule. This metropolitan city itself is a brilliant tourist destination and attracts a huge crowd from all over the world. Known for its cultural brilliance and ethnicity, Kolkata has its own muse. The place is very well connected to several other tourist spots which can be deemed as ideal weekend getaways.
The best thing about the City of Joy is that it has the very essence, or the spirit, of travelling in itself. This is the primary reason that so many weekend getaways are located around it. These tourist spots not only offer the much needed seclusion but also don’t wreak heavy on travellers. Most of the getaways are located within a few hundred kilometers from Kolkata and hence, suitable for any mode of travelling. The ten best spots that make Kolkata a tourist’s heaven are:
Located at a distance of about 110 km from Kolkata, Krishnanagar is the prime tourist spot of the Nadia district. The beauty of Krishnanagar is all about its rich history. The roots of the place date back to the time when it was ruled by Raja Krishna Chandra. He devoured the town with aesthetic and charisma, and Krishnanagar became a model city. While that striking beauty isn’t much left now, there are still places full of cultural heritage. The Krishnanagar palace and Roman catholic church make it a valid weekend getaway contender. The place is also popular for its beautiful clay idols that are perfect to adorn the interiors of your home.
Far away from the cacophony of city life, Bolpur provides you the essence of rural Bengal. The land of Tagore is an ideal spot for literary birds in search of serenity mixed with culture. The place is famous for the Visva Bharati University, Shantiniketan and Sriniketan, all of which had been founded by Rabindranath Tagore. While you can visit Bolpur around any time of the year, it is best to hit the place during Dol Utsav or Poush Mela. Both these festivals are the heart of the place and people from every part of the globe take part in the gathering. Bolpur is a perfect weekend getaway because the famous Khowai Hat or bazaar takes place only on Saturdays.
Not all tourists love peace in their weekend getaways. If you are one of them and thriving for some adventure, Sajnekhali is the place you are looking for. It’s actually a bird sanctuary located amidst the Sunderbans and is a great place for wildlife enthusiasts. To add to the adventure of Sajnekhali, you can visit the crocodile breeding centre, turtle farm and house of sharks. If you are lucky enough, you might even catch a glimpse of the famous Royal Bengal Tiger.
If you are looking for a religious ambiance to spend your weekend, Mayapur is the ideal place for you. Famous for its ISKCON temple, the place offers a getaway full of peace and sanctity. Mayapur constitutes one of the nine islands of Nabadwip and can be reached from Kolkata by both bus and train. You can even drive your own vehicle to the place for ease of travelling. While there are several hotels around the place, you can opt for the lodging provided by ISKCON. In this way, you can stay close to the happenings of the temple. The Kirtans or holy chants are sure to mesmerize your evenings.
Is is too much to demand rivers, hills and forests all at one place in a weekend getaway? Well, the answer is a big NO. Located only 250 kms away from Kolkata, Mukutmanipur is the tourist destination having all your geographic demands. This place is at the confluence of Kumari and Kangsabati rivers and is nestled between hills and forests. Main attractions around the place include Jhilimili lake, Mukutmanipur Dam and Bangopalpur Forest Reserve. The Mukutmanipur dam is second biggest earth dam in India and its magnificence can be witnessed during the rainy season.
If ultimate tranquility is your sole requirement, then this place is for you. Duarsini is located in the Purlulia district of West Bengal, about 390 kms away from Kolkata. It is the habitat of the Santha, Munda, Shabaradh and Kheriya tribes. The sound of drums from nearby villages give a distinct thrill and charm to the place. This ethnic weekend getaway is accompanied by the Satgurang river making it even more appealing. You can sit for hours on the banks of the river, walk along it or enjoy the striking sunsets.
About 265 kms from Kolkata, Chandipur is located in the Baleshwar district of Orissa. A perfect place for a family trip, the site of the beach during ebb tide is bewitching. Cheap, easy to reach and placid, Chandipur is one of the most popular Kolkata getaways. Another major attraction is a place called Balaramgadhi which is the confluence of river Buribalam with the sea. Two days is enough for spending some quality time in and around Chandipur.