Kolkata, the culturally charismatic city in the Indian state of West Bengal is visited by numerous tourists and travellers from all round the world. People who reside in the City of Joy have plenty of options for outing within the city. However, for a perfect weekend and a blissful excursion, there are inestimable destinations as well which are located in close proximity to the city. Being a Kolkatan, if you are yet to explore those spectacular locations, here are seven popular weekend destinations near Kolkata that you may count on this weekend:
Distance: Nearly 140Kms from Kolkata
About the Place: Have you heard about terracotta temples? How about exploring the same near Kolkata? Located in the Bankura district of West Bengal, Bishnupur is a small town, which is popular for its terracotta style temples, rich traditions and tempting artworks. Vacationers flock here from different parts of Kolkata and other adjoining cities for a relaxing weekend. This place is also popular Baluchari sari.
Places to see: Lalji Temple, Dal madol, Jorebangla Temple, Rasmancha, Madan Mohan Temple, Radha Shyam Temple etc.
Getting there: Bishnupur is well-connected to the city of Kolkata. You can reach there by train or by road for a soothing weekend. Some of the trains to reach Bishnupur are Rajjyarani Tri weekly Express, Santragachi-Porbandar Kaviguru Express, Purulia Express and Rupashi Bangla Express. By train the travel time is nearly 3 hours 30 minutes to 4 hours. On the other hand, buses are also available from Shahid Minar Bus Terminus and Esplanade that will take you to your destination in 4-5 hours. You can also hire a cab from Kolkata that will take you from Dankuni and through Arambagh. Total journey through this route may be completed in 4 hours and 30 minutes time.
Places to stay: Being one of the favourite one day outing destinations near Kolkata, Bishnupur is frequently visited by many travellers all round the year. Hence, you will find various hotels and lodges in and around Bishnupur. The prices of these hotels may vary from INR 500-INR 1200 or more. For your convenience, some of the comfortable staying options here include Holiday Resort, Hotel Laxmi Park, Bishnupur Tourist Lodge and Udayan Lodge.
Distance: Nearly 82Kms from Kolkata
About the Place: A small and tranquil hamlet in Howrah District, Gadiara is a perfect one day outing destination near Kolkata. This site is eminent for the confluence of duo Damodar and Rupnarayan Rivers. There is a popular fort called Fort Mornington, which was constructed here decades back in 18th century by the British General Lord Robert Clive. The main purpose of this construction was to safeguard the neighbouring areas from the entry of river pirates. Today, visitors flock Gadiara from Kolkata to witness the remnants of this historic fort. This is undoubtedly one of the popular places to visit near Kolkata.
Places to see: This site is popular for Fort Mornington, picturesque sunrise and sunset, Geonkhali Water Treatment Plant, village walk, ferry ride, Bengali platters and boating. Gadiara is equally popular for picnicking.
Getting there: For the residents of Kolkata or tourists who flock here for a day long outing, reaching Gadiara is not a fuss. From Esplanade, Kolkata you will get regular buses (E7/1, E15) for Gadiara. In addition, if you are planning to reach Gadiara by train, get into any Bagnan bound train from Howrah. By train the distance from Howrah to Bagnan is around 51Kms. Once you reach Bagnan, take a bus that travels through Shyampur. From Shyampur, take an auto to reach Gadiara. Apart from bus and train, you can reach there by car as well. If you are travelling by car, Gadiara can be reached via NH16 and Uluberia-Shyampur Road.
Places to stay: There are various lodges and hotels in Gadiara that you can refer for a comfortable stay. However, two commonly preferred lodges here are Rupnarayan Tourist lodge and New Chalantika tourist lodge. These lodges are laid out with good amenities including angling pond, luscious cuisines, well-maintained AC rooms, bar etc. They do cater both budget as well as deluxe rooms for visitors. Most of the hotels and lodges are positioned near the river offering you a breath-taking vista around the hotels.
Distance: Nearly 183Kms from Kolkata
About the Place: One of the untouched beaches and a pleasing weekend getaways near Kolkata, Digha is known for its fascinating panorama. Situated on the shores of Bay of Bengal in East Midnapore district, holidaying at Digha could be an absolute delight for you and your family. Apart from its vivacious beaches, a blend of holy shrines, museums and research centres are some other attractions for a pleasurable weekend at Digha. Being one of the appealing sea resorts of West Bengal, Digha is a favourite site for honeymooners and the scenic splendour of Digha equally allures the people of all age groups. Besides, presence of gentle breeze and casuarina trees plunge you to a different level of tranquillity around the beach. When in Digha, the clean environs offer you an amazing experience in witnessing its picturesque vista, which clearly indicates that the site has minimum human impact.
Places to see: Digha Beach, Marine Station/Aquarium of Zoological Survey of India, Shankarpur Beach, Talsari Beach, Udaipur Beach and Temple at Chandaneswar.
Getting there: From Kolkata, reaching Digha is quite convenient by train and by road. Numbers of trains are there from Kolkata that will take you to your destination in approximately 3 hours 30 minutes time. Some of the important trains on this route are Duronto Express, Kandari Express and Tamralipta Express. Additionally, you can also get into Tamralipta Express and get down at Ramnagar Bengal. From Ramnagar Bengal take a taxi for Digha.
If you want to travel by bus, reaching Digha from Kolkata is around 4-5 hours journey. Several buses are there that you can avail from the places like Garia suburb, Dumdum station, Rajpur, Dharamtala, Tollygunj, Jadavpur and Sonarpur. In addition, you can also hire a cab or a taxi which will reach you there approximately in 3 hours time.
Places to stay: You will find various budget hotels while holidaying at Digha. Some of the commonly preferred hotels here within the price range of INR 450-INR1300 are Hotel Purnima, Live Hotel, Amantran Hotel & Resort and Hotel Coral.
4. Henrys Island
Distance: Nearly 130Kms from Kolkata
About the Place: Located near Bakkhali around 130 Kms from Kolkata, Henry Island is an off-beat weekend destination to see in a day around Kolkata. With a startling blend of serene sea, soothing ambience, beach resort and delectable food, Henry’s manmade island offers you a delightful weekend getaway from Kolkata. Apart from its picturesque vista, Henry Island also houses a rich variety of wildlife. This place is equally popular for birding. Some of the rare species of birds that can be observed here are Mangrove Whistler, vagrant Heuglin’s Gull, Ruddy Turnstones, Caspian, Common Terns, Great Knots etc. Be it a first timer or a frequent traveller, visiting Henry’s Island offers you an amazing weekend experience like never before. This Island is a perfect 2-3days escape from city’s hustle-bustle dotted with breath-taking natural exquisiteness.
Places to see: Henry’s Island has no dearth of attractions for visitors. The site is popular for Magrove Resort, Sundari resort, sightseeing, red crab, Bhagabatpur Crocodile Sanctuary, boat trip to the river meet point and Jambudwip Island.
Getting there: If you want to reach Henry’s Island from Kolkata by train, board Lakshmikantapur local from Sealdah. Then deboard at Namkhana station. From here, you can hire a taxi or van to reach Henry’s Island. The travel time by train is nearly 3 hours. Apart from train, you can reach Henry’s Island by bus as well. The travel time by bus is around 4 hours. From Esplanade, frequent WBSTC buses are there to reach Namkhana. From Namkhana, further you need to cross the Hatania-Doania bay on a ferry. The ferry will take you to Jetty ghat from where you can hire a van to reach your weekend destination. Besides, you can also take a car and drive via NH12 to reach Henry’s Island.
Places to stay: Accommodations in Henry Island are basically the lodges that are provided by the Fisheries Department of West Bengal. You have to contact the State Fisheries Development Corporation, Bikash Bhavan for a reservation. Located near the sea beach, Sundari and Mangrove are two mostly visited rest houses at Henry’s Island. The rooms here are quite decent and they do provide varieties of fish items.
Distance: Nearly 170Kms from Kolkata
About the Place: Who doesn’t want a peaceful weekend from city’s hustle-bustle? Mandarmani is one such serene beach resort that will feel you rejuvenated during your weekend. The 13km long beach is situated near Digha beach and it is around 14km away from Chaulkhola. The seaside resort village falls under the east Medinipur district of West Bengal. As compared to Digha beach, the weaves of Mandarmani beach is geomorphologically low. However, the local inhabitants believe that Mandarmani is the longest driveable beach of the country. Tourists flock here to view the astounding sunrise and sunset at Mandarmani beach. Initially, the beach was famed as Madar Mani and Mandarboni. However, with time the site became popular as Mandarmani.
Apart from its dazzling sunrise and sunset views, tourist also visit Mandarmani for ATV (An all-terrain vehicle) rides, banana boat rides, jet skiing and surfing activities. One of the key tourist pullers here is the Delta area, which is located around 1-6km from the beach. This area is an absolute delight for romantic trek. In the evening, plenty of red crabs can also be spotted on the shore.
Places to see: Mandarmani Beach, Birla Industrial and Technological Museum, The Delta, Digha Beach etc. If you happen to be at Mandarmani, fresh fish, prawns and crabs is a must try for you. In addition, beach carnival is also a major attraction at Mandarmani Beach.
Getting there: Located around 170 kms from Kolkata, travelling to Mandarmani is not a fuss for visitors. The place is well-connected to Contai and Digha from where you will get frequent trains. You can also board at Howrah station and travel till Contai and Digha. Once you reach here, you can hire auto-rickshaws, taxi or cycle-rickshaws to reach Mandarmani.
Mandarmani is not that far from Kolkata by road, so reaching there by bus is one of the convenient means of commutation for visitors. There are frequent buses for Mandarmani from Esplanade, Gariahat and Howrah. These buses will take you till Digha or Chaulkhola. From there, you need to take auto-rickshaws, cabs or cycle-rickshaws to reach Mandarmani. The West Bengal State Transport will charge you around NR75 for the ride and if you prefer Volvos, you will be required to pay around INR100 or little more. It will consume nearly 3 hours time to reach Mandarmani by road. Besides, many private cabs and taxis can also be hired to reach Mandarmani. Depending on the type of vehicle you hire, the charges will also vary.
Places to stay: Being one of the tranquil beach resorts and a favourite weekend destination near Kolkata, you will find various luxurious hotels and resorts near the beach. Considering the number of footfalls experienced between November and March, visitors should book a hotel or resorts in advance. It can’t be denied that the hotels and resorts are bit expensive here at peak seasons. Therefore, it is advisable to visitors to book any luring holiday packages for Mandarmani during the peak seasons. You can still find some quality hotels within the price range of INR 1500 or less. Bombay Beach Resort, Aqua Marina Drive Inn, Sun View Resort and Arya Beach Resort Mandarmani are few of these hotels for your reference. However, in order to get a splendid view of the sunrise and sunset, nothing could be as charming as booking a sea facing hotel.
Distance: Around 160Kms from Kolkata
Places to see: Shantiniketan is a place, which is eminent for its rich culture, festivity and literature. Located in the Birbhum district of West Bengal in Bolpur, Shantiniketan needs no special introduction to portray its global existence. The place has witnessed many inspirational creation of the great poet Rabindranath Tagore and in true sense, this is an absolute abode of tranquillity and intellects. Another significance of Shantiniketan is that the world famed Visva Bharathi University is also situated at this place. The University has produced many diverse personalities in the field of education, arts and music.
Key Attractions: Tagore’s ashram, Amar Kutir, Chattimtala, Rabindra Bhaban Museum, Kala Bhavan, China Bhavan, Sangeet bhavan, Upasna Ghar, Uttrayan Complex, Nippon Bhavan etc.
Getting there: Shantiniketan is well-connected to the city of Kolkata and other parts of the nation. The nearest railway station to Shantiniketan is Bolpor Station, which is within 3Kms reach. Once you reach Bolpor Station, you can hire cab or bus towards your destination. From Kolkata, reaching Shantiniketan by train is around 2-3 hours journey. Some of the trains from Kolkata are Malda Inter-city Express from Howrah at 3.25PM, Kanchenjunga Express from Sealdah at 6.45AM, Sahid Rampurhat from Howrah at 12PM, Gana Devta Express from Howrah at 6.05AM and Shantiniketan Express from Howrah at 10.05AM.
The road connectivity between Shantiniketan and Kolkata is also quite convenient. The 160 kms distance from Kolkata to Shantiniketan can be travelled in 3 and half hours time by road. You will get number of busses for Kolkata-Asansol and Kolkata-Suri routes. For Kolkata-Asansol routes, you need to get down at Panagarh and change the bus to reach Shantiniketan. Similarly, if you get into the Suri bound bus, deboard near Ilambazar and change the bus that will take you to Shantiniketan. You can also travel from Dankuni by Durgapur Expressway, which is now a part of NH2.
Places to stay: Tourists often focus on finding some comfortable accommodations in Shantiniketan. Though the charges of hotels and guest houses drastically climb up during peak seasons, but visitors can still find some good pleases to stay here by spending an amount of INR 500 to INR 1500 or more. Some of the comfortable hotels that you may refer near Shantiniketan are Hotel Royal Bengal, Park Guest House, Rangamati Garden Resort and Himanjali Resort.
Distance: Nearly 110Kms from Kolkata
About the Place: The first thing that strikes one’s mind about Sundarbans is the Royal Bengal Tiger. Famed as the Sundarban Tiger Reserve, this UNESCO world heritage site is one of the rousing tourist hubs near Kolkata. Visitors travel here from different parts of the globe to witness the rich verities of wildlife at Sundarbans. The wildlife here includes a blend of Royal Bengal Tiger, salt-water crocodile, reptile, bird species and galore of plant species. Besides its wild significance, the Gangetic plain and eye-catching environs also allure plenty of visitors at Sundarbans. If you are an adventure freak, nothing could be a better weekend destination near Kolkata than Sundarbans National Park. However, please be informed that accessing Sundarbans does contain certain amount of fees. Cameras, guides and boating incur additional charges.
Places to see: Sundarbans has a diverse range of attractions that you must explore there. Some of the major tourist pullers at Sundarbans are Sunderbans National Park, Sajnekhali Bird Sanctuary, Dublar Char Island, Hiran Point, Sudhanyakhali Watch Tower, jungle safari, Kapil Muni Temple, Tiger Reserve and Kanak.
Getting there: For a hassle-free trip, Sundarbans can best be reached by train or by road. From Sealdah station, you will get regular trains for Canning. From Canning, you need to hire van or taxi to reach Godkhali. From Godkhali, you can take a ferry till Pakhiralay or Gosaba. Once you reach here, take a village cycle rickshaw to arrive at your weekend destination. Total travel train time by train is around 2 hours. If you are planning to visit Sundarbans by road, several private transports are available near Esplanade and Dumdum Airport to reach Sundarbans. By road, the travel time is around 2 hours.
Places to stay: There are numbers of camps and resorts in Sundarbans where you can have a pleasant stay. Some of these staying options include United 21 Resort, Sunderban Jungle Camp, Royal Bengal Resort Sunderban, Solitary Nook Resort, Sunderban Mangrove Retreat and WBTDC Sajnekhali Tourist Lodge. The standard of services, food and ambience in these resorts and camps are absolutely heart-winning.
These are the seven popular weekend destinations near Kolkata that you may plan after strenuous weekdays. So, let this weekend bring loads of delight to your weekend trip near Kolkata.