Nearby Escapes from Kolkata for a Fascinating Weekend

  • By Tushar
  • 24/Nov/2023
  • Comments (1.5k)
lake view

The residents of the ‘City of Joy’ sometimes need to find some additional dose of enjoyment beyond the borders of Kolkata. Although the city already has so much to offer, but sometimes going out of the city brings a different level of rejuvenation. Therefore, the Kolkata people tend to March towards the offbeat hilly destinations to find some solace and relaxation. Mirik, Lava, Loleygaon, Kurseong, Kalimpong, Rishyap, etc. have been on the list of Bengalis almost throughout the year as perfect go-to spots for weekend getaways. But there are a plethora of options other than these destinations.

Escape the hustle and bustle of city life with these enchanting weekend getaways apart from serene beaches or lush hills, to enjoy the diverse landscapes surrounding the city for a rejuvenating weekend. Set out for an expedition to discover the not-so-usual weekend getaways that promise a delightful break.

1. Sundarbans: The Mystical Mangroves:

Embark on an awe-inspiring journey to the Sundarbans, a sprawling labyrinth of mangrove forests and tidal waterways. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this unique ecosystem is not only home to the elusive Bengal tiger but also harbours a diverse range of wildlife, including spotted deer, crocodiles, and a myriad of bird species. Engage in a thrilling exploration with a boat cruise, navigating through the intricate channels amid the mangrove forests as you witness the thriving biodiversity and the symbiotic touch of nature. Winter and Spring seasons are considered to be the Best time to visit Sundarbans which is from October to March. There is no need to bother much about how to plan Sundarbans tour as reaching there is quite easy and fascinating as well. Take a train to Canning and then a launch to one of the ghats of Sundarbans.

2. Shantiniketan: Abode of Peace:

Journey to Shantiniketan, a cultural haven founded by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore. Walk the hallowed grounds of Visva-Bharati University, where art, education, and nature converge seamlessly. Delve into the artistic legacy at Kala Bhavana, an institution that embodies Tagore's vision of a holistic education. Indulge yourself in the festivities of Poush Mela, where traditional music, dance, handicrafts and sweet savouries come alive in the merry-makings. Do not miss to visit the Sonajhuri Haat, held at every Saturday, on the lap of Sonajhuri forest.

3. Belur Math: Swami Vivekananda's Enduring Legacy:

A mere 10 kilometers away from Kolkata, Belur Math stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of Swami Vivekananda, the chief disciple of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. Serving as the headquarters of Ramakrishna Math and the Ramakrishna Mission, this institution, nestled on the west bank of the Hooghly River in Belur, is a prominent landmark in Kolkata. A day trip to Belur Math unveils the spiritual sanctum founded by Swami Vivekananda, offering a serene retreat just a stone's throw away from the bustling city.

4. Bishnupur: Terracotta Marvels and Cultural Riches:

Named after Lord Vishnu, Bishnupur emerges as a cultural gem within a day's journey from Kolkata. Renowned for its exquisite terracotta temples, featuring distinctive architecture, Bishnupur invites visitors to explore the intricacies of shrines like the Shyam Ray Temple, the twin Jor Bangla temples, and the iconic Rasmancha. Beyond its architectural wonders, Bishnupur is also the abode of the Bishnupur Gharana, a school upholding the heritage of Hindustani classical music. The town also embraces the legacy of Baluchuri sarees, terracotta pottery, artifacts, and jewelry, as well as the vibrant Bishnupur School of Painting.

5. Chandannagar: French Flair and Cultural Celebrations:

Settled on the banks of the Hooghly River, Chandannagar beautifully blends the bygone colonial charm with present-day cultural vibrancy. Equipped with several French mansions, the town also hosts the Chandannagar Museum, a repository of artifacts reflecting British and French rule, along with the relics from the Nawab era. Chandannagar comes alive during the Jagadhatri Puja, a festive spectacle featuring gigantic-sized deities of the goddess Jagadhatri. The town becomes a canvas of illuminated brilliance, showcasing the cultural richness and unique traditions of this waterfront settlement. Take a local train ride from Howrah or Sealdah to Chandannagar Station or cover the distance by road.

6. Mayapur: Pilgrimage to the Land of the Golden Avatar

A journey of 129 kilometers from Kolkata transports you to the sacred enclave of Mayapur, situated at the confluence of the Ganga and Jalangi rivers. Revered as the birthplace of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, considered an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, Mayapur holds profound significance for Vaishnavites. As one of the nine dhams within the Nabadweep islands, Mayapur boasts rich customs, traditions, and artistic heritage. The ISKCON Temple stands as a majestic focal point, drawing pilgrims and seekers to the spiritual aura of the Land of the Golden Avatar.

7. Bakkhali: Tranquil Delta Retreat

Embark on a serene retreat to Bakkhali, a delta town offering a respite from the clamour of urban life. Explore pristine beaches where the gentle waves meet the shore, and venture to Henry's Island for bird watching amidst tranquil marshes. Visit the Bakkhali Fishing Harbour to witness the daily life of the local fishing community, adding an authentic touch to your coastal escapade.