Kolkata, a part of India that’s as richer in nature as it is in history. With that in mind, we’ve a list of places to visit around Kolkata that are an amalgamation of both nature and history at their best. Tread along these lesser known weekend getaways near Kolkata to enjoy rains and be amazed!
The perfect monsoon escape near Calcutta, Mukutmonipur is all about vast blue water body, surrounding hills, forests and landscapes. Located on confluence of two rivers, Kumari and Kangsabati, in the Bankura district of the state of West Bengal, it serves as an ideal spot for picnics. A boat ride into the expanse gives a feeling of being in the middle of the ocean and it has the second largest water barrage across Indian canalizing both the rivers into West Bengal. The Dam is over 11km long and has a Deer Park towards the end where you can see some seasonal birds and spot some spotted deer. There is also the Parshwanath Hill for the trekking enthusiasts.
The beach town near Kolkata, Mandarmani houses one of the longest beaches in India. Sparsely populated, it makes for an ideal getaway especially in the monsoons when you can enjoy a dip in the sea while it rains pleasantly. Apart from the waves and rains, the resort located very to the beach which offers a beautiful view of the beach and during high tides, the waves sprinkle water over the resorts lawns.
Owing to its location in the coal belt of India on the Barakar river near Kolkata, Maithan is often called the ‘Kashmir of Koyalanchal’. The town is developed around the Maithan Dam and reservoir which is the largest dam of the Damodar Valley Corporation in India. Famous for its beauty, hills and clear blue water, it is a treat to the eyes in the monsoons. Nearby attractions include – Chammack Pahar or Spoon Island, a patch of land that looks like an inverted spoon located in the middle of the reservoir, Kalyaneeshwari Temple, Deer Park, among others.
Nestled between the scenic Sal tree forests, this town situated a little ahead of the Gangetic plains of West Bengal shares cultures of both West Bengal and Jharkhand. This little known place has much of nature to offer especially during monsoons when the brown trees take on different shades of green and flowers bloom in abundance. The beautiful hill ranges of Belpahari and Kankrajhor adorn the town while the Ketki Falls are in their prime when it rains.
5. Diamond Harbour
Located on the banks of River Hoogly, Diamond Harbour is a port town in West Bengal. Where the Hoogly River meets the Bay of Bengal, Daimond Harbour is a popular picnic spot for people with river cruising being a popular activity here. Watching the sunset and sunrise with a steaming cup of coffee/tea is the ideal plan of action however for the history buffs there are many old forts to explore and a 200 year old lighthouse to interest you.
This little beach town located to the south of West Bengal, minimally inhabited offers a quiet and calm atmosphere for a weekend away from the city. You can see the bright red Fiddler crabs marching away on the beach or explore the dense Casuarina grooves. There boating facilities available as well. The monsoon only amplifies the beauty here and a drive through Bakhali is just as eventful as the place.
Serenity at its best, Bakreswar located close to Kolkata is surrounded by nature with little hills, forests and valleys. It is more known for its hot springs which are known to be therapeutic. There is an old Shiva Temple near the hot spring that you can visit. Also, Shantiniketan is in close proximity to Bakreswar.
True to its name, Santiniketan is a quaint university town near Kolkata. The Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore founded a school here which is now known as Visva Bharathi Vidyapeet. The Uttarayan complex is one of the popular attractions which are where Tagore lived and is now converted to a museum and art gallery. Apart from its literary status, this town is peaceful weekend getaway to unwind from Kolkata’s hustle and bustle.
9. Sonajhuri Forest
Situated little ahead of Shantiniketan, Sonajhuri Forest is another offbeat weekend getaway near Kolkata and is a cluster of untouched forests with winding village roads and the Kopoai River flowing through. What better than living in the midst of the forest with gentle rains and all things natural? Indulge in the traditional lifestyle of the Santhali settlement and enjoy the local arts and culture here.
A treasure trove of history, Barrackpore has something for everyone. From old temples and cantonments, famous ghats like Dhobi Ghat and museums including Gandhi Museum and parks and gardens like the Mangal Pandey Park are some of the many attractions here. The lively ghats during the monsoon or even a walk through the old ruins of the Cantonment is nothing short of pleasing to the eyes.
Planning a trip elsewhere in the country this July? Have a look at the Best Places to visit this July in India