192 kms from city center
If you want some peace and quiet, Baranti is an ideal pick. It lies in the beautiful Rahr countryside and offers a stunning view of the reservoir. You can pack up a picnic hamper and set off to Baranti, where you can eat and revel in the gorgeous view and the peaceful atmosphere. There will be no one to disturb you, for sure! Baranti is also dotted with a couple of verdant hills that you can try and scale, provided you have the right equipment for it. There is a road packed with red mud that you can walk on. You could even opt to stroll alongside the dense forest at one end casually. In a nutshell, there's a lot you can do if you set up camp at Baranti! Driving down from Kolkata will take you about 5 to 6 hours.
243 kms from city center
Located in the famous Purulia district, Ayodhya Pahar or the Ayodhya hills, are also a great spot for picnic purposes. It's a good 700 m above sea level, so you can just imagine how pure and beautiful the air up there will be! There are sparkling freshwater streams and springs here, so you know where to set up your tents when you get there! The best activities to indulge in here are rock climbing and mountaineering. The road that traces up the hill, which you can climb, offers a fantastic view, so you'd better have your cameras ready! To get here from Kolkata, you can take the Lalmati Express, Howrah Chakradharpur Express or the Howrah-Ranchi Intercity Express. All of these will get you to Barabhum, which will get you to the village of Baghmundi and the Ayodhya Hills.
166 kms from city center
Susunia is truly natural beauty at its best. It is a hill that is located in the southern part of West Bengal. Susunia boasts of a beautiful holy spring, some rare flowers and a lot of rock faces that are ideal for mountaineering. If you want a beautiful trek, Susunia is your solution. It also offers up rock climbing opportunities, which you really should not miss. What's more, this place is also a hotbed of archaeological finds, with carved monoliths and fossil remains aplenty! To get here from Kolkata, roads are the best option. It will take you about 4 hours to drive down to Susunia.
255 kms from city center
Gajaburu Hills are the next best thing to paradise, for rock climbers. The Gajaburu slopes are hard, rough and tough which will provide a welcome challenge to tourists looking for a spot of thrill and adventure while camping or picnic. There is also a nature camp organised here, which will show you how beautiful the surrounding areas of Gajaburu are. If you plan to drive down from Kolkata, it will take you a good 7 hours, from Durgapur to Raghunathpur road.
495 kms from city center
This beautiful place is located in the Samsing hills. With the Murty river gushing past, the wonderfully coloured and speckled hills bordering the horizon and the lush greenery around, there is no campsite better than Rocky Island! True to its name, there are a lot of rock faces here where you can put your rock climbing skills to the test ? Neel Kanta, Bhimsen and Pathar Kailas are just a few of them. There is also an interesting old cave by the Riverside that you can explore to your heart's content after you've practised rock climbing! You can trek to nearby places like Jhandidara, Sherpagaon and more and satisfy your wanderlust. Driving here from Kolkata takes 14 hours, so you can always plan a couple of stops along the way, preferably overnight ones. Alternately, you can even take a train from Howrah to Jalpaiguri and a taxi from Jalpaiguri to Samsing.
125 kms from city center
Want to enjoy the best that nature has to offer and also spot a couple of royal tigers if you're lucky? Well, the area around Sundarban Tiger Camp is perfect for all of that and more. You can go to the Bonnie Camp Watch Tower and spend a night there. The view from these tallest watchtowers is splendid, to say the least. There is also a pond here, which is frequented by several animals and you can spot them if you're quiet and hide well. Alternately, you could just check into Sundarban Tiger Camp or Sundarban Jungle Camp, drop your bags there and stroll around the area. Work yourself an appetite by exploring the vast campgrounds and get ready to have a thrilling experience!
Best Time: September to March
8 kms from city center
Babur haat is the perfect weekend destination for you and your loved ones if you do wish to take a break from the hectic city life and spend some time close to rustic Bengali rural life. Dominated by natural fishing lakes or bheris, responsible for producing some of the tastiest fish in West Bengal, Babur Haat is a nature paradise. Long stretches rice farmlands, vegetable orchards, mango groves, palm groves and rural homes and temples make a wonderful scenic landscape. Fishing is one of the more popular activities in Babur Haat. You can also go on a short picnic trip to the nearby local village grounds, open spaces of which also allow for outdoor games like badminton and cricket to be played. Malancha villages, famous for its fish markets is only 15 km from Babur Haat. You can also opt for country boating, by crossing the river to visit Chaital village. Greenery, fresh air and open spaces will definitely leave your spirits rejuvenated. Babur Haat is located at a distance of about 50 km from Kolkata. You can also choose to avail the bus services from Kolkata to Malancha village via Babur Haat.
47 kms from city center
Known For : The F fort Diamond Harbour Lighthouse at Diamond Harbour
Raichak on the Ganges is yet another lucrative weekend getaway. Ideal for a picnic trip, Raichak also has a number of tourist spots nearby like Diamond Harbor and Haldia, accessible by boat or ferry rides. If you visit Raichak, do not forget to drop in Fort Radisson- an ancient fort which has been converted to a five-star hotel with world-class amenities. It also houses a great collection of antique items. Diamond Harbor- a well known weekend destination is located at a distance of only 15 km from Raichak, on the banks of river Hoogly. You also do not want to miss a leisurely stroll on the banks of the river, accompanied by cool sea breeze and serenity. Try and catch the mesmerizing view of sunset or sunrise by the river. The most convenient mode of travelling to Raichak is by road since the place is situated at a distance of about 50 km from Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport. You can also travel to Diamond Harbor by train and then opt for ferry services to Raichak.
Best Time: October to March
48 kms from city center
Diamond Harbor is a place that needs no introduction for people of Kolkata. This weekend gateway is part of every Bengali's bucket list. Apart from providing an excellent riverside picnic spot, Diamond Harbor also has a number of tourist attractions nearby. Chingrikhali fort, Sarisha Ramkrishna Mission Ashram and an age-old lighthouse are the main tourist attractions within the boundary. You can also visit the nearby township of Jaynagar, famous for manuscripts and stone idols of Lord Mahavira, Lord Vishnu and Lord Mahavira. Other famous day trip destinations near Diamond Harbor include Bakkhali, Raidighi, Gangasagar, Kakdwip. Boat trips on river Hoogly is a must have experienced while in Diamond Harbor. At a location of 50 km from Kolkata, Diamond Harbor is easily accessible by car. You can also board any train to Diamond Harbour from Sealdah Railway Station.
48 kms from city center
Situated on the bank of river Roopnarayan, Deulti is an ideal picnic spot near Kolkata. This small village picnic destination is also accompanied by a handful of tourist attractions, like Samtaber, the hometown of renowned Bengali author Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay and the temples of Madangopal and Radha, adorned with embellishments of Terracotta art. If you are a bird lover, keep an eye (read ear) for the chirps of different birds, while you take a walk on the clay paths of the villages. Other popular townships like Kolaghat, Garchumuk and Gadiara are also located nearby Deulti. If you travel by car, Deulti is situated at a distance of about 51 km from Howrah. Alternately, you can avail train services from Howrah station to Deulti station.
59 kms from city center
Also known as Kingfisher island, this little known day trip destination is situated in the middle of river Ichamati, with India on one side and Bangladesh on the other. Covered by trees, this little island is perfect for nature lovers, as they can walk through the green fields and observe distant Bangladeshi rural settlement. You can arrange for a picnic, take a boat ride and go swimming in the river. Try not to miss the awe-striking view of the setting sun on river Ichamati. You can also visit the nearby attractions- Taki ( only 20 minutes away) and Hasnabad. In order to reach Machranga Dwip, you need to travel to Hasnabad, either by road (75 km from Kolkata), or by bus from Dharmatala or by trains from Sealdah. After you arrive in Hasnabad, avail the services of vans to reach the ferry dock for motorboats to reach the island. You can also hire motor boats from Taki.
112 kms from city center
Frasergunj is an ideal destination for nature lovers. Part of the unadulterated white beach, Frasergunj is a prime hub of Pisciculture in the country. Famous for its whitish silver sand, adorned with red crabs along the coastline make a delighting scene. Other major attractions include a number of windmills bordering the beach. If you are a dedicated bird watcher, do visit Frasergunj for a variety of migratory birds. Take a leisurely stroll on the beach and watch the ships sailing by. Nearby attractions include Bakkhali, Henry Island and the temple of Bonbibi- all within a distance of 3 km to 5 km. You can also enjoy a boat ride to the nearby serene island of Jambudeep. You can opt for a drive from Kolkata to Frasergunj, which is located at a distance of about 127 km. Alternately, you can also avail the bus services from Sealdah to Bakkhali, and then a cycle van ride to Frasergunj. Train services from Sealdah to Namkhana is available. Upon reaching Namkhana, cross the Hatania Doania river on a boat and take a bus from the other side to reach Bakkhali.
110 kms from city center
If you wish to spend some time in peace and tranquillity, then Junput is your place. This sea beach adorned with casuarina groves, accompanied by the rhythmic sound of sea waves and gentle breeze form a breathtaking experience. The most famous attraction is the convergence point of rivers Rasulpur and Ganga. Other attractions include the lighthouse and museum of the fisheries department. The best part about your visit to Junput is that other famous weekend gateways like Digha, Mandarmani, Tajpur and Talshree are all located at an hour's drive. You can choose to drive to Junput, which is located at a distance of about 145 km from Kolkata.
39 kms from city center
The river town of Falta is what constitutes your ideal picnic destination or weekend gateway. Marked by the confluence of river Hoogly and Damodar on the south and river Rupnarayan and Hoogly on the north, this place has developed entirely on the banks of river Hoogly. Known for the beautiful farmhouse- The Bose Bigyan Mandir of famous Bengali scientist Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose. The grounds of this farmhouse allow picnic activities. When if Falta, do not miss the Falta jetty to watch ferries crossing the river and walks along the riverside. You can also go for a boat ride on the river. Nearby attractions include Diamond Harbor at half an hour's drive, Raichak, Gadiara Geonkhali- all located at less than an hour's drive. The historic town of Tamluk and Haldia are also in the vicinity. You can choose to drive to Falta, as the distance between Kolkata and Falta is only 51 km. Numerous buses are also available. If you are taking a train, get down at Diamond Harbor and avail a minibus to reach Falta.
47 kms from city center
Situated on the confluence of rivers Hooghly, Rupnarayan and Damodar, Gadiara is another nice weekend destination. If you do not want to do anything but relax, then do visit Gadiara for great Bengali food, leisurely walks along the village roads and boat trips. The view of sunset and sunrise on river water a scene to behold. Nearby attractions include Garchumuk and Geonkhali, which can be reached by regular ferry service. Gadiara is located at a distance of about 96 km from Kolkata. hence, you can reach the destination by road. If you wish to travel by train, take any train from Howrah to Kolaghat, Mecheda, Panskura or Kharagpur, that will drop you at Bagnan. Take a bus from Bagnan to Shyampur, and then hire auto-rickshaws to Gadiara. Direct buses from Dalhousie to Gadiara are also available. Ferry services from Nurpur also take you to Gadiara, while you can reach Nurpur through buses which depart from Esplanade.
56 kms from city center
The small town of Taki, on the banks of river Ichamati, provides an experience like no other. Apart from being a favourite picnic spot near Kolkata, a boat ride on the river will give you a chance to get a closer view of Bangladesh. In fact, tourists of both India and Bangladesh embark on this journey, thus giving you a chance to meet Bangladeshi citizens. Apart from this amazing boat ride, you can also visit local attractions like ruins of Zamindar houses, Ramakrishna Mission, Kuleshwari Kali Temple, a three century old Jora Sahib Mandir and General Shankar Roy Chowdhury's Adi Bari. A boat ride will take you to Henry's island, and a rickshaw ride from Henry's island will take you to Golpatar Jungle for the canopy walk. Taki is located at about 80 km from Kolkata by road. If travelling by train, you can take Hasnabad local from Sealdah to reach Taki Road Station.
165 kms from city center
Known For : Parasnath Hills Kangsabati dam Ambikanagar
Mukutmanipur is a destination for nature lovers and avid travellers. Home to India's second largest earthen dam- Kangsabati dam has become a famous picnic spot near Kolkata, with a breathtaking view. A number of forests like Jhilimili and Sutan, along with Sonajhuri nature park provide you with some of the most scenic experiences, especially of sunset and sunrise. You can also head to Musafirana viewpoint to catch the best view of Mukutmanipur. Once in Musafirana, do visit the Pareshnath Shiv Mandir nearby. Other attractions include Talberia lake and Barapukuria Deer Park. Since Mukutmanipur is located at a distance of about 382 km from Kolkata, it is more convenient to avail train services from Howrah to Bankura station. Upon reaching Bankura station, you can hire a car to reach Mukutmanipur, although bus services are also available.
Best Time: October to March
142 kms from city center
Known For : Tagore's ashrama Poush Mela Amar Kutir Rabindra Bhaban Museum
Perhaps the most famous picnic spot near Kolkata, Shantiniketan is the epitome of culture and art, recognized worldwide- thanks to legendary poet and artist Rabindranath Tagore. The birthplace of renowned Vishwa Bharati University attracts not only students for higher studies, but also tourists who flock Santiniketan each year who are lured by the concept of open-air classes, the extensive campus and luscious greenery. The most notable attractions, apart from the Vishwa Bharati University include Tagore's ashram, the Rabindra Bhavan Museum (popularly known as Bichitra), Chatimala, and the campus of Santiniketan.
Best Time: Mid August to March
22 kms from city center
The historical town of Barrackpore has a great significance in India's freedom struggle. The iconic Revolution of 1857 took place in this place. Hence, Barrackpore. has a great number of structures and tourists spots dedicated to the Independence movement and its legendary leaders. Famous attractions include Gandhi Ghat, which has a memorial dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi, enshrined with a part of his ashes. The views of sunrise and sunset, with the serene river flowing by, is a bonus for every tourist. Mangal Pandey Park, named after revolutionist Mangal Pandey has a statue of revolutionist and memorial dedicated to him. Jawahar Kunj Garden, located before Gandhi Ghat is a famous picnic spot near Kolkata.
177 kms from city center
Bakreshwar is a famous pilgrimage centre near Kolkata. Home to one of the fifty-one Shakti Peeths, the main temple of Bakreshwar is the Bakreshwar Shiva Temple. Another major attraction of Bakreshwar includes the ten natural hot springs, the water of which are said to have medicinal and healing properties. The divine atmosphere and architectural beauty of other temples like Mahishamardini temple, Harishwatri Kali temple, Devi Rudra Chandi temple will also make your trip memorable. The newly constructed Thermal Power Plant is also a tourist attraction. On the way to Bakeshwar, one will find the Mama- Bhagne hill of Dubrajpur, which is a famous picnic destination.
If you wish to spend a day or two in serenity, then Bawali is your place. Located in Budge Budge, this census town provides a host of options for your leisure and recreation. You can choose to spend some time in the royalty of Bawali Rajbari or opt to go on a picnic with your gang- Bawali farmhouse is at your disposal. Bawali is also surrounded by a number of places of tourist interest, like Raypur riverside, Achipur, Boro Kachari Mandir, Navratna Gopinath Mandir- all within 10 km. To spend the weekend in leisure, you can simply choose to go fishing or take long walks through the villages. Bawali is just 35 km from Kolkata. Hence, you can conveniently take the road. Trains from Sealdah to Budge Budge are also available. Buses like SD76 will take you from Kolkata to Budge Budge.
56 kms from city center
The small town of Taki, on the banks of river Ichamati, provides an experience like no other. Apart from being a favourite picnic spot near Kolkata, a boat ride on the river will give you a chance to get a closer view of Bangladesh. In fact, tourists of both India and Bangladesh embark on this journey, thus giving you a chance to meet Bangladeshi citizens. Apart from this amazing boat ride, you can also visit local attractions like ruins of Zamindar houses, Ramakrishna Mission, Kuleshwari Kali Temple, a three century old Jora Sahib Mandir and General Shankar Roy Chowdhury’s Adi Bari. A boat ride will take you to Henry’s island, and a rickshaw ride from Henry’s island will take you to Golpatar Jungle for the canopy walk. Taki is located at about 80 km from Kolkata by road. If travelling by train, you can take Hasnabad local from Sealdah to reach Taki Road Station.
Chinsurah or Chuchura (as it is called) is a town in the district of Hooghly, West Bengal. Situated on the bank of the Hooghly river, Chinsurah was once considered as the most beautiful city of West Bengal. Today, this town stands as an example of elegant architecture, with a plethora of architectural marvels that include churches, mosques, gardens, clock towers, etc.
113 kms from city center
Away from the bustling city life is the Bakkhali Sea Beach that gives you a chance of retrospection in serenity. Located at the most deltaic island of southern Bengal the crescent-shaped beach is no less than a wonder. It brings you the most beautiful views of both sunrise and sunset. The beach covers an area of 8km stretching from Bakkhali to Frasergunj. The twin towns have been prosperous in gathering the beach lovers from both the ends. In comparison to other beaches in West Bengal, this beach is the quietest, yet the most exciting one. People come here to relax in its peaceful environment. Long walks with coconut water in hand alongside this coastline is indeed a mesmerising experience.
104 kms from city center
One of the most secluded beaches of the country and one of the newest entrant in the tourism scene of West Bengal, Tajpur is slowly carving out a niche for itself as the stopover destination between the two major centers Digha and Shankarpur. The red crabs that are found here in plenty and the gentle breeze that lulls idle strolls by the sea make Tajpur a perfect place getaway.
166 kms from city center
Soaring at an altitude of a whopping 1442 feet, the Susunia Hill is a famous spot in the Bankura District for indigenous sports like rock climbing and trekking. The entire hill is covered luxuriously with a rich flora of beautiful shrubbery, majestic trees and rare medicinal plants. Part of the eastern ghats, this hillock is popular among novice and expert mountaineers alike. In fact, many renowned and successful mountaineers of the country have started their journey on this very hill. During winters, trekking and camping activities are arranged on the Susunia Hill. Enveloped in the ranges of the eastern ghats and resting amidst the lush greenery, spending a day on this hill is the perfect way to escape the loud and polluted airs of the city.
This post was published by Sanjana Subramanian