Situated off the southern coast of Hoogly, Diamond Harbour is a popular weekend getaway situated near the city of Kolkata. This is the very spot where the Ganges takes a turn towards south to join the Bay of Bengal, and you can witness the confluence of the holy river with its final destination. The serenity and natural beauty of this place is something rare, making it one of the most sought-after weekend destination among locals. You can sit back and contemplate life as you look over the scintillating stretch of the water ahead or take a leisurely walk around the banks as well. With its unpretentious layout and quaint atmosphere, Diamond Harbour is no less than a blank canvas where you can paint your own adventure.
Known For : Mahishadal Rajbari and Goplajew Temple Marine Drive, Haldia Sataku
Often considered as a mere river port assisting Kolkata, Haldia has more to offer to India than just foreign trade. With it's rich collection of heritage locations, temples and local markets, Haldia is geared upto be the next major tourist hub of West Bengal.
Best Time: October to March
Known For : Chandan Nagar Museum The Patal Bari The Chandan Nagar Strand
Wrapped in the interiors of West Bengal, in the Hooghly District, is the small yet significant town of Chandan Nagar. This small town could have been in place of present day Kolkata, had history gone as planned.
Best Time: October to February
Known For : 108 Shiv Mandir Christ Church Golap Bagh
With a convergence of religion, nature, man-made marvels and the proverbial old world charm, Bardhaman is the ideal fit for a weekend getaway.
Best Time: October to March
Known For : Marichjhanpi Ghoramara Island New Moore Island
Known for hosting the biggest mangrove forests in the world, Sundarbans National Park is located in West Bengal, India. It is also a Tiger Reserve and a Biosphere reserve that provides a complete nature's circle to the tourist right from 'Royal Bengal tigers' to roaring rivers and beautiful estuaries. Sundarbans National Park is a part of Sundarban delta that is covered with Mangrove Forest and the largest population of the Bengal Tigers. It is a UNESCO world heritage site with a large variety of birds and reptiles including salt-water crocodile.
Best Time: September to March
Sprawling over forty acres of land on the west bank of the Hooghly River, Belur; the Belur Math in Kolkata is a place of pilgrimage and also the headquarters of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission. People from all over the world, irrespective of the religion that they believe in, visit this temple to enjoy the tranquillity and serenity that it imbues.
Barrackpore was the first place where Britishers set up their cantonment and later spread their rules in India. This place is of great historical significance as it was also the first place where the spark to attain I from Britishers was lit. Not to stop at that, this place is also home to some of the most mesmerizing and green parks which are perfect to spend some time lazing around and relaxing. Pristine temples are also situated in Barrackpore that will purge you soul and invite positive vibes. A visit to Barrackpore will let you enjoy some calm away from the hustle bustle of the city and also give knowledge about one of the most important chapters in the history of India.
A cluster of small villages, Kamarpukur is nestled between Vishnupur and Tarakeshwar. Birthplace of a pious and sagacious saint, Sri Ramkrishna Paramhansa, this village is perfect getaway from the pell-mell of the cities. In this village you will be able to enjoy the pleasures of simple rural life. This place being pious is filled with positivity and you will feel recharged after visiting it. Replete with temples and scenic beauty this is just the place to unwind from the pressure of all the deadlines that you are struggling to meet.
Known For : The Sagar Beach Ganga Sagar Mela Kamil Muni Temple
Sagardwip is a small island, a part of the Sunderbans group of islands. Sagardwip is at the confluence of the holy river Ganga (Ganges) and the Bay of Bengal, making it one of the most popular religious havens of the country.
Best Time: October to March
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.
Situated on the bank of river Roopnarayan, Deulti provides for an ideal picnic spot. 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.
The small town of Taki, on the banks of river Ichamati, provides an experience like no other. Apart from being a favourite picnic spot, 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.
For all those who do not want to visit the conventional Sunderbans in West Bengal, Piyali Islands come as a rescue retreat. A perfect amalgam of restfulness with Sunderbans is what describes this under penetrated getaway. A serene 75Km drive from Calcutta takes one this scenic beauty after crossing a bridge over the river Piyali which connects the island to the mainland. Since it is often named as Pseudo Sunderbans, therefore we can expect the vegetation, landscape and topography to be similar.
Jayrambati is a quaint village in the Bankura district, popularised as an important pilgrimage point among followers of Sri Ramakrishna for being the place of residence of the Holy Mother Sri Sharada Devi. The village has a certain old-world charm to it and has several small temples all across the village, the most popular one however being the Sri Sri Maitri Mandir devoted to the Holy Mother. The religious aspect of the village is what draws most visitors to the village and is an integral part of the village's culture. The village has been an integral part and woven itself in the life of the holy mother Sri Sharada Devi, the village has witnessed several milestones in the life of the holy mother and has thus resultantly been an important source of pilgrimage for the ardent followers of Sri Sharada Devi.
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.
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.
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.
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