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iXiGOers Dec 09 2012

What are places to see around Kolkata (Calcutta)?

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Although all measures of time fall short to explore the beauty of Kolkata completely, the city has a number of satellite towns which will lure you with the splendour of their natural beauty. Hop onto a bus and take a tour of the beautiful places around Kolkata to get mesmerised by all that West Bengal has to offer!

  • Sunderbans
    Located at a distance of about 100 km from Kolkata, Sunderbans is a major tourist attraction. Hosting the largest estuarine rainforest of the world, this is a sylvan place right out of one’s fantasy. An experience you will cherish for a lifetime, one boards a steamer and rides on the criss crossing river which is abound with silvery islands dotted with green trees. While at it, you spot creatures like Monitor Lizards, Monkeys, Deer, Dolphins, Crocodiles or the mighty Tiger itself! Pull out those binoculars and do some peaceful bird watching, make a visit to a local village here and be a part of their animated song and dance or kick back and chill as your vessel cruises on the soft waters of the Ganges.
    A place that calls out to photographers and nature lovers alike, Sunderbans offers a calm and relaxing experience in the lap of nature. UNESCO seems to agree with us as it has graced the place with the prestigious title of a World Heritage Site.
    A taxi to Sunderbans from Kolkata costs about INR 3500. If you want to save up a few bucks, you can take a bus from Kolkata. You can also take the train to Canning from where Sunderbans is a short 40 km. Enjoy your holiday!
  • Digha
    If you want to surprise your wife on your vacation to Kolkata, take a weekend trip to Digha! A beautiful town of tree lined pristine beaches and silvery waters that will take your breath away, Digha is situated at a distance of about 145 km from Kolkata. Along with the amazing beaches that are great for swimming and watersports, the place also offers some of the best variants of seafood. Enjoy a calm sunset at the Udaipur Beach here or be fascinated by the plethora of fish you spot in the Marine Aquariumand Research Center in the heart of the city. Pay your respects at the Lankeshwari Temple or head to the nature resort of Chandipur for a tranquil time. Don’t forget to pick up a sea shell curio for us from here! You may find friendly locals offering you booze on the beaches but refrain from accepting the same as you may later be asked to cough up exorbitant amounts for the same. You can also take a day excursion to Mandarmani Beaches from Digha.

    Reach Digha by taking a 4 hour bus ride from Kolkata, which you can find at Bus Terminus Route 6. Alternatively, you can also take a train to the place from the Howrah Railway Station. If you want to take the roads, you can take the Kolkata- Kolaghat- Nandkumar- Contai- Ramnagar- Digha route for good roads and a swift journey.
  • Shantiniketan
    A soothing drive of about 3 hours from Kolkata and you will find yourself in Shantiniketan. A thriving historical past, enlightening cultural heritage and serenity aptly describe this place. Situated near Bolpur in West Bengal, this educational abode is a hub of knowledge, ideas and spirituality. The 'Abode of Peace' was established by Maharshi Debendranath Tagore, father of the great Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore.
    The beautiful town of Shantiniketan is a bustling hub of knowledge and culture. Set amidst lush surroundings, the town is a meeting point for Eastern and Western schools of learning. Originally known as Bhubandanga, it is home to a blossoming university. The annual fair, Paush Mela, began with an aim of introducing a new religious faith known as Brahmo Dharmo. The fair is presently one of the most celebrated events in the town and is a major tourist attraction. With a plethora of educational centers, such as Kala Bhavan (college of arts and crafts) and Sangeet Bhavan, Shantiniketan is slowly gaining importance as a tourist destination. A refuge for scholars, historians, nature buffs and spiritual seekers, Shantiniketan exudes peace, calm and tranquility.

    You can reach Shantiniketan by taking the train from Kolkata to Bolpur, from where the place is a short 10 minute drive. If you love singing along smooth roads, you can also take the bus or drive down to the place while enjoying your company.

If the explorer in you is still not satisfied, head to Raichak to explore ruins of a fort or make your way to Asansol. Want to go still further? Let the roads take you to Darjeeling and Kalimpong! Have a superb time exploring these places around Kolkata and don't forget to come back with bucket loads of pictures!

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