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iXiGOers Apr 17 2013

Which are the popular weekend getaways around Kolkata?

Kirat S Apr 18 2013
0 people found this answer useful Useful ?Yes

Beyond the Bengal capital, lies a mindboggling variety of destinations and experiences that suit every taste and spirit. Shaped like the proverbial magic lamp, West Bengal offers you much, much more than just three wishes. So, if you are looking for some weekend getaway options around Kolkata, keep reading. We have some really interesting stuff in store for you!



Kamarpukur-Jairambati (98 km from Kolkata)


Full of old temples, traditional mud huts, old buildings and ponds, Kamarpukur still retains the old glory of ancient India. Though the village is surrounded by vast green fields and is agriculturally dominant, you can see a number of cottage industries as well. Following an ancient tradition, the villagers still worship Goddess Manasa- the Goddess of snakes, during the month of Chaitra. Shri Ramakrishna Paramhansa was born in this village in 1836 and his home and personal belongings are still kept intact. Due to this, this place has become a pilgimage. One can find a temple dedicated to the Ramakrishna, with a big statue of the mystic done in white marble.

Jairambati is associated with Sharada devi, the wife of Ramakrishna Paramhans. She was born in this village in the year 1858. Jairambati thus has a temple dedicated to Sharada devi. Her ancestral home is also just outside the main gate. There is a water body called ‘Mayer Ganga’ located nearby. This place observes many religious and cultural ceremonies in almost all the days. Every year, thousands of Ramakrishna and Sharada devi  devotees visit this place every year.

For more information on nearby places, map location and best time to visit, please check out our Jairambati Math page and Kamarpukur Travel Guide page.





Mandarmani (110 km from Kolkata)

   

Located on the eastern tip of Bay of Bengal is a small village, Mandarmani, that is fast developing as a popular seaside resort. Relatively pristine and possibly one of the cleanest beach stretches around Kolkata, Mandarmani's hallmark low tidal waves are yet another reason for its ever increasing popularity among locals and visitors alike.


For the most part serene and tranquil with dawdling boats in the distant horizon and red crabs crawling along the 13 km stretch, Mandarmani is also considered one of the longest beaches that can be driven on in India. Given its instant lure, Mandarmani is gradually and steadily headed towards becoming another Digha with restaurants and resorts opening on its golden sands one after another.


But in the meantime, Mandarmani is still one of the best places in the city to watch the sun set and rise and generally frolic in the sea waves and make sand castles. Read our page on Mandarmani Sea Beach to know more about nearby places and map location.




Bakkhali (138 km from Kolkata)


Located in one of the many deltaic islands of West Bengal, the Bakkhali beach is an amazing place to have an exciting experience. Facing the vast Bay of Bengal, this tiny beach with grey sand is the best place for anyone to have great fun for visitors from all walks of life.


There is a mangrove forest near the beach which is also a very famous tourist spot. Besides that the Crocodile park near the bus stop at Bakkhali is another place where people love to go. You will also see many vendors selling several things around the beach. It is an amazing place to pick up some trinkets. Our Bakkhali page will give you more information about the map location and nearby places to visit around Bakkhali.



Bishnupur (138 km from Kolkata)


A town with a rich heritage, Bishnupur is also referred to as Mallabhum, after the Malla dynasty, who once ruled this region for almost a thousand years. The famous Terracotta temples were also built by the same rulers, sometime between the the 17th and the 18th century. Each and every temple in this region bespeak of excellent craftsmanship and intricate carvings. The terracotta tiles show many scenes from the Mahabharata. Apart from temples, the place is also famous for terracotta pottery and other artifacts. The famous Baluchari sarees depicting scenes from the Mahabharata on the border and pallu, are also created here. As far as celebrations are concerned, the snake festival, Durga puja and Kali puja are some of the main festivals of this town. Read our Bishnupur Travel Guide to get additional information on places to visit, things to do, and the best time to visit Bishnupur.



Shantiniketan (162 km from Kolkata)


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.


Vishvabharti is a public central university, especially well known because of its association with the famous Bengali polymath - Rabindranath Tagore (Gurudeb). Tagore founded this university in the year 1901 and named it Vishva Bharati, which means communion with the world. It was later given the status of an university post independence and renamed as Vishva Bharati University.


The incredible pull that students worldwide have felt for Tagore and this school is best left to the imagination. You will find people from all over the world with various interests (realtors, painters, scholars, language enthusists, dokra article makers etc.) coming here to add to their knowledge and experience. A tour of the campus is a must for those who are looking for an enriching experience. The outside world seems to fade away as the life in the campus encloses you in a different world of its own.


The annual fair, Paush Mela, began with an aim of introducing a new religious faith known as Brahma Dharma. 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.


Some places not to be missed are Chhatimtala (a tree under which the idea of having such a place blossomed), Shantiniketan Griha (where Tagore spent his childhood), Upasana griha (an eye catching prayer hall), Amro Kunjo (open -air classrooms with students dressed in canary yellow garbs) and the Chaiti (an incredible mud house structure that attracts tourists in hordes), apart from many others. To know more about places to visit, things to do and the best time to visit Shantiniketan, visit our Shantiniketan Travel Guide page.




Mukutmanipur (241 km from Kolkata)


Located on the edges of the Kangsabati Barrage in Bankura district, Mukutmanipur is becoming a popular tourist place on the outskirts of Kolkata. It boasts of one of the largest dams in Bengal, which has resulted in the flooding of the valley and creation of small natural islands. Bare rock faces, paddy fields, dry riverbeds and thick woodlands are some of the other riches found here.


To get the best out of this place, an overnight camping by the riverside is highly recommended. Boating and walks in the Deer Park are other favourite activities for tourists. A drive down to Ambikanagar will bring you to the last remaining ruins of terracotta structures that still reflect its lost grandeur. Not at all a summer destination, Mukutmanipur is best visited during the months of October till March.




Raiganj (425 km from Kolkata)


This place is famous for being India’s second largest bird sanctuary located in the Uttar Dinajpur district. Also called the Kulik sanctuary, this place is home to more than 160 species of birds. Wake up to the pleasant chirping of birds and take a stroll along the Kulik river flowing right beside the sanctuary. This place definitely is a sensory overload of feathers and plumage. A leisurely walk around the place will take you around 4-5 hours. The forest floors are covered with dry deciduous leaves so one has to be very careful. A single match can cause havoc. The sanctuary is closed on Mondays and usually remains open from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM. On the whole, this is a very laidback place, perfect for city dwellers who are looking for a break from the crammed city life.



With so many gems sitting in the Bengal crown, it is time you discover a bit more about the state. So pack your bags, set forth on a new journey for more memorable experiences this weekend.

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