A weekend break from Kolkata presents itself many options. You can head to the beach, explore a national park or discover a historical town…the choices are endless. Here are 5 weekend breaks from Kolkata that you may want to consider the next time you take time off.
Sunderbans | Distance from Kolkata: 125 kilometers by road
The Sunderbans situated on the delta of the Ganges spans 140,000 hectares and is the largest of its kind forest in the world primarily comprising mangroves along with wetlands and mudflats. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, within the forests is the Sundarban National Park, which boasts of the largest population of Royal Bengal tigers in the country. A surprising phenomenon is that in spite of these big cats primarily being land hunters, those living in the Sunderbans are known to swim in the saline waters. Owing to its unique topography, the Sunderbans also have prolific species of avian and aquatic fauna like openbill storks and Gangetic dolphins.
Mandarmani | Distance from Kolkata: 163 kilometers by road
One of the advantages of taking a weekend break from Kolkata is the fact that you can get a beach within hours. One such gem is Mandarmani, a 13-kilometre sandy stretch that has the distinction of being the longest beach that you can drive on in the country. Watching the sunrise here is especially spectacular. From dawn to dusk, the beach is abuzz with activity from fishermen bringing in their catches to people frolicking in the shallow waters and enjoying water activities like jet skiing and quad biking.
Shantiniketan | Distance from Kolkata: 166 kilometers by road
Art and culture hold an important place in the lives and hearts of all those who live in West Bengal. A place that celebrates its intellectual roots is the popular university town of Shantiniketan where noted Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore lived. An iconic figure in the world of Bengali literature, music and education, Shantiniketan offers a poignant lesson in all three. One of Tagore’s greatest contributions was founding the esteemed Visva-Bharati University in Shantiniketan whose alumni include Amartya Sen and the late Indira Gandhi. Spend the weekend learning about the life and works of Tagore, the man behind the Bengali Renaissance.
Bankura | Distance from Kolkata: 175 kilometers by road
The town of Bankura dates back to the Mahabharata and is no surprise then that it has a rich cultural and historical past, which brings plenty of visitors all through the year. Most noted for the legacy of paintings, music and other arts, the terracotta art and architecture of Bankura makes it stand out. A little known fact is that the famous Bankura horse is the symbol of Indian handicrafts. The area has many interesting treasures to discover like Jor Mandir in nearby Bishnupur, the natural springs in Susunia Hill and Biharinath Hill, once a centre of Jainism and blessed with natural beauty.
Digha | Distance from Kolkata: 185 kilometers by road
Probably the most popular weekend destination from Kolkata, the resort town of Digha adjuncts in to the Bay of Bengal. The “new” Digha beach is fast-becoming a favourite amongst lovers of the suns, sand and surf. The palm-fringed shoreline and shallow waves make it an ideal place for the taking beachside walks or cooling off in the water. Other attractions in Digha are Marine Aquarium and Research Centre and the Shiva Temple in nearby Chandaneswar.
Author: Devika Khosla
With the inability to sit still, she’s always going ‘somewhere’. Foodie, spa junkie, animal lover and traveler. That’s Devika’s story.