Top 10 weekend destinations near Kolkata which are ideal if you do not like the crowd.
The perfect short trip list for the budget traveller
For the working professionals, the motivation for earning the loaves and fishes is the primary objective, which can often result in a stressful life. For those who are seeking peace and a bit of solitude from this daily grind and pressure, a weekend break is the most welcoming thing after a hectic week. While you can relax and detoxify yourself in the place which resonates with your soul, the wrong place only adds to the stress. Kolkata, the capital of one of the most diverse and sweetest parts of India, is a well-connected place with so many transport options. Not only there is a steady increase in the number of the weekend destinations from the city of joy, but also the well-known weekend destinations are often tainted with crowds, which reduces the natural charm of the place. Without much ado, here goes a list of a few aesthetically pleasing and not so-typically crowded budget friendly weekend destinations from Kolkata, which are experienced first-hand by someone just like you, for those for whom travel is a passion and a source of solace.
01 – Baranti:
Purulia, the western district always attracts tourists with pristine natural beauty, rich heritage and vibrant tribal people. Baranti, a quiet and scenic hamlet, situated between Baranti and Muradi Hills, and Baranti Lake, is a magnificent tourist destination in this area. The place lies only about 6 hour’s car journey away from Kolkata. The Nomadic Resort Baranti, at the bank of the lake, offers a beautiful view of the waterbody from the windows and the lawn. The early morning sunrise from here can be a great start for the day which will then go on to a hike on Baranti hills, visit the Panchet Dam in the afternoon and the sunset over it. When there is a group of people travelling, you can take out the guitar and jam under the star-covered sky with music and delicious food in hand too. Winter chills can offer the most in this place with the fresh vegetables, birds in the lakes and the rays of sun over the departing fog. For those who are interested in butterfly watching, July-August months can be a good time for it too in the grassy trails around the property. One may even doze off sitting with the hooks and lines in search of a fish on the bank of the lake, and the expert anglers will be prized with the tasty catches, which can then be prepared in the resort kitchen into mouth-watering dishes. For the shopaholics, Raghunathpur village is a must visit the place from here for the exquisite Tussar Sarees and other handicraft items.
02 – Katwa:
3 hours’ drive away from Kolkata, lies a small town Katwa, in Purba Bardhaman district at the confluence of Ajay and Hooghly River. The historical heritage of 500 years and a chance to experience the Indian rural lifestyle is enough to draw the city folk here. Katwa Jol Bari, a unique resort where traditional setting and modern comfort blends perfectly add to the attraction. The fishing in ChotoPukur – a lake inside the property, birding and camping options are beautiful bonuses for staying here, or you can just relax in the lawn in monsoon gazing at the dark clouds across green fields. For the people interested in nature, they can go and visit Nayachar, an island on River Ganga, perfect for wildlife viewing. Attahas temple, a “Satipith” is nearby and draws a huge crowd too.
03 – Garpanchkot:
Another beautiful location from Purulia is Garpanchkot, on the foothills of Panchkot hills, amidst serene nature and a historical remain of Panchkot fort, bearing the evidence of Bargi attack in Bengal. From Asansol, this place is 33 km away, while from Kolkata, it takes 5 hours by car to cover the 245 km distance. Garpanchkot Tent house near Panchet Dam with a series of Swiss cottages with modern facilities in the foothill of the Panchkot is a great place to stay and visit this picturesque location, especially in winter or monsoon. The tourists can take a hike to see the remains of the ruined fort (Gar), or Joychandi Hills, famous for being the shooting location of some renowned Bengali movies. A car ride to Maithan Dam and Kalyaneswari temple can add to the good memories here.
04 – Shantiniketan Maati Baari:
Most famous for being related to the Bard of Bengal, Shantiniketan has its own natural beauty in forests, red lands and rivers. This is the perfect place for those who want to reconnect with their inner identity. Shantiniketan Maati Bari, a farm stay in earthen huts, where the food is grown in the property itself is one of the best places to stay here, keeping Tagore’s ideology of reconnecting with nature herself. You can just relax here, watch the sunrise, ducks in the pond and listen to the birdsongs sitting on the porch while sipping a cup of tea, or may venture into the classic sightseeing spree. Tagore’s Ashrama, various bhabans, Khowai region and Kopai River covers a good chunk of the local places to check, while a trip to famous pilgrimages Tarapith and Bakreswar can offer happiness to the religious people too.
05 – Chandpur
For the Thalassophiles, Chandpur, a beach that is recently been opened commercially, is a really great discovery. Free from the high crowds of the other famous nearby beaches, and just 175 km away from Kolkata, this is where you can relax and observe the relentless waves crashing on the beach. Chandpur Village resort, on the other side of the road on the beach, offers a place to hang back on the breezy rooftop with a magnificent view of the coastline and relax for the whole day. With good food and courteous staff, and deluxe ac rooms, this place welcomes tourists throughout the year, especially in the monsoon to see the sea in the full grandeur, and in winter to take long walks along the beach. Beaches like Digha, Mandarmani (for water sports), Talsari, Tajpur etc. are all nearby and you may take a car to cover the places in a day.
06 – Ghatshila:
An old favourite destination for the people of Bengal since the colonial era for its scenic beauty, Ghatshila was once frequented by many creative people, and it still retains the rustic charm with the beauty of the enchanting forest and wildlife. Edalbera Hill view resort, across a field from the hill is a perfect place to stay and enjoy the hilly terrain’s beauty as well as the wildlife. You may relax under the rainbow coloured umbrellas in the lawn or relax in the swings under the trees to enjoy the beauty of nature which is not tame here. The days are hot and nights are cold during both summer and winter, and monsoon brings out the green forests along with running streams, Among the places nearby, Rankini Mata temple, Phuldungri Hills, Burudhi Dam, Dassam Falls, Raatmohana (sunset and sunrise viewpoints), Bibhuti Memorial Bhavan etc. are the major sightseeing point, and if you are lucky, you may catch a glimpse of the famous elephants of Dalma forest even.
07 – Binuriya:
A small village in Birbhum district, with her own rural charms and proximity to Shantiniketan, Binuriya is a lesser explored option without the crowd rush. Binuriya Boutique Resort, amidst quintessential rural Bengal with the modern facilities as well as a chance to enjoy the culture of Bengal, makes this place a great weekend destination. The modern architectural works along with the well-maintained swimming pool and nearby fishing options can be enough for you to chill here throughout the year, as the place reinvents itself with natural charms in each season. You may also opt to visit Tagore’s Ashrama and Museum, various Bhabanas, Amar Kutir (for handicraft marketing), Khoaimela, Kankalitala, Ballabhpur reserve forest etc. to know the place itself and the heritage too.
08 – Tajpur:
Tucked between the crowd-puller Mandarmani and Shankarpur, lies this gem of a pristine beach Tajpur, where the prime attractions are the Tamarisk tree forest along the coast and elusive red crabs on the beach. There are two properties at walking distance from the beach with their very unique features here.
Tajpur Eco Resort is equipped with vast greenery and lawns, a lake in one side with boating facility and sitting arrangements along with secluded cottages with modern amenities. You may go for a walk in the morning across the lawn towards the sea, or just relax under the stars listening to the sound of the distant waves
In Tajpur Village Hut, around a large centre-lake, the huts are situated beside the roads paved with Jhau trees and are surrounded by casuarina forests. Premium rooms and good food make this stay memorable with family and friends, where you may relax sitting on the porch by the lake and seek comfort in stories and music with your gang.
Every season has its own charm here, but on full moon nights, the crabs can be seen best on the beach before sunrise. You may also opt to check out the popular beaches like Digha (for marketing and sea-food binging), Mandarmanai (for water sports), Chandpur, Shankarpur Fish harbour etc.
09 – Debanandapur:
A small place in the lap of nature that is free from the urban aggravation to which even Shantiniketan has fallen prey to, Devendrapur retains the charm of classic Bengal village, along with a good number of local sightseeing opportunities. Debanandapur Village Resort, a perfect blending of urban and rural features with picturesque bridges and watchtowers in a pollution free environment, is the perfect place to nourish the body as well as the soul. Scrumptious meals from fully organic home-grown foods is an added bonus to visit the place any time of the year, barring the summer months when the temperature soars. Kankalitala and Labhpur-fullara temple (Satipith), Nanoor (birthplace of famous poet Jaidev) and Shantiniketan are some amazing places to check out from here.