Top Weekend Getaways from Kolkata
Weekend tours provide the perfect opportunity to explore, learn and rejuvenate and break the monotony that creeps in so easily in our mundane lives. While long breaks may be a luxury for most of us, weekend tours are always an easy possibility. There is no need for elaborate planning or a big budget or the hassle to take leaves. You can very easily enjoy the change of scenery, unwind and get back to work in a relaxed state.
Kolkata has mountains, sea beaches, jungles, and historical sites in close vicinity, accessible easily by a road trip of few hours. There is no dearth of natural beauty to keep the company of the traveler who follows his natural instincts to leave the confines of his usual dwelling, now and then, and ventures into the unknown in the search of something new.
So, it’s time that you pack your bags and head for a tour this weekend. We list down the top weekend getaways from Kolkata that deserve every traveler’s attention:
Phulberria has plenty of attractions nearby, apart from its serene natural beauty. Located in Jhargram district of West Bengal, it lies at an easy distance of 171 km from Kolkata. The place is surrounded by dense forests and its ineffable natural beauty has remained unspoiled despite the invasion of urbanization in its surrounding localities.
Best time to visit
The best time to visit Jhargram is from November to March. Weather is pleasant and you can fully enjoy all that this place has to offer. Summer and rainy seasons render this place inhospitable for the tourists.
Things to do
From Phulberia you can go to Ghagra waterfalls, and enjoy the rich scenic beauty of the place. The powerful water falling thunderously on the boulders breaks into shards of spray and drenches the onlookers. You would not want to miss this mesmerizing sight—truly, nature’s glory in full view.
Your next stop should be Tarafenni Barrage under the Belpahari gram panchayat. Only 5kms from Belpahari village it is another spot frequented by tourists who come to Jhargram. As the river gallops ahead, the swift waters crashing against the boulders present a sight worth watching, especially during the rainy season.
Go to Garrasini Hills and enjoy the amazing beauty of dark green forests that extensively cover the region. When you are here, put on your trekking shoes and head to the hill top. A bit arduous climb, but you won’t complain when you reach the peak where you can get to enjoy the breathtaking panoramic view of the surroundings painted by nature in its own magical colors. At the summit stands the temple of the Mother Goddess frequented by the devotees regularly. You can visit the temple and come down to visit the Garrasini ashram located at the foot hills of the mountain.
Jhargram demands more than a day’s visit as it has multiple spots of tourist attraction. Your visit can’t be complete unless you have visited the most significant Chilkigarh Palace, Kanakdurga temple, Jhargram Rajbari, Savitri temple and the Krish Rose Garden. The Lodhasuli Forest area, deer park and the medicinal plantation are other major attractions.
How to reach?
Get down at Jhargram station and then travel to Phulberia village via road in just about 15-20 minutes. Thereafter, you have to visit all the tourist spots on car or jeep.
Phulberia is just 4 hours drive from Kolkata. A road trip to this scenic village is an amazing experience. If you start early in the morning you can not only enjoy the natural beauty on the way. but straight away visit a number of spots before finally checking into your booked accommodation.
Where to stay?
There are several home stays and hotels with necessary facilities. Make sure to book your room well in advance to avoid last minute disappointments.
Duarsini is a small village tucked away on the West Bengal- Jharkhand border, 393 kilometers from Kolkata, in the midst of dense forests of Sal, Teak, Mahua, Pial, Kusum, and Bahera interspersed with small hillocks. The place derives its name from local goddess Duarsini who is the guardian and the protector of the region. River Satgurum irrigates the lands as it meanders through the region flowing past the picturesque villages. Watching the swift movement of the river is in itself a pleasure— a time pass loved by the locals and the tourists alike.
Now and then, the warbling of birds will accost you. Basantabouri (the Coppersmith Barbet), Tuntuni (the Tailor Bird), Bulbul, Tiya (Parrot), Kaththokra (the Woodpecker) — the resident birds of the local forest twittering from the top of tall tress make a pretty picture. Bears, wolves, wild boars, hyena, peacocks and jungle fowls dwell here. Herds of Elephants from the adjacent Dalma forest migrate here in the winters to feast on the ripe paddy.
Inhabited by the tribals, this place exhibits the simple yet colorful life of the aboriginals. Duarsini is an ideal stopover for those who want to spend a few days away from the cacophony of city life.
Best time to visit
The best time to visit Duarsini is winter. Monsoon is not considered an ideal period as the heavy rains render the forest dangerous and exceedingly difficult to explore.
Things to do
Duarsini is extremely quiet and beautiful. You can walk through the forest and spot the wild animals, or just, sit by the side of River Satgurum and relax. The rustic charm of the nearby tribal villages has been the subject matter of the works of artists and writers. So, don’t forget to take a guided tour of these villages.
However, if you are here on a weekend, you will get the opportunity to visit the local Haat (weekly market) where tribal people buy and sell products. The Haat presents an ideal opportunity to enjoy the offerings of the tribal people. Manihari shops will attract you directly where you can buy exotic tribal jewellery and munch on potato fries sold by the eateries. You can find plenty of items to pick up as souvenirs to remind you of your memorable visit.
The hustle and bustle of the market is in itself something to enjoy. Be there for a while and you will be able to witness men and women swaying to the beat of Madol or the tribal drum — a sight that is sure to mesmerize you. If you are enthusiastic enough, you can try the local liquour Hadiya, made from stale rice.
How to reach?
You can reach Ghatshila by train and then hire a jeep or a car to reach Duarsini which is 20 kms away. However, if you want you can also go straightaway to Galudi by train and then reach Duarsini which is just 12 kms from there.
Where to stay?
The West Bengal Forest Development Corporation Limited offers beautiful cottage style bungalows with spacious rooms and all basic facilities. One look at these unique accommodations and you know living in them amidst the sprawling jungle will be an extraordinary experience.
Boranti is adorned with deep green forest cover and the huge Muradi Lake which together create a captivating site and forward an enthralling experience to the beholder. It’s easy to get bowled over by the immense tranquility and solace of the place. For the first time visitors, it presents a pleasant surprise with its almost ethereal natural beauty. Unless you come here, it’s hard to believe that such a place exists so close to the hubbub of Kolkata. Located at a distance of 265 km from the capital city, in Purulia district of West Bengal, Boranti has Panchkot Hill at one side and the Biharinath Hill on the other.
If you are a nature lover and seek freedom from stress, you will love the walks by the lake and in the forest. Boranti exhibits an abundance of flora and fauna which is sure to bewitch you. The dark green forest of mahua, teak, sal, tamal, silk cotton creates a stark contrast against the red soil.
The forest is home to animals like rabbits, wild boars, foxes, wolves, porcupines and deer and huge variety of birds endemic to the region. Boranti also gives shelter to several species of migratory birds during the winters—an added attraction for birdwatchers.
When to visit?
The beauty of this place never diminishes. It puts on display different hues in different seasons. The monsoons are when you can see the beauty of the forest in full bloom with lush trees and plants in varied shades of green, winters will give you the view of winged beauties that flock the lake and the after-winter period will leave you spellbound with bright red Palash flowers blossoming across the length and breadth of the forest.
Things to do
Boranti is an ideal weekend gateway for those who adore nature— perfect when you wish to spend a day in complete peace and solace away from the chaos and clamor of Kolkata. While the walks through the forest and the riverside are a must, visits to the nearby tribal settlements are not to be missed. Witness the sun going down the horizon at Muradi lake— as the lake water turns orange with the reflection of the sun. You can enjoy fishing in the lake as you camp on the lakeside in a moonlit night.
How to reach
Boranti is just 6 km away from Muradi station via Asansol. Rickshaws and trekkers are readily available to transport tourists to Boranti.
You can also reach Boranti by road. After you reach Asansol, you will have to drive straight to Ramchandrapur and then to Muradi Station Road. The village roads are in poor condition, so, you should be ready for a rather bumpy ride to Boranti. However, once you reach the lakeside, the view will soothe your senses so much so that you will forget the after-effects of the bumpy ride.
Where to stay?
There are several decent cottage-style accommodations available in Boranti. These no-frills accommodations offer all necessary facilities like comfortable and spacious double and triple bedrooms with attached bathrooms, electricity, delicious food, and 24 hours water supply. They can also arrange for a bonfire and tent if you wish to spend a night under the starlit sky.
GARH JUNGLE, DURGAPUR
If you want to enjoy a weekend at a place that can be described as mysterious, the lesser-known Garh Jungle can be your weekend destination. This place has an ancient Singhavahini Temple in a mud fort (Garh) surrounded by dense Jungle. The place finds mention in the Markandya Purana according to which one King Surath built the temple after defeating his enemies with the help of the blessings of Goddess Chandi. It is believed to be the first instance of Durga Puja with an ideal of the Goddess placed on a three-layered alter.
The temple was discovered by a saint in 1996— who happened to learn about its existence in a state of trance. Upon excavation, three temples —-Lakshmi Janardan Mandir, Chandi Mandir, and Shiva Mandir were found. Since then, Durga Puja is conducted with all rites and rituals every evening in the Chandi temple.
The place is somewhat isolated from the main city and is absolutely serene and calm. Ajay River flowing through the surrounding forest adds to the scenic beauty of the place. The relics discovered here remind of a history that is thousands of years old and had remained buried for ages in the midst of the dense forest.
Things to do
Garh Jungle is good for a one-day outing, but if you love peace and fresh air, you may wish to spend more than a day here. The adjacent Deul forest is a great picnic spot. You can spend the day at the bank of the Ajay River and then drive to the Chandi Temple or the Shyamarumpa Mandir which lies in the middle of the forest. The entire experience of visiting Garh Jungle is a thrilling one. Witnessing the Chandi Puja in the midst of a deep dark forest where stories of the ancient world lay sleeping is indeed exhilarating. People in large numbers throng the temple on the 8th day of Navaratri to offer puja to the Goddess.
How to reach?
Garh Jungle is 20 km away from Durgapur station. You can come to Durgapur by train and then reach Garh Jungle via road. You can also drive to Garh Jungle as the distance is just 198 km and you can reach here in approximately three and a half hours. It is better to hire transport as the road leading to the temple is in poor condition.
Where to stay?
You can stay at well-maintained resorts and hotels located near Deul Park forest which offer all necessary amenities and good food.
Mukutmanipur with its picturesque landscape is just 250 Kilometres away from Kolkata. The adjacent dam is the point of attraction where travelers come for picnics and ride a joy boats. When you start from Kolkata, you can reach there within 6 to 7 hours.
History just can’t leave Shantiniketan. Kobi Guru Rabindranath Tagore began his open school in 1901 which is yet a revolutionary step in the field of education. Shantiniketan is situated about 179 Kilometres away and traveling by car, will take 6 to 7 hours.
Situated just about 151 Kilometres away from Kolkata, the place has historical significance. Terracotta temples, popular Baluchari saris, and an old city charm are all about Bishnupur. It will take approximately 4 to 5 hours to reach if traveling by car from Kolkata. Winter is the right time to visit.
One of the finest and maiden sea beaches, Digha is situated at a distance of 185 Kilometres from Kolkata. A beautiful sea beach with swaying bamboo trees lined up, Digha gives the feel of paradise for beach lovers and foodies can enjoy various seafood. If you are traveling by car, the ride will take 5 to 6 hours.
Samsing is a natural splendor for hill/mountain lovers. With lush greenery and coniferous forests, this happens to be one of the best places for overcoming the mundane life of the city. Nobody can miss the spell of Samsing, the blissful glade, the beautiful villages, the flowing Murti river, and the orange orchards which feel the winters with blossoms. If you take the route by car, you will reach there in 15 hours.
If you are lucky, you can see the Royal Bengal tigers, there. Being the world’s largest Delta with mangrove forests, you must visit. There are also crocodiles, deer, eagles, turtles, and many kinds of wildlife. It’s a paradise for nature lovers. If you are visiting in a rented car from Kolkata, you can reach within 3 to 4 hours of time.
When you’re tired of braving the crowd and traffic and you need some rest amidst raw nature, Sonajhuri Forest is the place to go. This forest lies a little ahead of Shantiniketan and is a little offbeat tourist destination in, Kolkata. The mixture of rustic village roads, lush green forest, and flowing Kopai River make Sonajhuri a sight to behold. Once you’re here, you will feel you’re very far from the concrete jungle which is actually not. And on top of that, you will also have the opportunity to be a part of local culture and art.
Parmadan Deer Forest:
Also known as Bibhutibhusan Wildlife Sanctuary. The lush green forest is a home of various birds and diverse kinds of flora and fauna and obviously charming deer which can be seen in every now and then. Located in North 24 Parganas, it’s an ideal place for a day out for picnic. With Ichamati River flowing by the side of the forest, sets the perfect mood for rejoicing with beloved ones being away from everyday hustle and bustle.
This place has developed around Maithon Dam and located in Dhanbad district. There is a tranquil view impart from the clear water releasing from the dam. This place also offers hilly areas around covering pristine water body with a beautifully shaped island. You can enjoy boating around the island while witnessing mind-blowing view of sunset.