Quoting Bollywood actress Vidya Balan – ‘Kolkata always its heart to me and I am a sucker for love’. Well, it is not just her. Every single person who has visited Kolkata falls in love with the majestic city at a glance.
Kolkata is rightly called the ‘City of Joy’ – it is full of happiness and people sure are very high-spirited. It is a 350-year old metropolis that is located on the Eastern Coast of the country. The city, in every sense, stands true to its sobriquet; colourful and artistic yet subtle and elegant – the amalgamation of Kolkata’s aura cannot be found anywhere else. There are numerous historical places in Kolkata that showcase the authenticity of this beautiful city. Especially during the time of Durga Puja, Kolkata witnesses a flock of visitors who come to the city to participate in the festivities. And, other than brimming with creativity and architecture, Kolkata prides itself on its cuisine too. The lip-smacking Bengali dishes simply make your days better and brighter (good food is equal to good mood)!
Interestingly, there is another very famous quote that goes, “If you want a city with a soul, come to Kolkata”. The city houses some of the most astounding places to hang out with your loved ones. In addition to that, there are a few great tourist spots near Kolkata that serve as the perfect weekend escapes with your friends and family. These beauties are preserved far from the influence of city lights which makes your travel a lot more amazing.
So, without any further delay, here are the 7 best weekend getaways from Kolkata for an unforgettable time: –
1. Shantiniketan – Where Peace Resides
The place where India’s Nobel Laureate, Kavi Guru Rabindranath Tagore once resided is now a weekend destination near Kolkata. Located in the Birbhum district of West Bengal, this quaint town offers you a potpourri of culture, literature, and art. Poet Rabindranath Tagore was often referred to as the ‘Bard of Bengal’ who not only composed beautiful stories about life and Kolkata but also went on to change the concept of education in India. Today, in Shantiniketan, you will find many youths studying in the Visva Bharati University which was set up by him. Though a very small town, Shantiniketan serves as a perfect place for a short trip near Kolkata – it is where the calmness of the aura meets the vibrance of art.
Places to visit: Tagore’s Ashram, Rabindra Bhavan Museum, Kala Bhavan, Deer Park, Alcha Cafe, Uttarayan Complex, Sangeet Bhavan, and Nippon Bhavan.
2. Sundarban National Park – Home to India’s National Animal
One of the most pristine treasures in India, a visit to Sunderbans is to be cherished for life. Listed as a famous weekend getaway near Kolkata, the area was declared as a National Park on the 4th of May 1984; the place then turned into the entitled kingdom of Tigers (of course, with the Royal Bengal Tigers being the showstopper of every tourist attraction). The National Park is spread across an area of 10,000 square km, covering some geographical areas of Bangladesh as well. This often leads to confusing the tourists. However, the distinction is very simple – the one that Bangladesh houses is called ‘The Sunderbans’, and the one that India has is known as the ‘Sunderban National Park’. The park was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987 and houses approximately 250 tigers along with different species of flora, fauna, birds, and invertebrates. The tourism department of Sunderbans has preserved the beauty of the area very well, giving the visitors an astounding time.
Places that Sunderban National Park tour packages must include: The Tiger Reserve (including all the four zones), Sajnekhali Bird Sanctuary, Bhagabatpur Crocodile Project, Haliday Island Wildlife Sanctuary, and Kanak (for Olive Ridley Turtles).
3. Digha – The Beach Town
Can you imagine West Bengal to house a beach? No, right; but it does! Located in the East Medinipur near the Bengal and Orissa border, Digha is known as the seaside resort town of the state. An untouched beach beauty, Digha offers picturesque and breathtaking views to its visitors. This is quite a popular weekend destination near Kolkata for families looking to spend some quality time together. Interestingly, it is also a short honeymoon getaway and the beaches did witness a lot of romantic proposals too. Other than the beaches, Digha also houses beautiful hamlets that speak about the bona fides of the city’s tradition. Now, since Digha is located in the West Bengal-Odisha border, people visiting the latter state can also visit the town as most of the Orissa tour packages itinerary includes this beach town for a mesmerizing time.
Places to Visit: MARC – Marine Aquarium and Regional Centre, Amarabati Park, Udaipur Beach (not the Rajasthan one), Shankarpur Beach, and the new and old Digha Beach.
4. Jamshedpur – An Industrial Marvel
Well, you might find it a little off the topic, but Jamshedpur is one of the best places to visit near Kolkata for a 2 days trip. Located in the state of Jharkhand, it hardly takes 3-6 hours to reach Jamshedpur from Kolkata via road or rail. Jamshedpur is the largest city in the state that is surrounded by some breathtaking views. If the history of the city is to be stated, it was founded by Mr. Jamshedji Tata in the year 1919, making it India’s first planned city. It has numerous tourist attractions where one can explore not only nature’s beauty but also the grandeur of industrialisation.
Places in Jamshedpur that will make your weekend getaway from Kolkata memorable: Dimna Lake, Dalma Wildlife Sanctuary, Jubilee Park, Hudco Lake, Russi Modi Centre for Excellence, and Amadubi Rural Tourism Centre.
5. Puri – Closer to India’s Authenticity
Yet another place that is located in West Bengal’s neighbouring state, Puri is perfect for a weekend trip near Kolkata that will undoubtedly be a great experience. If we were to go by the legends, Puri earned its popularity somewhere in the 1970s widely amongst the hippies. Wondering how? Consuming Bhang – that happens to be Lord Shiva’s favourite – was legalised in the city. But, it is limited now. Well, that aside, there are a lot of places to explore in Puri that makes the city one of the most favourite weekend getaways from Kolkata. The time you spend in this beautiful city will bring you closer to the uniqueness of customs, vibrance of nature, and the historicity that India has to offer.
While choosing an exclusive Puri holiday package, make sure to include these places: Chilika Lake, Shree Jagannath Puri temple, Puri Beach, Raghurajpur Village (known for Pattachitra paintings), Astaranga Beach (famous for colourful sunset), Sudarshan Crafts Museum, and Nalbana Island (also a bird sanctuary).
6. Purulia – Abode of Greenery
For a serene weekend tour near Kolkata, there is no better place than West Bengal’s westernmost district – Purulia. The town is gifted with enthralling and charming scenic beauty that contributes to making your vacation a splendid one. With hills, lush greens, and clear blue skies – the town is making its way to being a popular tourist spot near Kolkata amongst everyone; the undisturbed scenery and blissful aura make you forget about the chores of daily life while soothing your mind.
Places to explore: Ajodhya, Rakab Forest, Doldanga, Durgabera, Gajaburu Hills, and Murardi Lake, which is also known as Baranti Reservoir.
7. Cuttack – The City of Silverwork
We are closing the list with a place in Orissa (again)! The quaint town Cuttack is one of the top weekend getaways from Kolkata. Call it the Cultural Capital of Odisha or the Silver City, Cuttack proudly embraces its local handicrafts, intricate silverwork, and various festive galas that make the city worth visiting. Cuttack houses ample tourist attractions starting from museums to nature’s beauty that makes your visit to the town an alluring one. Honestly, there’s no disputing the fact that Cuttack is referred to as the best nearby places to visit in Kolkata.
Must-visit tourist spots: Barabati Fort, Paradeep Beach, Netaji Birth Place Museum, Odisha State Maritime Museum, Qadam-E-Rasool, Buxi Bazar Road, Bhitarkanika National Park & Wildlife Sanctuary, Mahanadi Barrage, and Shahi Qila Masjid.
Well, Kolkata is a city where you will find everything – right from the best food to the best song cafes; in fact, you’ll also find some of the best pubs in Kolkata where you can have a happening and trippy weekend. And, of course, if you want to just calm your mind, these weekend getaways from Kolkata serve as the perfect spots!