A Homegrown Guide To Travelling Responsibly Around Kolkata - Homegrown

A Homegrown Guide To Travelling Responsibly Around Kolkata

Are you tired of moping around the house and sipping coffee? Have you already exhausted your playlist and looking for something more to fill up for it? When you are down and dejected, it inevitably seems like everyone else around you is hunky-dory, and you’re the only one suffering. But it’s never this way, especially right now when the whole world is going through one of the worst pandemics in recent history. So, we just wanted our readers to know that ‘lockdown blues’ are a thing, and you are not alone in it! On that note, we decided to come up with a travel guide for our readers in Kolkata who might be feeling the same way.

Here’s a list of nearby places you can safely drive to in your own cars, as a means to snap out of the quarantine blues you had to put up with. Better times will come again very soon, believe us.

Till then, here’s Homegrown’s 10-pointer guide for weekend getaways around Kolkata. Make the best of it, but safely!

I. The Falta Riverside Farmhouse

Situated in the midst of nature is a serene weekend getaway on the banks of the River Hoogly, it is an hour’s drive from the city of Kolkata. The awe-inspiring farmhouse is located amidst a plethora of flora and fauna, a pond full of geese, and waterbodies all around, making it a great picnic spot. Other attractions around Falta include the barn, the temple, and the ‘thakur dalan’. The village, too, is quaint and laidback with locals primarily workers at the brick kilns, as well as fishermen. Late afternoon strolls by the bank of the river offer great scenery and beautiful sunsets. You can also find the best home-cooked Bengali food like aloo posto, moong dal, and chingri maachher malaikari here in Falta.

Falta is around 2 hours’ drive from Kolkata.

II. Kankrajhore & Mayurjharna Forest

Situated in the lap of the mountains, the small, quaint village of Mayurjharna is largely inhabited by the Adivasi population of West Bengal, and is a picturesque place with the most amazing views. It is a region enveloped in abundant vegetation and undulating hilly terrain, interspersed by trees like Sal, Pial, Kendu, Simul, Bohera, Haritoki etc. Placed amidst the forest is the Mayurjharna Elephant Reserve, which is the only elephant reserve in Eastern India. Apart from the forests and the hills, another thing to check out when you are at Mayurjharna is the sunset point, which is one of the most sought after tourist destinations in Bengal.

Kankrajhore is about 5 hours’ drive from Kolkata.

III. Tamluk

Tamluk, a historical city on the banks of the River Rupnarayan has witnessed various invasions from east, west and northern India. The history of this city showcases a combination of the Jain, Hindu, Buddhist and Islamic cultures in the form of political influence, trade, and travel. The worship of Bheema by the people of Tamluk can be seen as indicative of the acceptance of the Aryan culture in this region. Monuments to see in Tamluk include the Bargabhima Temple, the Matangani Sahid Smarak, the Tamluk Rajbari, and the Tamralipta Archaeological Museum.

Tamluk is about 2 hours’ drive from Kolkata.

IV. Chandraketugarh

Around 50 kilometres north-east of Kolkata, near the tiny village of Berachampa in West Bengal, lies the 2300-year-old site of Chandraketugarh. The place is chiefly an archaeological site, where years of excavation have revealed relics of several historical periods. But what really stands out is the huge yield of terracotta objects discovered on-site, ranging from But what really stands out is the huge yield of terracotta objects discovered on-site, ranging from seals, pottery, toys, figurines, and plaques. Several historians identify Chandraketugarh as the region of Gangaridai, one of the four places mentioned by Greek geographer, Ptolemy in his famous, Geographia (150 CE).

In Chandraketugarh, you can visit several popular excavation sites, including the Khana Mihirer Ship, named after the mathematician Khana. The town is also famous for its museums that houses several artefacts of the Chandraketu Dynasty. You can visit the legendary incomplete mosque that was built by Pir Gorachand and his followers in Haroa. You can also visit the Lal Masjid by availing a cycle-van from the Haroa bus stop. A visit to the Bidyadhari Bridge can be interesting for those wanting to avail a grand view of the river. While returning, you can also visit the erstwhile home of the legendary Bengali actor Chobi Biswas at Chandraketugarh.

Chandraketugarh is about 2 hours’ drive from Kolkata.

V. Babur Haat

Filled with natural fishing lakes or bheris, responsible for producing some of the tastiest fish in West Bengal, Babur Haat is a nature paradise. Long stretches of rice farmlands, vegetable orchards, mango groves, palm groves and rural homes and temples make a wonderful scenic landscape. You can go on nature walks around these places or enjoy activities such as weaving, boating and rice farming. You can also go on a short picnic trip to the nearby local village grounds, open spaces of which also allow for outdoor games like badminton and cricket to be played. Malancha villages, famous for its fish markets is only 15 kilometres from Babur Haat. You can also opt for country boating, by crossing the river to visit Chaital village.

Babur Haat is around an hours’ drive from Kolkata.

VI. Gadiara

Known for being the confluence of two rivers, Damodar and Rupnarayan, Gadiara is known for its natural aesthetic, and its beautiful sunrises and sunsets. The place is also famous for Fort Mornington, a fort built during the British era. The fort gets submerged underwater during the high tide. During the early 18th century, when the British rule in India had already gained strong ground, Gadiara was notorious for river pirates who often looted and plundered the surrounding regions. So, in order to guard the entrance, the British General Lord Robert Clive built a fort. Popularly known as the Fort Mornington, today the structure is in ruins after a devastating flood that raged the area way back in 1942. These ruins are visible during low tide and high tides the ruins are completely submerged.

You can reach Gadiara from Kolkata by buses plying regularly from Sealdah and Esplanade. You can also drive down to Gadiara which takes around 2 hours time. West Bengal government’s Rupnarayan Tourist Lodge is the best option available for stay.

Gadiara is around 3 hours’ drive from Kolkata.

VII. Piyali Island

Surrounded by the rivers Matla and Piyali, the Piyali Island considered to be amongst the best weekend getaways near Kolkata, touches the magnificent Sunderbans and has the same lush forested landscape, beaches, and wildlife as the Sunderbans. The main attraction of the Piyali Island are its paddy fields, the meandering Piyali River, sparse jungles, the Matla River, and the mangrove forest on the banks of the island. Those who want to explore nearby destinations can easily organize an enjoyable trip to Jhorkhali and Kaikhali from Piyali Island. There is only one privately run tourist lodge in Piyali Island, which has nice arrangements for overnight staying. You can enjoy the gardens, take a wilderness walk, enjoy a boat ride and do some bird watching. The village life surrounding Piyali Island can also be relished. Moreover, Piyali Island is also famous for organizing educational tours.

Piyali Island is around 3 hours’ drive from Kolkata.

VIII. Kamarpukur Village

Situated in the Hoogly district of West Bengal, Kamarpukur is the birthplace of Shri Ramakrishna Paramhansa, the spiritual master of Swami Vivekananda. The village has a beautiful, lush landscape of thick forests, lush green riverbeds, and acres of emerald-green meadows. The place is famous for its shrines, temples, dargahs, and lakes. In the year 1951, the monks of Ramakrishna order and a few devotees got together to build the Kamarpukur Ramakrishna Math at the site, where the saint was born. It houses a temple of Shri Ramakrishna, where an enshrined idol of the saint carved in white marble is worshipped.

Other ancient temples including Mukundapur Temple, Jairambati Temple, Yogi Shiva Temple, and Gopeshwar Temple are also among the chief monuments in Gadiara. To spend a day amidst cool breeze and serenity, one must visit the Talpukur Tank and the banks of Damodar River. One can also visit the Deer Park to see varieties of colourful birds and deer.

Kamarpukur village is around 3 hours’ drive from Kolkata.

IX. Taki

Located on the banks of the River Ichamati, Taki is one of the best picnic spots near Kolkata, and a short drive from the city. The place is simply a pastoral delight, on the other side of which is Bangladesh. Sitting on the banks of the Ichamati in Taki, you can spend hours watching solitary boats float by. Taki was once the land of landlords, full of old palatial houses, the place offers a host of simple pleasures that we often miss in large cities. This is a popular spot for Durga idol immersion during Durga Puja but is also known for a great weekend getaway from the city of Kolkata. You can take a boat ride from Taki and visit the Machranga Island and the Golpatar Jungle, which is known for its canopy jungle path walk. It owes its name from the Golpatar tree that is abundant here in this area. You can also take a look at the old, palatial buildings of the zamindar families who had made Taki their bastion once upon a time.

However, before visiting Taki, you should keep it in mind to carry your government ID for the Border Security Force (BSF) to check and give you the entry permit.

You can drive to Taki, which is around 2 to 3 hours’ drive from Kolkata.

X. Deulti

Situated on the banks of the River Roopnarayan, Deulti in Howrah District of West Bengal is a beautiful, scenic village, boasting of a handful of tourist attractions like Samtaber, the hometown of renowned Bengali author Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay and the temples of Madangopal and Radha, adorned with embellishments of Terracotta art. If you are a bird lover, look out for different birds, while you take a walk on the clay paths of the villages. You can also visit other popular townships around Deulti, including Kolaghat and Garchumuk.

Deulti is around 2 hours’ drive from Kolkata.

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