Kolkata is an idyllic city that boasts of an incredible assortment of culture, style, people, food and more. Better known as the cosmopolitan pith of India, Kolkata with its rich heritage and scenic beauty truly stands out with its unique attractions. The second largest city in India, Kolkata is strewn with many places of interest that are not just confined to the city limits but extends beyond the metropolitan periphery as well. Every year, millions of tourists flock to Kolkata for a real holidaying experience. It won’t be an exaggeration to say that Kolkata is a reservoir of the best tourist hubs in India. Be it an exotic hill station or a historical monument, Kolkata has it all. There are a lot of options for you to choose from, right from short one day trippers to long extended vacations. Navigate through the following article to know some of the best places to visit near Kolkata and pick your choice.
Tourist Attractions Around Kolkata
Pilgrimage & Historical Spots
Mayapur is one of the most sanctified places in India. Located 130 kilometers away from Kolkata across the river Ganges in Navadvipa, this divine place is better feted as the birthplace of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. It is an important pilgrim center for Gaudiya Vaishnavas. Mayapur is skirted with many tourist sites. However, some of the most popular attractions of the place are Chandrodaya temple of ISKCON, Sri Chaitanya Matha, Samadhi of Srila Prabhupada and Chand Kazi, Goswami Maharaj and Dashavatar Temple etc. One can reach Mayapur by trains or buses from Kolkata.
Murshidabad is a land of historical significance comprising some of the famous monumental structures, which showcases the imperial past of various rulers. Located on the banks of river Bhagirathi, Murshidadbad once served as the chief trade center of the British East India Company. The famous palace of 100 doors Hazarduari now stands as one of the major attractions of this place. Other attractions of Murshidabad are Nimak Haram Deori or Traitor’s Gate, Khushbagh, and the ruined Katra Mosque. One can get to Murshidabad by trains or buses from Kolkata.
Kamarpukur is a small village in Bengal and is better known as the birthplace of Sri Ramakrishna. Adorned with lush greens and extensive fields, this scenic place, situated in the Hoogly district, is a well known place of pilgrimage. With old Indian style of living and secluded serenity, this place remains popular among tourists. There are many tourist attractions in this place including the ancestral home of Sri Ramakrishna, Yogi’s Siva temple, Raghubir Temple, Haldar-Pukur and Manik Raja’s Mango Grove.
Bishnupur is famously known as the temple town with a string of religious place attached to it. Temples like Jorbangla temple, Radhamadhab temple, Kalachand temple, Sarbamangala temple, Chinamasta temple and more add to the towns relevance. Other must visit places in Bishnupur are Rasmancha, Dalmadal Caman, Lalcandh, Garh Darja etc. You can take a train or bus to reach Bishnupur.
Once a Portuguese colony, today the humble town of Bandel stands famous for its Bandel Church. This fine-looking church built by the Portuguese in the 16th Century and is said to be the oldest Christian church in West Bengal. Dedicated to “Our Lady Of Happy Voyage”, today this church stands as an embodiment of faith for all religions. Bandel is especially famous for its list of convent schools and has a large number of students from all across India.
Santiniketan, located 180 kilometers to north Kolkata, is possibly one of the most renowned places in West Bengal. Made famous by Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore, Santiketan attracts a large number of visitors every year. Santiniketan, home to “kaviguru” Rabindranath Tagore, is known for its art gallery, museums and university town of Visva-Bharati. Some of the major attractions of Santiniketan are the prayer hall, China Bhavana, Black House, Kala Bhavan, Bichitra, Sangeet Bhavan and more.
Bibhuti Bhushan Wildlife Sanctuary
Bibhuti Bhushan Wildlife Sanctuary in Parmadon is a popular wildlife destination. Located on the shores of Icchamati River, this wildlife park is just a three hour drive from Kolkata. On visiting this park, you can get to see many deer, snakes and a variety of birds from all over the world. A boat ride down the woods on the river is one of the major attractions of this place and offers you a breathtaking experience of the surrounding forest.
Sundarban is one of the renowned tourist spots in India. Named after the Saundari Trees grown on the delta of river Ganges, this World Heritage Site is a must-visit for wildlife enthusiasts. The Sundarban forests are exalted for its varieties of flora and faunae like Bengal Tigers, Olive Ridley Turtles, Cormorants, Crocodiles, Wild Boars, Rhesus Monkeys, Curlews, Cheetahs and many more. On visiting this place, you can also get to see the edifices of many religious idols. There are bus and train services from Kolkata to Sundarbans.
Ajodhya Hills is one of the most famous holidaying spots in West Bengal. It is situated in the forest belt Purulia district of Bengal. Embellished with waterfalls and valleys, Ajodhya is just the right place to rejuvenate your mind, body and soul. There are a lot of option for adventurers to trek and climb on the hills. There are train facilities from Kolkata to Barabhum from where you can board local buses to Baghmundi and reach Ajodhya Hills.
Lying on the foothills of the Himalayas, Darjeeling is located near Bagdogra. One can reach Darjeeling by trains or buses from Kolkata along with the help of local transports. Be it sightseeing, relishing special food delicacies of Bengal or just picnicking with your loved ones, Darjeeling is the ideal place to go for ultimate holiday experience. Special attractions of this place include Tiger Hills, Observatory Hill, Bhutia Busti Gompa, Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park and so on.
Kalimpong is an exquisite holiday destination with acres and acres of tea plantaions and exotic tree slopes adding to its picturesque beauty. Nestled between the union of two mountain rivers, Rangeet and Teesta, this place serves as the hub of Buddhists. Special attractions of this place are Tharpa Choling Gompa, Durpin Gompa, Dr Graham's Home, Mangal Dham, Mirik etc.
Digha is possibly the most beautiful and most famous sea beach of West Bengal. Situated just 187 km away from Kolkata, this scenic place with shallow waters and the temple of Shiva and Kapala Kundala, stands as one of the must-visit tourist attractions around Kolkata. You can take a train from Kolkata to Kharagpur and from there you can take local transport like taxis and buses can take you to Digha.