A city still radiating the charm, wonder and the oppression of a perpetually haunting dominance of the British empire, Kolkata proudly serves as the cultural and the intellectual capital of the country. Depicted as a deteriorating site of decadents and poorest of the country in Hollywood movies, the city is actually a treasure trove of magnificent British era architecture, some of the best universities and institutes in the country and home to some very fine golf courses in India. This erstwhile capital of the British India, Kolkata or Calcutta is one of the most populated cities in the country.
With over 15 million inhabitants, the city is constantly abuzz with activities. Its location in the eastern part of the country, close to the Himalayan mountains and on the delta of the Ganges river provides wonderful opportunities for its denizens to take short trips and picnics to beautiful natural sites. Enumerated here are the ten best and popular picnic spots in Kolkata one ought to visit.
Host to a Special Economic Zone (SEZ), Falta is located on the banks on the Hooghly river in the South 24 Parganas District in West Bengal. Located just 50 kilometres from Kolkata, the town served as a crucial port for the East India Company during the British rule. A true beauty, Falta is home to the incredible farmhouse of the Indian scientist Jagadish Chandra Bose. It serves as a lovely picnic spot where one can explore the nearby sites or take leisurely walks along the river. A rich historical site for Buddhism, the town witnesses the confluence of river Damodar with Hooghly, providing an enthralling sight.
A popular picnic spot just 35 kilometres from Kolkata, Bawali is replete with wondrous sites of dense vegetation and lovely water bodies. Home to many historical sites, the ancient edifice of Rajbari, built over 4 centuries ago, is extant amidst the lush greenery of the surroundings. A calm and peaceful site, at night the sky in this region comes alive with and explosion of thousands of stars twinkling down upon you making it a truly memorable experience.
Just 96 kilometres from Kolkata is the lovely region of Gadiara. Resting on the site that looks upon the merging of the rivers of Roopnarayan, Damodar and Hooghly, the site’s idyllic atmosphere is enough to ease one’s mind. Also, featuring a government built lighthouse and a fort constructed by Lord Clive, the Mornington Point Fort, Gadiara is perfect for leisurely walks or a tranquil boat ride.
4. Diamond Harbour
A very popular port town in the state, Diamond Harbour is situated 57 kilometres from the capital city of Kolkata. The spot, resting on the sandy shores of the Hooghly river also oversees the confluence of the Ganges river with the sea of Bay of Bengal. Cruising, boat riding are very common tourist activities enjoyed by people here. Providing the most enchanting views of the rising and setting sun, the Diamond Harbour also Harbour two centuries’ old lighthouse and amazing antediluvian forts.
A charming village sitting on the banks of the Roopnarayan river, 50 kilometres away from the capital, Deulti provides a perfect respite from the chaos of the city life. With the chattering of the birds, lush greenery, wonderful views of the river, the village is a hidden charm. The village of Samtaber, located near Deulti, is also a renowned site as it is home to the famous Bengali author Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay. His house in Samtaber still contains his age-old furniture like table, armchair, bed etc.
Overlooking the country of Bangladesh is the site of Taki, some 75 kilometres from Kolkata. Taki is also home to some amazing historical sites like the adi bari of General Shankar Roychowdhury, Kuleshwari Kali Temple and the Jora Shib Mandir which is over 300 years old. The region also witnesses a confluence of rivers Vasa and Ichamati at the Machranga Dweep point giving a breath-taking sight. Abound with greenery, one should visit the Golpatar jungle for an interesting and enthralling experience.
Giving a perfect panoramic view of undulating hills, lush forests, glittering rivers, Mukutmanipur is located close the capital city of Kolkata. The town is glut with attractions like Parshwanath Hill, ideal for trekking enthusiasts, Kangsabati dam, a wondrous sight stretching over 10 kilometres, Bangopalpur Reserve Forest, featuring an array of wildlife and numerous species of plants and trees. The town sits at the merging of the rivers of Kangsabati and Kumari and draws more than a hundred thousand visitors to it every year.
A famous town home to the university established by the great Rabindranath Tagore, Shantiniketon or Santiniketan is located about 160 kilometres from the capital city of West Bengal. A historic site, the town is perpetually abuzz with cultural activities that keep it alive throughout the year. Located close to a Deer Park, just 3 kilometres away, this university town is a charming place to spend an interesting holiday.
The historically abounding town of Barrackpore or Barrackpur is 23 kilometres from Kolkata and lush with incredible sites like Mangal Pandey Park, Gandhi Museum, Cantonment etc. Having served as one of the most crucial sites during the Indian independence struggle, Barrackpore has received eminent personalities like Mangal Pandey, Mahatma Gandhi, Shekhar Ghosh, Sri Ram Krishna Paramahansa, Nityananda Prabhu, Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyaya, Rabindranath Tagore, Bharat Chandra Ray Gunakar etc.
A small tranquil town located 230 kilometres from Kolkata, Bakreswar offers peace by surrounding you with tiny hillocks, lovely forests and enchanting valleys. Situated in close proximity to the town of Shantiniketan, the site is famous for its ancient sites as well as the luscious hot springs which are also believed to be therapeutic.
Be it monsoon or high summer, Kolkata has wonderful holiday destinations for every season. To take a break from the daily chaotic struggle of the city life is extremely essential. These ten places offer you with the much-needed respite that you crave for in a holiday.