CHANDANNAGAR (37 km)
A former French enclave given back to India in 1951. The French landed here in 1673 and it became an important trading post on the Hooghly River. the riverfront is quite interesting and so are some colonial-style buildings. The place is also famous for its artisans making decorative lights depicting various objecs including moving-scenes. Take a local train from Howrah station.
A former Portugese enclave where the Portugese landed in 1599. Its most famous building is the Church on the banks of the Hooghly which draws pilgrims from far and wide, seeking favours from Our Lady. Take a local train from Howrah Station.
DIAMOND HARBOUR (48 km)
A scenic picnic spot on the banks of the River Hooghly. accommodation is available in a state government tourist lodge. take a train from Sealdah station, a bus from Esplanade or drive down in own transport. The road trip is quite interesting.
BAKKHALI (132 km)
A 7km long sandy beach on the Bay of Bengal. Accommodation is available in a State Goverrnment Tourist Lodge. A quiet place with village atmosphere. take a bus from Esplanade, or Gol Park. The drive is quite interesting and involves a ferry on the way.
MAYAPUR (134 km)
A historic town with many temples. It is also the headquarters of the Hare Krishna / (ISKCON) movement who have an extremely impressive temple-complex which offeres accommodation and food. Daily and festive rituals draw large crowds. Tours are arranged by ISKCON, take a local train from Sealdah Station to Krishnanagar and then bus to Mayapur.
SUNDERBANS (131 km)
The largest riverine estuary in the world and a national park harbouring distinctive flora and fauna. Though alternative arrrangements for going to Sunderbans from Kolkata are possible, these are tedious and time consuming. Best is to go on a cruise conducted by the state tourism authorities.
MURSHIDABAD (200 km)
The erstwhile capital of Bengal in the days of the Nawabs, named after Murshid Quli Khan. On the banks of the River Ganga, the town has many impressive historic buildings. There being no accommodation in Murshidabad proper, the best is to stay at the state government tourist lodge at Berhampur, about 14 km away. The state tourism authorities organise cruises to Murshidabad from Kolkata. Details can be obtained from the West Bengal Tourist Centre in Kolkata. Best is to drive down in own transport from Kolkata.
SHANTINIKETAN (144 km)
The seat of the Vishwarbharati University started by Gurudev Rabindra Nath Tagore. It has become an important centre of arts, and the place draws many visitors who come to visit the University complex including the erstwhile residence of Gurudev. Two famous fairs, the ‘Pous Mela’ in December and the ‘Basantutsav’ in Spring, draw huge crowds. Bolpur, the railway station for Shantiniketan is 141 km from Howrah Station with fast trains taking about 2.5 hours fro the trip. Shantiniketan is 3 km from the Bolpur Station. The most common form of transport from the Bolpur Station to Shantiniketan is cycle-rickshaw, unless one has ordered a car in advance. Accommodation is available in Government Tourist Lodge and in reasonably decent private hotels.
VISHNUPUR (152 km)
A 16th century town famous for its old temples and terracotta crafts. It is also said to be the birthplace of the ‘Dhrupad’ style of Indian classical music. Accommodation is available in the Government Tourist Lodge. Take a bus from Esplanade (about 4 hours to Vishnupur), or take a train from Howrah Station.
DIGHA (185 km)
The sea resort in West Bengal. It has a kilometres-long firm beach. With plenty of casurina trees, both the landscapes and the seascapes are quite interesting. There is a long seaside promenade and other walks by the sea. There is a Government Tourist Lodge and a number of reasonably decent moderately-priced private hotels. Digha offers good seafood. About 10 km from Digha is Shankarpur which offers quieter beaches. Either go by own road transport, or take a bus from Esplanade. The journey can take between 4-5 hours. Rail connection between Kolkata and Digha is still in planning stage.
Beaches in Kolkata
Breathtaking Beaches premise the perfect escape to tranquility !!!
The coastal strip of West Bengal, extending from the Gangetic delta land to the border of Orissa, presents some beautiful options in sea resorts – Digha, Shankarpur, Junput, Bakkhali, Sagardwip. All of these offer wide, flat, hard beaches, a gently rolling sea, rows of casuarina forests and a pleasant, warm weather round the year.Down south from Calcutta, the coastal areas of West Bengal present eye-catching beautiful options: –
Digha – Shankarpur – Junput – Bakkhali – Frazergunj and Sagardwip.
How to visit
Regular bus services from Calcutta to Digha. Local conveyance from Digha to Shankarpur. Calcutta to Diamond Harbour (by train/bus), from there to Namkhana by bus, ferry crossing, bus to Bakkhali. Calcutta to Kakdwip/Namkhana by bus, ferry crossing, bus to Sagar.Where to stay Tourist Lodges/Cottages at Digha, Bakkhali & Diamond Harbour. Youth hostels at Digha & Sagardwip.Best SeasonWith the mild winter of the Gangetic West Bengal, the season is on the entire year round. However, the best time of the year is July to March.