West Bengal is perhaps one of the most underrated places when it comes to picking up a travel destination in India, even for her own people. That is why, when the Durga Puja arrives or when winter is approaching, people pack their bags and leave the state to visit other parts of the country majorly. But, what they don’t know is that there are so many places to explore in West Bengal herself. So, let us pause for a bit and explore the offbeat places to visit in West Bengal which can be your ideal retreat spot.
7 Ideal Places to Visit in West Bengal
The capital city of West Bengal is one of the oldest cities in the country with numerous historical significances. The city is approximately 2000 years old which is evident from the cultural heritage which she has conserved so far. When you visit the city, you will be charmed to see how the North Kolkata with her alleys holds the charm of the old city and the South Kolkata with its dazzling beauty can easily compete with other metros in India. Some of the must-visit spots in the city are the Victoria Memorial, Belur Math, Prinsep Ghat, Science City, Nicco Park, Indian Museum, Park Street, Marble Palace, the Howrah Bridge with the mighty Hooghly River flowing underneath, the Eco-Tourism Park, Mother House and other places.
How to reach: Get down at the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport located in the heart of the city and take the pre-paid taxis to reach to your location. If you come by train, you can either get down at the Howrah Station or the Sealdah station and hire a cab.
Darjeeling has been Bengal’s favorite hill station to visit so far. But have you heard about Dooars? It is located in the north of West Bengal in the lap of the lush green Eastern Himalaya is one of the ideal tourist spot you should check out. Snow clapped mountain, green tea valley stretched in miles embracing the mountain and a view of the Bhutan border will make you feel you are on the seventh heaven. While you are here, you cannot miss out the jungle safari. The Jaldapara National Park, The Gorumara forest, Buxa Tiger Reserve, Chalsa, Samsing are some of the places to look out for. If you are a sports person, the Murti River has excellent trekking service. If you want to roam freely, then the Mahakal Mandir, Rajabhatkhawa, Neora Valley, Lava, Jayanti, Rocky Island are there to charm you.
How to reach: The gateway to Dooars lies in the New Jalpaiguri district. You can take a car from Kolkata and drive. The driving distance is 632 km. Or, you can get down at the New Jalpaiguri Station or the Bagdogra airport, whichever is convenient
Love the seas? Then Midnapore is the ideal place for you with sea beaches like the Digha, Tajpur, Mandarmani, Juneput and Shankarpur located near to each other. There are numerous hotels located here, so accommodation isn’t a big issue at any time of the year. Enjoy the Moyna Choura considered the backwater of Midnapore flung by long wide parallel trenches and coconut trees. Places you can visit here are the Jhargram Raj Palace, the Jagannath Temple, the Parimalkanan Park, the Kurumbera Fort, the Jhareswar Temple, Digha Science Center, the John Pierce Tomb, and the Jagannath Mahadev temple.
How to reach: Midnapore is not far from Kolkata and you can drive there via the Kolaghat Highway. You can also take a train from Shalimar, located in North Kolkata and get down at Midnapore. From there, you can either hire an auto or a cab to reach the hotels. Total distance is 127.4 km from Kolkata.
One of the lesser known places to visit in west bengal state which can be an ideal holiday spot is the Purulia district located in the Western part of West Bengal. If you want to break away from the clichés of mountains and seas, Purulia with her mesmerizing beauty is there to embrace you. Small hills, plain land, sleepy hamlets, fresh air, clean water and lush greenery will make you feel greedy about the place. The Ajodhya Hills located 42kms interior of Purulia is one of the ideal tourist spots with wooden mountain and a flat top.
The Kangsabati, Subarnarekha and the Kumari Rivers surround the hills in the west and the north. The Doldanga is gradually becoming an ideal picnic spot with a host of other things to do like boat riding, visiting the deer park or simply staring at the crystal-clear water body located in the middle of an island. Other places to visit here are the Rakab Forest, Panchet Pahar, Muruguma Dam, Surulia, Khairabera and the Baranti Reservoir.
How to reach: Purulia is well connected to Kolkata with 8 direct trains from Howrah. Distance from Kolkata is 219 km.
Bankura is a places to visit in west bengal which combines history and culture and as a result, has become one of the perfect tourist destinations off late, with serene and scenic rivers and hills. Check out this place if you want to break away from your monotonous routines for a few days. The Mukutmanipur Dam is one of the favorite places for the tourists. It is located at the confluence of the Kangsabati and the Kumari Rivers, and the vast blue tract of water is covered with contrasting green forests and wooden hillocks. The Biharinath and Susunia Hills with deep forests, steep abyss, dazzling flora and fauna, clean and fresh water bodies will help you rewind.
You cannot miss the mesmerising terracotta architectures here; so put the names of the Rasmancha, the Kalachand Temple, the Shyam Rai temple, the Krishna-Balaram temple and others on the list to enjoy the terracotta works done on the temples. Other places to visit are Garh Darwaja, the Joypur Jungle, Gum Garh Execution site etc.
How to reach: You can either take a car from Kolkata or a train, whichever is convenient, to reach Bankura. The total distance is 173.6 km.
One places to visit in West Bengal where ethnicities and religions have a peaceful co-existence is the Murshidabad district. Bengal’s former capital, Murshidabad was founded by Nawab Murshid Quli Khan of the pre-British era and was occupied by the British for a period. As a result, the place has become historically rich with different palaces and museum dotting the district. One of the popular tourist spots here is the Hazarduari Palace which is popular for its 1000 doors. The palace has been converted into a museum with nearly 3000 artefacts on display. Next is the Imambara, which has the biggest mosque complex of India and offers you a breathtaking view of the area. Other places which you can visit here are the Wasef Manzil, the Jalangi River, Katra Mosque, the Jahankosha Canon etc.
How to reach: You can take a train from Howrah and Sealdah to Murshidabad to cover the 209.2 km journey.
The seventh places to visit in west bengal is Sundarban, which is located in the southernmost fringes of West Bengal is the house of the largest mangrove reserve forests of the world. It is also the place where the Ganga and the Brahmaputra River meets the Bay of Bengal, forming the Indo-Gangetic Delta, the largest riverine delta in the world. The place is well-known for her biological diversity and is a haven for the bird watchers. Here you will find the infamous Royal Bengal Tiger roaming in the dense forests.
Visit the Sajnekhali Bird Sanctuary if you are a bird lover, islands like the Tin Konal Island, Dubla Char Island offer you a view of the rivers. The Sudhyanakhali Watch Tower, the Sagar Lighthouse and the Hiron Point give you the scope to have a bird-eye view of the island as well as, look out for the tigers roaming in the island.
The Dobanki is known for its deer rehabilitation centre, the Bhagabatpur for its crocodile project and the Netidhopani for its 300 year old temple. The ideal time to visit Sunderban is during the winter when the weather is mild and you won’t have to worry about the rain.
How to reach: Sunderban is located close to Kolkata and Canning is the nearest rail station of Sunderban. The train is available from Sealdah and the total distance is 45 km.