The city of Kolkata or Calcutta as most city dwellers still call it, may well be the city of joy. But that doesn’t mean you won’t be looking for a break this long independence day weekend. Especially when there are so many places you can go from Kolkata in just a few hours. From beaches that you can drive on to forests and hills and even the majestic Sunderbans all without driving more than 250kms from home. So gather the crew or the family which ever it is you prefer and head out this weekend to one of these three top picks for quick getaways in Kolkata.
Mandarmani Beach (Distance from Kolkata: 163km)
Now Digha might be too crowded throughout the year, but if you are looking for a slightly younger crowd and a slightly more private beach Mandarmani is the place for you. It’s got plenty of activities to do, and you can even take your car or bike down the beach and just drive along it. If you’re slightly more precocious, try some doughnuts. But look for an empty spot before you try it if it's the first time you're headed there. It’s pretty clean as well and taking a dip is a helluva lot of fun, although the tides do get rough when it rains. Now as far as a vehicle of choice is concerned because most of the route is along the highway, and it’s not too far you can do it in almost any car or bike without any strain.
Mukutmanipur (Distance from Kolkata: 250km)
Mukutmanipur is one of those places that is all about just chilling. It’s the meeting point of two rivers, Kumari and Kangsabati, which a damn has turned into a massive almost stagnant water body. It’s located in the Bankura district of West Bengal and it’s the furthest of the three destinations on our list. Another top pick once in Mukutmanipur is the Bonpukuria Deer Park. The road, however, goes between okay and utterly in disrepair, and with the monsoons looming the latter seems more likely. So our advice is a Compact SUV, SUV or MPV with good ground clearance.
Sajnekhali Bird Sanctuary Distance from Kolkata: 108km
If you’re in the mood for a slightly wilder experience, then Sajnekhali Bird Sanctuary is the place to head. At the outskirts of the mangroves of the Sunderbans, Sajnekhali is paradise for bird watchers and photographers. It’s also known for a healthy population of Royal Bengal Tiger. If that’s not enough there’s even crocodile breeding centre, a turtle farm and a pond that has friggin sharks(!) in it! The advisable ride is an SUV or 4X4, the quieter the better though, if you want to catch a glimpse of the wildlife.
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