LifeStyle

COME, VISIT BENGAL

COME, VISIT BENGAL

July 10th, 2017
Bengal has lot more to offer apart from the delicious and mouth watering sweets. Bengal is a host to few national parks and beautiful raj baris from the ear of jamindars! Many of them let you stay for few days and get a firsthand experience of Bengal royalty!
Come, explore Bengal like never before!

Sundarbans National Park

Three hours from the commotion of Kolkata, the world’s largest mangrove forest is a dark, mist-shrouded world—a fitting home for the legend of its man-eating tigers. Stay at one of the many ecolodges at the edges of the Sundarbans National Park and get a boat to take you along the river, to meet the marshes’ many residents: low-lying crocodiles, monitor lizards, and if you’re lucky, an Irrawaddy dolphin or two. As your boat makes its way along the murky waters of the Sundarbans, listen to the silence, and keep your eyes wide open for a glimpse of the feline phantom of the forest. You can also head to one of the several watchtowers for a panoramic view of one of the world’s most unique forests.

Getting There The most convenient entry point to the Sundarbans is Godhkali, which is 110km/ 3hr from Kolkata by road. There are a number of guided boat safaris available from here. The nearest airport is in Kolkata, 110km/3hr away and the nearest railway station is in Canning 30km/1hr30min away. Sundarbans National Park

Bishnupur

If you’re looking for a getaway that doesn’t feature hill stations, tea or wildlife, head to Bishnupur for a good show of Bengali heritage with its terracotta temples, silk sarees and folk history. Centuries after they were first carved from terracotta, Bishnupur’s temples still draw travellers from near and far. The carvings, with Bengali, Muslim and Oriya (Odishan) elements, depict scenes from religious epics, Hindu myths and folk history. They’re a striking sight at dusk, and can be explored by foot and cycle rickshaw. The town is also known for its Baluchari weavers, who often replicate temple motifs and panels in the sarees they create from silk.

Getting There Bishnupur is 202km/4hr from Kolkata. The nearest airport is in Kolkata, 140km/3hr30min and the nearest railway station is in Bishnupur. Bishnupur

Shantiniketan

For an easy, impromptu weekend away from Kolkata, head to Shantiniketan for old-world Bengali charm, in the style of Rabindranath Tagore. At the Rabindra Bhavan museum, look at Tagore’s original letters and photographs; or explore the Uttarayan Complex, which houses the five homes that Tagore lived in at various stages in his life. Stay at one of the homestays and head out to see the sights of the charming town by foot or bicycle. Visit Shantiniketan in December for a crash course in Bengali culture at the three-day Poush Mela. Here, Baul music provides the background score to your stroll from one handicraft stall to the next, with stops to sample phuchkas, piping hot kachoris and the special winter-time Bengali indulgence: pithe, or rice-flour dumplings stuffed with sticky date jaggery, coconut, and khoya.

Getting There Shantiniketan is 200km/4hr from Kolkata and 2km/10min from Bolpur, the closest big town. The nearest airport and railway are both in Kolkata Shantiniketan

Singalila National Park

A little under three hours from Kolkata, Singalila National Park has legendary sunrises, exceptional mountain views, and rare bird sightings amidst furiously blooming rhododendrons and magnolias. It’s no surprise that it is becoming a popular hiking holiday destination. Stay at one of the several lodges and trekking huts along the Sandakphu route as you prepare to trek through one of the most beautiful regions of the Himalayas to reach West Bengal’s loftiest peak. Did we mention that the Singalila National Park is home to the red panda?

Getting There The most popular entry to Singalila National Park is Manebhanjan, which is 630km/14hr10min from Kolkata and 25km/1hr from Darjeeling. The nearest airport is in Bagdogra, 83km/3hr, and the nearest railway station is in New Jalpaiguri, 83km/3hrs away.

Singalila National Park

Mongpu

If Darjeeling is too touristy for your tastes, head to tranquil little Mongpu, which lies just an hour and a half away. The road to the little hamlet is the perfect precursor to what the small village has to offer: sprawling tea estates, orchid and cinchona plantations and quieter sceneries. It’s not surprising that Tagore liked spending his summers in this idyllic spot. Whether you’re a literary pilgrim or not, taking in the landscape that inspired Tagore’s poetry as you sit at his old mahogany desk at Rabindra Bhavan certainly makes for a fantastic memory. While Mongpu does not offer much in terms of accommodation, the warm locals will often open up their homes to welcome visitors looking for a quiet, easy getaway.

Getting There Mongpu is 35km/1.5hr from Darjeeling. The nearest airport is in Bagdogra 85km/4hr and the nearest railway station is in New Jalpaiguri, 57km/2hr away. Mongpu

Murshidabad

To see a sliver of Bengal’s Nawabi past, drive down to the town of Murshidabad. Plan a heritage walk around the last capital of independent Bengal, before British rule, and go hopping from one historic reminder of the past to the other. What’s not to miss: the thousand doors of the Hazarduari Palace from 1837, the Nizamat Imambara—Bengal’s largest, and the striking Katra Mosque of 1724. And, while you’re learning your history lessons, don’t forget to pick up Murshidabad’s gorgeous silk saris.
Getting There Murshidabad is 238km/5hr20min from Kolkata. The nearest airport is in Kolkata, 198km/5hr10min away. Murshidabad has its own railway station. Murshidabad

Kurseong

A tea lover’s paradise, Kurseong is a little over an hour’s drive away from Darjeeling. Known for its tea and orchids, most of the charming, nineteenth-century colonial hill station seems stuck in time. Stay at one of several heritage home stays and visit Kurseong’s many tea estates and tea salons to indulge in some serious tasting of Bengal’s favourite beverage. You’ll find apple cinnamon tea, tea mixed with crushed betel leaves, brews with orange peel, and tea with the strong flavour of passion fruit. However you like to take your tea, you’ll love Kurseong.

Getting There Kurseong is 600km/16hr from Kolkata and 30km/1hr from Darjeeling. The nearest airport is in Bagdora, 60km/1.5hr and the nearest railway station is in New Jalpaiguri, 55km/2hr.

These are few Bengal getaways for all of you! Go plan a visit to the sweetest state in India!

Kurseong