It’s that time of the year, when clouds heap upon clouds (Megher Pore Megh Jomechhe, as written in Rabindranath Tagore’s Gitanjali). And like Tagore, the city of Kolkata and its residents love the monsoon season. But you rarely get the feel of monsoon when you are in the city. The sounds of trams, cars and people overpower the pitter-patter of raindrops on the streets and rooftops. So if you really do want to savor the monsoon, head to these monsoon getaways near Kolkata, preferably while singing or listening to Abar Eshechhe Ashadh and other songs composed by the bard in praise of the season. ALSO READ: Weekend destinations near Kolkata for the monsoon
The sunset in Tajpur Beach, Photograph Courtesy: 123sarangi/Wikimedia Commons
You cannot take a true-blue Bengali away from the sea; they go back to it, chasing the ocean waves come what may. If you cannot escape the pull of the ocean either, Tajpur should be a nice destination for a short getaway. Located around 180 km or four hours away from Kolkata by road, Tajpur is also connected by train, with Contai or Digha being the closest stations. Here, you can watch the rains lash the beach or take a walk along the sandy coast. You may also find a few beach shacks braving the weather, from where you can feast on fresh seafood while watching the clouds roll across the Bay of Bengal.
Mon Chasha, Photograph Courtesy: Facebook
If you would prefer not to go to the sea but still want a break from the hectic city, you could head up to Mon Chasha, Contai, located around 130 km away from the city. Mon Chasha lies in the heart of Paushi village and is an eco-tourism destination. Within the village, you will find cottages overlooking the sweet and slow waters of Bagda River. You can stay by the cottages, watching the rains or reading a book on a hammock, with the songs of birds to give you company. The villagers here spend their days weaving and fishing, and you could also play games with them that harken back to your childhood. The food is, of course, as fresh as they come, with a strong traditional touch that is simple and delicious.
Sonajhuri, located around 165 km or four hours away from Kolkata, is a destination for those who want to experience untouched natural beauty. The region, praised in Tagore’s work, has narrow village roads, expansive forests and the Khoai canyons formed through wind and water erosion. You can spend your time mingling with the local Santhali community, whose art and culture make the region a major heritage destination. The Sonajhuri Haat, a weekly market held on a Saturday, let’s you buy the local art and craft, and the delicacies made here. You can also watch a performance of the Baul singers at the Haat.
The small hamlet of Bangriposi lies in Odisha, among the Thakurani hills of Mayurbhanj. The place lies around 228 km from Kolkata, and is an ideal destination for a relaxing do-nothing holiday. You can spend your time here simply enjoying the peace and quiet of the village and the view of the hills rising around you. You could also visit the Kanak Devi temple in the hill and spend a day at the Kuliana village, where you can find people practicing the ancient folk art of Dhokra. The Buribalam waterfall also lies nearby, as does the river that it shares its name with. ALSO READ: 15 Bengali Delicacies You Have To Try In Kolkata!
Located around 172 km from Kolkata and a three and a half hour drive away, Jhargram is most famous for its impressive Jhargram Raj Palace, home of the Malla Deb royal family and an interesting mix of Islamic and Italian architecture. The place is now partly a heritage hotel, and there are plenty of places around Jhargram to explore. The Khandarani Lake is a favorite among visitors and is especially beautiful during the monsoon, as is the Ketki Falls, which is at its peak in the season. Trekkers can opt for the trails that take you through the forests of Gurrasini, and the trails up Laljal hills.
If you prefer something at a slightly higher altitude, there are the Ajodhya Hills, located around 250 km from Kolkata and reached via train to Barabhum. From here, you head to Baghmundi village, which serves as an entrance to the hills. During the monsoon, you will find clouds coasting through the hills, with rain-soaked forests everywhere and small lakes and waterfalls here and there in the midst of the jungle. You can spend your time here just soaking in the scenery or taking nature walks through the forest to visit the scenic waterfalls and lakes. Khairabera Lake is a good spot for some bird watching and is near enough to go to without much hassle. There is also Bamni Falls, where you can get drenched in the water spray.
Natural view of Mukutmanipur dam
Located around 260 km or five hours from the city, Mukutmanipur is one of the most popular monsoon getaways near Kolkata, and for good reason. The place lies at the meeting point of the Kangsabati and Kumari river, and it is home to the second-largest dam in India. You can take a boat ride along the water barrage formed by the dam, which is more than 11 km long. The other attractions here include the statue of Parashnath, the palace of King Raicharan, the ruins of Ambikanagar, around 4 km from the lake, where you can find some excellent tribal handicraft. ALSO READ: 10 photos that capture everyday life in Kolkata
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