Established as a French settlement in 1673, the town of Chandannagar situated by the river Hooghly draws hordes of travellers visiting Kolkata on a regular basis. About 54km from Kolkata by road, the quaint town is especially a great getaway for history buffs. You’ll find everything here from churches, a governor’s palace to a host of historic structures built in the French style of architecture.
Start your trip here with a visit to the Chandannagore Museum and Institute – one of the oldest museums in the region that houses marvellous French antiques. Then head to Sacred Heart Church to admire its regal architecture. Then there’s a wonderfully decorated roadway called the Strand here, about a kilometre in length. A walk here in the evening will turn out to be your most cherished memory from the town. The roadway is lit with twinkling lights at night, and everywhere you see there’s lush greenery. It’s right by the river, so you can just stand and watch small boats sail by on the water.
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Other attractions include the Underground House (or Patal-Bari) known for its vivid style of ancient architecture. Interestingly, it was made with its lowest floor lying under the Ganges river bed. The Patal-Bari was often frequented by the renowned poet Rabindranath Tagore back in the day. There are many temples here as well such as the Nandadulal Temple and others dedicated to Kali, Chandi and Shiva that are also worth a visit. Last but not the least, you could also visit the residence of the Indian revolutionary – Rash Behari Bose.
Although you could spend an entire day here and comfortably head back to the city by evening, you can also choose to spend an entire weekend here. That’s only if you cherish slow travel and like to soak up the beauty of rural India.