After the rush of Durga Puja, the Pandal hopping and the Vijayadashami celebrations, nothing is more welcome than a long weekend. And October 2017 has just that for the good citizens of Kolkata, with Gandhi Jayanti falling on a Monday this year. From terracotta temples to Himalayan mountains and the jungles of the Sunderbans, there’s so much to explore this weekend near Kolkata. Here, then, are some places to visit near Kolkata on the Gandhi Jayanti 2017 long weekend. ALSO READ: Best Places to Visit in India on Gandhi Jayanti 2017 Long Weekend Also Read - West Bengal: Cyclone Amphan Damages World's Largest Banyan Tree in Howrah Botanical Garden
Located around 160 km along the route to Digha, which is another great place to spend the long weekend, Mandarmani is a relatively quieter seaside town. Its beach stretches for 13 km and you can drive through it, making it one of the longest of its kind in the country. The waves stroke the sands of Mandarmoni beach more gently than it does in Digha as well, which makes it one of the best places to spend a couple of quiet days away from the city. Also Read - Cyclone Amphan: Anushka Sharma, Arjun Kapoor, Shabana Azmi, Bhumi Pednekar, Others Extend Prayers For Victims
If it’s history that fascinates you, head to the terracotta temples of Bishnupur, around 150 km from Kolkata in Bankura district. Explore the incredible architecture of the temples, built during the reign of the Malla Empire, or go shopping for Baluchari Sarees. Among the temples, the highlight is the Shyamrai Temple of Emperor Raghunath Singha, with carvings that tell the story of Krishna. There’s also the Jorbangla Temple, Madanmohan Temple and Rasmancha. Also Read - Aftermath of Cyclone 'Amphan' in Kolkata: Uprooted Trees, Inundated ATMS, City Plunged in Darkness, Homes Swamped With Rainwater
Krishnanagar palace in Nadia, West Bengal
A little closer home than Bishnupur is Krishnanagar, around 100 km from Kolkata and lying in Nadia district along National Highway 4. With the Jalangi River beside it, Krishnanagar is famous for its cultural treasures. The town was named after the king Krishnachandra (1710-1783), and its Ghumi clay artists are famed for their statues of Hindu gods and goddesses. You also have the Roman Catholic Church here that shows the life of Jesus Christ in 27 beautiful oil paintings. CHECK OUT: Public Holidays in October 2017 in India to Plan Out Your Next Vacation
The waters of Bay of Bengal, from Bakkhali
Around 150 km from Kolkata, on the other side of the Hatania-Doania creek, lies the seaside resort town of Bakkhali. You need to catch the ferry from Namkhana to get past the creak, and at the end you get to spend two days beside an 8 km stretch of pristine beach that ends at Frasergunj. Spend your time here chilling at the beach or take the boat to the reserved Jambu Dwip forest island. There’s also the Watch Tower that gives you incredible views of the Sundarban jungles and the Bishalakshmi Temple and crocodile park.
A Common Iora at Sajnekhali Bird Sanctuary, Photograph Courtesy: Sumita Roy Dutta/Wikimedia Commons
Speaking of Sundarbans, Sajnekhali is another great destination for the Gandhi Jayanti 2017 long weekend that gives you access to this natural treasure-trove. Once again, you need to take a ferry from Sonakhali to get to the tourist lodge here, and once there you have the chance to explore the marshy jungles. The Sundarbans are home to a number of rare and endemic birds, as well as the Royal Bengal Tiger, barking deer, Olive Ridley turtles and crocodiles.
A boat anchored in Gadiara, Photograph Courtesy: Avishekchatt/Wikimedia Commons
Located less than 100 km from the city, within Howrah district itself, lies Gadiara, where the Hooghli, Roopnarayan and Damodar rivers come together. The town has other attractions too, like the historic Fort Mornington and the Mayachar sandbank that lies on the Roopnarayan River. Pick up a few souvenirs along the way or explore the town’s natural beauty this weekend; in any case, you won’t come back home disappointed. NOW READ: Festivals and Events in India in October 2017 That Promise an Unforgettable Experience
If the mountains are calling you, head to Sikkim and take the trek to the famous wishing lake, Mulkharna. The lake lies at an altitude of around 7,000 feet, right at the foot of the mighty Himalayas. It is famed for reflecting the Kanchenjunga peak on its still water, a sight definitely worth the easy trek that takes you through mesmerizing monasteries, waterfalls and more views of the Kanchenjunga. You can take the longer trek from the town of Lingzey or the shorter one from Chota Ramitey; we recommend the former.