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Old 20th November 2008, 14:59   #1
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Default Weekend Getaways in Kolkata (3-6hrs of travel)

We often run to far off places to spend our vacation. But we forget that there are some lovely places near our own city which can be reached in 3-6hrs.
I love to travel like most of the fellow Bhp-ians. But the only time I get to run away from the hustle and bustle is a weekend. But then searching for a good place gets tough and we end up visiting the same old places.

So I thought of starting a new thread that will have all the locations and other relevant details. So that next time you want to run away from Kolkata, but have only one weekend in hand, this thread will act as a directory for all the information you need.

Let us restrict the locations which can be reached in 3-6hrs (max) from Kolkata in a car following all traffic rules.

Please put up information gathered from your experience in the following manner.

1> Location Name
2> Distance and Time
3> Lodging Options and expenses
4> Food Joints
5> Places to visit from the base
6> Must See (Any specialty of the place that one should not miss)
7> Road Condition
8> Pics of the location
9> other details if needed.
So guys lets pull in all the information and build up a good directory. So that next time you want to spend the weekend outside the city you don’t end up in the same old locations like Digha and Shankarpur
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Old 20th November 2008, 15:14   #2
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a similar thread already exists in the board
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/route-...s-kolkata.html (Driving destinations from Kolkata)
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Old 20th November 2008, 15:58   #3
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Originally Posted by thebagchi View Post
a similar thread already exists in the board
Might be so,but the details as vro(7)m has pointed out are lacking in that thread.
This seems a nice idea,atleast if we have the comprehensive details here,it would be of so much help to all of us.
But I would say we must still enter Digha,Mandarmoni and Shantineketan to make the list complete.What say?
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Old 20th November 2008, 17:18   #4
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1> Location Name - Masanjor

2> Distance and Time - approx. 300km (4 - 5 hours)

3> Lodging Options and expenses - There is a state govt bungalow. Dont know about other options. May be Siuri can be a nice halt for this place.

4> Food Joints - Dhaba(s) after Tilpara, Singara @ Raneshwar at state border, DarjeelingMore, Shaktigarh, Singara-Kochuri @ Kochujor (near Bakreshwar)

5> Places to visit from the base - Tarapith, Bakreshwar (natural hot water spring), Shantiniketan

6> Must See (Any specialty of the place that one should not miss): read 5

7> Road Condition - Excellent

8> Pics of the location - Will put up later

9> other details if needed. - I put up what I knew, for specific info. PM me.

Abhi
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Old 20th November 2008, 17:39   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ultimatechamp View Post
Might be so,but the details as vro(7)m has pointed out are lacking in that thread.
This seems a nice idea,atleast if we have the comprehensive details here,it would be of so much help to all of us.
But I would say we must still enter Digha,Mandarmoni and Shantineketan to make the list complete.What say?
Ya thats the reason I had put it. Mostly we have travelogues. But a directory with the basic information would be helpful IMHO. We can always refer to the travelogues or relevant sites if needed.
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Old 20th November 2008, 17:54   #6
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1> Location Name - Mondarmoni

2> Distance and Time - approx. 170kms (3.5 - 4 hours)

3> Lodging Options and expenses - There are many new resorts. Most expensive being Rose Valley and Sana Beach Resort. I stayed at Debraj which is at the end. It was also good. These resorts charge something from 2500- 7000. As they run on Diesel Engine, the room costs are high.

4> Food Joints - Every resort has its own restaurant. But try out once in the one inside Sana Beach Resort. Dont miss the Jhups where you get everything from Daru to Fish chops.

5> Places to visit from the base - You can visit Digha and Shankarpur(not far). But I am sure you won't. You would prefer staying and spending all day and evening on the beach (which is very very quiet)

6> Must See (Any specialty of the place that one should not miss): Don't forget to drive on the beach. Walk till the end and you will see the confluence of a river in the sea. (known as Mohona). Thats a lovely place as you can walk from one end of the river to the other. Water is crystal clear.Nice place if you want to walk with your lady love.

7> Road Condition - Excellent till Kolaghat(75kms excluding the bridge).Kolaghat to Nandan Kanan is good (has many diversions). After that its a 2 lane highway. Personally I love that stretch. Condition varies with time. Last 40 mins are horrible. Dont carry too much load if your vehicle has low GC.

8> Pics of the location - Will put up later

9> other details if needed. - Till date its a very very quiet place. Don't forget to carry a torch if you plan to walk on the beach at night. Also check out the high tide timings. Its usually from 11am to 2pm and 11pm to 2am. You cant drive on the beach at that time. There is no road apart from the beach to reach your resort. So plan accordingly.
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Old 20th November 2008, 20:36   #7
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Originally Posted by vrooooooom View Post
Till date its a very very quiet place. Don't forget to carry a torch if you plan to walk on the beach at night. Also check out the high tide timings. Its usually from 11am to 2pm and 11pm to 2am. You cant drive on the beach at that time. There is no road apart from the beach to reach your resort. So plan accordingly.
Advisable to reach before nightfall, especially if you have women & kids in the group. The place is fairly safe, but some of the locals do get inebriated at night... so you get the picture.
But don't miss the beach at night under the stars - it is an awesome experience. Just stick close to your hotel and you'll be fine.
Also carry medicines and first aid with you. Didn't spot any clinics around the beach or nearby village.
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Old 21st November 2008, 12:23   #8
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err! Nandan Kanan its "Nanadakumar"

Please don't Drive on the Beach, if not required.
Much of Beaches of Digha and Shankarpur is lost to Erosion.
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Old 23rd November 2008, 00:07   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thebagchi View Post
err! Nandan Kanan its "Nanadakumar"
Thanks for the correction dude.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thebagchi View Post
Please don't Drive on the Beach, if not required.
Much of Beaches of Digha and Shankarpur is lost to Erosion.
I agree. But yes right now there is no route to the resorts other than driving over the beach.
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Old 23rd November 2008, 00:28   #10
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1> Location Name - Bandel

2> Distance and Time - approx. 60km (2- 2 1/2 hours)

3> Lodging Options and expenses - None needed

4> Food Joints - Lots of restaurants available.

5> Places to visit from the base - Bandel Church, Hangseshwari, Ananta Vasudeva Temple.

6> Must See (Any specialty of the place that one should not miss): read 5

7> Road Condition - Good, but crowded inside Bandel Town.

8> Pics of the location - Will put up later

9> other details if needed. - I put up what I knew, for specific info. PM me.
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Old 23rd November 2008, 13:36   #11
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Red face Murshidabad !!!

Distance :- around 300.
Places :- Mayapore,Nawadip, Hazar duari....
NH34 is not in Good condition it seems... Please check.
You can stay at Baharampore. While coming you can take Moregram-Suri,Panagarh.
Visit :- Tarapith, Shantiniketan....
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Old 3rd September 2013, 21:50   #12
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Default Re: Weekend Getaways in Kolkata (3-6hrs of travel)

Guys, new place opening soon, 3 hrs/130 kms drive north of Kolkata.
Details at Balakhana.com

This is a heritage weekend getaway.

Last edited by Hatari : 3rd September 2013 at 21:52.
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Old 7th January 2014, 22:32   #13
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Default Re: Weekend Getaways in Kolkata (3-6hrs of travel)

I felt this thread to be more structured, hence contributing as per the format (+ some more details of the trip):

1> Location Name - Taki
2> Distance and Time - 2 hours, 65 km. (route - Rajarhat New Town -> Basanti Hwy -> Malancha -> Taki); depending on route, may vary by 10 km (see details below)
3> Lodging Options and expenses - Got to see (and had breakfast) Suhasini Guest House (which seems to be the best as per tripadvisor.in reviews); else, we didn't find any reason to stay, if you don't want to relax there over the weekend
4> Food Joints - Suhasini guest house provide meals; Taki govt. guest house (adjacent to Suhasini) also provides good food, quintessentially Bengali dishes (rice, dal, fish, chicken)
5> Places to visit from the base - 'Chhoto Sundanban' (Little Sundarban) is a nice spot, apart from local sightseeing in which all may not be worth seeing (list includes cremation ground !); more on this below
6> Must See (Any specialty of the place that one should not miss) - 'Chhana Malpoa', a sweet, is famous here, and really luring
7> Road Condition - good (Rajarhat & Basanti Hwy) -> bad (after diversion at Malancha)
8> Pics of the location - to come later

More on the trip
Routes - Taki can be reached from Kolkata by 3 routes based on where you stay:
a) Take bypass in Rajarhat New Town -> pass by Unitech Infospace -> keep going straight till you hit the dead end -> take right and keep driving through the winding roads -> at end you cross a bridge where you fall onto Basanti Hwy -> take left and keep driving till Malancha -> take diversion to left after cross Malancha bazar -> road becomes bad (really bad at places, covered with bricks at places) -> keep driving straight till Taki -> roads become better but narrower -> reaching there, you need to take left and then road turns right -> keep going straight till you hit Ichhamati river -> road turns left along the river bank -> park along the road or the small lane by Suhasini Guest House
b) [If coming from the north, cross Science City; if from south, take U-turn at Science City crossing] -> take left at PC Chandra Garden -> this is the Basanti Hwy which meets the earlier route
c) Cross VIP Road & fall on Jessore Road -> cross Barasat -> take route (right) to Basirhat -> cross by Basirhat -> drive till Taki

Where to stay - I did not stay; however seems options are limited (Suhasini seems to be the best, others being Amrapalli guest house and Taki govt. guest house which is under renovation currently); these accommodations are all on the road along the river

The place - If you are driving your own car, I would recommend parking it (roads are quite narrow) and avail either/both of two options; by boat over the river, by cycle-van. The river bank is actually an embankment with boat ghats, BSF towers and seats & eateries for people to relax, the road running along in parallel. The central spot to start travelling around is where you have the Suhasini guest house. Road towards left goes to Little Sundarbans, and toward right goes to 'Machhranga Dwip' route.
The other side of the river is Bangladesh; special occasion to be there is during the Dashami (10th day of Durga Puja) where idols immersions on both sides is a sight to see
There are several spots for picnics; you may book then and there if you are in a big group (for which you may plan to carry and arrange for cooking as well)

The attractions - Motor boat ride can take you to either (a) 'Machhranga Dwip' (Kingfisher Island) or (b) Little Sundarbans - both in opposite directions requiring separate boat reservation; I do not recommend visiting the first one as I don't think its a true island (a landmass at left of which the river narrows down somewhere) and there is nothing to see - actually boat rides are not worth it unless its the ride that is important, not the destination [each carries around 30 people; on sharing, (a) costs Rs.20 per head, (b) cost Rs.30 per head; if you reserve a boat exclusively, (a) costs Rs.600, (b) costs Rs.800] .. each ride is for 40-50 min.
Better to take a cycle van (each accommodates 4-6 people, charges Rs.40 per head; you may ask for Nitai who was quite jovial and informative); again, route you take is either towards Little Sundarban or towards showing 'Machhranga Dwip', or both if time permits; the rest of the spots on the way (temples, cremation ground, zamindar bari, etc. - see the list on a tree beside the main ghat) range from worth-seeing to not-worth-it.
Little Sundarbans is quite well formed and worth-seeing (as a project by the state govt.) and is covered with natural river embankments and Sundari mangrove forest. The view from the bridge there is quite good. You will have to submit an id card (driving license, passport, PAN etc.) at the BSF post near the entry, which will be returned while you leave.

Other stuff to relish - 'Gur' (jaggery) from date palms; you can buy locally at several places along the road. Another delicacy is the sweet 'Chhanar Malpoa' (you may get this in sweet shops at the nearest bazar after leaving Taki).
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Old 7th January 2014, 23:52   #14
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Default Re: Weekend Getaways in Kolkata (3-6hrs of travel)

The photo legend:

1) A lone boat by side of Ichhamati river
2) A boat with its friends on the river
3) The road by the river showing a cycle van
4) A patrol boat by Little Sundarbans natural embankments
5) Local sightseeing from a cycle van
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Old 19th January 2014, 23:58   #15
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Default Re: Weekend Getaways in Kolkata (3-6hrs of travel)

1> Location Name - Mandarmani
2> Distance and Time - 180+ km, 4 hours (may be another 30-40 min. incl. lunch)
3> Lodging Options and expenses - Relatively expensive due to hotel running on generators (Rs.1500 and up for decent acco); you can also get acco at Rs.500 range, albeit without certain services or not near the sea
4> Food Joints - better stick to fooding available at your hotel; outside ones on beach may be tasty, but may not be hygenic .. food is quintessentially Bengali, though some hotels have a varied menu
5> Places to visit from the base - sea beach, 'Mohona' (where river meets the sea; here, I guess Kangsabati river meets Bay of Bengal)
6> Must See (Any specialty of the place that one should not miss) - none specific except the beach; there are options of parasailing and speed-boating
7> Road Condition - excellent to good (narrow though for the last section)

More on the trip
The route from Kolkata - Kolkata VIP road or Jessore road -> Belghoria Expressway -> road over Bali bridge -> Kolaghat -> take left -> Nandakumar -> turn the circle to take the third exit (right) -> Pichaboni (ask people on the way) -> take right -> Chawlkhola -> take left -> (here, road becomes quite narrow, but overall good; depressions at places where you need to slow down) -> Mandarmani.

The place - A pristine sea beach without the crowd of Digha (nearby, another 8-9 km) or Puri, relatively empty. Recommend to go with friends, extended family or another family (if you are travelling with your wife & kids), as there is nothing much to do in the evening. You don't get huge waves of Puri that makes sea bathing or swimming so much fun, so it may be only wetting your feet waist-deep or walking along. Best part is, of course if you have a car, its a 15 km excellent stretch of drive-able beach. You can reach the 'mohona' either by your car, or by the motorized vans that ply on the beach (they ask for anywhere from Rs.150 to Rs.250). Other things to do is to do parasailing on beach - operators use 4x4 vehicles (I guess Mahindra Thar) to which the rope of your parachute will be tied to; speed boating - they charge around Rs.250 per person (guess, can be negotiated).

Where to stay - we stayed at Aqua Marina Drive Inn which has a great rating in tripadvisor.in. The hotels are on the beach, accessible by a narrow drive-able road. For some hotels, you have also the option of driving through the beach to enter (not for Aqua Marina - its vehicle entrance is only by the road). None have any private beach, but good ones are all sea-facing. Rose Valley resort seems to be the most expensive of the lot.
In Aqua Marina, there are deluxe, elite and royal rooms available - each is good and sea-facing. Deluxe ones do not have geyser (though they arrange for hot water in a jiffy) or bath-tub (unlike elite or royal), but all have AC. Hotel staff are quite good and helpful. Rent starts at around Rs.2500 in peak season (say, Dec-Jan).

Getting around - You can drive your car on the beach! However, do not go during the high tide (~12pm to ~2pm). There is a small steep rocky passage that drops from the road to the beach. It is recommended to drive continuously, avoiding the muddy/ watery patches, and park your vehicle preferably on higher ground, where sand is relatively drier. On wet sand, your car may slightly swerve or wobble while driving. If your car gets stuck, locals charge anywhere up from Rs.10000 to help!
I drove till the mohona and parked our car on dry sand near a hotel. Walked up to the mohona. A sight to behold is of numerous red crabs that creep in/out of sand. There were a lot of dead fish, jellyfish, oysters and squids which probably washed up and were left off when water receded at low tide.
The other option to roam around/ reach the mohona is to hire a motorized van or simply walk along.

Quick bites - the place is named after the red crabs (in formal bengali, 'mandar' is red, 'moni' is gem). Great places to eat on the way from Kolkata includes Sher-e-Punjab (at Kolaghat) and a small restaurant named 'A One' (opp. to a Indian Oil petrol pump) somewhere on the road after you take the road at right around the Nandakumar circle.

Photos
1) Our hotel - new construction at the back; first block at left is royal, next is elite, third one is deluxe
2) Our car on the beach - note the watery sand towards the right; place to avoid parking
3) A boat on the beach
4) A dead squid
5) Local beach shops
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