Kolkata is the first word that comes to mind whenever anyone mentions West Bengal and for good measure. It is one of the major metropolitan city in the country that is also the socio-cultural capital of West Bengal. However, there are a few places that surround Kolkata that also boast of the beauty of this state and deserve more recognition. Here are are our top picks for places to visit near Kolkata within a 100 kilometres.
Places to Visit Near Kolkata Within 100 kilometres
Shibpur is located on the banks of the Hooghly river and is an important port in West Bengal. The port holds high strategic trade routes that had been recognized since the Mughal Era. The Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Indian Botanic Garden is located here. It is home to more than 12,000 species of vegetation. The garden also houses species of plants from countries like Nepal, Malaysia, and Brazil. The main attraction is the Great Banyan Tree, which has a circumference of over 486 meters.
- Distance from Kolkata: 11 kilometres
2. Dakshineswar Kali Temple
The Dakshineswar Kali Temple was constructed in the year 1850 and is an architectural marvel. The idol of Lord Shiva is layed in the middle of a thousand petal lotus that has been carved by hand. The temple is dedicated to goddess Bhavatharini, who is one of the various forms of Kali Ma. There are other temples also within the complex dedicated to deities like Krishna and Radha.
- Distance from Kolkata: 13 kilometres
3. Santragachi Jheel
The Santragachi Jheel is a haven for bird watchers and adventure enthusiasts. The “jheel” or lake is a resting place for several migratory birds that make it their home for part of the year. Winters are usually the best time to see the lake in its full glory when several migratory birds undertake their flight towards the south. You can spot the whistling ducks, sarus crane, Northern pintail, gadwall and knob-billed ducks. The Santragachi Jheel is a great setting for photographers.
- Distance from Kolkata: 14 kilometres
4. New Town Eco Park
This eco-park is one of the largest urban parks in India with some outstanding attractions that you can visit. The park comes with a coconut tree-lined promenade and in the evenings it is a fantastic place to walk about. The eco-park has gardens dedicated to specific plants such as rose, bamboo and tea. There is a butterfly garden and adventure activities such as archery, boating, kayaking, zorbing and shooting.
- Distance from Kolkata: 18 kilometres
5. Chintamani Kar Bird Sanctuary
The Chintamani Kar Bird Sanctuary is every nature lover’s delight. The sanctuary is situated amongst orchids of ferns and fruit trees. You can spot various birds such as herons, egrets, cormorants, woodpeckers, kingfishers, Orioles and bulbuls.
Besides the birds, you can also see the three-striped palm squirrel and the monitor lizard. The sanctuary opens at 7 am and remains open until 5 pm. Entry fee is Rs 50 per head.
- Distance from Kolkata: 22 kilometres
6. Kolkata Snake Park
The Kolkata Snake Park commenced operations in 1977 and is one of the most unusual attractions near Kolkata. The park is sprawled across 2 acres of lush greenery. There are a dozen of snake pits along with terrariums that snakes like the king cobra and pythons have made their home in. In this park you can also see marsh crocodiles.
- Distance from Kolkata: 26 kilometres
Barrackpore is a place of significant historical background near Kolkata. Many brave Indian freedom fighters lost their lives on these lands. Shaheed Mangal Pandey Udyan, a garden named after Mangal Pande, is located in Barrackpore. Besides the garden, the Vijayanta Memorial is also visited by many tourists. The Bartholomew Church a beautiful gothic-style structure that is also worth a visit.
- Distance from Kolkata: 28 kilometres
8. Boro Kachari Temple
The Boro Kachari Temple is a temple near Kolkata that is quite famous with devotees of Lord Shiva. The temple has a banyan tree that is supposed to have wish-granting powers. You can see the many pieces of paper with wishes written on them that have been tied around the tree. The tree is supposedly growing on a spot where a famous sage passed away, which is why the tree is believed to have its miraculous powers.
- Distance from Kolkata: 30 kilometres
9. Neeldeep Garden
Neeldeep Garden is the perfect place if you are looking to get away from the daily stress of Kolkata. Unwind and relax here, be it a family vacation, an office outing or a just a couples trip. The garden is covered in beautiful greenery and there is outdoor seating too. You can also engage in outdoor games and activities that the place has to offer.
- Distance from Kolkata: 31 kilometres
Achipur in Kolkata has seen some of the earliest Chinese settlements in India. The name Achipur comes from the first Chinese settler here, Tong Achi. Tong had taken the land on lease from the British to set up a sugar factory. Today the place is famous for its temple complex and the horseshoe-shaped grave of Tong Achi. The place comes alive during the Chinese New Year. Another place to visit here is the Budge Ferry Ghat. History enthusiasts will enjoy Achipur.
- Distance from Kolkata: 32 kilometres
Serampore is a town that was colonized by the Danish in 1755. It is also the home of the first educational institution in India that was granted the status of a university. Serampore also has the Serampore college that is the second oldest college in India. The Danish influence is seen clearly in the architecture of the buildings here. The Jagannath Temple, famous for hosting the annual Rath Yatra, is located in Serampore. The temple was built in 1755 and attracts devotees from all over India.
- Distance from Kolkata: 39 kilometres
Chandannagar is a famous town known for the French colony that settled here approximately 130 years ago. The town is located on the banks of the Hooghly River. There are many French constructions that still stand here today such as the Sacred Heart Church that was built over a 100 years ago. The Patal Bari, which is a house whose lower levels are submerged underwater, is also at Chandannagar. Other places of interest are the Heritage Museum, the French Cemetery, and the Mango Garden.
- Distance from Kolkata: 45 kilometres
Chandraketugarh is an archaeological site, housing the kingdom of the Chandraketu dynasty, which is estimated to be over 2500 years old. There are several popular excavation sites that you can visit like the Khana Mihirer Ship, named after the mathematician Khana. The town is also famous for its museums that houses several artefacts of the Chandraketu Dynasty.
- Distance from Kolkata: 45 kilometres
14. Babur Haat
Babur Haat is the hidden gem located near Kolkata, untouched by the general populous and retaining the tranquillity that a village setting provides. The main attraction here is the “theris”, which are natural fishing lakes used to farm Bengali fishes. You can even fish at some of these lakes. There are several nature walks that are conducted here or you can enjoy activities such as weaving, boating and rice farming.
- Distance from Kolkata: 48 kilometres
Chinsurah has been dubbed as “Europe on the Ganges” by the people who visit this town because of its ethereal beauty. The town is a port on the Hooghly River and was at its peak when the Dutch colony settled here. The town has seen numerous European settlers and their influences can be clearly seen. Famous attractions include the Dutch Gardens and Dutch Cemetery along with the Octagonal Tomb of Susanna Anna Marina, who was the inspiration of Ruskin Bond’s famous story Susanna’s Seven Husbands.
- Distance from Kolkata: 50 kilometres
Raichak is a town situated on the banks of the Hooghly River. The town was known for its strategic vantage points and hence was conquered by the Portuguese. You can spot the ruins of the Portuguese Fort to this day, which makes a good trekking destination. The diamond harbour which is a popular tourist spot is located very close to Raichak. There is an old lighthouse at the harbour that is worth a visit.
- Distance from Kolkata: 53 kilometres
Tarakeshwar is a quaint town located in West Bengal in the Hooghly District. The town is also one of the most visited religious destinations in all of West Bengal. The town sees a large number of pilgrims gathered here who come to prove their devotion. The town is particularly famous for the Tarakeshwar Temple that is dedicated to Lord Shiva.
- Distance from Kolkata: 60 kilometres
Gadiara is known throughout West Bengal for being the meeting point of the two rivers Damodar and Rupnarayan. The place is known for its natural aesthetic and people travel from all over West Bengal to view the sunset and sundowns here. The place is also famous for Fort Mornington, a fort built during the British era. The fort gets submerged underwater during the high tide
- Distance from Kolkata: 78 kilometres
The Sundarbans is a UNESCO declared World Heritage Site. The place is home to one of the largest mangrove forests, sprawled over 14,000 hectares acres of land. Any form of construction has been banned here. The forest has more than 300 species of plants and over 30,000 deer. The state government also has taken measures to ensure that the forest is protected and promotes ecotourism here.
- Distance from Kolkata: 98 kilometres
We bet that you would have hardly heard of the places that we have mentioned in the article above. But these are great spots to visit for a short break.